I hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful summer! Our local farmers tell me it's been a very productive one. The hot sun is producing juicy, sweet and early crops of all our favorite vegetables. And while all the rain might put a damper on your picnic, you won't hear me complaining - we've only had to water the Co-op garden once.
Speaking of watering, last week Jason repaired our garden rain barrel, so we can water with rainwater the next time the sunflowers look a little droopy. It feels good to cut down on water runoff (a major factor in city flooding), and the colorful rain barrel is a beautiful addition to the garden. Our next project is a compost pile. Give us a call if you'd like to help build one!
We're harvesting from the garden almost every day now. The ground cherry and tomato plants from Farm 153 are all grown up, and the golden beets are ready to be trimmed for greens. The 'Czech Black' hot peppers are making beautiful, juicy fruits, perfect for salsa or chili.
I can see the first flowers on the cucumber vines, and the green beans are starting to produce handfuls of sweet, crunchy pods. If you're growing your own at home, remember to harvest promptly and regularly! Many vegetables, particularly beans and cucurbits (cucumbers and squash) will start to slow down once they have produced ripe seeds. It's as if they're saying, "My work here is done! Time for a rest!" Keep those plants on their toes by harvesting their fruit as soon as it's ready.
Sadly, it's time to pull the Japanese 'Usui' pea shoots I planted in spring, now that the vines are tough and brown. But it's not all bad news! I let some pods ripen on the vine. Today I'll harvest the seeds and use them to grow a second crop of peas for fall. Peas thrive in cold weather, so if you love fresh sugar snaps (like I do!) you can plant seeds early in the spring and again in late summer. That's it for now, but there's always something new to see in the garden. I hope you'll stop by soon, and check out what we have "growing on"!