Sunday, July 8, 2012

What's Growing: Radish Scapes

Mixed feelings on how the Potager is coming along this year. No matter how things grow, walking among the paths of the Potager is always uplifting. Mornings are beautiful with the sun streaming across the garden and the Robins singing.

Many of the seeds I started never took off. I actually ended up buying starts of tomatoes, peppers, and brussel sprouts. Is it because I used choir instead of seed-starting mix? Or just because? I will be rethinking next year's approach.

Banana Pepper from start. I planted both hot and sweet varieties.

Italian plum tomato from start.

Lemon Boy tomato from start.

Brandywine Red tomato from start.

Cherry tomatoes.

This year I made tomato cages from bamboo and grape vines. The tiki tomato ladder was becoming quite rickety. I have one very small German Striped Tomato from the seeds I saved last year that I didn't give up on. It is just starting to take off, probably too late but one can always hope.

Brussels among Borage

Borage is a great bee magnet and the flowers are edible.

My lettuce (again!) and spinach bolted with the mix of "Mercury" days. The trick I've learned is to keep things well watered during the heat spells – hot and dry = flowers and seeds. Next year I will really pay attention to lettuce seed mixes that are slow to bolt. A savvy local farmer told me she plants her lettuce between rows of kale and chard which shade the lettuce nicely and I bet looks beautiful, too. Planting my lettuce between rows of garlic did practically nothing to hinder the flea beetles. I could plant a "trap" crop of Arugula, their favorite. A trap crop is planted with sacrifice in mind usually a few weeks earlier than the crop you want to thrive. I've also recently read that catnip deters the beetles so I will let my catnip go wild. Lettuce under shading Sunflowers sounds appealing, too. I've been sowing lettuce every few weeks since my first sowing flopped. Some of it is coming up nicely, or was, until the bunny (make that bunnies) dined on it for dinner one evening. I now have two generations of rabbits running around. Guess that old saying is true. But I still should have a worthy fall crop of lettuce and spinach.

Newly planted lettuce among garlic and pole beans just starting to climb.

My cucumbers barely germinated. I have two small plants. The eggplant I may have accidentally weeded out. I haven't grown it before but now see what it looks like after a trip to the nursery – oops. I remind myself that this is gardening.

On the sunny side of the Potager, my snap peas were awesome this year and are just now fading. They are/were the tallest they've ever been and I enjoyed snacking on them as well as using them in stir-frys and salads.

Again I remind myself of the ups and downs of gardening. As usual, the Swiss chard and kales are beautiful, up. The broccoli rabe is not growing very well this year but it is planted next to some strawberries, a bad combination I recently learned, down. I have scallions!, up. The artichokes (another new trial this year) aren't looking very big and lush. Will they flower before cold weather?, down. I have blueberries!, up.

Swiss chard, kale, scallions, beets and carrots.

Who took the art out of artichoke?

Oregano and thymes are in flower. Purple perilla has reseeded itself from last year.

The bush and soy beans are just beginning to flower. So far the squash is growing well. At the community garden we are infested with cucumber beetles. My garden seems to be fairing better. The few beetles I've found I've crushed with my bare fingers! – a newly acquired gardening skill. I have nasturtium planted among the cucumbers and squash which is said to deter the beetles. I've also been regularly checking under the leaves for signs of eggs.

Fuzzy Soybeans

Something new this year, radish scapes. I almost prefer the radish scapes to the radishes! I believe I read about them in Mother Earth News.  A woman from WI (a state I'm partial to), wrote that she lets some of her radishes go to flower. They then form scapes and are delicious to eat. I put them into salads and stir-frys. I left some of them to go to seed for an easy fall crop of radish just as she recommended.

Radish Scapes


  1. Kathy I am not sure how my garden would have done without the warm May days and the mid june warm up to summer heat...most of my veggies are behind yours but my seed starts were cooled in early June. I was letting radish go to seed and set a fall crop but had no idea about eating the scapes...will try them now. I still have radishes growing shaded by beans...I also have a part shade veg garden where I plant the lettuces and they are happily growing still. My peas were wonderful and I just pulled them. Beans are setting fruit...the heat of this summer has helped a lot.

    My borage did not self seed nor did it grow again when I planted some. I need new seed. I adore your potager.

    1. Donna, I need to be better about planting with shade in mind. I did not plant one Borage seed this year, just moved volunteers where I wanted them in early spring. I am happy to save some Borage for you! I can send you a big bunch of seed heads if you would like.

  2. If I had the room for a potager, I would pinch so many ideas from yours. Your branch trellises and arbor are just the perfect mix of repurposed and rustic! That first shot is just beautiful and I can imagine how nice it would be to walk amongst the beds. Lovely.

    1. Thanks Cat! It seems to be a year of Robins for me. There is one nesting in the grape vines on our front porch, too. I bet as creative as you are, that you have a beautiful vegetable patch!

  3. Your garden looks so good, i am sure you will be reaping big "fruits" of your labor in a little while. I smiled at your angular trellis, it looks so durable. Here because i can't find suitable materials that will last, but i will find just instantly, i make do with whatever i found right away, and they do for the season too! But of course they are not as nice.


Thank you for joining me in my garden in the making!

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