Wednesday, September 12, 2007


The radish seedlings are standing like proud little soldiers after being planted from seed just a few days ago. We are well on our way to a third crop for the year.

But for my sins, the bed where I planted so many rutabaga seeds and beets and turnips--well, it was completely overrun with crab grass within just a few days. Apparently, some grass got into the bed and went to seed. So now getting rid of it has turned into a major project.

Each morning I trek out to that particular bed, get down on my hands and knees and start pulling little crab grass plants out of the ground and tossing them into the compost bucket. Some rain lately makes the job easier as the soil is now moist and the young plants have not had a chance to grow their roots too deeply. I am perhaps three-quarters done with this task.

I work carefully around the beet plants. They've grown several inches tall since I planted the seeds and the crab grass sometimes tangles in the beet roots. Then the beets have to be replanted and you just hope for the best. But I am seeing hardly a sign of the rutabagas or the turnips that should comprise most of this bed. I can only imagine that this latest September heat wave was too much for the tiny plants. It seems that some brassicas are more heat sensitive than others. The radishes and the arugula are doing fine, where the mizuna planted next to the arugula germinated, then withered and disappeared.

My notes for last year indicate I waited a bit too long to plant the fall crop so I wanted to get a jump on it this year. But perhaps I pulled the trigger too soon, or simply did not figure the heat into my calculations. My guess is that when I finally finish pulling all this crab grass (and there seems to be a second flush following the first), I will be planting rutabaga and turnips all over again.

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