July’s DIG IT Class
Normally we hold our DIG IT classes at Persimmon Park on the first Saturday of the month, but due to the July 4th long weekend, July’s class was pushed to this coming Saturday, July 11th from 1-2PM. So after last weekend’s BBQs, fun in the sun, and fireworks, join us this weekend for our class on Summer Gardening. We’ll be discussing fertilizing your veggies to give them a summertime boost, how to prune (or not to prune!) unwieldy tomato plants, dealing with powdery mildew and cucumber beetles in your zucchini and cucumber plants, trellising, and more! The class is free and open to the public, so you’re welcome to bring family, friends, and lots of questions.
WHAT’S GROWING IN THE GARDEN?
It’s an exciting time in the garden! After an unusually cold and overcast month of May, all of the summer vegetables in the community garden are enjoying our recent run of clear skies, full sun, and much needed heat! As a result, we’ve seen our first ripening tomatoes of the season, as well as some enormous beet and carrot harvests. There’s also been our first yellow and green snap bean harvests, lots of lettuce, and the beginning signs of an avalanche of zucchini and yellow squash blossoms to come.
One of the questions that Mike, the gardener from Homestead Design Collective who oversees the garden, often gets is: “Are you growing anything different or unusual in your demonstration beds?” The answer, as a matter of fact, is yes! Here are some lesser known vegetables and herbs that he’s growing this summer:
1) Aleppo Pepper: Traditionally grown in Syria, the dried, crushed spice that derives from the Aleppo chili pepper has become increasingly rare around the world due to the conflict in that country. A local Bay Area grower, however, has been growing the Aleppo pepper from seed and we’re excited to see them grow at Persimmon Park. We can’t wait to taste their beautiful red fruit – they have a mild yet steady heat to them with hints of raisins, cumin, and just the right amount of saltiness!
2) Dittany of Crete: This hardy herb (pictured above) is closely related to marjoram and oregano with a long history of medicinal uses, including references in ancient Greek mythology. It produces pink blossoms that can be dried to make an herbal tea, while it’s also often used to flavor liqueurs and as a subtle addition to mixes of spices for Mediterranean cooking.
3) Pepino Dulce Melon: Don’t let the name deceive you! The pepino is actually related to the eggplant and produces cream colored fruit with purple or green stripes that are the size of a goose egg. Popular in New Zealand, we can’t wait to taste this sweet treat in the late summer and early fall.
4) Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherry: A lesser known member of the nightshade family, the ground cherry is perfect for gardens with poor soil conditions. It grows in a sprawling bush and can tolerate even the toughest of soils. Like a tomatillo, the fruit grow in a papery husk that drops to the ground when ripe for a super sweet snack with the perfect amount of tartness.
5) Mexican Sour Gherkin: Also known as the mouse melon, this cucumber produces tons of tiny, melon shaped fruit that are the perfect snack for kids and adults alike! Once you taste their crunchy fruit with a hint of lemon flavor, you’ll be hooked. That and we have to say that they’re pretty darn cute to look at:
If you have any questions about any of these vegetables or herbs, feel free to stop by the garden to chat with Mike. He’s there every Saturday from 9:00 to 3:30. Please join us, too, for the Summer Gardening class on Saturday, July 11th from 1-2PM. We hope to see you there!
PHOTO CREDITS HOMESTEAD DESIGN COLLECTIVE
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