May in our part of Indiana brought record heat and very little rain. Although parts of the state were blessed with rain as June began, all the storms passed north or south of us. So this “Six on Saturday” is devoted to the effects of the heat. This season was my third attempt to grow fava beans and this time the heat was just too much for most of them. I’ve read favas don’t like temperatures over 75, and unfortunately May didn’t have any days less than that, and most were 90 or more. So, although the plants began with numerous blooms, most of the flowers turned black and dried up and the plants drooped despite regular watering. Hose water is just no match for the magic of rain. This week, I’ll remove all plants without pods forming and replace them with pepper plants. Then we’ll wait and see if the beans themselves mature on the plants with pods. Not sure how long, I’ll wait. I’ve read that the fava leaves are good lightly sauteed, so I’ll give that a try with some of the pulled plants.
A second casualty of the heat is the cool-weather lover bok choy, which bolted almost overnight. Most of it was harvested for stir-fry. Those flowering stalks are delicious and removing the bok choy creates space for French baby leeks that are ready for planting. I worry that the broccoli, which just began forming heads a few days ago will succumb to heat as well. I’m suspicious because the heads that were a lovely blue-green color have suddenly added a brownish-yellow cast. Another watch and wait to see what develops. Our temperatures are supposed to drop (to the 80’s) this week so maybe that will help. On the bright side, the high temperatures have hurried some crops along. I can’t remember ever having melons blooming in May, but this “Tasty Bites” mini-cantaloupe bloom appeared May 30th. The first shelling peas, an early variety called “Strike” were harvested on June 1 even though they were actually the third planting of peas. These “Green Arrow” peas were actually planted first, followed by a seeding of “Knight.” In addition to the “Strike” there are hundreds of pods setting on “Little Marvel” and “Progress #9”, probably as a result of the excellent pollinating work of the bumblebees who just move across the potager from one row to another as each variety blooms. The bumblebees were probably delighted to have a broader selection, because as soon as the “Royal Burgundy” beans began to flower, the bees were happily at work there as well, although I didn’t capture it on film. Things are changing so fast in the potager that a morning walk produces a list of new blooms and crops to put on the day’s menu, and by the evening stroll additions can be noted. This daily drama makes me feel so blessed that my “allotment plot” is right at hand. So, that’s my “Six on Saturday” for this week. Visit The Propagator to see other gardeners’ offerings on this meme.