JEFF TIEDEMAN: Spring into summerCooler weather cuts into fresh produce from the garden.
Tuesday was officially the first day of summer. But if you were outside, it probably seemed more like the beginning of spring or fall.
I don’t need to tell that to anyone who has a garden and is used to having certain vegetables and fruit on the table by now or those who attended the first Farmers Market of the season in the Town Square on Saturday.
On the whole, my garden looks pretty good. The beans, beets, onions and carrots are right on schedule, and I already have tons of blossoms and some small fruit forming on my tomato plants. And I’ve never seen my eggplants look so nice.
But usually by this time of the year, we’ve been eating fresh spinach salads for at least a couple of weeks. But we’re just on the verge of picking our first leaves. Most years, the crop already has started to bolt (go to seed) because of the heat.
The same goes for our raspberries. From the looks of things, we’re in for a bumper crop, but not a single berry has been picked to be put on top of our morning oatmeal.
And the Malabar spinach (it really isn’t spinach but its taste is similar) I planted from seed a week or so before Memorial Day weekend have just started to peek out of the ground and have yet to start climbing our makeshift trellis. (I suspect since it is a warm-weather crop that’s native to the tropics, the cooler, wet weather we’ve had has held it back.)
We haven’t been totally shutout of garden goodies, though. Our leaf lettuce crop has been producing nicely as well as has our four kale plants. They’ve both been starring in fresh salads, and I can’t wait to combine the kale with potatoes, cannellini beans and Italian sausage in a tasty-looking stew.
And the strawberries plants in our topsy-turvy, upside-down planter are within a week or two of yielding some plump, red orbs that might go nicely with some rhubarb in a tasty jam or pie. (Check out the pie and kale recipes at www.grandforksherald.com/event/tag/group/ Life/tag/food/.)
The 10 everbearing strawberry plants that we put in this spring are coming along nicely, too, but I’ve been pruning the flowers — just until the beginning of July — to strengthen and promote root growth and runner development.
One good thing about our extended springlike weather is that our nighttime temperatures rarely have dipped into the 40s, while daytime highs have reached into the 60s consistently. And the 10-day forecast shows temperatures reaching the upper 70s by this weekend and into the 80s next week.
Now that’s what I call summer!
Tiedeman is food editor at the Herald. Reach him at (701) 780-1136 or toll-free at (800) 477-6572, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.