Summer in the Garden
Thanks to everyone who came out to July’s DIG IT class at Persimmon Park! We had a great turnout for our Summer Gardening discussion about what to plant in the mid-summer heat, fertilizing, dealing with enormous summer vegetable plants, and much more. In case you missed the class, here are a few quick takeaways:
1) Tomatoes: If your tomato plants haven’t already become out of control monsters, take the time to stake, trellis, and support them now. A little bit of work now will make your life so much easier come August and September! As for “suckers,” we’re of the belief that you don’t need to cut out every single one, but pruning some of them out to create air space in the center of a bushy plant is a great idea – tomato plants that are too bushy can be the perfect place for pests, diseases, and rotting fruit to hide before spreading to the rest of your plant.
2) Fertilizing: A great way to fertilize your eggplants and peppers is to give them a dose of liquid fish emulsion as soon as you see a number of flowers that haven’t quite fully opened yet. Giving the plants some fertilizer at this point will give them a boost at the perfect time – just before they’re about to fruit! As for tomatoes, we often find that they don’t need much mid-season fertilizer, but if you feel the need, just be sure not to give them a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen – nitrogen will give you plenty of unnecessary leaf growth, but will not produce sweeter or larger fruit.
3) July Plantings: July is a bit of an “in-between” month when it comes to vegetable plantings, but feel free to try some late season beans and summer squash (the latter pictured below, with some purple basil and flowering variegated oregano). You can also direct seed some of our favorite root vegetables, including beets, carrots, and radishes. If you live in a cooler micro-climate or have a spot in your garden that isn’t in full-sun and mid-day scorching heat, you can also plant some leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach, kale, and swiss chard. Keep an eye on them, though, as they can bolt and go to seed quickly at this time of year!
The community garden is looking especially lush and beautiful at this time of year and there are lots of exciting things happening. Here are a few highlights:
We’ve had our first padron harvests of the year! For those who aren’t familiar with these delicious and prolific peppers native to Spain, they’re a must have in every garden. They’re one of the first peppers to fruit in the summer, and it’s best to pick them when they’re green and no bigger than your thumb. They also add an element of surprise to your kitchen, as about 1 out of every 9 of these sweet peppers pack some heat and spice. “Blistered Padrons” are a great appetizer that will impress all of your friends and family, and you can check out this ridiculously easy yet delicious recipe from Epicurious by clicking here.
One of the more adventurous gardeners at Persimmon Park is growing a rather unusual vegetable – the lemon cucumber! Although it doesn’t actually taste like a lemon, you harvest it when it’s about the size and color of one. Deliciously sweet with a mild cucumber flavor, maybe if you’re lucky, she’ll share one with you!
Also prolific in Persimmon Park is this beautiful variety of creeping oregano. At this time of year, it’s creating a mat of pretty purple blossoms. Use the leaves as you would normally use oregano in the kitchen, while the blossoms are a great garnish for salads and a wide variety of Mediterranean dishes. As a rule of thumb, remember that most herb blossoms taste like a milder version of the leaves!
NEXT DIG IT CLASS: YOU GREW IT, NOW WHAT?
Join us, too, for the next class in the DIG IT series: “You Grew It, Now What?” We’ll discuss all the many things you can do with your harvest, just in time for your garden to kick into high gear in August and September! The class will be held at Persimmon Park on Saturday, August 1st from 1-2PM. We hope to see you there!
PHOTO CREDITS: HOMESTEAD DESIGN COLLECTIVE
Conveniently located between San Francisco and Palo Alto in San Mateo, Bay Meadows offers new homes for sale and for rent within walking distance of Caltrain. Ease of transportation is only one of the many amazing aspects of Bay Meadows. Beautiful, new, clean homes sit among 18-acres of parks, a community garden, and within walking distance of Whole Foods, Chipotle, Crunch Fitness and more. Learn more about our ‘hood by following our Facebook page.