Wednesday, June 17, 2009

June 17 Roof Garden: Romanesco Broccoli, Stupice Tomato, Mammoth Melting Peas

Springtime in Chicago has been a cool, wet slog, but today we found signs of the harvest to come:

The tomatoes in their new 7-gal in 8-gal bucket SIPs are thriving. This has everything to do with transplanting Bruce's robust tomato starts into their SIPs early in the greenhouse and setting them out on May 25 as large plants. Today we poured a liter of compost tea into each tomato reservoir (from Art's amazing compost tea maker--more on that later), to urge them on.

Summer of Squash seeds (from a two-year-old packet) have finally sprouted, knocking some soil up onto the plastic. The power of plant energy is stunning.

Here's a Stupice tomato, one of the early varieties, ripening up, which seems like a miracle given our cloudy, rainy last few weeks.

And peapods have emerged from the pure white flowers that graced this Mammoth Melting Pea variety.

Finally, the broccoli Romanesco is setting its astonishing head. Click here to have a look at the mature plant.

I'm trying something new this year: overplanting a SIP that's finished hosting its original veggie. Here's the broccoli Green Goliath (with my pal Trish)...

..harvested and re-seeded with Climbing Emperor beans. These we hope will climb the arches Art designed. I didn't add fertilizer, reckoning that there might be enough remaining.

Stay tuned...


feasting-on-pixels (terrie) said...

Wonderful how your tomatoes and peas have come along...I planted Oregon Sugar Pod II Snow peas and Cascadia Snap peas and have dozens already.

Will be posting the progress of my urban-suburban garden lettuces, tomatoes and peas soon.

Looking forward to the info on Art's amazing compost tea maker.

Merci beaucoup for the inspiration...

H2 said...

Hi feasting:
I like that your Oregon Sugar Pod peas are only a couple of feet tall and don't require trellising. Are they very bushy? They sure are producing.

Eager for your updates--we too find it inspiring to hear from other gardeners. Are you in Chicago?

Grammy said...

Every thing looks great!
How wonderful to have a tomato too. I only have cherry one starting to form.
Do you find a benefit yet with the larger buckets?
I cut down a 50 gallon drum but so far only the asparagus is happy there.
Have a great week end.

Anonymous said...

This spring has been really ugly but you guys are doing better than most veggie gardens I've seen planted in the ground.

H2 said...

Hi there:
We're expecting to see the benefits of the larger SIP buckets when the sun comes out and those tomatoes start drinking heavily from their larger reservoirs, Grammy. Meantime, they hold a bit more than the 1 cu foot of soil that the 5-gals hold, and I figure that can only be good.

Mr BT: this has indeed been such a weird spring. Plus, I've noticed that with all the rain pounding our in-ground lettuces, cress, and spinach they hold a lot of soil and need several washings to get clean. The SIP greens I don't even wash.

Our two rain barrels are overflowing.

Anonymous said...

When did you first plant the mammoth melting peas? I planted sugar snaps and scarlet runners and I am curious when we will see the first blossoms. Thank you, Lauren

H2 said...

I just checked my label on the peapod earthbox (an orphan a pal gave us) and we seeded them outside April 8. They took their time flowering and fruiting, but they're on a roll now. When did yours go in?

feasting-on-pixels (terrie) said...

Salut H2...both my pea strains have produced amazingly this year.
They require a very short cage trellis and seem to be so happy sprouting new flowers each morning with pods by the next day.

The pea pods are so very much sweeter off the vine than anything I have ever eaten even from farm markets.

You may want to try these as an autumn crop as they take so little effort and produce so much.
Updates coming soon on my blog on my prolific pea

I live south of Chicago in the Forest Preserves of Moraine Valley in Palos and I have had a prolific container garden for about 5 years.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am a big fan and have been following your blog and your posts on the EB forum. I also live in Chicago and started 5 EBs this year. I have two that have lettuces, but assume that lettuce season is almost over. What do you recommend doing when the lettuce bolts? If I want to replant them, do I need a replant kit and/or more potting mix and fertlizer? What are some veggies I can plant this late? Thanks for your advice!


Bruce said...

Hi Nancy,

Russ has been growing in the official Earthboxes, so maybe he'll have something else to say. In the meantime I'll tell you what I do.

As the broccoli, peas, cabbage... are harvested or run up against high summer temps, I take them out and plant something else. As long as it will fruit in 60 days or so.

That means cucumbers, summer squash, beans, some small melons.

I reuse my potting mix; I'm on my third year with this batch. But I do replace the fertilizer strip when I replant.

If you want to replant lettuce you should wait until most of the summer heat has passed, around Sept 1st. Again, I'd add new fertilizer to the new batch of plants.

Hope that helps.