Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Summer's here, and harvests are growing

Saturday, June 27 was a beautiful day in the garden, and a nice group of volunteers picked our largest harvest so far this year: 45 pounds, again mainly greens and herbs, but we also pulled up our first beets (mostly red, but there were a couple of golden).

Together, the beets and turnips made up 15 pounds of the harvest.

Beets and turnips ready to go:

Cart overflowing with greens, beets and turnips, waiting for customers at the food bank:

We also harvested a small amount of rhubarb and some garlic scapes. Garlic scapes are the tender, curled stem of the garlic plant – when diced and added to food, they add garlic flavor without too much heat.

Scapes harvested and ready to be weighed:

The spinach has just about exhausted itself, so the plants were pulled and the bed re-seeded with scallions, more turnips, pole beans and “longstanding” spinach (which does better in hot weather). More beans were sown in one of the beds, since one row hadn’t germinated. And there was lots of watering to do. (Little did we know that a large rainstorm would pass through Chicago on Saturday night – hopefully, it refilled the rain barrel, which has been providing us with lots of water this season).

And there was time to work in the flower beds. Thanks to the Chicago Cares team last week, most of the perennial buttercup is gone, though it is a determined plant and we will probably have to pull up a few interlopers from time to time. Weeding also uncovered some struggling calendula seedlings and a small lavender. We were happy to see that some of the wildflowers sown in the bed near the new patio are starting to appear. And we had time to plant more prairie plants in the front garden, including three small bedstraw plants (Galium boreale) and some Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans).

Zinnia in one of the flower beds:

Many thanks to Brian and Dave Sh. for this week's photos.