The past week of warm weather has finally made the plants in the college vegetable garden look like they are glad to be there. The soil has clearly warmed up into the mid to high 50s (we'll check tomorrow). I can guess the soil temperature by the fact that a planting of purple podded bush beans is up, even a zucchini seedling is peeking aboveground. The first green shoots are beginning to appear on the large overwintering roots of our scarlet runner beans, which are perennials, but don't start to grow till the soil is pretty warm.
The gai lon, or Chinese broccoli has grown quite a bit in the past week. Unfortunately, it is a bit of a disappointment in that it is all bolting. This means that is blooming, though the plants are rather small. Since much of what we eat of this plant is the top part of the stems, the harvest will be small. Usually, one cuts the top with its leaves and flowerbuds, then the plant makes lower stems, also with flowerbuds, and one cuts and eats those too. These plants are so small that there will be only a handful of edible stems from the first cutting of about 20 plants, and even less from later cuttings.
The directions said to plant gai lon in late spring or late summer to early fall. I don't know for sure what stimulates bolting in this plant, so I wanted to test different planting times to see what would happen. I have more seedlings ready to plant out tomorrow, and will sow more seed tomorrow, indoors, too. Will the next planting be the one with big, fat stems, or will we have to wait till mid summer? Garden suspense!