EarthBox 2103 Recap — The Oddballs

by A.J. Coltrane

Previous post here.

I’m saving the tomatillos and tomatoes for the last 2013 recap. As a group, the following plants could have done better had they been planted earlier. With the exception of the basil, most everything else likes cool weather. The end of April/early May was too late to get started. It never occurred to me that some vegetables and herbs wouldn’t dig themselves some nice, hot, sun…

Basil – 6.3 pounds.  As mentioned in a previous post, basil is the reason that two EarthBoxes became twelve. We’d had great success with no effort on a fresh herb that we love. The QFC price in September was .66 oz for $2.79. That’s $4.22 per ounce – 6.3 pounds would cost $425. If you’re thinking about doing EarthBoxes, do basil. Just make sure it gets lots of sun, remember to water, and prune it when it wants to flower. That’s it.

091513 basil and overview

Bok Choi — 0.7 pounds.  A cool weather vegetable that was started too late in the spring (April 20), then got buried under the brussels sprouts, then went to seed when it got warmish. What we thought was one plant was actually multiple plants, so they wound up cramping each other as well. Total user error start to finish. We’ll try again in 2014.

Brussels Sprouts — 1.0 pounds and counting. What we thought was one plant was really four. (again) These weren’t planted until April 20. (again) In retrospect, the correct way to do them is to start earlier and make sure to cover them with tulle to protect against cabbage moths. The sprouts were super slow to mature, and the final yield won’t be very much, but they’re a favorite at dinner around here, so they’ll get another shot in 2014. As a flat guess, the maximum yield could be about 1-2 pounds per plant — six plants per box would equal maybe 10 pounds total(?) Twelve pounds of brussels sprouts would be a *lot*.

Cilantro — 0.8 pounds. Planted on May 5, which was way too late, and it bolted before producing a whole bunch. There is now some cilantro in the plant house. I don’t know that it’s loving the cool weather, but it’s not bolting either, so we’ll see. The parsley is definitely the happier plant house resident right now.

Dill — N/A.  Planted with the cilantro and parsley in the spring, it bolted before we got a whole lot out of it. On the other hand, it did make for one delicious salmon dinner. Needs another shot in 2014.

Spinach — zero pounds.  Planted too late (April 20), it bolted instantly when we had two or three warm days in early May. There’s now spinach growing (slowly) in the plant house.

Bibb Lettuce — 2.0 pounds.  Planted on April 20. Too late. Harvested using the cut and come again technique, two pounds is more than it sounds like, and we got some nice salads out of these plants. Still, this is another plant that might have had a dramatically better yield if it had been handled correctly. The slugs didn’t help out either.

Romaine Lettuce — 2.3 pounds. Same story as the Bibb. I’d like to think we could get 7-10 pounds of lettuce out of one box next spring. I think the “right answer” is succession planting three or four boxes in the early spring, then replacing the lettuce with summer vegetables as it warms up.

Bok choi.
Bok choi.

Parsley — 0.3 pounds. That number doesn’t look right, but maybe it is. Planted too late…yadda. yadda. yadda. There’s currently some in the plant house that’s looking pretty happy. In theory it’ll last through until the spring. Fresh herbs in December and January would be nice.

Scallion, Bunch Onion — ~2 pounds and counting. They’re still out there. It was scallions in the spring, and now bunch onions in the fall and winter– nice placeholders.

Lemongrass and Shiso — N/A.  The lemongrass is doing well. It needs to be divided and replanted, assuming that it survives the winter. The shiso was a cool idea in theory, but in reality we couldn’t use the huge bush that it evolved into. The lemongrass and shiso also squished the hot pepper plants. The lemongrass may just get a standard pot next year.

There was a whole lot of living and learning going on this year. Hopefully the 2014 yields will be dramatically better with more experienced humans.

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