The CAFB garden is overflowing with greetings. As the summer growing season nears its peak, there are more colors, smells and tastes to enjoy.
Here are some of this week’s garden treats:
The jalapeño, serrano and bell peppers are ripening. Here’s a little tidbit: These hot and spicy veggies are actually in the same family as eggplants, tomatoes, potatoes and goji berries.
To pick a pepper, use a knife or scissors to cut the stem a half-inch from the fruit.
The edible nasturtium flowers are in full bloom and are ready to be added to omelets, salads or a pesto. The nasturtiums were originally planted as an aromatic barrier crop to ward off pests (an organic alternative to pesticide), but now they’re pulling double-duty as a part of the summer harvest.
Blooms aren’t always best, though. The week of June 22 marks the last of the leaf and romaine lettuce harvest because they are starting to bloom in a process called bolting. This means that the DC summer heat has driven the lettuce to stop focusing on growing leaves and begin growing seeds for next year.
Broccoli is also beginning to bolt, but this is a good thing. Since the flower of the broccoli is consumed (unlike lettuce leaves), bolting means that the garden will soon have fresh florets to distribute.
The garden team will be busy this week planting tomatoes, weeding empty lettuce beds and keeping up with the harvest — the team harvested and donated more than 60 pounds of produce Monday and the garden is still full of ripe produce.
Weeding is not everyone’s favorite garden task, but not all weeds are bad. The wood sorrel is a common garden weed that has nutritional and medicinal benefits. The best part about this clover look-alike is that it is incredibly tasty! So don’t throw this guy into the compost pile; take the leaves and boil them with sugar to make lemonade (yes, this weed makes lemonade!) or serve it with fish as a fresh lemony herb.
If you’d like to get involved in the garden June 22 – June 26, please come and pick nasturtiums, berries, peppers or wood sorrel. And since you’re already in the garden, you can pick some of the less delicious weeds and pile them up to be composted. If you’d like to learn more about the CAFB garden or want to volunteer contact Katelynn-Marie Griner at firstname.lastname@example.org.