Just a little garden update for you from Nonno Giovanni!
Asparagus have gone to seed now so we hope you enjoyed them and attempted to get out and find some wild ones too! Following in the footsteps of the asparagus are the peas. You can leave the ones that are still on the vines to get big and dry out so you have seeds for next year and then pull out the vines for the compost to make room for another planting of beans, swiss chard, or lettuce. And of course, the annual barrage of zucchini is here!
We recently showed you how to make stuffed zucchini flowers and we will be posting another couple of zucchini recipes soon. There’s lots you can do with them so try not to roll your eyes when you leave the garden with yet another basketful of zucchini! If you planted any beans, you should be enjoying the fruits of your labor now. Even shelling beans can be eaten green when tender. The plant will produce more that you can leave to grow into larger pods for shelling. If you find you have an over abundance of green beans you can easily freeze them for future use. Wash your fresh beans well and trim the ends. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add your beans. Bring back to a boil for 1-2 minutes and transfer beans to an ice water bath until cooled. Drain well, pack into freezer bags and place in the freezer. They will taste as though you just picked them when you use them in the middle of winter!
Tomato plants are thriving and once they start, be ready to eat them and preserve them! Enjoy them fresh alongside those cucumbers that are growing prolifically or add them to your next salad with fresh lettuce from the garden. Throw some romas in the freezer whole for future use or make a batch of sauce. We’ll cover tomato sauce making in another post for you in detail. If you’ve been planting lettuce every few weeks, you should be set for the summer with fresh salads. And if you’re one for heat, grab a hot pepper and toss it in with a few tomatoes, red onion, fresh basil and olive oil. This tomato salad requires a good loaf of Italian crusty bread to soak up the ‘juice’! It’s also a good way to use some pinched off basil leaves so your plant keeps growing. If you leave the ‘flower’ to grow on the basil, the plant will go to seed. This is fine for the end of season if you are planning to save your seeds but for now pinch it off and your plant will continue to thrive. In fact, all your herbs are in prime season so spice up your meals and preserve what you can while you can. If you planted garlic last fall, you will have noticed over the last couple of weeks that the stems have started to dry. That’s because it’s garlic harvest time!
Squash, melons, eggplants and peppers still have a ways to go but you’ve got plenty to eat and keep you busy right now. It’s pretty hot this time of year so make sure you give adequate water to your plants and yourself! And please please please wear a hat:)