Sunday, July 29, 2012

Edibles in Bloom

Fig. 1   Thai Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

This is a partial glimpse of my vegetable garden this year.  Instead of showing the fruits, I chose to focus on the flowers.  Flowers are generally the early indicators of a forth coming harvest for any food crop.  For some plants such broccoli and cauliflower, the flower directly translates to the crop yield. Still for other annual plants where the leaves are the harvestable parts, flower initiation marks the cessation of productivity. 

Fig. 2    Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum)

Basil and cilantro (Fig. 2) are among of my favorite herbs of all times.  Basil is generally a summer crop and a long-day plant, which means that it flowers when the daylength (photoperiod) is longer than 12 hours per day. Thai basil (Fig. 2) is particularly sensitive to increasing photoperiod - the seedlings almost always have flowers when I buy them from the nursery.  For a plant where the leaves are the harvestable/edible part, this poses a problem.  However, that is when management comes into play.  It is my practice to  decapitate my basil plants at the slightest hint of flowering in order to induce branching and prolong vegetative growth. 

Fig. 3    Meyer Lemon (Citrus x meyeri)
The 'Meyer' lemon seems to be enjoying its current location (Fig. 3).  When my father-in-law and his wife could not get it to fruit in their shady front yard, they gave it to me - knowing that we have the sun here.  So far it is looking good. 'Meyer' lemon, which is believed to have originated from China, is different from the true lemons such as 'Eureka', 'Lisbon', and 'Ponderosa' in that it is sweeter and less rindy (thinner rind).  Such characteristics are attributed to a genetic relationship to the Mandarin orange.
Now there are two types of lemons in my backyard.  I have yet to succeed in growing the Filipino lemon - Kalamasi (Citrus microcarpa).  

Fig. 4     Celery (Apium graveolens)

Last winter I planted a row of celery (Fig. 4).  It was great to have something green in the garden during the dead months of winter.  It was but we could not use it all up.  I left the plants to flower to encourage the pollinators to linger around.
Every gardener in our area would be interested to know that celery is deer resistant.  But then again - as I always say when people ask me whether a plant is deer resistant or not - it all depends on how hungry the deer are. 

Fig. 5    Italian Sweet Pepper (Capsicum annuum)

Fig. 6     Phaseolus vulgaris

Not all good things are meant to be for the gardener. I planted beans and watched them grow all the way to flowering (Fig. 6). One morning after I took the picture above, all those plants were defoliated. Everything above ground was gone except for the stems. To say that I almost cried is an understatement. The voles are here and they are destructive! Some say that voles come every three years; 2012 appears to be third year. Sadly, we'll have no beans this summer.

Fig. 7   Thai Pepper (Capsicum annuum)

Fig. 8     Fingerling Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum)

From last year's harvest, I saved the really small tubers and planted them in early spring.  If it is still true that the condition of the foliage (Fig. 8) is an indication of what lies underground, then these spuds must be hiding some gold in the ground.  Unless, of course, my enemies (voles) have dig a secret tunnel to get to the tubers.  

Fig. 8     Tomatillo (Physalis philadelphica)
This is my first time growing tomatillo.  So far the plant is doing what it is supposed to.  Flowers hang from the branches but there has been no sign of fruit as of this time.  I keep my fingers crossed on the possibility of homemade salsa verse. 

What's flowering in your edible garden today?


Pura Vida said...

mmmm meyer lemon

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

We grew tomatillos last year, and this year we had volunteers all over the garden! ;) We're also growing them intentionally this year too, to make more salsa verde. I've been hanging on to our very last jar from last season, until we harvest this year's! We've found the bees love the open and accessible blooms on the tomatillos too!

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