This past Monday the gardeners got out of the dirt and on to the patio at 12 Street Wings for the first monthly Forest Park Community Garden happy hour. This idea grew (pun intended, always) from requests for more social opportunities from gardeners, as well as a generous offer from 12 Street Wings to host our group. They even donated 10% of our tab back to the garden!
People talked gardens, children, jobs, basically covering the normal anxieties of life. While our Vice President Jessica was making hay while the sun shines at her actual farm, our motley crew of gardeners and garden fans took over the sunny beer garden. One hot topic was what to plant now that some spring crops are done and the temperature is starting to rise.
Garden fan and volunteer Rebecca noted “My spinach did really well this year, but it finally bolted and it’s gone. We’ve eaten our last batch of spinach lasagne for the season. The peas are ripening fast in their pods, and soon the pea plants, too, will be in the compost. It’s time to harvest the last of the lettuce before the heat turns it bitter. It’s only June, and my once-green garden is starting to look bare.”
She asked herself after a failed attempt at summer carrots what could be planted in heat in the brown spots leftover from the first crop?
Turns out bok choy is a great option. Two years ago Rebecca planted bok choy in the spring. It grew up into straight spindly plants that produced a few leaves, looked nothing like the bok choy bought in the store, and quickly flowered and went to seed. Frustrated and swearing off growing bok choy ever again, one summer day she discovered her garden plot full of bok choy seedlings. That second batch, grown from the seeds produced by the spindly first crop, grew into beautiful, big-leafed plants that did not bolt until the end of fall, and kept her family in soups and stir-fries until after the first frost. Now she always plants it on purpose as a second crop.
Some other good options for second / summer plantings include:
- Beets – In addition to eating the “meat” of the beet, you can also stir fry the greens
- Kale – Plant now and you should be harvesting through fall and maybe even winter
- Summer squash – Great on the grill through fall
What are you planting now that the spring crop is finished? And who else has a recipe for spinach lasagna they’re willing to share??
Tell us all about it in the comments OR simply come to our next garden meet-up, taking place on Monday July 7th. All are welcome to join.