Thursday, June 9, 2011

Zucchini, Malabar, Pac Choi

I sowed more zucchini seeds yesterday in the greenhouse window, after planting out the first crop where the early peas (Sugar Anns) had been ripped out. Until last year zucchini was the most punctual plant in the yard: first harvest on June 26 and sudden death on August 8. Last year I harvested earlier and death didn't occur till mid-August, but still it behooves me to sow more seeds now for a successor crop. Some people make great efforts to thwart the zucchini borer from killing the first crop, but their suggestions have never worked for me. It's easier to start new ones now.

Life is endlessly surprising... and humbling. I thought I knew plenty about Malabar spinach, and have raved about it for years. Last year and the year before I gave away many volunteer seedlings. This year they were so scarce that, apparently, I thought some imposters must be Malabar. I was sufficiently skeptical not to pot them up and offer them to you. Now I can see only two certainly Malabar seedlings offering to climb up the fence after the sugar snap pea plants die in mid-July. Amid them, carefully placed by me last month, are some very happy weeds. I've removed all those that are competitive and allowed a few to remain in case they are a new version of Malabar. (Hope springs eternal. Or should I say that denial is not just a river in Egypt?) Meanwhile, yesterday I also sowed more Malabar seeds in my kitchen window. Malabar spinach vines are surely pretty climbing the fence where the sugar snap peas have died. Also, the leaves are good eating in the fall and freeze well. They are also the first crop to be killed by frost, with basil a close second. Last year the Malabar went black a week before basil; we had an unusually gradual cooling in 2010.

I harvested my first pac choi of the spring today. These I sowed after the March 20 woodchuck disaster, and they seem to be doing well. (Pac choi survives the winter under floating cover.) The verdict on the electric fence is still out; something has attacked my broccoli, but everything else seems to be growing well, perhaps except for a few tolerable nibbles here and there.

This hot, sticky weather is good for staying inside except in the EARLY morning and just before sunset. Fortunately, my garden is ready to take care of itself for a few days.


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