Harvest Monday, December 10, 2012 – Windowbox Gardening Update

Last Friday’s, 12/7/12 post (click here to view post), I promised an update to my broccoli growing in windowbox.

I am also posting an update on the napa cabbages and Shanghai bok choy I was growing in windowboxes.

Some of you may recall my 9/3/12 post (click here and scroll down), in which I mentioned growing napa cabbages and broccoli in windowboxes. Both napa and broccoli got off to a great start, but due to overcrowding and issues with cabbage worms, the results were not at all fruitful.

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The napa cabgage not only suffered from repeated attacks by cabbage worms but also neglect on my part as you can see from the above photo. I pulled up and discarded all the plants.

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The broccoli plants did not fare any better. Brought in the edible parts and added them to the stir-fry I posted on Friday, 12/7/12. Pulled up and discarded the remaining plant parts.

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The Shanghai bok choy I sowed on 9/7/12 and mentioned in my 9/17/12 post (click here and scroll down) did better. I got a couple meals. The remaining plants have not grown much and have been at this size for a while, see the 2 boxes in above photo. Guess they have gone dormant due to the shorter days, cold weather and lack of sunlight. Decided to harvest all. So long, until next year. Added these babies to a soup dish, was tender and sweet (a pain to wash though).

Now all that are left growing in windowboxes are lettuces and carrots. Not sure what I want to do with them. Will make a decision this week and post an update next Monday.

Conclusion to this experiment:

Windowboxes, measuring 29 x 8 x 8, are not suitable for broccoli and napa cabbage. There was insufficient room for the roots to grow (overcrowding did not help either) and the box was too small to provide sufficient nutrients. Will not repeat.

Both crops would probably do well in much larger container where the roots will have more room to grow. I do have a few large containers so may give that a try next year.

Windowbox is suitable for growing Shanghai bok choy and other fast growing greens. I will do so again next year but start the seeds a few weeks earlier, around mid-August. May also try a spring planting.

More frequent fertilizing is needed to supply plants with needed nutrients.  I am thinking ¼ strength, 3 – 4 times a week.

∞ ∞ ∞

HELP!!!!! For some reason, I am unable to upload full-size photos (stuck in “medium” even when I click “full size”) for this post. I am following the same steps I used for my last Friday’s post but it is not working.

Does anyone know if it is me or if it is changes made by WordPress? If it is me, what am I doing wrong?

Sure glad this problem did not surface when I was writing my 3 Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade posts.

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Copyright © by Norma Chang. All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.

Visit Daphne’s Dandelions http://daphnesdandelions.blogspot.com/ for more Harvest Mondays

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About Norma Chang

I am the author/publisher of 2 user-friendly Chinese cookbooks: "My Students' Favorite Chinese Recipes (updated edition)" and "Wokking Your Way to Low Fat Cooking" A gardener who enjoys cooking and eating and loves to think outside the box A garden volunteer at Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden Conduct hands-on cooking workshops for teenagers Conduct cultural programs for children and family Conduct healthy cooking classes for adults
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44 Responses to Harvest Monday, December 10, 2012 – Windowbox Gardening Update

  1. Karen says:

    Sometimes are gardening experiments work wonderfully yet other times they don’t. I have a basil plant that hasn’t died but it doesn’t grow either. I know it is the light…just not enough. I don’t have any suggestions on the photos other than to contact WP.

  2. Daphne says:

    I love to experiment too. You never know when something will work or not. Sometimes you find a method that is fabulous.

  3. ChgoJohn says:

    I know things may not have gone as well as you had thought they would, Norma, but I find it amazing that you were harvesting anything in December. I bet your idea of an early Spring planting will work better.
    I haven’t any idea why your photos aren’t uploading correctly, sorry to say. Karen’s suggestion that you contact WP Support is a good one. They’ve always responded to my concerns rather quickly. Good luck!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello John,
      The weather so far has been on the mild side, grounds still not frozen so I may be harvesting up until Christmas. Everything depends on Mother Nature.
      I sent a note to WP Support, hoping for positive results. I am technology challenged and this is very frustrating.

  4. Emily says:

    Norma,
    Is it possible that the original photo size is smaller this time? Did you change your settings on your camera or export them differently?

  5. Kristy says:

    I’m sorry the window boxes didn’t work as hoped Norma. I’m just always amazed by anything that grows. As you know I don’t have the greenest of thumbs. I’m using bok choy in a recipe for the first time this week. I’ve never had it before and I’m looking forward to it. 🙂

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Kristy,
      Your green thumb knows that presently your priority is your children so it is off on a vacation, will return when the kids are older and you have more spare time. Hope you and your family like the bok choy, how are you going to prepare it?

  6. That’s a bummer about the window boxes. I was just outside taking pics of my winter garden which is coming along nicely…especially with the 70 degree temps we’ve had here lately. But that also brings on the insects, so we shall see. I noticed that WP had changed the way to upload images on my last post. There was a setting now over to the right hand side once the image uploaded that would allow you to change it in terms of size and position. Also when you are writing the post and the image is uploaded inside your writing/editing box, within the writing box you can click on the image and you’ll see a little delete symbol (zero with a slash through it) and an image symbol like a mountain. Click on the mountain and it will bring up a way to edit the image. You can resize it there as a workaround until you find out what the problem is with WP.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Betsy,
      Thanks for the suggestions, I clicked on the “mountain” it will allow me to resize smaller but not larger.
      70 degree temp, how lovely, will you be posting pics of your winter garden? What are you growing now?

      • I will post at some point. This is the only time of year my plot gets any sun. We just dropped temps today so the greens will probably like that. I’ve got broccoli, chard, two kinds of kale, collards, arugula and carrots with parsley, thyme and mint wintering over so far. I need to harvest some chard soon, the others are babies. 🙂 Sorry that didn’t work. I’ve noticed that you do have to dictate a bigger size just as you upload and before you insert the image in order to have something large enough to work with. I don’t like the new format!

      • Norma Chang says:

        Hello Betsy,
        You have quite a bit growing in your garden, lovely.
        It was WP’s glitch that apparently got fixed overnight. When I uploaded a photo this morning all was well.

  7. I put my Napa plants in the ground at Vassar Farm a couple weeks after I gave you the seedlings. The Optiko headed up quite well, but the Rubicon stopped growing at the big, open bunch stage. Optiko had the better location, with no competition & good spacing. The Rubicon got planted among the squash vines, so was partly shaded for about 6 weeks, until the squashes died. My conclusion is that Rubicon (possibly all Napa) does not like competition, whether it be by shading or over-crowding.

    I have a post half done, will probably finish this evening. I’ll let you know what happens with the pictures.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Mary,
      I still have one each of the optiko and rubicon you gave me growing in the garden, look happy but they are not forming head. Leaving them to see what happens.

  8. I guess veggies like napa and broccoli need LOTS of space to grow well.
    Sorry…I can’t help you with the photo size problem as I don’t know WP.

  9. We are having quite a lot of success growing little gem cos lettuce in our laundry tub – they’re quite compact and fast growing. Great experiment Norma! 🙂

  10. Sorry to hear about your plants my friend, I wouldn’t have realized so much space was necessary!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  11. mac says:

    Sorry about the worms, good thing you get to harvest some bok choy.
    I’ve grown napa cabbage in large container and it worked well.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Mac,
      I am hoping for a few very colds days to take care of some of the garden insects. Glad to know large containers will work for napa. My windowboxes were just too shallow.

  12. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one sharing my leafy greens with hungry critters — some of my bok choy is almost see-through! Those cabbage worms sure get hungry.

  13. I love gardening experiments…even the ones that fail! Thanks for sharing your findings 🙂

  14. leduesorelle says:

    Thanks, Norma, for letting us learn from your experiments with growing in window boxes! The cabbage worms were a distinct nuisance this year; hope to try scattering eggshells as a way of distracting them next season…

  15. Juliana says:

    The only way that I can grow vegetables/herbs are in pots or window boxes…so thank you so much for sharing this post with us…
    Have a great week Norma!

  16. Eva Taylor says:

    Hi Norma, thanks for sharing your experiment with us, I’m glad there was at least some success. WordPress recently updated their media upload feature and although it is a little more user friendly, anything new takes getting used to. I will send you an email of where I found how to change the size of your images in the upload process, hope it helps.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Eva,
      It was a wordpress glitch in their recently updated media upload feature.
      Happy to share. The blogging world is a wonderful arena to learn from each other successes and failures. I don’t mind failure as that’s how I gain knowledge.

  17. Eha says:

    We are all wise after the event, aren’t we! Have had to grow whatever vegetables & herbs I can in containers for over 15 years. Herbs I find almost foolproof and bay and rosemary and lemongrass . . . small tomatoes, peppers the same . . . various salads have given variable results, but I shan’t try the bigger vegetables again here: too much heartbreak after all the love and caring! Have to water much more carefully and fertilize more regularly! Still: have just had a herb omelette for lunch & you could taste the freshness of the just picked herbs . . . 🙂 !

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Eha,
      Our gardening season is very short. I am experimenting with container gardening as a season extender. Trying to get an early jump on spring and delayed fall/winter harvest.

  18. It is great to experiment, especially when you document your findings for next time. I’m sure this blog serves as a great tool for you when you start the planning process each year — well I know that it would for me, since things always seem a bit fuzzy a year later!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Barb,
      Yes, this blog sure serves as a great tool for future planning. I usually start the year documenting things but never follow through, as a result there is no proper record. Blogging forces me to be more disciplined and keep better records, I am trying.

  19. poor napas…me and mom are making kimchi tomorrow–I’m glad you got to nosh on some of that beautiful bok choy (I bet it would make for great kimchi, too)

  20. Oh, dear Norma, I am sorry. Not all experiments work out for us. I guess this boxes produce enough room for microgreens (that’s what I do in it). Can’t help you with WordPress, I am a Google user. Hope someone will be able to advise you.

  21. Not sure how to fix your photo problem. Hopefully, it works out for you soon.

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