Humble Garden

ReSkilling for future food independence

Brassicas, garlic chives, tomatoes, oh my!

Posted by Nika On May - 3 - 2009

Humble Garden 2009: early cabbage

(Early cabbage and spinach)

Today I am going to share an update of the few things that are growing out in the garden. Its been cold here until recently so only the brassicas and very well protected tomatoes have gone out!

Ages ago I started the early cabbage, kale and bok choi as seedlings inside the house.

Humble Garden: cabbage starts

(Cabbage seedlings)

Humble Garden: DIY flat dividers - cabbage starts

(Cabbages transplanted to larger potlets)

Then they were transplanted outside to endure freezing temps, snow, ice, freezing rain, really cold rain, smothering under plastic.

Humble Garden 2009: all plants transpanted

(Tiny seedlings in bed)

Humble Garden 2009: Completed cold frame

(Temporary cold frames)

When it warmed up a bit I replaced the cold frames with heavy floating row cover material.

Today, the early cabbage, kale, and bok choi are thriving under the heavy row cover material! Note, I interplanted with spinach as well.

Humble Garden 2009: kale


Humble Garden 2009: early cabbage, kale, spinach

(Cabbages and Kales)

I also planted out tomatoes under milk jug cloches.

Humble Garden 2009: Brandywine heirloom tomatoes in cloches

(Tomatoes under milk jugs)

Humble Garden 2009: Brandywine heirloom tomatoes in cloches

(Tomatoes under milk jugs)

Humble Garden 2009: Brandywine heirloom tomatoes in cloches

(Tomatoes under milk jugs)

Humble Garden 2009: Brandywine heirloom tomatoes in cloches

(Tomatoes under milk jugs)

Whole bed of 30 some tomatoes transplanted.

Humble Garden 2009: tomato transplant


Even planted some tomatoes out with the now producing asparagus patch, they are meant to be great companions.

Humble Garden 2009: Asparagus and Tomatoes

(Asparagus and tomato transplants)

The mesclun lettuce and spinach under the heavy row covers are growing to town.

Humble Garden 2009: mesclun lettuce

(Mesclun lettuce)

Garlic chives that over wintered are growing to beat the band.

Humble Garden 2009: garlic chives

(Garlic chives)

Here s one of our 5 cats, Bass, looking for any spare pastured poultry that may be in the chicken tractor.

Humble Garden 2009: where did the pastured chickens go?

(Bass with a distinct lack of chicken)

Next post will be more on our diary goat herd!

6 Responses to “Brassicas, garlic chives, tomatoes, oh my!”

  1. sarah caron says:

    Wow, that looks awesome. I am really interested in the tomatoes in milk jugs — why did you do that? Do you eventually remove the jugs?

  2. Nika says:

    Sarah: the bottoms are cut out of the milk jugs. I put them over the plants because it was still freezing hard at night. Once night time temps get high enough that they dont kill the tender tomatoes, the jugs come off. Does that make more sense now?

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  4. Heather says:

    Hi, I found your blog through the Just in Case book blog. I love how you did your raised beds and milk jug cloches! I want to try that next year, I’m expecting a baby any time now so I’m just nursing along some seedlings under the grow lights. It would be great to get stuff out sooner! Our last frost is so late, like June 1st last year. My green tomatoes were full size on the vine when it was time for the first frost. Something like the plastic row covers you did could work at the end of the season too, right? Last year (my first year gardening in a long time) I tried propping sheets up on sticks, but that was kind of a joke! I don’t do raised beds, but it could work just the same. The raised beds do probably help out on the back bending! So what kind of temps do the tomatoes survive in the milk jug cloches?

  5. Nika says:

    Heather, thanks for visiting!

    I totally know how it is re: being preg and wanting to do these things but its hard! My third baby was my weeding partner back in 2007 when we first built the beds. I had him in a maya wrap and he LOVED being with me out there, as I stooped over (just a bit) to pick the weeds as they germinated.

    I HATE bending over – am getting old and my flexibility has always been awful. This is why I asked the husband to build them 2 feet high. If I have to bend all the way over to the ground to weed, I just wont and it all becomes a nightmare! I have since learned how to minimize the weeds a whole lot. I also enjoy weeding, I listen to zen teisho talks (its like a sermon of sorts, on how to deepen one’s meditation practice) and I become rather meditative as I work in the garden. The raised beds really enable this for me.

    I totally know your tomato pain – everyone in the northern tier states and Canada experienced tomato problems last year, not just you. Mine grew but stayed green a LONG time – was too cool at night I think. Climate change is really making us all have to adapt and it will only become more chaotic as time passes.

    Yes re: plastic covers at the end of the season BUT its something you need to do well, to cover them completely otherwise the cold air creeps in and really wipes out those tender tomatoes.

    I had the additional issue of chickens free ranging and eating my long suffering tomatoes! I think we have solved this issue this year tho today, we have had multiple goat breakouts (they want to eat all the green leaves they see), we need to shore up the fences better.

    The tomatoes were out there under the cloches with night time temps as low as 29 and they didnt feel it at all.

    I let my tomatoes get REALLY leggy and then snip the lower leaves and bury them up to their tippy leaves (leaving the top set well exposed) so that fresh roots grow along the leggy stem. I think this also helps them put up with the cooler temps. I have 30 planted and have some 30 more yet to plant once the soil drys a bit.

    Ok, thats likely more than you wanted to know!

    Nice to meet you and I wish you great health and ease as you have that baby!

  6. Erice says:

    LOVED these pictures. Gorgeous garden. I know I’m a little late to the party on this post, but thanks for pointing me to it on twitter. So much of what I’m doing right now is heat management for transplants, these pictures of your beds are very similar to my own garden at the moment.

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About Me

We are a family of 5, including Nika, Ed, Q (14), KD (7), and Baby Oh (4). We garden 1024 square feet of raised beds plus assorted permacultural plantings. We also have 13 LaMancha dairy goats, 40 chickens, and one guard llama.



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