Monday, March 27, 2017

Time for a Quick Crop of Radishes

Plenty of gardeners in North Georgia wait until after mid-April to begin planting vegetable crops, but anyone who is a bit impatient can plant some radish seeds now.
Radishes from last spring's gardening.   PHOTO/AmyGWh

Radishes grow best in the cooler weather of early spring, and they are ready to harvest just 4-5 weeks after they are planted. This makes radishes a great little crop to start the gardening year. Success comes so soon!

It used to be that most radish seeds in the garden centers and catalogues produced radishes that were just round and red.

Now, though, a whole range of colors and shapes are available, which makes pulling the little roots up at harvest time a great adventure. The same patch of garden that grew the pink and white (almost hidden under the pink) radishes in the picture also gave us purple, red, and yellow (!) radishes. All were delicious.

People who are Not From Around Here sometimes refer to radishes as a foolproof crop. I remember, when I first moved to Georgia, reading in more than one book/document, that "anyone can grow radishes." That statement may be true in a sense, but the red-clay soil that is the base of my garden did not make a radish crop for the first couple of years, no matter how many seeds I set into the ground.

If your garden has been thwarting your radish-dreams, do not despair. The yearly addition of composts and other amendments, and having the soil tested to find out exactly what is needed to balance the nutrients for vegetable production, will soon enough bring plenty of these little beauties to your springtime table.




Tuesday, March 14, 2017

'There Never Was a Spring Like This'


Peach flowers opened in February. PHOTO/AmyGWh
The flowers pictured to the right were on a peach tree at the community garden on the grounds of a church in Marietta. I took the picture a couple of weeks ago, at the very end of February.

On warm-enough days, I sometimes take my lunch to eat at a picnic table by that garden. It isn't too far from the office, and it is a beautiful place.

These flowers are beautiful, too, but I was not as happy to see them as I might have been in another spring.

The problem is that the flowers opened too soon, triggered, I would guess, by a February that felt a lot like April. Unfortunately, we are about to have two nights in a row of temperatures around 25 degrees F.

Even though bees and other tiny insects buzzed all around the open flowers, working their pollinator magic, the little fruits forming as a result of that work are at a high risk of damage from the impending cold. Apple and plum trees in my neighborhood have done the same thing, blooming too soon.

This is one of those times when I think of the poet Countee Cullen, and the poem that starts "I cannot hold my peace, John Keats; There never was a spring like this." Of course, he meant it differently, but this is definitely a spring that I have not seen before.



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