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July 28th, 2011

Super-Sized Broccoli

johnlewisI just picked my biggest broccoli ever—a ‘Green Goliath’. I’ve never grown that variety before. The head is over 9 inches across. I’m not sure what it weighs since I don’t have a scale, but it’s huge.

This is a great year for broccoli in the Northeast. They are all producing well and the cabbage looks excellent also. Even the ‘Apollo’ broccoli we trialed last year has been good. Last year I got tiny little heads and no side shoots. This year I got decent sized heads and some nice side-shoot production. We have been getting regular rainfall this year; last year we got very little rain in June and July.

broccoli

By the way, that’s Chloe, the gardening dog, in the photo. She loves carrots, radishes, and the occasional green bean. She only sniffs broccoli.  —John Lewis, Newport, Rhode Island

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July 25th, 2011

Noisy Parsnips

leslie_d_tnParsnips haven’t been trendy for a long time. Too bad. There are so many ways to prepare them, but this is our favorite way to serve them:  I shave them, but not the core, with a vegetable peeler and fry them in olive oil. Guests love these and they are usually the first thing eaten on the plate—with ooohs, ahhhhs, and squeals. I like the noises that go with this dish so I have named it “Noisy Parsnips.”

I am starting the cool-season veggies now, and also transplanting melons, squash, and pumpkins into the garden today. This is our overlapping season and soon I will be ripping out perfectly good warm-season veggies to make space for those we grow in our cool season. It breaks my heart!  —Leslie Doyle, Las Vegas, Nevada

July 5th, 2011

What’s Lime Basil Good For?

Inansterman just came in from checking my garden. Here’s my report, five weeks post-transplant. Overall, things are thriving! I’m amazed at how quickly everything is growing and starting to produce. I picked a ‘Salt and Pepper’ cuke that was delicious—crisp and sweet. There was one that was overripe so I probably could have picked it four or five days ago had I noticed it hiding among the foliage. That would be a month from transplant to harvest!

Tomatoes are growing like gangbusters and all are flowering. Some have tiny fruits. The peppers are just starting to open their buds; eggplants are just forming buds. The eggplant plants are humongous!

I have a couple of lime basil plants. I tasted one today, and I have to say that I don’t “get it.”  Why would anyone grow lime basil when they can grow the amazingly pungent and mouth-watering Italian-type basils? I’m not sure what I’m missing, but the lime basil is just boring to me. Can anyone enlighten me?  —Nan Sterman, Encinitas, California

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