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Red cabbage blossoms

LITTLE BY LITTLE MOST OF THE VEGETABLE GARDEN is headed for a long nap. Nearly all of winter’s plantings are gone now.

Only a few ‘Fizz” kale plants (above and really good kale), some endive, escarole, and volunteer lettuces remain. The garlic won’t be ready to pull until mid-July and we should be back home within a week or two after that.

Celery ‘Red Venture’

Last spring I planted Red Venture celery. The leaves have a strong celery flavor and were useful in soups, herby pesto type mixtures and a few leaves chopped and added to winter greens salads. The stalks were slightly bitter. Now the plants are bolting. When I cut the bolting stalk, it seemed tender and I sample a slice–sweet and tender!

I cut a few, peeled and sliced them and added to a salad. They add a sweet note paired with bitter greens and a robust dressing of garlic, anchovies and red wine vinegar. A revelation in that most bolting stalks of lettuces, etc. are tough and woody. Always something new to learn when you grow your own vegetables.

I have five Arrowhead cabbages just now maturing so have to figure how to use them. Not enough time to make sauerkraut before D-day, I think.

Our weather has been fabulously warm the past week so yesterday I planted the seven tomato plants purchase at the end of April at Christianson’s Nursery in Mt. Vernon. I pulled a whole row of fava beans to make way for the tomatoes and pulled off the string bean sized pods. Planning to cook them as green beans and see how the taste. That will be a first!

So that I will have something to look forward too upon our return I also stuck some squash seeds in the same bed as it will be the only one watered in our absence. And, I couldn’t imagine being without brussels sprouts this coming winter so I dropped some seeds in a few pots; with luck they will have germinated and be ready to plant before our departure. I had wonderful luck with these varieties last year: Roodnerf, Oliver and Bubbles, the best I’ve ever planted.