Thursday, July 17, 2008

Peas and Cukes

I'm having trouble with my lettuce. It is hot out. It has been well into the 80Fs for quite a while, with occasional heat waves into the 90Fs. Before the last heat wave I picked lots of lettuce, which I've finally finished eating. We are about to have yet another heat wave. I picked a couple of bolting "heads". I hesitate to call them heads since they really aren't large enough yet. It is probably enough lettuce for just one salad. None of the rest is really doing all that well. It is growing very slowly. The new seed that I put out won't come up (except Red Sails). So my succession planting has really stalled.

The best of the lot of lettuce for this heat so far seems to be Red Sails. It has out performed all the others. But after weeks without a break in the heat, even it is having problems. The little seedlings just sit there asking me why I planted them during the summer. They are on strike and demanding cooler weather before growing again. Black Seeded Simpson has been the overall worst performer. I don't think I'll grow it again. I've been told crispheads grow better in the summer than other lettuce, but I hate crisphead lettuce. I'll have to do some research before I buy my seed next year. Also I'm going to have to branch out with salad greens and grow a few other kinds of green. My best green so far in the heat is my Fun Jen (frilly boc choi). It doesn't hold up well to cooking, but it quite tasty in a salad.

And despite the heat, my peas have germinated and are poking out of the soil. My current peas are still producing weirdly enough and are even starting to send up side shoots. They are starting to get some yellow leaves, so I'm guessing they won't last all that long. This has been the weirdest variety of pea. It is supposed to be Dwarf Grey Sugar, which is a dwarf snowpea. The package said it was supposed to get about 2 1/2 feet tall. Well it has topped 5 feet and is still growing. I had to add to its trellis so it wouldn't fall down, but sadly I did that a little too late, so it is tipped over a bit. It is also supposed to be a snowpea. And it is fine in that capacity, but it gets sweeter if you let the peas develop a little and they seem to work as a snap pea too. Very strange. I wonder if their seed got mixed up.

The heat has been a boon for my cukes. I clipped off the tops of the two that have made it to the top of the trellis. Their response to this has been to freak out and send out lots of potential cukes. If you look at the photo, one node has four little cukes growing and the other has three. This is happening all the way up and down the stem. Plus it is sending out side branches. I expect to be inundated with pickles soon. And speaking of pickles. I ate the first ones yesterday at dinner. They were wonderful. A little sour though, so I'll add a little more sugar to the pickle mixture next time. Cold pickles are the perfect summertime treat.


  1. The cucumbers look lovely! You'll be eating tons of cucumbers and pickles soon! Yum! I want to learn how to make pickles.

    Our lettuce bolted too, and when a few of them were tiny too. Not even a full head either. :-/ I'm trying again in the fall.

  2. You know I think I have identified a stray plant I have in my garden thanks to you, I have a cucumber plant. I have no idea how I have this cucumber plant but I do.

    Glad I stopped by.

    Gill from Canada

  3. dp nguyen: I just got back from camping and I brought my pickles along. They were definitely a hit with my friends.

    Gill: Hmm a volunteer cuke. You just never know what kind you will end up getting, good luck on a good tasting one.