While I pulled some stalks of rhubarb a few weeks ago, today I brought in my first harvest of sugar snap peas! I mentioned on Monday how much I love sugar snap peas, but for the past few summers it seems like we only get a handful before the plants wither and die due to heat.
Well, it’s certainly getting hot, but so far all of the plants seem to be going strong and they are covered in small peas and flowers. I’m hopeful that 2013 will be our most successful summer gardening adventure yet!
I spent some time yesterday weeding and planting some additional rhubarb and flowers in containers around the raised beds. Everything seem to be growing nicely now that the weather has been warm(er) and wet the past week. All of the plots are much greener than they were on Week 6.
It’s particularly good to see that the cucumber and green bean plants are starting to take off and that the sugar snap peas are flowering. If we are lucky enough to have a few more unseasonably cool weeks, I may actually get a decent sugar snap pea harvest. Although I try every summer, as soon as the peas begin to grow the weather tends to take a turn for the ridiculously hot and the plants die.
The splash of color that the flowers are starting to add will be a nice addition this summer. Hopefully the Nasturtiums in the first plot don’t completely overrun the cilantro and leeks!
Every two weeks or so I get a delivery from The Green Grocer — or, as I like to say, The Veggie Fairy. Although I tend to get the majority of my vegetables from Eastern Market on the weekends, if the Green Grocer’s offering looks tempting I am happy to let someone bring them directly to my door.
Last week I was heavily motivated to order a single, organic box based on the sugar snap peas and made some swaps for items I can’t eat like cantaloupe (I’m super allergic) and those I don’t really want when someone else isn’t available to cook them for me (like beets), then waited for my box to arrive.
When it came I was quite surprised at how heavy the box was when I brought it into the house. When I opened it up I was even more surprised by the contents. The swaps I had made meant I was only expecting four items — sugar snap peas, lettuce, broccoli, and cherry tomatoes — but the box was stuffed! There were 3 large heads of lettuce, at least 11 heads of broccoli, 4 bags of sugar snap peas, and two boxes of cherry tomatoes. Either there was a serious over abundance of veggies on-hand last week or someone really wanted me to eat my greens!
Needless to say, a party of one isn’t going to consume all of that in a timely fashion. At least not this party of one. Particularly during a week where I had dinner plans almost every night. So I gave some of the lettuce and broccoli to my brother-in-law and sister-in-law and got to work figuring out how I could make the most of the items I had kept.
Freezing seemed to be the best option, so I started by cleaning the snap peas and removing their strings. Then I blanched them in boiling water for 2 minutes before plunging them into an ice bath for 2 additional minutes. After allowing them to dry on towels, I packaged them up and into the freezer they went. I followed suit with the broccoli (although the blanching/ice bath process was increased to 3 minutes) and filled three more bags. I did leave myself one bag of sugar snap peas to eat fresh as well a serving of broccoli.
Now we are ready to make stirfry or another veggie dish at a moments notice with our cleaned and partially prepared snap peas and broccoli. And after all the things I’ve been taking out of the freezer recently, it felt nice to add something for later!
Two weekends ago while my husband toiled away organizing our basement, I set to work on our seedlings for 2012. I had thought that getting the seedlings going in mid-February would be great timing, since most call for 6–8 weeks of inside growth before being relocated to the great outdoors in late March or early April. However, as we have had temperatures reaching as high as 67 recently, I think I should have started getting ready to garden in December!
But crazy DC weather aside, come early April we will hopefully be transplanting four varieties of tomatoes, two types of cherry tomatoes, multiple bell peppers, and some jalapeno peppers, cayenne peppers, cucumbers, and red and white onions to our backyard plots. We’ve also got four flower options started to intersperse with our plants that will not only look pretty, but will (hopefully) help keep bad bugs away.
And when the time comes that it is indeed warm enough to plant outside (er, tomorrow?) we’ve got a whole bunch of direct sow seeds ready to get to growing too including leeks, carrots, sugar snap peas, green beans and a bunch of herbs.
My fingers are crossed that this marks the kick off of a wonderfully abundant gardening summer!