Finally

It’s just been too hot for spinach and other winter greens which are usually thriving by now. So when Nancy asked me to cut some spinach for an omelet, I had to break the sad news that we had none. Then I remembered that I had planted New Zealand spinach a few months back and forgot about it. It was planted near the pole beans so I guess my eyes were adjusted to looking up. I’ve never grown it before or eaten it but Joey assured me that it was good. He was right. So I trimmed it back, cutting off the older, tougher and bug attacked leaves to start some new growth. If I keep it trimmed I’m thinking we’ll get a continuous crop.

The turnip crop is a semi failure. One of the first things I tried to grow when I started gardening in Florida were turnips. We eat the roots, mashed with carrots, so it was disappointing when the plants grew beautifully but never put out a tuber. I figured that either the variety was wrong for here or it was a soil problem – back then I was having lots of soil problems. So this year I decided to try again and was rewarded with beautiful plants. But again, no roots. I’ll have to do some research but apparently the greens are excellent (tasting) and there are plenty of takers for them. Now I’m thinking trading material since Nancy’s beef raising friend loved them and said that a package with about 3 leaves was selling at Public for $3. We’ve given her two bags with at least 25 large leaves in each bag so that should net us a few steaks. I wondered about the nutritional value of turnip greens, thinking about using them in a green smoothie. Turns out they are nutritional monsters – on the order of Kale. Very high in Vitamin A, C, and K – way more than spinach for example. I made a smoothie to see if they were edible and was pleasantly surprised to find it works well. Other good things are that they were not bothered by bugs, came up well in the heat and also germinated quickly so it may be that I can keep a steady stream of turnip greens going after the traditional winter greens have crashed. With a try. It could be that between turnip greens and New Zealand spinach, the green smoothie season will be extended by a couple of months or even be available year round.

Finally a break in the weather and fall is starting. The temps are dropping with some 40’s in the forecast. That should put an end to the grasshoppers which are feasting daily on just about anything that germinates in the garden – except New Zealand Spinach and Turnip greens. That should give the cabbage plants, broccoli plants, and cauliflower plants a shot at growth. I’ll also quickly get in some conventional spinach seeds, peas, and more lettuce varieties that just can’t handle the heat. Now I start hoping that the temps don’t drop off too quickly.

Another break, the speck’s are starting to school up and bite. I went out this morning and caught 15-20 in about an hour. I would troll until catching one and then cast a small jig into the same area. If it was a lone fish, that would be it but if it was part of a school, then the action would be on. I found 2 schools. Unfortunately they were too small to keep but this is very early in the spec season so no big surprise. The small males start to school first and then the larger, roe laden females show up a month or so later. If things are on track, by mid December we should be catching keepers. Still no bass and that may be the situation until February when they too start bedding.

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