Thursday, July 30, 2009

Amaranth Greens

My post about the garden on July 22 included a couple of photos of one of my favorite leafy greens - amaranth. You may be more familiar with ornamental amaranths such as Love Lies Bleeding Amaranthus caudatus or Joseph's Coat Amaranthus tricolor. How about the beautiful but incredibly self sowing Hopi Red Dye Amaranthus cruentus. Or perhaps you have more than a passing familiarity with pigweed? You get a glimpse of what a diverse genus Amaranthus is.

The amaranth in my vegetable garden is a mix of green leaved, white seeded varieties. The flower heads range from green through bronze, both upright and nodding. I got my seeds through the seed savers exchange. Here's the description from the 2005 yearbook:

30 leaf; 130 grain days, for leaf green production, cook as spinach, we are releasing this mix, chosen from our trials and hope it will be widely adapted and will let you select your own local mix, a 4 x 8' bed supplied more leaves than our village could eat all summer, selected for incredibly vigorous growth and soft flavored leaves plus very late flowering so you can pick over and over again without bolting, all white seeded so if you have a long season, you can harvest grain, NOTE: if you reoffer this please (a) do not grow any black-seeded amaranths (they will cross, giving inedible seed) and (b) maintain the ratios of the different types by harvesting separately and then mixing in equal proportions, biomass increase is phenomenal .0002 g seed gives 10 kg plant, a fifty million-fold increase in 90 days, 2 new hybrids added 2003, from CV Vidaverde, mix of late-flowering (short-day) caudatus, hypochondriacus and other hybrids from our collection, original breeding material from David Brenner of ISU, USDA from various countries worldwide.

Right up my alley, if you haven't noticed by now (if you follow my blog) I do tend to go for the rare and/or unusual.

Given the space, these plants can grow up to 10 feet tall. I didn't and still don't have that kind of room so I crowd them together more and keep them cut back. For seed saving I crowd them even more to be sure that I get a good representation of the different varieties. Crowding like that seems to ensure that you get seed from the most vigorous plants that overshadow the weaker ones. Other than that, I just make sure that I don't have any black seeded varieties growing in my own garden. I've saved the seeds for a few years and so far haven't noticed any off types in my subsequent sowings and I've been quite pleased with the eating quality of the plants that I've grown. The aim of the original seed offerer seems to be to develop local vigorous strains from various crosses of the original plant selections so I'm not concerned about isolating the various strains in the mix to ensure their purity. This season I'm not planning on saving seed so I've allowed only a few of the strongest plants that germinated to grow.

The plant shown at the top of the post was direct sown on June 2 and is one of only 2 seedlings that survived the sowbugs. I sowed more seeds in a cell-pack on June 18th and then planted them out when they were large enough to withstand the bugs.

Amaranth is a warm weather vegetable, preferring temperatures over 68F, and thriving in fairly hot temperatures (86F +). In the warmest climates amaranth can tolerate some shade but usually prefers full sun. It's not too fussy about soil and will even tolerate fairly acid soils. It is best to direct sow amaranth, some varieties will tend to bolt when transplanted, but I've had success transplanting very young seedlings. Sow the seeds thickly, whether direct sown or in cell-packs, and thin to the desired spacing. I like to transplant the cell-pack seedlings before thinning and then trim off the weakest seedlings after a few days. The seeds don't germinate well if they receive too much light so they should be well covered with soil.

Amaranth grows very quickly once the seedlings are established. I waited a bit too long to start harvesting the leaves from the first plants and when I finally did I drastically cut back the plants to the ugly stubs you see above, which are actually resprouting fairly well. Behind the stubby plant you can see the new seedlings taking off. Now's the time to top them to encourage stronger side shoots.

Leaf amaranth is a good summer substitute for spinach. Very young leaves can be used in salads but older leaves are best cooked. I prefer amaranth simply prepared. Here's my favorite method for:

Sauteed Amaranth Greens

You will need at least one very large handful of leaves per serving. Remove and discard the stems from the very largest leaves, younger leaves have shorter softer stems that don't have to be removed. Coarsely chop the leaves if they are large. Saute some garlic in a bit of olive oil, add the leaves with a bit of water clinging to them from washing, or add a bit of water to the pan if the leaves are dry. Toss over medium heat until the leaves are wilted, adding more leaves to the pan as there is room - the leaves lose a lot of volume as they wilt. Don't overcook, the leaves become very soft very quickly. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve warm. Also good with a sprinkle of chile pepper flakes with the garlic if you like spice.

I have lots of seed available to share if you would like to try growing some amaranth greens. You could probably get a crop of greens if you sow some seeds in the next 2 or 3 weeks and can rely on having warm weather for a couple of months after that. Send me an email if you are interested.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dinner Time!

How many hummers do you see?

This has been the typical dinner time entertainment lately, watching the hummers go through about 9 ounces of nectar in about 90 minutes. This has been going on for a couple of weeks. I believe they are all Anna's hummingbirds. There was one Allen's hanging around for a few days but he seems to have moved on to a less crowded neighborhood (I suppose). What you can't see in the photo are the birds sitting on the fence off to the sides.

I have 4 feeders going now. One is dominated by one hummer and only needs to be half filled once a day. Another one gets filled at dinner and is empty by mid morning to noon the next day. The one in the photo was being emptied in one evening, so I put a second one up a couple of feet away and the two of them last through breakfast, barely. Once the feeders are empty they stay that way until the evening feeding. I think the hummers are waiting close by since the feeding starts almost immediately once I fill the feeders in the evening. It is impossible to count all the birds, but I think I'm feeding at least 20 of them, maybe more.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Temporary Addition To The Covey

Aaawww, look! Up on the gate...

You looking at me?

I'm just keeping watch over my covey.

And lookin' good while I'm at it.
(Much more handsome than those guys behind me.)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Garden on July 22

The weather has been grand the last few weeks, warm days and cool, but not too cool nights. Plenty of sun and none of the smoke that plagued us last summer. The garden has been loving it.

That's the tomato and tomatillo bed shown above, with a bit of Profuma di Genova basil in front. This it the first time I've grown my tomatillos in cages, in the past they have been allowed to sprawl. It's much easier growing them in the cages so far, it keeps the fruit away from the sow bugs and takes up much less space.

The downside to growing the purple tomatillos in a cage (above) is that the fruit doesn't get enough sun to turn them purple. I'm sure they will still taste good though.

Here's a "Plaza Latina Giant" tomatillo, the husk is only half full so far. I can't wait to see how big it gets when fully formed! This plant doesn't have as many fruits on it as the purple variety, but the fruit it does have is huge so quantity is not an issue.

And the most mature tomatoes in the patch so far are the Black Sea Man. Anticipation....

The (mostly) pepper and eggplant bed. The white row cover behind is protecting what is left of my edamame plants. I lost more than half of the edamame seedlings to some night time marauder. In that same area I've planted the seedlings for my winter squash (under the protection of 1 gallon plastic water bottles) *sigh* and the replacement cucumber plants *sigh again* (also under protection).

"Donkey Ears" sweet pepper.

"Chilhuacle Negro" baby pepper. These are supposed to be good in mole and chili and also good for drying.

"Marconi Purple" sweet pepper. These will be red when ripe. I've grown the red and yellow varieties of this pepper before, the purple is new in my garden this year.

I've already had two harvests of "Pimento de Padron" peppers. Padrons are picked immature so the plants keep pumping out the peppers all season long. They are absolutely delicious when pan fried in a little olive oil and served warm with a sprinkle of coarse salt. These peppers will convert pepper haters (especially green pepper haters) into pepper lovers. I don't have a photo of any right now because they've been picked and consumed, yum.

"Thai Round Green Petch Parisa" eggplant looking quite happy other than some nibbling on the lower leaves by sow bugs. There's a shot below of the first fruit it has set.

Yeah, the radishes are bolting! Just like they are supposed to. That's a rat-tail radish shown above. They are grown for their tasty seed pods. The pods can be consumed raw, sauteed, pickled... use your imagination.

The "Cocozelle" zucchini monsters. That's just 2 plants shown above, and one of them shown below.

Next to the zucchini are the Cavolo Nero and Portuguese kales, and the Piracicaba broccoli. The Cavolo Nero has been an absolute magnet for cabbage aphids. The chickens have been getting more of it than we have. I spent some time the other day washing the aphids off leaves and now I'm going to finish with some insecticidal soap. The Portugues kale has been less infested and easier to clean so we've been enjoying that. The broccoli hasn't been too badly hit either. On the other side of the kales (to the left and out of view) is what's left of the Senposai. Two of the plants got some kind of rot that effected their cores, so they are gone, another plant is bolting, and I haven't checked on the other remaining plant in a few days....

Here is a closer shot of one of the coreopsis plants that you can see behind the brassicas.

Need to pick some lettuce... And behind you can see the leaves of the "di Jesi" cauliflower. I've harvested the heads and am waiting to harvest the leaves for the chickens.

And one of my favorite greens - Amaranth. I cut one of the big plants back and had the greens sauteed in olive oil with chopped garlic. Delicious, much sweeter than spinach and far easier to grow. It's doesn't seem to be bothered by any pests other than aphids.

The red florence fennel is bolting. It's supposed to form "bulbs" in its second year. In the meantime, the flowers will provide food for beneficial insects.

And here's the reason why I've started replacement cucumber plants. The "Serpent" cucumbers are succumbing to something, probably bacterial wilt. One plant has been removed, two should be removed, the one remaining plant is hanging in there for now. I had old seed for "Palace King" Japanese cucumbers that germinated surprisingly well, so those are getting started in the bed beyond the peppers.

The rest of that bed is in transition. Under cover at the base of the trellises that sported snap and snow peas earlier are seedlings of "Petaluma Goldrush" and "Chaco Canyon" beans. There's one more trellis that I just cleared off that will support "Tarbais" beans. The bush beans are done and will be cleared out soon. There's some seeds of bush filet beans - "Rolande" and "Astrelle" (maybe... very old seeds) - sown in paper pots that will go in this bed.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Piracicaba Broccoli Harvest

Yesterday's harvest, 2 pounds 6 ounces of Piracicaba Broccoli. This variety of broccoli is often described as being something like a cross between heading broccoli and broccoli raab. That description seems a bit misleading to me, the appearance is like that, with a loose head and tender tasty leaves, but the flavor is nothing like the bitter raab. Can you see in the photo that the beads in the heads are larger than typical heading broccoli? They're supposed to be like that and I've picked looser heads and still found the broccoli to be tasty.

My first attraction to Piracicaba broccoli was its uniqueness, I just love to experiment with my veggies. Another thing I thought would be nice was that it was bred to do well in warm weather and I thought it would be nice to grow a variety that would be tasty in summer. Indeed, this is the first spring sown broccoli that I've been happy with.

Piracicaba is a sprouting broccoli, producing a small main head and then many side shoots. With careful picking I'm hoping to continue the broccoli harvest through the summer, although each successive harvest will be smaller.

This is actually my second Piracicaba harvest, the first was much smaller but put to good use. I blanched the heads with the top leaves, then chopped it all and sauteed it with some garlic in olive oil. I mixed in a chopped hard cooked egg and seasoned it all with some salt, pepper, and sherry vinegar. That went on top of toasts that had been smeared with a bit of a fava/ricotta spread. Good stuff!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tomato Russet Mites

Aaack, I have tomato russet mites! Well, the mites are on the tomato plants. Fortunately, I spotted them early before they could do too much damage to the plants.

The mites are too small to see with your naked eye, only .02 mm long. A lens with at least 14X magnification is needed to see them. So identification is generally done based on symptoms rather than sighting. The first sign of an infestation is rather subtle, the stems of the plants will turn from bright green to a russet color as you can see in the photo above. Trouble starts at the base of the plant and works its way up. The leaves at the bottom of the plant will start to die and eventually turn a russet color as well. In hot weather the entire plant can become defoliated fairly quickly as the infestation works its way up the plant. If the plant is not treated it will die.

Only one of my plants, a Blue Beech paste tomato is showing serious signs of infestation right now. The stems on that plant are russeted up to about 2 feet and the bottom leaves are just starting to die as you can see below. You can also see the traces of the treatment I applied in both of the photos.

The treatment I used is wettable sulfur, which happens to be an organic treatment. The recommended rate is 1 to 2 tablespoons of wettable sulfur powder per gallon of water. I used 1 tablespoon of sulfur in a gallon of water and thoroughly sprayed the affected plant, making sure to get the stems and both sides of the leaves. I also sprayed the bases of the neighboring plants. If the infestation continues to spread up the plant then I'll try a 2 tablespoon concentration next week. Never spray with sulfur when the temperature is 90F or above, you will damage the plants. Spray only when there is no wind and be sure to keep the spray off your skin.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Growing Capers From Seed

Last week I promised that my next post about capers would be about how I start them from seed. When you read some of the advice available on the web it can seem like a daunting task.

Here's what Purdue University advises:

Caper seeds are miniscule and are slow to nurture into transplantable seedlings. Fresh caper seeds germinate readily - but only in low percentages. Dried seeds become dormant and are notably difficult to germinate and therefore require extra measures to grow. Dried seeds should be initially immersed in warm water (40°C or 105°F ) and then let soak for 1 day. Seeds should be wrapped in a moist cloth, placed in a sealed glass jar and kept in the refrigerator for 2 - 3 months. After refrigeration, soak the seeds again in warm water overnight. Plant the seeds about 1 cm deep in a loose well drained soil media. Young caper plants can be grown in a greenhouse (preferable minimum temperature of 10°C or 50°F).

And here's what the University of California advises:

Germination of caper seeds is difficult, but the following methods have resulted in 40 to 75 percent germination. First, heat some water to 110¡F or 115¡F, and put the seeds into the warm water to soak for at least 12 hours, during which time you can allow the water to cool to room temperature. After 12 hours, discard the water, wrap the seeds in a moist towel, place them in a plastic bag, and keep them in the refrigerator for 65 to 70 days. Then take the seeds out of the refrigerator and soak them in warm water (110-115¡F) overnight. Plant the seed about 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep in a soil mix of 50-25-25 parts of UC soil, perlite and sand, respectively (planting mix can be used instead of UC soil mix). Use 6 inch clay pots or deep flats. Water well and keep in a warm area (70-85¡ F.), in partial to full sun. Do not allow the top of soil to crust over. Keep the soil moist. Germination should start within 3 to 4 weeks and may continue for 2 to 3 months. Not all seeds will germinate at the same time.

So the very first time I tried to germinate some precious seeds that I carted home from Italy I used some form of the refrigerator method and ended up with a little plastic bag of moldy seeds in a paper towel. Bleah.

My next move was to buy a couple of plants mailorder. They got to me with water logged roots and promptly started to wilt, but I rescued them by putting them on a heating mat. They went on to grow and bloom and produce the seeds that allowed me to do a lot of experimenting. Those two plants are still growing strong in a nice big pot.

So, here are the lessons that I've learned from my experiments with all those seeds.

A. Really fresh caper seeds have about a 95% germination rate. The germination rates decline as the seeds get older (duh, true for all seeds), year old seeds still have pretty good rates of 75 to 80%.

B. The seeds, whether fresh or dry need to be chilled (cold stratification) but you don't need to take up precious space in the refrigerator if you live in a Mediterranean climate (like I do). Capers are native to the Mediterranean and the seeds sprout and produce plants in the darnedest places there - most notably stone walls. Winter temperatures provide all the chilling that the seeds need, naturally. Just how much cold the seeds need, or can withstand, I haven't figured out. I also didn't find any difference in using seeds that were soaked in warm water first.

C. Caper seedlings really do not like to have their roots disturbed. One of my first experiments resulted in a pot full of seedlings (yeah!) that I tried to separate and pot up. Lots of root disturbance and lots of mortality (oops!).

So, this is not the definitive guide to growing capers from seed, this is what works for me. If you don't live in a Mediterranean climate, well, this may not necessarily work for you, but perhaps the lessons I've learned can help.

Sow the caper seeds in 6 packs, 1 seed per cell for fresh off the plant seeds, 2 seeds per cell for older seeds (lessons A & C) about 1/4 inch deep. I use regular bagged potting soil, not seed starting mix, although I suppose seed starting mix would be fine also.

Start sowing seeds anytime from September through November (lesson B). Set the sown 6-packs in a shady protected place outside (lesson B again). I like to put them in a black square nursery flat (the ones with the large meshed bottoms) with another flat over the top to keep birds and other critters out. At this point you can almost forget about them until late February or March, just don't let them dry out.

In late February or early March, move the flats to a warmer spot where they will get some sun, not too much, that drying out thing again. The seeds should start to germinate in 2 to 3 weeks. I've even brought some of the packs indoors to my seed starting setup with heat mats and grow lights, which works quite well.

Do not attempt to pot up the seedlings until they have a couple or more true leaves and the roots have developed enough to hold the soil together (lesson C). It can take a couple of months for the seedlings to get large enough. If there are 2 seedlings in a cell you need to cut one of them off at the soil line, don't pull it out (lesson C). When it's easy to pop the plants out of the cells without having the soil crumble too much you can pot the seedlings up into 4-inch pots and grow them on for the rest of the year or longer.

The next winter or spring they can be planted out or potted up into large pots. I've found that pot grown capers bloom best in pots that hold at least 15 gallons of soil. The first flowers may appear as early as year 2. Capers are drought tolerant plants but pot grown plants need regular water and fertilizing. During the hottest months I water my plants almost every day, although their need for water will vary depending on how much sun they get. My pots get full sun almost all day so they dry out quickly. I fertilize almost weekly during the summer, less in the fall, none after October and resume occasional fertilizing in the spring when new growth appears.

Caper plants are partly to fully deciduous, depending on weather and exposure. A hard freeze a couple of years ago knocked all my plants completely down to their crowns but they resprouted beautifully. Don't hard prune the plants until they are at least 2 years old. I've found the best time to prune is in the winter when the plants are dormant. Often times the shoots will die back a couple of inches from the pruning cut if the pruning is done later.

My current experiments involve growing the capers in the ground. So far, I've not had a lot of success. My best plants are the ones that are planted atop a high south-southwest facing retaining wall. Look for a future post (not soon) about my experiments growing capers in the ground.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Chilled Golden Beet Soup

All of the Golden Grex beets got pulled yesterday. They were sitting behind the bush beans getting to be huge and shading the base of the trellis where I was planting pole beans, so out they came, all 5 of them.

These beets have been a bit of a disappointment because they are only golden skinned, the flesh is white. The flavor is fine but they grow huge and fibrous very quickly. I made a salad with the first one that I harvested and wasn't happy with it because of the texture. Although I suspect I wouldn't have been happy even if the beets had been more tender, the seasonings were not great. (Not my own recipe, thank goodness). I really didn't want to toss the rest of the beets into the compost so I decided to make a pureed soup, chilled, after all, it is officially summer.

The soup came out far better than I expected, especially the texture. Even though the soup doesn't have a lot of fat in it my husband thought it seemed rather rich. Coconut oil instead of my usual olive oil added a rich flavor and buttermilk contributed a tangy creaminess without adding a lot of fat. I used primarily Asian seasonings but used a light hand with them so the soup still had a sweet beetiness to it. The saffron is there primarily to add a bit of color. I wish my chives would grow, some of them would have been nice minced and sprinkled on top. So here, to the best of my memory, is the recipe.

Chilled Golden Beet Soup

--2 tablespoons coconut oil
--1 large sweet onion such as Vidalia, about 1 pound, chopped
--4 or 5 cloves garlic, minced
--2+ pounds golden beet chunks which have been peeled
--2 large fresh Makrut lime leaves (Citrus hystrix)
--a pinch of saffron
--1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
--2 tablespoons fish sauce (I like 3 Crabs brand)
--1 1/2 cups 1% buttermilk
--salt to taste

Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat and saute the onions and garlic until they translucent and starting to color. Add the Makrut leaves and the beets to the pan, add water just to cover the beets, cover and bring to a low boil. Turn the heat down to low and cook, covered, until the beets are very tender but not falling apart. I didn't keep track of the time, but it was at least 20 minutes.

In the meantime, lightly toast the saffron threads to dry them out. Then grind them to a powder in a small porcelain mortar and pestle or a small bowl. Add a tablespoon of hot water to dissolve the powder. Set aside.

When the beets are tender, remove the pot from the heat and remove the lime leaves. Add the dissolved saffron, grated ginger, and fish sauce to the cooked beets. Puree the soup in batches in a blender (love my VitaMix) and pass it through a fine sieve into a large heat proof bowl. Set the bowl in an ice-water bath, add the buttermilk and salt to taste to the soup, stirring occasionally until the soup is chilled. Taste the chilled soup and adjust the seasonings to your preference. Keep chilled until served.

Should serve 6 to 8 as an appetizer.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Vegetable Garden on July 2

There's one of the vestiges of the spring garden, Green Beauty snow pea pods filling out and maturing for seed saving. You can see how brown the pea plants have become in the photo below. The snap peas are completely finished, the Golden Sweet snow peas are actually still producing just a few peas, and the Green Beauty snow peas are still producing just a few new pods as well, but I've been picking those so the plants will put their remaining energy into the maturing pods.

A lot of the oldest leaves on the bean plants are yellowing and dropping, but in spite of that they are still producing beans.

The cucumber plants have been wilting. I pulled one up and it appeared to have healthy roots. I suspect that the oak tree outside the garden is sending roots into that bed and is drying out that area. Perhaps that's why the beans aren't happy either. The parsley and beets even seemed to want more water. When I gave that end of the bed extra water the plants perked up.

At the other end of that bed the Red Florence Fennel is happy.

And nearby, two leaf amaranth plants are taking off. I direct sowed a bunch of amaranth seeds in that area and most of the seedlings were munched by sow bugs. I've got a 6-pack of more amaranth plants started to fill in the gaps.

The next bed has the peppers and eggplant in it. The weather has warmed up quite a bit lately so the plants have been growing like crazy.

That's a young Marconi Purple shown below.

And the next pepper is a Christmas Bell.

I've sown more cilantro in the pepper bed and it's starting to emerge. I need to plant some more soon to stagger the harvest and to be sure that I have some that isn't bolting when the peppers and tomatoes start coming in.

And here's some radishes that are growing between the young eggplants. I've been sowing seeds about every 10 days.

Look at the spines on that Lao Purple Stripe eggplant! It's not going to be fun harvesting from that plant.

The Crimson Flowering favas that took up the end of the bed have been pulled to make room for Magadalena Big Cheese squash (thanks Daphne!). Here's my haul of seeds for sowing this fall and probably enough for next year as well.

Between the squash and the peppers I've planted out the Beer Friend soy beans that I started in paper pots and the birds lost no time in attacking them. They are now covered with floating row cover and growing fast.

I left four garlic plants so that I could collect the bulbils to plant this fall. I planted a bunch of bulbils from last year's Georgian Crystal garlic and those produced bulbs of various sizes. I'll plant the biggest of those bulbs this fall. Growing from bulbils is supposedly a good way of adapting garlic to your climate - we'll see.

Here's a view of most of the vegetable garden. Peas, beans, etc on the left. Peppers, eggplant, soybeans and soon to be squash on the far left. Tomatoes and tomatillos on the far right. Zucchini and brassicas in front.

There are a couple of Golden Chard plants left next to the zucchini. I lost two of the chard plants to a gopher. You can still see the open run at the bottom of the picture. The gopher is history thanks to my trusty cinch trap. I leave the run open after I trap a gopher because it's not unusual for a new gopher to move in after one vacates a territory. The first sign of a new resident is usually when the run is plugged with fresh soil.

That's only two zucchini plants there. They certainly are happy.

On the other side of the zucchini are some Gigante kohlrabi plants that the aphids have made home. Yuck. They shouldn't affect the bulbs so I'm just going to give them a squirt with some water to dislodge them.

The kale and broccoli have gone under cover....

And here's the reason why... The birds find the leaves to be absolutely delicious. It hasn't been necessary to completely enclose the plants with row cover. The birds seemingly don't like being closed in under the cover or they don't like the movement in the breeze. Last winter I had to net all of my brassicas to protect them from the birds. I had to have the netting suspended above the plants and draped all the way down to the ground and pinned in place to keep the birds out from under the netting. That was a huge pain, so if just floating the row cover over the top of the plants continues to work I'm going to be very happy.

And here was an unexpected surprise, the Piracicaba broccoli has formed some small heads! This variety of broccoli doesn't make a big main head, just a small one and then lots of side shoots. The heads don't have the small tight buds of most broccoli varieties, these big buds are normal. This variety (not an F1) was developed in Brazil for warm weather climates and seems to be quite happy year round in my garden. And best of all, I like the flavor.

The Puntarelle keeps growing... I may try wrapping one of the clumps to try blanching the stems.

Another pot of cutting lettuce.

An escapee from a previous lettuce sowing is growing in the path and is going to seed. Behind it is the Senposai which is growing like crazy. I need to pick the Senposai about every three days. It's too much and I'm seriously thinking of pulling a couple of the plants.

It's almost time to harvest the Tuscan Arugula seeds.

The tomato jungle. They're growing so fast that I have to tuck the shoots into the cages about every three days.

Black Sea Man is setting a bunch of tomatoes. I wonder if these will be the first ones to ripen?

Purple Tomatillos are setting nicely also. The husks get big before the fruit fills them up.

Profuma di Genova basil is finally taking off in the warm days of summer.

Ah, another surprise, the Frederick passionfruit has bloomed and set one fruit.

The deer's perspective of some flowers that they would just love to snack on.