Monday, August 2, 2010
We planted some extra basil last month, and it's coming in handy to accompany all those cherry tomatoes in salads. Still got plenty of rainbow chard and kale in the shadow of the fence, but ripped out the red sail lettuce last month when it bolted and got slimy around the edges. This type of lettuce is very soft and succumbs to slime quickly: will not plant that one next year. I just read an article in an old issue of House and Garden mag that profiled different lettuce varieties: recognized mache from one of my favorite dishes at Miss Shirley's in Roland Park... that's what I'll plant next year!
My okra experiment is going well. Over the past few weeks, the two okra plants have grown about a foot, and are now producing huge pods that curl like elf shoes. Note it's better to pick them when they're less than 4" or so: more tender and tasty when small.
The eggplant and pepper plants have also shot up, but no fruits yet to be seen. Got jalapeno peppers but no bells, not sure why. Overshadowed by the giant flowers nearby, perhaps? I planted an extra pepper, testing the old Italian school of thought that peppers like to be "so close that their roots touch," but this doesn't seem to have helped.
I thought it would be another sad cucumber year, but boy was I wrong! Apparently they just needed some loftier architecture to climb: a four-foot-tall black obelisk in the middle of the garden is proving much better than last year's fence-mounted trellis. The surrounding marigolds might be helping too, who knows. Picked up some back issues of Mother Earth magazine last month, one of which contained an article that suggested companion planting isn't so much based in science as in folklore. I guess it doesn't matter what it's based in as long as it works!
Also growing brussel sprouts and pole beans, which aren't doing much yet, unlike the crabgrass and clover weeds that keep popping up. A gardener's work is never done.
So it's time to start thinking about fall plantings: lettuce, peas, maybe some squash and garlic? What I thought was a zucchini plant turned out to be a pumpkin, so we have one big orange gourd to show for the 20-foot vine that wound its way through everything for a few months there. Wish it had been a zucchini instead.