About this time of summer--with July 4 weekend heading our way--many gardeners feel a subtle shift in their relationship to the garden. Vegetables start pouring out of the garden and into the kitchen: cucumbers, hot peppers, peas, potatoes, favas, fennel, carrots, herbs, lettuces and greens, figs, strawberries and red currants from mine right now. It's all about keeping up with the harvest AND the weeds (if you can!). Some gardeners begin to lose interest--I know that my sister-in-law loves the seeding and early growing times and doesn't relish the idea of picking and canning and drying. I think she likes the look of the garden as much as the food it produces.
Me? I'm all about gathering as much healthy food as I can right from my own garden, and so I am always thinking about what else I can plant to extend the harvest, to keep constant the waves of ripe veggies and fruit well into the late fall. And so every week until the middle of August I plant!
Today I moved around some pepper and basil plants that were getting shaded by some rather energetic and enormous zucchini leaves, and then I planted some more lettuce (slow-to-bolt varieties), basil (you can never have too much basil, and it is lovely to have tender leaves at the end of summer), zucchini (yes, yes I did--but for the blossoms! Have you ever sauteed and stuffed them? Yum!), filet beans for late season dishes that speak of full summer--see Eating Well's list of dishes starring the green bean) and radishes in a shady spot to keep them cool (they will turn fiery hot in the hot summer sun).
And then in a couple of weeks, when I take out the pea plants, I'll put in carrots--the ones that mature in the cool of fall are the sweetest--and more kale and chard. Then at the end of July I'll plant fall crops: peas, favas, lettuces, greens, fennel, broccoli.
Planting season is not a one-shot deal in my garden, not at all--I plan to eat fresh-picked veggies that I grew myself as far into the fall as possible. With a little luck, I'll be harvesting fresh peas at Halloween! How about you--what are you planting this week?