Rip out, revise edibles

It's time for the kale to finally go. I overwintered this under hoops and plastic this year, and it rewarded me with so many fantastic early salads this spring.

Nothing in the veggie garden lasts forever though, and when you have limited space for edibles like I do (inside the fence to protect from the always-hungry herbivores) the bed space is precious.


So when an edible is past its prime, out it comes. Flowers on kale mean it has to come out:

I'd love to have the room to let these feed the pollinators and set seed, but I just don't.

Plus, there are a few aphids on these plants.

Okay, more than a few. That's the drawback of overwintering: aphids had a place to spend the winter, as I saw them on the lowest kale leaves unbelievably early in the season.

This is the very definition of infestation. I bet your own aphid problems don't look so bad now, do they? Where are the lady beetles when you need them?

So out they all came.

Amazingly big roots on some of them.

I left a couple of cilantro plants at the west edge of the bed (right side of this photo), then dug a few holes right in the middle and buried some of the kale mixed with kitchen scraps:

I've been hearing from various gardeners at the Schlafly monthly meet-ups that these pockets of soon-to-be-decaying vegetable matter are a fantastic source of food for feeder roots. So I'm going to keep doing this and see how it goes.

As always, a photo of a hole is not a pretty sight. Dig it deep for tomatos though, as they'll root all along the stem, making for stronger plants. (The soil is looking quite nice here finally. I added so much manure last year!)

I added plenty of manure and Garden-tone to each hole, as I'm going to ensure these plants have all of the nutrients they want this year.

So all planted -- at least the south side of the bed. I'm leaving space on the north side for more kale plants.

I can't say it looks much different with the little tomato plants in there. I went with only four of them in this bed. More will go here...

...once these beauties give out. The Pak Choi is flowering, but I've never tasted such delicious flower stalks before. I thought kale flowers/buds/stalks were good, but these are sweet and wonderful. Yum!

It usually pains me to pull plants like this, but this is something else I learned from Jack and Nolan at Schlafly Gardenworks: be ruthless when a plant is finished.

How are things going with your veggie garden this spring?


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Rock rose  – (May 14, 2013 at 9:56 AM)  

Looks like a fine crop. The reward for all that caring for the soil. I think anything that is left in there to rot feed the soil. I try to leave my pea roots in there. I did do a cover crop one year but it was tough work digging it in. I am always running my fingers up the stems of plants to kill the aphids. I had loads of lady bugs a few weeks ago but they must have left before their job was finished. Haven't seen one for days.

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (May 14, 2013 at 12:00 PM)  

We just finished the last of our red beets. Chard's still doing OK.

Tomatoes are going great guns. We already have little ones on most plants.

Jerusalem artichokes have come back with a vengeance; one plant last year, a dozen this year. We finally get to eat some!

Barbie  – (May 15, 2013 at 6:53 AM)  

Wow - your veggie patch is so active and it makes mine look sad! :-( I also have such a bad aphid problem with brassicas - I can honestly say I have had a few infestations too! All looking good and your soil is amazing!

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