Saturday, June 26, 2010

Peas, Malabar, Broccoli, Collards, Basil

One of you wrote, apparently surprised, that some of his pea plants are dying. Yes, they usually start this time of year and are all gone by mid-July. Both the super-hot weather and the early tendency of everything would accelerate this. I picked as many as I could today and froze them, taking my solace in the tomatoes that are now plentiful for salads. I won't have nearly as many peas in my freezer as two years ago, but far more than last year.

The early summer demise of peas is why I like malabar spinach so much to replace them on the fences. One of you lamented that her malabar is only about an inch high. Yes, malabar spends a LONG time in infancy. Some of mine is two inches, but most has not gotten to that lofty height. When the weather stays hot, it will take off.

Yesterday and today the woodchuck (I assume) ate most of my broccoli plants' leaves. The plants hadn't begun to form heads yet, so I almost feel the woodchuck is welcome to them. However, what does it forebode? It intensifies the woodchuck-dread I feel this year. One plant has a head (more than an inch in diameter), and the woodchuck spared that one until I was inside this afternoon taking refuse with a (room) air conditioner. This evening I cut off a piece of an anti-woodchuck plant and lay it over the top of the struggling broccoli plant.

I might as well remove the other broccoli plants and hope that the garden centers can provide me more eggplant and pepper plants. Has anyone had success with broccoli this year? The only responses I've had to that question before were negative. Judy says it's been too hot, and she may well be right. That 90-degree spell in April may have done them in. They should have borne edible heads by now.

We gave lots more collards to Toni's Kitchen today. The woodchuck has nibbled at the chinese cabbage too, but not to devastate it. I think the same is true for lettuce, but I've been pretty greedy there too. The arugula is in, which will do for salads, but it's not like lettuce.

I heard an NPR feature on a basil disease that is plaguing NY. We should pick that and enjoy the flavoring and pesto now, and freeze as much of the latter as is available. The narrator said she picked hers in August last year instead of November to make pesto for winter. I can't imagine making a winter supply at one time. I've already begun, and will continue throughout the season, basil willing.

The early zucchini is wonderful. Win some, lose some.


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