This is my absolutely favorite time of the year! By mid-June the blessings from the potager are so abundant that it is hard to pick only 6, but here’s what’s on my mind this week. 1) Succession plantings! With the earliest lettuces, spinach, bok choy and peas coming out there’s now room for new crops to go in. These “French Baby” Leeks were just planted where mini red “Intred” lettuces had been and these “Gonzales” cabbage seedlings are now happily settled where bok choy was harvested. The first cabbages are just coming to the kitchen, so these babies will be appreciated later on. This sequencing is happening all over the potager so that maximum harvest can be pursued. It’s such a giggle!
2) The Interior border…of the potager is comprised of edible flowers, herbs, and a few veggies that prefer the moister conditions of the border rather than a raised bed. This time of year, with the calendula, nigella and snapdragons already shouting for attention, the stately dill just beginning to show off its yellow bouquet, and the “Golden Jubilee” agastache’s foliage at its best, the addition of this gorgeous Asiatic Lily “Ladylike” is just icing on the cake.
3) Cole crops…are at their very best right now despite the record heat we’ve been having. The best part is that there are no worms…YET…although cabbage butterflies have been spotted recently, so that won’t be the case for long. The sprayer of Bt will have to be put to use soon. This “Blue Wind” broccoli has performed so well that the freezer is already filling despite our having consumed Chinese beef & broccoli, broccoli cheese soup, and eating it raw with hummus. I admit to having trouble growing cauliflower in the potager…up till now! This “Minuteman” cauliflower is the result of careful attention to ample watering with compost tea every two days, but it’s worth the effort to have these gorgeous heads. The winner of the cabbage challenge is “Katarina” which have been beautiful in the potager since they were planted. “Gonzales” is almost ready to harvest as well, and I rather like the fact that its smaller heads are better suited for a family of two. The “Katarina” heads are large for a “mini” and will be more than one-meal in most cases but I will definitely grow them again to make a canner of kraut.
4) Beans! It’s only June 16 and there are beans to pick! These “Royal Burgundy” are one of my favorites. I’ve mentioned multiple times that they can go into cool, wet soil without rotting so they were planted well before normal “bean planting” time for this area of central Indiana. And, now all of the British readers can chuckle. Here is my puny fava bean harvest. With 80 and 90 degree temperatures in April, I’m thrilled to have any pods at all. The “Windsor” plants produced an average of 2 pods per plant (some had none, some had 3) and the “Robin Hood” averaged 4 pods per plant, although the pods are smaller than their rival. Only one meal from a lot of space, but I rationalize the planting by the fact that they will have improved the soil, and the fact that I can’t get even one dish of favas any other way except flying over the ocean!
5) Tomatoes… All over the potager tomatoes like these “Polbig” are growing at warp speed. They were the size of pencil erasers before the rain (THE rain….singular, but we were ecstatic over it!) and are now suddenly larger than golf balls. These “Indigo Cherry Drops” will soon be starting to ripen although I worry that flea beetles may impact their productivity. They seem to be the only tomatoes covered with the microscopic beetles, which is a puzzle. And finally #6) Bounty! The best part is just the absolute bounty of the potager at this time. Five to nine pounds of produce is coming to the kitchen daily! Soon that number will expand because the summer squash, like this “Cashflow” and the beans, potatoes and cabbages will add to the poundage much quicker than lettuce, radishes and spinach have been totaling. It’s an absolute delight to “shop” in the potager and let it’s bounty determine the day’s menu.
To see how other gardens and gardeners are faring this week, visit The Propagator, the excellent host for this meme.