Sunday, June 27, 2021

July 2021 Edible Garden Planner

Late July harvest-peppers, squash, tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers
Sunday, June 27, 2021

July is the time of year for harvesting the heat lovers like tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, cucumbers, green beans, all types of peppers, basil and other Mediterranean herbs.  It is also the time to plant for fall harvests.

I got my summer garden going late this year.  Typically all my summer veggies are being harvested at this time-peppers, zucchini, eggplant, cucumbers, and green beans.  This year, I have harvested only one white cucumber.  There are lots and lots of baby cherry tomatoes and few babies on the slicer tomato plants and all are green.  There is one baby zucchini growing.  There are flowers on the potatoes and peppers and a few of the eggplants.  No flowers yet for the green beans.  They all love thrive in hot weather so will be producing within the month of July.  It is typical to have the first ripe tomato on the 4th of July in our area.  Small tomato varieties are the first to ripen.

By the end of the month, there will be more summer veggies than we can eat and we will start preserving the extra.  Preservation garden

On the bright side, the lettuce planted in late April is bolting but the leaves are still sweet.  Butter King and Bronze Beauty are doing great!  New Zealand spinach and Red Malabar spinach are growing robustly and I have been harvesting from them weekly.  These greens love summer heat and humidity so are great substitutes for cool loving spinach.  My other favorite summer salad greens are salad burnet, Swiss chard, collards, mustard greens, green and purple orach, multi colored Chinese amaranth, sorrel, sprouting broccoli, cultivated dandelions, tyron, kale, and Hilton Chinese mustard.  Growing summer salads

The early spring lettuce and spinach has gone to seed.  When you see the white fuzzies on lettuce stalks, they are ready to save the seed.  I just pull the seed heads, break apart, put in a ziplock freezer bag, label with type and date, and store in the refrigerator.  I will re-seed my self watering pots with some of the seeds.  Never ending salad from one packet of seeds  

The lettuce seeds I planted a couple of weeks ago have sprouted.  This time I started the heat tolerant varieties.  Bolt-free, sweet summer lettuces  Next round will be the fall and winter varieties that have cold tolerance.  I'm starting lettuce seed about every 3-4 weeks to keep the harvest going.  Succession planting is key for keeping lettuce in the heat of the summer.  Start your lettuce seeds in a cool spot as they won't sprout when the ground is above 75 F.  You can start them in a pot indoors and then take outside when they have sprouted.
Pole green beans on trellis
The pole green beans have just started growing in earnest.  When they start producing, harvest them daily to keep them producing.  I keep a quart bag in the freezer and add mature green beans as they are ready for picking.  Legumes-peas for spring, beans for summer

Garlic harvest came early this year.  I pulled it a couple of weeks ago and it is hardening on the covered patio.  After two weeks, the cloves can be brought indoors for storing.  Hardening is critical for the garlic to not rot when stored.  I love elephant garlic as the cloves are as their name suggests, they are huge!  Save the biggest cloves for replanting in the fall.  Garlic harvest time is near!  My favorite way to preserve garlic is to pickle them in apple cider vinegar with a few hot peppers and store in the frig.  Have garlic any time you need it, just pickle some!

Our basil has been slow to get started but is now off to the races.  The trick to keeping the plants from getting woody is to make sure to harvest down to the first few sets of leaves before the plants go in to full flower.  I get two good harvests before fall.  Basil basics-harvesting, preserving, growing basil

Lavender has finished blooming, catnip is just about to bust out and oregano's in full bloom mode.  The bees love small flowers!  All can be cut and dried now, but I love the dainty flowers, too, and will wait until fall.  Make your own "Herbes de Provence"

I fertilized all the pots again as well as the basil to keep it growing.  Pots lose nutrients at a much higher rate than garden beds.  I am using a liquid fertilizer for all the potted plants at least every other week and using a solid fertilizer monthly around each plant.  I like Espoma since it is an all natural product.  I use their tomato fertilizer for all fruit producing plants and their general purpose vegetable fertilizer for all other veggie and herb plants.  If the plants need just nitrogen (leaves are yellowish and not dark green), I use blood meal or a liquid fish emulsion.  Decorative container gardening for edibles

I have been using a mineral supplement in spring for my plants for the last few years, both the garden bed, pots and the potting soil I make.  Right now I alternate between Azomite and kelp meal.  So many soils are low in minerals and micronutrients.  Your plants can't absorb what the soil does not have.  If your plants get a big boost when you add minerals to the soil, you know that it was needed.  Adding minerals to the plants and soil will significantly increase the minerals in the plant itself, giving you minerals in the veggies you eat.  The next step in garden production and your nutrition-soil minerals

A key to keeping the garden productive this time of year is to keep even moisture to all the beds and containers.  Water the beds weekly and deeply; they need a good inch of water a week.  During hot, dry periods, your containers may need watering every other day.  Self-watering pots with reservoirs in the bottom are the trick to extending watering duties.  Summer garden tips

If you are getting higher than normal rainfall, you'll need to fertilize more often as the rain with wash away the nutrients.  Keep an eye on the growth of your veggies and if they are not growing and producing as expected, they may need some extra food.  

The wild blackberries are running behind normal this year.  The berries are red and should be ripe in the next couple of weeks.  I'll start picking as soon as they are ripe.  You have to get them quickly or the critters will beat you to it.  Do leave some for the wildlife.  My strawberries are producing well.  Back yard strawberries 

Finally, there are many summer flowers in bloom.  The hollyhocks, daylilies, petunias, echinacea, carrots, fairy lilies, celosia as well as many herbs are all in full bloom.  Zinnias have just started to open.  The  sunflowers, gladiolis, morning glory, hummingbird vine, sedum, jasmine vine are behind this year, but will be blooming later in July.  The early spring mustard, carrots, broccoli, and lettuce have all bolted and are flowering.  The bees just love their tiny flowers!  They had alyssum at the garden center this year.  I love these low growers with their fragrant blooms.  They usually repeat bloom all summer but gave one round and are just sitting there now.  Flowers are not only beautiful, but attract pollinators making the garden more productive.  
A butterfly on zinnias in the edible garden
This is the month to start your seeds and seedlings for fall and winter harvests.  You have to start early so they are at full size before frost.  Time to plant for fall and winter harvests! 

Pests and fungus can also be a problem during this time of year with the hot temperatures and high humidity.  I am being proactive with fungus this year, using organic preventative spraying every 7-10 days.  I started with copper fungicide and have switched to Serenade and Southern Ag for my peonies, roses, cucumbers, tomatoes, squash and watermelon plants.   Preventing and treating powdery mildew

You can try and stay ahead of pests by monitoring the garden closely and picking off the pests.  If they do get the best of you, here are some natural ways to combat them.  Natural, organic pest strategies and how to make your own bug sprays  

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Small space Italian Sicilian garden

Thyme and lettuce in a small space garden

Saturday, June 26, 2021

You don't need much garden space to grow the majority of your produce at home.  If you love Italian food or want to eat the Mediterranean way, try a Sicilian kitchen garden.

This is an option if you have as little as a 6' x 6' garden space:
Herbs (1 each)-thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano, and flat leaf parsley
3 basil plants (for pesto and seasoning)
2 tomatoes-1 Roma type for sauces and 1 slicer type for salads
2 sweet pepper plants
1 bush zucchini
1 eggplant
8 red onions (you can substitute Egyptian walking onions for a summer garden)
8 garlic plants (planted in the fall for summer harvest)
Arugula, spinach and lettuce scatter sown

If you like a little spice, you can substitute a sweet pepper plant for a spicy pepper plant.  Spicy is popular in southern Italy and Sicily. 

Any of these plants can also be grown in pots if you don't have enough sunny flower bed or lawn space.  For more on container gardening and pot sizes for each variety Decorative container gardening for edibles

I always recommend starting small for a first garden.  You can expand next year to grow more or less to match what you like and need for recipes.  If you want to add to your garden, here are blogs on other varieties you can grow  Heirloom Sicilian kitchen garden  Mediterranean diet garden  Add the veggies you enjoy eating and have space for next year.

You can start a garden at any time in spring, summer or fall.  If you are deciding to start your garden in the summer, there are a few techniques to use to figure out what to plant and help your plants survive and flourish.

If you are buying plants, they should already be conditioned for the heat and sun.  Just transplant into a pot or the ground.  Fertilize when planting with a balanced organic fertilizer and keep moist for a week or so while the plant gets used to its new home.  Plants in the ground require about 1" of rain or water weekly after established.  Plants in pots require about 3x as much.  Summer garden tips 

If you are starting seed, follow the seed packet directions for planting and keep moist until the seed sprouts.  The seed packet will tell you the number of days until germination.  Outdoor seed starting tips

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Tips for the summer edible garden

Potted eggplant and petunia
Saturday, June 19, 2021

The summer loving edibles from the tropics love this time of year.  My eggplant, cucumber, sweet potatoes and squash seem to be growing inches every day!  The crops from temperate regions like peppers, tomatoes, beans, peppers and Mediterranean herbs are also growing quite well.  The humidity brings higher risk of disease and the lack of rain during peak summer heat can put a damper on garden production.  

To keep your plants thriving and your harvests at their peak, there are a few simple things you can do for your garden.
  1. Harvest frequently!  Plants are in the business of reproducing.  Their entire life is dedicated to giving the best chance possible of maintaining more plants for the future.  The more you harvest, the more babies the plant will produce.  I have noticed that my cucumber plant can only support one large cucumber on each vine.  As soon as I pick the big one, you can see one of the small ones jump in size by the very next day!  Harvest in the morning for peak juiciness of fruits and in the afternoon for peak flavor of summer loving herbs.
  2. Mulch your beds. The mulch keeps the moisture from evaporating, allowing more infrequent watering.  It also moderates the temperature of the soil so it doesn’t get baking hot.  I use natural wood mulch in both my garden beds and pots.  Weed free, self fertilizing, till free garden beds
  3. Water consistently.  The cause of cracked fruits is inconsistent water.   The plant gets used to very little water and when deluged the fruit’s skin can’t expand fast enough and the fruit cracks.  Over watering can also be a problem.  Too much water will cause your fruits to be tasteless and mushy.  If in the ground, your plants need either a good soaking rain each week or a good watering (1" total per week).  I use soaker hoses in my mulched garden beds.  It is best to water in the morning; you get maximum absorption (biggest bang for your water buck).  For pots, you will likely need to water 3 times per week during the height of summer heat.  I like pots with a water reservoir built in the bottom.  
  4. Do not water the foliage of your nightshade plants!  They are very susceptible to fungal diseases and water on their leaves encourages fungal growth.  It is recommended to spray every 7-14 days for natural fungicides on all nightshade plants (tomatoes, potatoes, squash, watermelon, and cucumbers) when the risk for fungal disease starts.  I started spraying in May.  I rotate using Copper, Serenade and Southern Ag as a preventative.
  5. Fertilize monthly with side dressing of compost.  It is also a good idea to add minerals to the soil annually.  You can purchase minerals just for gardening.  I like to rotate between Azomite and kelp meal.  If your plants have more minerals, their fruits will too!  The next step in garden production and your nutrition-soil minerals
  6. Pick insects off daily.  Keep a close eye on your plants to you can stop an infestation before it gets started.  If I do get an really bad infestation, I will use diacotomus earth or insecticidal soap.  It is organic and not a chemical.  Some people even eat DE!  DE works by scratching the exoskeleton of the insects which leads to dehydration and death.  Be careful, though, as it will kill good bugs too.  I use it very sparingly and only if desperate.  A few bugs don’t eat much :  )  Another option is the use of light covers to keep the bugs from your plants.  Natural, organic pest strategies and how to make your own bug sprays
  7. Keep any diseased leaves groomed from your plants and do not compost them.  Diseases can be killed if your compost pile is hot enough.  I haven’t progressed far enough yet in my composting skills to trust I am getting the pile hot enough and I don’t want to spread diseases to all my plants.  I put any diseased leaves and plants in the trash.
  8. Compost.  For all the trimmings from the garden and the kitchen, start a compost pile or get an indoor composter.  I have both.  I have an indoor Naturemill electric composter in the garage and an outdoor tumbler for all the kitchen scraps.  Right now,  I am using the outdoor plastic tumbler.  Troubleshooting your compost pile  
  9. Summer veggies can get tired by the end of the season or overcome with disease.  A strategy to make sure you have an abundant harvest all the way through fall is to plant a second round of the heavy producers like summer squash, tomatoes, and cucumbers.  End of June is a great time to get a second round of summer lovers going.  Keep the harvest going, do succession planting
  10. If you live an area with scorching heat and sun, even the summer lovers would benefit from some afternoon shade.  Tomato and pepper fruits can get sunburned, called sun scald.  Many eggplant varieties can get thick skins and a more bitter taste in intense heat and sun.  Even in our Zone 7 garden, I have experienced all these.  This year, I have planted my edible garden on the southeast side of the house which gives some afternoon shade.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Culinary herb garden for beginners

Common chives in flower

Sunday, June 13, 2021

If you are just starting gardening, an herb garden is a great place to start.  I made the switch from purely ornamental gardening to edible gardening with herbs.  Most common herbs are perennials and do well being neglected.  Want full bodied flavor in your cooking on the cheap-just add fresh herbs.  What can be better than that!

Most culinary herbs that we are familiar with hail from the Mediterranean region.  They thrive in poor soil and not a lot of water.  There are even more choices out there today.  I have horseradish, mustards, cilantro, lemon grass and curry added to my basic herb collection.  

So, what are the herbs you should start with?  A basic culinary herb garden could include parsley, basil, chives, French tarragon, sorrel, sage, dill, oregano, rosemary, and thyme. 

Of these, parsley, basil and dill are annuals, the rest are perennials.  With perennials, you plant once and you get to enjoy them for a lifetime.  Parsley and dill will likely “self sow”, meaning their seeds will sprout into a plant next year.  Basil will have to be replanted each year when all danger of frost has passed.  The other option with basil is to keep it in a pot and bring indoors to overwinter.

The easiest to grow are the perennials.  I'd start with them.  You can place them and then plan to add the annual herbs when you are feeling ready to take on more.  An additional benefit to herbs is that they deter deer from the garden.  Deer hate strong scents.  I have herbs all around my garden instead of just in one place for this reason.  Creeping thyme is a nice herb that you can plant all around the perimeter of your garden.

Starting with plants is the most fool proof way to get going.  You can pick up your herb plants at any big box store or for more fun varieties, go to your nearest nursery, farmers market or even seed catalogues sell plants.  There are many options out there.  I prefer getting my herb plants from a local organic nursery or trying new types from seed catalogues.

Thyme, savory and onions with daylilies in the background

You can buy an entire plant for less than the cost of one tiny bottle of dried herbs.  Herbs are easy to preserve; just dry them.  Cut the herbs back in mid summer and put in a paper bag.  Do not pack tightly, pack loosely so that the herbs do not mold.  Put in a warm, dry place out of direct sunlight if possible and a few weeks later you will be rewarded with enough herbs for your cooking and all your relatives for the entire year!   Make your own "Herbes de Provence"

Most herbs like full sun and dry feet.  Too much water is about the only thing that will kill an herb plant.  I plant mine amongst the flowers and near the back door for optimum convenience for cooking.  You can also grow in pots if you like and put right at the door!

If you have been thinking of trying your hand at edible gardening, herbs are a great way to start.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Keep salads going all summer long

Saturday, June 12, 2021

I love salads!  Eating fresh greens every day is healthy.  Having them in the summer is refreshing.  Unfortunately, lettuce and spinach are cool season lovers and quickly bolt in the heat of summer.  You do have ways of keeping the summer salads going, though!  Here are the tricks I have learned over the past few years. 

Before we get into the details of tricks to keep the harvest going, let me talk about the term "bolting".  When it gets hot, it signals to the plant that it is time to make seeds.  Lettuce, spinach, and most greens do this by sending up a stalk that then produces flowers and seeds.  Lettuce has 3 foot tall stalks with tiny yellow or blue flowers, depending on the variety.  When lettuce starts to bolt, most varieties get bitter tasting.  So, you want to keep your plants from bolting, and thus giving you sweet leaves for eating, as long as possible.

Growing Conditions
Now that you know the conditions that causes lettuce to bolt, you want to give them the conditions that keep that from happening as long as possible.  Lettuce thrives in cool weather and moist soil.   I use self watering pots called Earthboxes, but any self-watering pot will do, for more consistent soil moisture.  You can also use a regular pot with a big catch pan.  You just want the soil to not dry out between waterings.  

Moving your pots to a shady part of the yard and the north side will keep the plants cooler, too.  If you are planting in the garden bed, use the same strategy, plant on the north side, in a shadier spot or by larger plants that will provide shade.  I am trying a shade cloth placed on the sunny side of my small portable greenhouse frame this summer to see if it helps the plants last longer before they bolt.

In addition to moist soil and cool temperatures, greens love nitrogen.  Be sure to fertilize them monthly if using a solid fertilizer or biweekly if using a liquid fertilizer.  For liquid fertilizer, I alternate between fish emulsion and liquid seaweed.  Since I eat greens daily, I also add kelp meal or Azomite annually to get a wide range of minerals into the soil and plant.  You are what you eat!

Varieties of Greens
There are many varieties of lettuce that are bred to be more heat tolerant than others.  There are also varieties that even when they bolt, their leaves remain sweet tasting.  Look for varieties that say things like "heat tolerant", "bolt resistant", or ones that were developed in hotter regions.  Summer varieties that I grow are New Red Fire, Simpson Elite, Optima, Jericho, Green Towers, Red Sails, Royal Oakleaf, Butter King and Bronze Beauty.  I am trying a few new ones that I just sowed last week.  They are Giant Blue Feather, Buttercrunch, Calmar, Green Ice, Cimmaron, Deer Tongue, Little Gem, and Yedikule.  A couple others that have tested well for summer heat are Magenta and Nevada.

There are other greens that are great in salad that love the heat.  I always grow Sprouting Broccoli (leaves do taste like broccoli plus you get baby broccoli florets), cultivated dandelions, white ribbed chard varieties like Fordhook, Red Malabar Spinach, New Zealand spinach, orach and amaranth.

Succession Planting
No matter how hard you try, nature will have its way and your lettuce and spinach will bolt.  Succession planting is the answer to keep the lettuce going.  I have pretty much given up on having summer spinach.  Red Malabar and New Zealand spinach are such great substitutes in salads and grow prolifically in the heat that I harvest from them all summer.

For lettuce, re-sow every 3 weeks to have new plants ready when the last round starts to bolt.  You'll have to play with how many to start based on how much lettuce you are using each week.  I always have intentions of re-sowing every 3 weeks but for me it is usually every 5-6 weeks.  I want 8 plants to reach full size from each sowing.

Slugs are the biggest pest for lettuce if you are keeping the soil moist.  Slugs love moist places!  You have a few options for keeping the slugs away.  You can scatter egg shells on the soil surface, surround your plants with copper, place coffee grounds around your plants (gives nitrogen to your plants, too), use a homemade slug trap of beer in a container buried in the soil or use a slug bait.  The watch out with slug bait is it can cause issues if birds eat it so put it out in the evening after the birds have gone to roost.

Seed Saving
I save seeds from the lettuce plants that do the best.  Lettuce is self-fertile so their seeds should give you the same plant as the mother plant was.  You can also just let the seeds go where they like and then dig up the new plants as they sprout to put them where you want them.
Lettuce bolting with flower buds
Lettuce seeds do not germinate well in soil temperatures above 70F and not at all above 85F.  This can be a challenge in pots in the sun.  I sow my seeds in shallow pots on the covered patio.  During extreme heat, you can start them indoors.  To plant your seeds, make sure the soil is moist, sow the seeds on top of the soil and then cover very lightly.  Lettuce seed requires sunlight to sprout so you don't want to bury them under the soil.  The seeds should germinate in 7-10 days.  You want the soil to be moist but not wet.  Waterlogged seeds will rot.  Be sure to harden them off before planting into a pot or the garden.  You want to ease them into the strength of the summer sun and heat.

If you want to try homemade dressing, here are a few to try with herbs from the garden:  Homemade salad dressing recipes with garden herbs

Now you are ready for salads all summer long!

Sunday, June 6, 2021

What's happening in the early June edible garden

Chives and sage in bloom
Sunday, June 6, 2021

Typically in the early June edible garden, the summer veggies are flowering and have baby fruits and the spring veggies are at the end.  This year, only my tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers and squash are flowering.  None of the summer lovers have baby fruits.  The lettuce is still doing great with only the plants that overwintered and planted in April having bolted.   Herbs are growing robustly.  By this time of year, we no longer need to purchase produce from the grocery store and can get fresh herbs to add to ordinary dishes that make them taste wonderful.

The greens we are eating-lettuce, French sorrel, chard, spinach, dandelion greens, chick weed, sweet clover, green onions, Ruby Streaks mustard, sprouting broccoli leaves, snow peas, New Zealand spinach.  Growing fabulous lettuce and greens

Herbs to add to dishes and salads-chives, cilantro, parsley, rosemary, oregano, thyme, horseradish, Egyptian walking onions, tarragon, sage, dill, young garlic.  Fruits for salads and desserts-raspberries, strawberries, blueberries.

The flowers that are blooming-irises, spiderwort, marigolds, petunias, roses, delphinium, daylilies, lavender, celosia, hydrangeas, hollyhocks, bachelor button, alyssum and the herbs and veggies going to seed-white flowers on the cilantro, the white, red and pink flowers of thyme, lavender chive flowers, yellow broccoli flowers, white carrot flowers that look like their cousin Queen Ann's Lace.  All veggie and herb flowers are edible.  A fun way to add flavor and beauty to salads or other dishes!

This year I am working on our red, white and blue theme for vining flowers.  I have planted red hummingbird vine, blue morning glory and white jasmine at the base of the covered patio supports.  It did take a while for the blue morning glory to flower last year.  I started it indoors this year to get a jump on growing.  They have been planted out for a while now and are not growing much, but this has been a cool spring. 

The early lettuce is in full bolt so soon there will be the white, yellow and blue flowers from the different kinds of lettuce.  

The tomatoes have flowers so tiny fruits should be appearing soon, but the plants themselves are growing slowly.  Pepper and eggplants are also small for this time of year.  Peppers typically can be harvested in June and tomatoes around the 4th of July.  I'm not sure there will be peppers by the end of June.  We'll have to wait and see on the tomatoes.  Maybe the small pear tomatoes will have a few ripe by then. 

This week end, I'll weed in the garden and pots.  Everything was fertilized when planted.  I'll do another round when the fruits appear on the tomatoes.  I have more flowers started from seed to transplant into the edible garden and pollinator garden.  I started some moss rose plants and ice plants to put in our decorative rocks.  I'll soon be transplanting them into pots to harden off.

With all the cool weather we have been having, there is a bounty of slugs and snails.  I'll be saving our coffee grounds to sprinkle around out potted greens to keep the slugs from eating them.  Coffee grounds are a good source of nitrogen as well so the greens get a double benefit.

The only other pest that seems to be going stronger than I like are the flea beetles on an overwintered eggplant.  I did spray them with an insecticidal soap to knock them back some to give the beneficials a head start on keeping them in check.  

Once the plants get up to a decent size, they will no longer be at risk of being killed or stunted from being an insect's meal.   Natural, organic pest strategies and how to make your own bug sprays

I have also had a very enterprising vole in the garden over the winter.  The good part of this is that they do a great job of loosening up the soil.  The bad part is that if their tunnels go under your plant, there is a good chance the plant will die and voles love to eat the roots of your plants.  I got out the vole deterrent and put it in the garden.  Hopefully, it will chase the vole from the garden!

The lettuce is doing phenomenal for this time of year!  Only the overwintered and early plantings have bolted.  The third round started in late April are still sweet and growing hardily.  I sowed more seed in pots on the patio to replace the ones that are bolting to keep the salads going all summer.  I also put up a shade cloth to provide respite from the heat.  I only put it on one side to see how the plants do.  Last year, I completely covered them and they didn't seem to do as well as I would have liked.  

I start seeds indoors and outdoors throughout the season.  I keep my seeds in the refrigerator for years.  This keeps them fresh enough to germinate even though they are not this year's seed.  For any I start indoors, I put the seedlings on the covered patio to harden off.  The sun is very intense this time of year so if you start seeds indoors be sure to let them get used to the sun before planting in the garden.  I let them harden on the covered patio for a week or two and try and plant out in the garden when it is calling for rain.  
Potted lettuce bolting
On the back covered patio, I have re-seeded summer lettuces.  Lettuce in general likes cooler temps.  When it gets up in the 80's, they bolt, sending up a stalk that then flowers.  You can let them go to seed and then save seed for re-sowing.  Most lettuces start to get bitter when they bolt.  Red Sails is one of the few that stays fairly sweet even after bolting.  This time of year, re-sow every 3 weeks to keep in lettuce.  Also, sow the most heat tolerant varieties you can find to extend how long you can harvest.  Bolt-free, sweet summer lettuces
Lettuce seedlings

I'm enjoying the cooler weather and piddling in the garden.  I am ready, though, for the summer veggies.  They'll be here before you know it!  Until then, I am taking advantage of all the sweet salad greens and berries.