Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Heat Wave

Up until now we have had one of the coolest Junes in over 30 years. But I think that is going to end today as it is the start of a heat wave for us. In our neck of the woods a real heat wave is defined as three days in a row 90F or over. The predictions for Boston are 97F, 99F, and 90F for the next several days, so I think it qualifies.

I did a few things this morning to prepare. I picked all the snap and snow peas that were even close to ready. The peas can probably survive the heat, but it will be very hard on them. I also picked all the Michihili cabbage from the Asian greens/brassica bed.

This was no small chore. I swear there was a microcosm of life in each head. Especially the one that didn't seem as damaged. I even found an earthworm in the middle of that one. How can an earthworm survive in there? Was he munching on my Chinese cabbage too? Much of the leafy part was too damaged to save, but stems were pretty untouched. So I cut the leafy part off and saved the stems. The stems are actually my favorite part of this cabbage so it was no great loss. In the middle was a nice little untouched core of blanched heart. Yum. For the really eaten up one I just tossed all the outer part and kept the pretty core. I'm shocked there really was a core. Oh and they were huge. Just huge. I could barely lift the big more undamaged one. I probably salvaged about half, maybe a bit less, of the cabbages. Their tally weight is probably just under 15 lbs, but I haven't added it all up. Much of them are destined to be frozen. I think the stems will make a good veggie for soups and stir fries come winter. Not today though.

This is what is left in the bed. Don't the two cabbages look lonely? Except for the chard they are the only greens left harvestable in the garden. I hope they survive the heat. I thought about picking them too, but I want to harvest them in a couple of weeks. Or at least that is the hope. Maybe not though. I haven't grown real cabbage in quite a while. Maybe I'm over estimating its tolerance to heat.

I did a couple other chores before it got into the 90Fs. I planted the last wave of corn. I tied up some floppy flowers. I put the next layer on the tomatoes and cucumber cages. The cucumbers aren't that big right now, but I'm hoping they take off in the heat.

Then it was a nice bike ride with a friend. We have the Minuteman Bike Path not far from our house and I use it a lot. It is a very pleasant ride. I thought I was done with everything, but then I had a thought. How was the broccoli doing?

Whoohoo they were all ready to pick. Actually they were a little bit over ready to pick. I should have been out there a couple days ago. But since I was actually on the Cape with family a couple of days ago, it just didn't happen. The Windsor broccoli held on the plant longer. The Fiesta was ready all at once and didn't hold on the plant at all. Fiesta is a later broccoli. And the head were huge. The largest was 1lb 11.5oz. None of these head would fit into my gallon plastic bags they were just too big. I had to trim off the florets on the edge to make them fit. I think I'm going to have to freeze some of these. I gave a bag to my townhouse mates. But I don't think I can eat the rest before they go bad. Too bad they call came at once. I've never had enough broccoli to freeze before. I'll have to look up how long to blanch it. Oh and the broccoli isn't over. The Windsor has already started making side shoots. Fiesta is supposed to be a fabulous side shoot producer, sometimes ones even as big as the main head. And they are supposed to be able to survive the heat. I'm hoping for production all summer. We will see. I like the plants though. They are very short and stocky.

Now that most of the spring greens are out of the garden I can look back and see just how amazingly they did this year. The early warmth heated up the soil well and then the cool May and June made them grow beautifully. These plants were mostly put in after the big heat in March and April. If they had gone in early like usual, I think they would have all bolted early and not produced so much. I have my March vacation to thank for that. I couldn't start them until I got back toward the end of March so things didn't get planted up until the middle of April. It was just dumb luck that it worked out so well for me.

Sadly the sweet potatoes and the other warm weather crops have not liked the cool weather so much. These were put in at the start of June, three weeks ago. They are just starting to grow.

The ones that Norma gave me were put in just two days earlier and they got a little bit of heat before that week of drizzle and cold. The difference those two days made was amazing. These seem much healthier and have really started to grow a bit. But the other bed has mostly just sat there. I'm sure with the heat wave, they will all take off. I can only hope. And now that the greens are mostly out I won't hate the heat quite as much.


  1. I went to the plots early this morning and did some watering. When I got home we put the AC units in. I sure hope that my broccoli and cauliflower survive the heat! I'm planning to go back there this evening and see how they are doing.

  2. It sounds like your temperatures are higher than ours in Mobile, Alabama. That's hot!

  3. Sounds like you've done everything you can. I know my plants hate big swings in temperatures! What terrific production you've had! That broccoli alone is impressive. Hope you don't wilt, too!

  4. Beautiful broccoli! I keep watching mine, wanting it to size up as much as possible, but fearing I'll wait too long. I've kind of planned on fixing some for Friday's dinner, so hoping some will be ready by then.

    Blanching time for broccoli is 3 minutes: National Center for Home Food Preservation.

  5. sounds like you are in fro quite the heat wave! I am sure everything will love some heat...hopefully!

  6. Hi Daphne... I'm a newbie and I thank you for hosting Harvest Mondays. Here is central Pennsylvania, we too are experiencing a couple days of 90+ temps, but by weekend we should be back to 80's and even 70's next week. I actually had two harvests of broccoli this year. I thought the majority of my crops were frozen early in the spring because of the crazy swings in temperatures, so I planted a second crop, and it turns out they are BOTH being harvested. The first harvest (over 10 pounds) was finished about a week ago, and the second harvest (maybe another 10 pounds) is about ready to start. I'll be posting the tally. Your broccoli looks beautiful.

  7. We had our coldest June day in 15 years today so I have to admit to being somewhat jealous of your impending hot spell.

  8. I have forgotten how it feels to be in a heat wave - we have been 2 1/2 years without one and are currently in a wet cool June cycle. (sigh) Hopefully we will break this prolonged pattern soon. Your garden is looking great and you really were lucky to plant when you did. I lost alot of early spring items to bolting this year. Some years are like that.