A Look at Winter Vegetables in the Summer Garden

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Winter vegetables do grow during our summer heat, but common knowledge states that they will not have a great taste during the summer months. This may not be the case.

I would love to travel to a drought free zone to find the lush jungle of a summer garden. Many of my plants are under stress, which means that they are not producing. The hot peppers keep providing me with spice for my meals. The basil abundantly fills its space. The grape vines run along their trellis, so stuffed grape leaves are on the table. However, being cautious with my watering means that the garden is not lush. I was so grateful for the rain last week, and the ground still holds that moisture, which makes me wonder why neighbors were watering their gardens for hours on end. I could be like the neighbor behind my house; let the garden die of thirst. I did notice that a few winter vegetables were doing well in this heat and lower water, but this is not the time to eat them, or is it?

    Many winter vegetables continue to grow throughout our summer. The swiss chard decorates my front bed. The plants are not lush though. You can see the brown edges on their leaves when they are lacking water. The cabbage and kohlrabi are staying small, so I am curios if they will fill out when fall arrives. I was surprised at the encounter with garlic sprouting in the garden. Garlic has to grow during our winter to form the head that we want. A few cloves of garlic must have remained in the ground, and decided this is the time to grow. I want to see what will happen with these plants. Two winter vegetables really did seem to be flourishing: the kale and the collards.
    My daughter Katya refers to kale as her favorite vegetable. I think that she feels that this vegetable will give her luscious long hair. I am happy enough with this belief if it causes her to enjoy those greens more. Seeing how full the collard was, I harvested the young leaves. I quickly fried them with some garlic leaves and kefir lime leaves. The dish tasted much like the dish had tasted during the winter. The collards are in a bed which obtains a lot of sun during the winter, but partial shade during the winter. This may be the reason for the winter like tastes, but the flavor may also be due to harvesting the young leaves.
    The kale was doing equally as well. I had transplanted these plants into a new bed. This new bed will have great sun during the winter, and is shaded by the galangal grown there during the summer. I steamed these leaves. I did not only take the young leaves. The leaves were tossed with a soy vinaigrette after steaming. Again, there was no grassy flavor. Grassy? I do not know a better term, but is you have eaten an edible plant which is not too flavorful, then you will know the taste.
    These winter treats were well received. Can you remember waiting for that first fresh tomato or okra? How do you feel about them once eating them becomes too common? Having a canned tomato during the winter months is alright, but having a taste of that fresh vegetable is better.

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This site came out of my desire to write about my love of gardening, but also to connect it to my knowledge derived from home inspections. That is why I tied it to the home inspection site.If you have questions, you can email them to me (frank at yourhoustonhomeinspector.com). For home inspections, call 713.781.6090.
Happy gardening, Frank


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