Field Update – Cold Hardy Annuals and Rhubarb Flowers

This week wrapped up planting cold hardy seed crops. I’ve also been spending time with in the rhubarb patch.

I replanted radishes on 18″ spacing, two rows to the bed.

Emily seeded these in an unheated greenhouse in March. A couple of weeks ago, as she harvested bunches for market, she picked out the nicest for seed. I stashed the radishes in the fridge for 2 weeks to trick them into thinking it was winter.

I transplanted †hundreds of Mizuna plants for seed (in addition to lettuces and other brassica species). I also seeded cold tolerant flowers like poppies, nigellas, and some trial centaureas.

I use an Earthway seeder to make parallel rows for transplanting. (You can see the wheelmarks in the radish pictures above.)

It is easier and quicker to weed when things are evenly spaced and straight. (Also notice the tape measure in the radish pics.)

We’ve been harvesting rhubarbs stalks for two weeks. This week flowers emerged.

I pull the rhubarb flower stalks out. If I don’t, the plant will put more energy into the flowers and seeds then into the stems.

As we harvest the rhubarb, we systematically pull the flowers and leave them behind.

That’s all for today!

8 thoughts on “Field Update – Cold Hardy Annuals and Rhubarb Flowers

  1. So how bout those cold hardy crops!
    I just planted my broccoli on saturday and I’m waiting on some news from my dear friend working on the farm if they survived the snow and the cold temperatures that hit us sunday. I put remay (P-17) over about 85% of the broc just for a little experiment with cold tolerance. I’ll put remay on the last 15% in a week so it can diminish presence from the root maggot. R U growing broccoli for seed this year? If so, when did u plant them? I’ve got another seed project for next year a bit smaller but nevertheless interesting. It has to do with dehybridizing a tomato variety, Maxifort, which is usually used as a disease resistante rootstock in greenhouse production. Harvested some seed in our greenhouse at the Cegep so now I just need some time next summer to start it up.
    Here’s another question. Can seed production of field tomato varieties in a greenhouse cause problems when used outside?
    Oh and before I go here’s a link to an article of a few students in the organic program in victoriaville selling transplants.


    1. Hi Eric,

      I am not growing any broccoli for seed this year (except for some crossed up deCicco someone gave me to try out). If I was going to I would have planted it in the last week or so. And I would have also row covered it like you did – broccoli subject to cold temperatures sometimes forms a premature gnarly little head.

      I am curious to see how your Maxifort growout goes. Are you sure that the fruit you harvested was from the rootstock and not from the graft? Are you de-hybridizing Maxifoft as a rootstock or as a tomato? Rootstock varieties need to be quite resistant to soil diseases – it would be best to grow it in an environment where the diseases are present so you can select the most tolerant plants. The best spot might be in an area in continuous tomato production year after year.

      In regards to your last question, the short answer is No. The longer answer begins: I think it might take a number of generations of intense selection before you can adapt a tomato so that it grows unfavourably in previously favourable circumstances.

      Great article on your transplant sale!

      Later, Dan

  2. Hey Dan,
    I have another question.
    When someone says a tomato variety is perfect for permaculture, what are they trying to say?

    1. hmmm …
      They might mean that the tomato produces heavily with little added fertility or excessive weeding … but that’s a guess.

      You should ask them what they mean.

  3. I notice there are grasses and weeds growing in the pics. Just how warm does the cold hardy species have to be? can they only grow in the mildest of winter climates? We get 10F nights, but the day comes back up to the 40’s and 50’s this year. How will that work? We are considering making movable dome greenhouses, like the chicken tractor concept. We are a 4100 feet elevation, which is why we have such a short season.

    1. What time of year are your 10F nights? The pictures in this post were taken in early May where we only have light frosts. You can see what we do for colder whether in this post on our March Field Tunnels.

      If cold hardy plants are planted in the fall and overwinter, many can tolerate to about 20F – a few lower. However many plants planted in the spring in those same conditions will bolt.


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