Monday, June 18, 2007

Inbetween Seasons

Sometimes the garden is confused. I know that doesn't seem right. How can a garden get confused? It doesn't think. But just as you get to the crossing of seasons, the garden acts confused. It is too warm for cool weather crops, but the warm weather things are not sure either.
Take corn for instance. In early spring it is warm enough to plant corn seeds. They sprout and start to grow. Then the cool, wet evenings kill the little sprouts. Too damp, they whine as the die. So now you have to wait for another warm spell to get those little seeds to sprout. Aha! They can sprout now, because it is June 20ish and it is SUMMER. Corn takes a long time to grow and lots of water. It will be ready to eat in late September, which is Fall. Why can't it be ready in the Summer when I really like to eat barbequed corn? Because those little spring sprouts thought it was winter again in early June and died. They were confused to death.
Lettuce is also a bit confused. It likes cold weather, but it will bolt and go to seed if it gets too warm. Some of my lettuce bolted in the spring warm moment and I had to pull it out. But some of it didn't buy into that fake summer. It waited a few days and kept being nice lettuce as the weather got cold again.
Our evenings have been somewhere between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and our days have been between 60 and 70 degrees F. Mushroom weather. Great for making saurkraut or Kimchi. Also, great for slugs and snails and slime mold.
So how can you deal with this strange Spring weather? What kind of food plants can tolerate it? Well, I have found that many Mediterranean plants like this type of weather. Fava beans, fennel, onions (short day), garlic, chard, potatoes, and lettuces. But there are also some plants that have been "developed" for this climate. San Diego Tomatos seem to tolerate the cold nights better than heirlooms or beefsteak types. This type of tomato seems to have been "developed" for mildew resistance. Right now I am getting palm sized red and yellow tomatos from plants I put into the ground in late February. Not a spot of mildew in sight. Last year, the cold nights killed just about everyone of my tomatos. And, this variety seems to need less heat to set and ripen the tomatos. Heirlooms need lots of heat for long periods.
So now I am getting tomatos. I just bought and planted some Basil plants. There is fresh garlic to dig up. And I am off to buy some Sourdough bread- It is buschetta time.

Bruschetta- Mediterranean Salsa

Two large Red tomatoes and one yellow one
3 Tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
3-4 large cloves garlic- crushed or minced
1 Cup freshly chopped, shredded or torn Basil
Salt/pepper to taste
few drops of Balsamic Vinegar
Mozarella or provolone cheese
Sour dough bread slices (6)

Chop the tomatos into 1/2 inch chuncks. Toss with minced garlic, olive oil, shredded basil and a bit of salt and pepper. Drizzle with Balsamic. Put it in a pretty bowl with a serving spoon.
Slice or chop the Mozarella or provolone. [Sometimes I use Fresh mozarella or buffalo milk mozarella. These are packed in water and are very soft. They tend to make the bread a bit wet.]
Toast the bread lightly. Put some cheese on the bread and return to the toaster oven or regular over to melt the cheese (about 10minutes at 400F) or you could use the broiler and watch it constantly.
When cheese has melted, remove from oven and cool just a few minutes. Cut the cheese bread into 2" pieces and serve with the bowl of tomatoes. Spoon tomatos onto bread and eat. Excellent with white wine and maybe a quiche.
Mmm. I gotta go get some sourdough bread right now. Bye.

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