|Male Tiger Swallowtail|
Beans, okra and peppers dominate our garden harvest this week. We are picking okra every day and beans about every three days. The current bean crop is 'Provider,' and, boy howdy, is it properly named. We have made three pickings already and a fourth will soon be ready. The beans get amazingly long, up to eight inches, before the seeds swell much, and they remain completely stringless even if a bit over-mature. They are easy to pick and the flowers are a decorative pink color, too. We will grow this one again next year. It is great for any recipe calling for green beans.
We have not been impressed with the productivity of the dwarf okra cultivar, 'Baby Bubba.' We pulled this one off the Burpee rack just to try. While it definitely bears okra while remaining under three feet tall, we should have twice as many plants as we do in order to provide a reasonable harvest. By "reasonable harvest," I mean three or four servings of okra every three days. Picked pods keep only about three days from harvest, so unless you have lots of recipes calling for a little bit of okra, I suggest sticking with a small planting of old standby 'Clemson Spineless.' After we received 3/4 inch of rain last Thursday, the pods have really begun to set, forcing us to pick daily. This variety is also tops for flavor, according to many people.
From now until the week after Labor Day is the preferred time to plant garlic. Choose the largest bulbs from last year's crop and plant the largest cloves from these bulbs, to insure the biggest and best crop next season. Garlic needs fertile, weed-free soil, but thrives here with little extra attention. Purchase seed garlic from your favorite independent garden center, or just plant organic garlic from the grocery store.