Saturday, July 7, 2012
It is the first of July. We have been in a heat wave for weeks now and little rain. In general, veggie gardens need ~1 inch of water a week. In heat like we are having, tomatoes can drop blossoms and peppers become sunburned.
If you still have lettuce, they cannot dry out or they will bolt and become bitter. My second crop of lettuce is just to harvest size for cut and come again.
To keep from having blossom end rot on tomatoes and squash, consistent water is key. They shouldn't be overwatered. Over or under will affect the fruit flavor. They are kind of like Goldilocks; they like it just right. No worries, though, if you do overwater, the fruit will be fine, just not as flavorful and may crack.
I would have thought our tomatoes would have come early this year, but they are still green.
Peppers are starting to ripen. We have green peppers, ancho, pimentos, cayennes, and jalapeños all ripening nicely. They can be picked when green or after turning red/brown/orange/yellow. Peppers seem to have a built in counter. They will drop flowers when the plant has reached its max peppers. Pick the peppers when green to keep the plant producing. You can ripen on the counter, if you like, or go ahead and enjoy green.
Our zucchini is going strong. We have been getting zucchinis for the last 3 weeks. You have to watch zucchinis every day. Those little ones become monsters in just a few days. When we left on on vacation 5 days ago, they were just tiny, when we got home, we had one huge zucchini, 1 nice sized, and one of good size. They all tasted great. The only drawback of the large zucchinis are the large seeds, but I like them. We grill ours and they have a nice, sweet flavor! If you don’t like the large seeds, you can always make wonderful zucchini bread.
Our cucumber vine, which I have growing up a trellis to save space, is giving about a cucumber a week. One cucumber is enough to make a jar of sandwich pickles. My husband loves sandwich pickles on his burger. Any extra I put in salads. They taste so fresh right off the vine.
Looks like many of our onions are getting very close to harvesting. Onions tell you when they are ready. When their tops fall over and turn brown, it is time. They should be pulled and left in the shade for a couple of weeks to season them for storage.
Our sprouting broccoli is still going strong. I love these plants! You can use the leaves for salad and tops for cooking. There is not many greens that are not bitter this time of year for salads. These sprouting broccoli taste just like broccoli.
Other greens that can be used in salads. Chard harvested first thing in the morning, dandelion greens, and succession planted lettuce (which doesn’t last long before bolting) are all salad worthy. You can adds herbs for a fresh taste and zing like salad burnet, parsley, basil, dill, onion stalks/tops, chives, thyme, oregano. For fun, you can add edible flowers.
The sage is going strong. My mother read recently that you can use sage tea to help with hot flashes. You can have up to 5 teas a day.
Winter squash has babies on them. They will not be ready to harvest until late fall. They also tell you when they are ready. When the vine dies, the squash is ready.