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May 14, 2011

We had gorgeous weather this week– 70s and sunny. The result was rapid growth from all the plants. The good news is that we have two new crops ready for harvest: radishes and bok choi.

The bad news is the spinach and mesclun have begun to bolt (grow flowers and go to seed).

When they bolt, the leaves become bitter and tough so harvest season is over and they need to be pulled out. We spent this morning harvesting as much of the lettuce and spinach as we could and choosing which plants were ready to go. After washing, we took a little nibble of each leaf to decide if they were still good to go for the salad. Only a few were too bitter. We harvested two small radishes for the salad as well. We were both a bit skeptical about radishes. The seeds had been a free addition to our purchase from the Hudson Valley Seed Library. They were a bit spicy, but mixed in with the lettuce they added a nice crunch (and beautiful color).

While we are a bit sad that the first round of mesclun and spinach realized it was summer, pulling out the flowering plants opened up some space for a few remaining kale and basil plants that needed larger homes. The next round of mesclun is looking good, and we’re planning to order some more spinach seeds for a fall crop.

One advantage of growing in containers is the ability to move the containers around based on the weather. We moved all the greens to the (slightly) shadier side of the balcony. In addition, we’re trying to keep the remaining spinach plants cool by placing them under a window box of mesclun.

After pulling out some spinach plants, we also saw one of the disadvantages of containers. The roots were tightly packed at the bottom.

Here is an updated view of the garden:

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