Weekend Guest

Joanne came up this weekend; lots of veggies, lots of shopping. The head of lettuce she’s sitting behind is a variety called Red Sails and, as you can see, does really well in the garden-as does the cauliflower. Should be a week’s worth of salads for her and Bob. I’ve also cut some nice spinach, broccoli, and cabbage for her to take home and a quart or so of fresh squeezed grapefruit juice. Her timing was perfect – the peak of the winter harvest season. Nancy also whipped up a batch of radish soup so she knows Joanne is eating healthy lunches next week.
When I put the cover over the garden and the double covering over the squash plants, I took the opportunity to study them closely and was surprised to find a few baby squashlettes forming already. This is a zucchini like squash, a Middle Eastern variety, and normally it goes from seed to fruit in about 2 months but I expected the coolish weather this time of year to slow that down. So far it seems to be on normal trajectory and could be hitting the kitchen by the middle of next month. I guess I shouldn’t be counting my squash before it hatches, or something like that. In case you were wondering how there can be fruit forming when I’ve had it covered and protected from insect pollination, this is a “greenhouse” variety that doesn’t require any insect or mechanical pollination. I just learned of another variety with the same characteristic so I’ll either buy some of that seed for this season or just wait until next year. Here’s the interesting part, if you leave the plants uncovered and they happen to receive some natural, insect pollination, that particular squash will have seeds whereas those that self pollinate, will be seedless. I grow a variety of cucumber that’s the same. So fruit that comes on early in the season, before the bees are out doing their thing, is seedless but as the season progresses, bees take over the pollination and the fruit is no longer seedless. So that’s how you’re able to get seeds from the growers. Probably more than you wanted to know but people do ask how can you get seeds if the fruit produced is seedless.

We did indeed have a freeze Sunday night. Every place I had pans of water, were solid ice. The temp gauge on my new weather station read 30 degrees at 7AM. By 10 it had warmed up to 50 and is supposed to be 70 by late afternoon; 80 in two days. A cursory walk around the garden indicates that everything did just fine but I won’t know for certain until the covers come off for good tomorrow.

Came up with another way to use radishes. That’s a big deal because they’re so easy to grow and take up such a small space. It’s a radish dip. Nancy will do a test batch for the Wednesday bridge crowd so we’ll know whether it’s ready for prime time or not. A variation on the recipe is to chop up some carrot along with the radish in the food processor. Since the carrots are growing adjacent to the radishes, I’ll just pick a few of those too. Tempted as I am, no smoked fish in the mix but a few florets of broccoli in the chopper might just add that nice touch of color. Personally I’m not much of a dip person but it seems to be a must at light social functions.

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