Things are popping in the potager! A couple of small rains have really spurred crops along. For example, last week bed 5d shown above was empty except for the row of mini tulips along the top edge. During the week, the edging marigolds “Hot Pak Orange” were added. The third planting of beans (“Provider”) have not only emerged, but are 3″ tall. The center row has been filled with the last planting of broccoli “Artwork Baby.” And a bonus self-seeded lettuce appeared on the left edge. Sadly, the tulips could not handle the heat surge, the petals fell, so the bloom stalks were clipped. Happily, the “Black Seeded Simpson” lettuce that I sprinkled on the snow back in February are merrily growing and will soon hide the fading tulip foliage, plus provide lots of tasty salads and wilted lettuce meals. Of course there are other lettuces in the potager. One of my favorite mini butterheads “Little Gem” is beginning to form heads. In the upper left triangle is bok choy. The inverted space between the lettuce and bok choy was originally planted with some old “Little Finger” carrots, which never germinated. Recently the space was replanted with “Red Core Chantenay” carrots mixed with “French Breakfast” radishes which are just emerging. Sometimes planting old seed just doesn’t work. The upper right corner was seeded with some really old arugula seed, which came up very sparse. It’s getting late for arugula seeding, so something else will go in that space. The comparison lettuce is “Victoria” shown below, seeded and transplanted the same time as “Little Gem.” The inverted V in this bed is “Patterson” onions grown from seed and transplanted into the bed. Upper left corner is the red-stemmed Italian dandelion, and the upper right triangle is chard “Bright Lights” but only the orange seedlings. I gave all the other colors to the garden club plant sale! Most exciting to me are the first pea blooms. This is “Strike” which is a new, early variety for the grow list this year. It’s the first of four varieties planted April 8th to bloom. Last year’s first pea blossoms opened on 5/17 so it’s apparent that crops are catching up to the “norm” quickly. The two mini-cabbages grown for comparison are beginning to grow nicely. I’ve grown “Gonzales” the past two years and been happy with them. Their small size is perfect for a two-family household and they don’t take up lots of space. The comparison crop is “Katarina” which seems to be a bit larger and definitely a paler green color. Both were seeded and transplanted the same day for trial purposes. However, the number of plants differs because the “Gonzales” seed was leftover so I seeded more in case not all germinated, but they did! I don’t want too many cabbages all ready at once until fall, when I’ll make kraut but I may be making a batch earlier this year. And lastly, my lone “Tangerine” poppy that bloomed last year came back. I’d hoped it had self-seeded generously, but once again there is only one plant. This summer I’ll collect some seeds and give it some help! Overall, I’m terribly pleased with the potager. Already over 8 lbs. of produce has been harvested, compared to 2 1/2 lbs. last year! May is off to a great start, and so is the potager!