For this Six on Saturday, we’re focusing on the food!
It’s nearly the end of June, but the potager seems more like Mid-May in some ways. The crops are lagging behind “normal.” In checking past journals, “normally” by now I’m harvesting a variety of peppers but this year most varieties are just now blooming. Only the jalapenas are showing fruit.
This week the tops of these melon vines were clipped as they reached the top of the cage to encourage fruit development. “Normally” there would be softball-sized melons already, but this year due to my slowness in planting and the weather (related, of course!) there are just marble-sized spheres hidden among the leaves. But, at least there is the promise of fruit to come. Fortunately, some plants have pushed through the dubious weather, and become welcome additions to our menu.
The broccoli crop has been abundant, and many lovely heads have been given away. The largest (11″) was not photographed, but many have been in the 8-10″ range. I try to harvest before any yellow flowers open, while the heads are still relatively tight. This year’s cauliflower has been the best in the potager’s short history.
This year the cauliflower was grown in the bed closest to the greenhouse, which meant I walked by it constantly. The result was that it was watered more often with a diluted fertilizer. I suspect in past years it just wasn’t watered & fed enough. This year it’s luscious and we’ve already enjoyed our favorite cauliflower salad and “Cook This Not That” cauliflower curry. I won’t be giving any of the eight plants’ bounty away, but I’ll definitely grow more next year and maybe try a fall crop if I can find the space.
One might think that after all the spinach eaten and given away in March, April & May it might not even sound good, but since in recent weeks we’ve had a glut of lettuces, a nice spinach salad seems appealing again, and this “Summer Perfection” has performed amazingly well in the heat wave we’ve been experiencing. Usually spinach planted this late just bolts, but this variety really lives up to its name. I’ll definitely be planting it again and again as a summer crop. And this week, the first cabbages were harvested.
The cabbages are beautiful this year, and this small-headed variety is perfect for two people and small spaces. The nice thing about cabbage and cauliflower is that when the head is harvested, the entire plant comes out, and a pepper or a squash or a pumpkin can go into that space! Not so with broccoli, if one wants all those delicious side shoots. D loves slaws of all types, and I’ll be canning one batch of sauerkraut so one of the two beds of cabbages will empty out quickly! That’s a good thing, since it’s already time to get the winter squashes in the ground and all the potager’s beds are currently full! Wishing the first peas were finished, and the garlic ready to dig but they aren’t ready, so I’ll have to be patient for another week.
The first of the “Royal Burgundy” beans were also picked this week, but since we are limited to six, they didn’t make the cut! To see other selections from other gardeners, visit The Propagator, who hosts this meme. May you find it easy to spot six good or interesting things in your gardens, and share them with others! Blessings!
So much great food, Carolee! Your harvests look excellent. I need to try that summer perfection spinach.
You have so much good stuff to eat there – amazing!
We are blessed. Today I shelled & froze the peas and have the fava beans ready to skin. Since it rained and I don’t have to water I can do indoor work without feeling pushed to go water. Feels like I am on vacation!
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You produce an amazing amount of food! The bit about cauliflowers gave me hope – you are still learning how to do things better! You are so much more experienced and organised than I am.
It IS a lot of food. I find myself amazed at how much this little plot can produce, and it could do lots more if there were no flowers, just food. If there were espaliered fruit trees along the fence, if I built more vertical racks, if I grew something on the shed and its posts…there’s a lot of “wasted” space, but I don’t have plans to do any of those things! I’m getting old!
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I suspect I could grow much more if I was more experienced, had more energy and was better organised. But a little is much better than nothing.
Your cauliflower and broccoli look wonderful! And that cabbage! I tried cauliflower and broccoli once, but I don’t think I’m cut out to grow those. I’ll stick to kale and kohlrabi–more “fool-proof”!
Kale is definitely the easiest!
Your vegetable posts encourage me, Carolee! I am newly returned to vegetable gardening, having dedicated my potager for decades to herbs and Old Roses. The summer squash blossoms look like bright yellow lilies, the cucumber plants are learning to send their tendrils up supports, but my one tomato (a gorgeous Brandywine) sets only flowers but no fruit. How much longer, I wonder? These all were planted back in mid-May. And something is eating my basil! Grrrrr…..
There’s a lot of fruit set on my plants. The grape tomatoes will be ripening soon as they are full-sized now. Brandywines are generally slow. Everyone loves basil, so one must expect to share. I saw the first Japanese beetles yesterday (probably the rain softened the soil so they emerged) and they LOVE basil and roses.
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Yes, Hubby reminded me that the heirlooms are slow, so I’ll be patient with my Brandwines.