Second Chances

I am constantly amazed by the resiliency of plants. My last garden post showed the devastation of a hailstorm, but just a few weeks later, the plants have not only survived the damage, but many of them have virtually doubled or tripled in size.

My corn and pumpkin plants came through the hail and grew like mad in the last two weeks. Unfortunately, the dog ran through the bed and flattened one of my largest cornstalks—not hopeful that this one will be able to make a recovery, but you never know.

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Popcorn and pumpkins

This bed was one of the most damaged by the hailstorm. Most of the turnips and radishes at the front end of the bed were too stressed by the damage and subsequent heat, and decided to bolt, so there are only a few of those left. I dehydrated a huge bowl of these greens for making my own greens powder, and also made a large batch of arugula pesto, but as you can see, I have not even put a dent in the arugula patch yet.

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Arugula dominates the right-hand side of the bed, with turnips in front, onions and ground cherries behind, and beans and basil visible toward the back.

The kohlrabi is all getting enormous, almost to the point of crowding out my purple hull peas. Some of the bulbs are getting good sized and should be ready to harvest. I am counting on my mom to take some of these off my hands, and would love some of your favorite kohlrabi recipes!

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A nearly baseball-sized kohlrabi bulb is ready to harvest

My emergency efforts on behalf of the beans–sheep and peat amendment and straw mulching—seems to be making a difference. Unfortunately, the hail pummeled everything down to nubs right after this effort, so I still ended up losing half my plants, but the ones that survived are looking healthier and putting out new leaves, so I may get a few bean pods yet.

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Dragon’s tongue beans—these plants are real fighters!

My Swiss chard is another second-chance story. These plants are the same ones that were being eaten alive by leaf borer insects, but with some patience, I am finally finding myself able to start harvesting healthy leaves. A few of the plants are bolting, but I am planting new successions for fall harvest, and in the meantime, I am thoroughly enjoying eating sauted chard with my breakfasts and lunches.

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Chard just starting to bolt

My rutabagas not only survived being transplanted right before the hailstorm, but they are now producing enormous new leaves. Hopefully there are some edible roots developing under there as well!

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Foot included in the shot for perspective—some of these leaves are immense!

I planted 8 asparagus crowns in one bed in my garden way back in April, but had given up hope that they were still viable after several months of no growth, and had stopped watering the bed. But just this week, as I was clearing out weeds and spent penstemons from this bed, I realized that there were actually asparagus coming up amid all the unwanted volunteers. Five out of 8 crowns is not too shabby—I guess the soaking rain we had last week woke them up.

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Hard to capture in a photo, but here are two of my baby asparagus plants.

After some big thunderstorms, Jeremy thought he was safe to skip watering my potted plants for two days in 90+ degree weather—wrong! I left on a Monday after watering and came back on Wednesday to a crispy lemon verbena plant. It looked totally fried, but I didn’t have a chance to get rid of it before the next round of rainstorms rolled in. After a good week of rain, I checked out all my plants, and to my surprise, the lemon verbena was trying to green up and produce some new leaves. Now that is true resilience!

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Lemon verbena coming back from the dead, after trimming off all the dead foliage

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2 thoughts on “Second Chances

  1. Shana
    March 16, 2015 at 11:53 am

    Hi! I just happened to browse your website when I searched for ground cherry Colorado Springs. So, my question is, how did your ground cherries turn out last year? I’m thinking of trying to grow them from seed this year, but not sure what to expect for this area. Any advice?

  2. March 17, 2015 at 10:24 am

    Hi Shana, my ground cherries actually grew pretty nicely, bigger in my raised bed than in containers. I ended up with at least two quarts of ground cherries from 2-3 plants, which I dehydrated. The only thing to watch out for is the onset of cold weather in the fall, as these plants are not cold-tolerant at all, and even a light frost will kill the leaves.

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