Peas, Cucumbers, & Corn in September
Corn. More corn. And let’s see, can there be more corn? This is our third year planting corn and we have planted more than 1 variety each year. Yes, we do know they cross pollinate very easily. But I do so love the variety in color, texture, and flavor. I truly don’t know if I could have a monogamous relationship with a single corn variety. This year we added a small batch (25 planting kernels) of giant Peruvian corn to the mix of pink hopi, sweet corn, blue hopi, and bloody butcher. The Peruvian corn isn’t ready for picking yet, and some of the stalks are perhaps 12 feet tall. Great for shading the garden. We’ll have to see how they compost, or cut them up small and feed in small bits to our beasties over the winter. Some of the other corn varieties are ready and we have been enjoying lots of corn dinners and I have been freezing it on the cob too. We don’t use pesticides, so the chickens have been enjoying the caterpillars.
The weeds exploded into profusion with the monsoon rains, so weeding has become more of treasure hunt – for beans, squash, and bell peppers. I was very pleased that several of my purple bellpepper plants were producing. Unexpectedly, the most desired butternut squash have exploded, sending trailing vines into nearby rows, and climbing 5 ft + up corn stalks! Yet another good reason to plant tall corn. None of the butternuts are ready for eating yet, but there are a lot of them. Most of the beans we are leaving on the vines to dry. We pick some when we wish to eat them within a day.
For some reason, our pea plants put on peas from July through…. well, actually, they haven’t stopped giving yet. We haven’t planted a second crop either, as I have heard you can do with peas. This is our first year trying peas in the garden, and quite frankly, I am impressed with their stamina. I could go out there this instance and pick enough peas to have a small steamed bowl with butter and salt. Yum. I have been humbled by the amount of time it takes to shuck peas.
We’ve also picked our first Cucumbers of the season – lemon cucumbers. I know, these are also suppose to be ready much earlier in the season. Either we are odd farmers, or the plants made up their own mind. We’ve simply eaten these raw, sometimes like a fruit, and sometimes with tomatoes, crackers, and a little olive oil. Makes a light dinner.
There has also been the culinary experiments with turnips, radishes, and rutabagas. Last year, we planted some old turnip seed, and got perhaps 4 turnips, which we roasted with a glaze and consumed with bliss. This year, we planted lots and have been enjoying them in stews and roasted. While I don’t really care for radishes on my salad, the postal lady told me she cuts them small and puts salt and lime juice on them. Now that is good! It makes a nice little appetizer dish with lots of flavor pow for the mouth. This was our first year growing rutabagas. Honestly, I didn’t know what one was, but a packet ended up in a bundle my mom gave me. They are very, very tasty roasted. We will definitely be planting more of these next year.