How has your garden been doing in all of this heat?
It’s the middle of July, after a 10-day period of scorching, record-breaking heat. So — how does your garden grow?
Jenny’s brand new raised garden bed (built by her husband Chris alongside the patio at the back of their house) was a victim of the fierce wind storm of June 29.
A giant branch from their big old maple tree broke off, took down electric lines that supplied power to the house, and came to rest on top of the thriving, perfect mini-garden.
All that was visible was a sad looking tomato plant in the one corner the branch didn’t cover. When it was lifted off after several days, the damage wasn’t quite as bad as it looked at first. It appears most of the “crop” survived and is flourishing once more. I had word of a carrot tasting a few days ago.
Heather and Rodney report squash big enough to pick, but no tomatoes yet. I doubt anything got too much water at their house this week — everybody was at the Madison County Fair every day. Jacquie’s now showing rabbits that Kelsey bred. Time really does fly.
The extreme heat and dry conditions are wreaking havoc on home gardens as well as the bigger commercial ones. Maybe backyards are faring a little better, since they’re more likely to be watered daily.
My husband, Carl, is out every night watering the beds around the house, so plants that were put in back in April and May are thriving (so is the water department).
If home gardens aren’t quite producing a whole lot yet, the farmers’ markets seem to have plenty to sell as long as you go early.
My mouth’s still watering for a bite of the first vine-ripened tomato, but I bought some lovely kale a week ago, and cut fresh herbs seem to be widely available.
Fresh local vegetables add so much to summer meals. In hot weather a little meat goes a long way, but don’t run out of the sides.
Slaw tastes especially good right now. Make the dressing first, then toss in shredded cabbage, chopped broccoli, cauliflower, or a mixture.
Here’s to summer.
For the dressing:
2/3 cup mayonnaise (not salad dressing)
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup granulated or turbinado sugar
Place mayo, vinegar and sugar in the bottom of a large bowl. Stir to mix thoroughly.
For the slaw:
Half of a large head of cabbage (6 cups)
2 big carrots
Rinse, drain and shred the cabbage (or cheat and buy the pre-washed shredded cabbage). Wash and grate the carrots.
Add cabbage and carrots to the bowl with dressing. Stir and fold to coat the vegetables. Taste and fold in more mayo, vinegar or sugar if you want.
Chill until time to serve.
Serves six to eight.
This is also good with finely chopped broccoli, cauliflower or both (instead of the cabbage and carrots), a handful of raisins or Craisins if you want, and chopped walnuts.
For another change of veggies, use baby spinach and 6 strips of bacon, fried crisp. Yum.
Linda Conway Eriksson can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.