Chinese Cabbage Salad: It is June, where is the sun?!

The first part of June has been wet and cold. We had record breaking rain fall of over 4", record low day time temperature... and the sun is no where to be found. All this is not good news for vegetable gardeners. While the cool crops are loving it, my beans, cucumbers, tomatoes and eggplant are just sitting there and getting attacked by insects :( Taking it in stride, I've had plenty good tasting radishes, lettuce and Chinese cabbage... I enjoyed my oriental salad made with Spring Queen Chinese Cabbage, here's the recipe:

4 C. fresh Chinese cabbage, cut into 1/2" strips
1 package of Top Ramen noodles, broken into small pieces
1/2 C. pineapple pieces
1/4 C. red bell pepper pieces
2 fresh scallions (small Flagpole Giant Green Onion)
1/2 C. light soysauce
1 T. balsamic vinegar
2 T. red wine vinegar
1 T. olive oil
1 t. sesame seed oil
1/4 C. brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Pour dressing on the cabbage and Top Ramen mixture, toss to coat, sprinkle pineapple, red pepper and scallion pieces on top. Serve immediately.

An Eventful May 2010

May turned out to be an eventful month. I got the garden ready in late April while we were having a few nice warm days. Early May, I was all pumped up and ready to plant. I planted my usual cold crops, radishes, peas, onions, spinach, cabbage and beets in the ground. The few nice days that followed gave me the false sense of security, thinking the cold weather is gone, I transplanted my tomatoes and peppers and eggplants in the garden and hoping they'll get an early start and I will have an early harvest.... And then it happened, a hail storm hit us right after I transplanted all my seedlings, I rushed to cover my tomato seedlings but some have suffered pretty good damages. I felt lucky I didn't the cucumbers I started out in the garden, they would've been pulverized.

Just as I was trying to nurture my plants back to their health, I detected flee beetles in my garden and they had already done quite a bit of damage to my radish and cabbage, and they are working on my pole beans. I sprayed the garden with Neem, an organic pesticide (1.5 table spoon of Neem Oil in a gallon of water) and got the flee beetles under control.
The truth is here where I am, even though the official "last frost date" in spring is April 15, the ground temperature in May still fluctuate quite a bit. What I've learned is if you count on luck along, it will come back bite you. On the other hand, if you want to plant early, using protection, raise the ground temperature is the only way to ensure success. Last year I planted my tomatoes in May and I used MiniHooper, a mini hoophouse I designed to cover early crops, to protect my seedlings. The cold rains really didn't bother my seedlings since the temperature inside the hoophouse is 10 degree above the soil temperature outside. And I started my bush beans inside a Mimihooper. I've harvested beans by the 4th of July and had early harvest on my tomatoes, peppers and eggplants as well.

Now it's June, looking forward, most of my plants survived May. I am hoping they will start to take off once the warm weather sets in. So here the lesson I learned: don't count on your luck alone (everyone can use some) when it comes to planting in early spring. A few nice days in April fooled me, I did not cover my seedlings, turned out my "luck" was not there. This is a mistake I don't care to repeat.

Happy Gardening!