Now that the early crops have come and gone, we’re having a little (a very little) midsummer break. Tomatoes have only just begun to color up, broccoli is in the sideshoot stage and the green beans are blooming again after a little rest from the first big picking. We’ve been getting beets and cucumbers! Tons and tons of cucumbers–the best year ever. Already I’ve done one batch of bread and butter pickles, one sweet and hot adapted from Emeril Lagasse, one batch of tarragon slices I saw in the New York Times and one batch of spicy dills. Cucumbers have been so prolific that I’ve taken to picking them at cornichon size–about the size of a pinkie. I still have to figure out what to do with a couple more bags in the refrigerator but…what a problem to have!
Whomp. The picking crunch is on. Suddenly, everything is ready at the same time. Spinach and pea pods are almost done, and the other greens are bolted and bitter. But no matter. The sour cherries and red currants put on their first blush a few days ago and now it’s a race with the birds. I picked another bag of strawberries today. Also a big bag of sweet peas, which now must be shelled. Plus, we now have a big bag of radishes in the veg drawer–more than we need for the occasional salad. But we’re not complaining!
Everything seems a little later this year than normal. I can remember years when the spinach was done by Memorial Day. This year, though, we’re just getting started. We have snow peas, lettuce and other greens now, too. And strawberries! I did the first real big picking of them the other day. Maybe I can work them into something with rhubarb, which has been ready for a while now. Woo Hoo, it’s finally summer.
We ate our first vegetables of the 2009 season on…drumroll…April 20. That’s when we cut a few green onions from the bunching onion patch that is a permanent feature in our southwest corner. These onions (Egyptian walking) stay in the ground through the winter. We planted them three or four years ago and this looks like the year they’re finally taking off.