These ‘Pink Charm’ daffodils in my Las Vegas garden remind me of the garden club ladies: I am in the middle of my talk and they are all watching me. That is broccoli in the background. I have filled the freezer with broccoli—I am up to my ears in broccoli and letting the rest go to flower. I am not going to eat another broccoli until next fall. I am turning green; my house smells like broccoli; I smell like broccoli; Bill smells like broccoli; the chickens are turning green and they smell like broccoli.
Broccoli is very pretty when it flowers. I bring some of the brocolli flowers into the house to mix with cut daffodils—they bloom at the same time in my garden. The “fancy” varieties of daffodils in this bouquet fool people—they can’t guess that they are daffodils. And they never guess that the sprays of tiny yellow flowers next to them are broccoli! Fun. —Leslie Doyle, Las Vegas, Nevada
What a nice summer we’re having here. Not enough rain, of course, but July did give us an inch above normal. The weather is hot (90’s) but not too hot and fresh organic food is in abundance just outside the door.
‘Bitonto’ is such a cute little cherry tomato and it is holding its own against those aggressive marigolds—they’re sharing a pot in the photo at left. Good flavor and decorative—what more could you ask?
The peppers are ripening well. Some of my ‘Cajun Belle’ peppers are red already.
The ‘Apollo’ broccoli is amazing and we give away bags and bags. The chickens like it when it begins to bloom too.
I experimented with growing my melons in pots on top of 55-gallon water drums this year. So far, so good. The barrels are filled with water and were installed to store the sun’s heat in the winter. But I just thought they might serve a useful purpose in other seasons too—and the melons seem to like having warm soil when our nighttime temperatures dip into the low sixties, as they often do, even after a day in the nineties. Melons are almost ready to eat, earlier than I’ve ever had them.
‘Lime Crisp’ cucumber, shown at left, is not to our liking due to its bland taste, and all our friends who try it concur. We much prefer the crisp Oriental cukes we also grow. ‘Lime Crisp’ is a beautiful color; it grows like the dickens and churns out tons of cukes, so I’ve taken to pickling them when quite small to keep some measure of control.
All in all, it’s been a good garden year so far.
On the Test Garden front, everything is growing extremely well. The All-America marigold and zinnias are outstanding, absolutely covered in blooms. The 4 lettuces I am trialing are wonderful, with special praise going to ‘Sea of Red’, which nearly looks black-blood red. Love the colour. But I think with the huge heatwave we had last week, it didn’t stay as perky as the green lettuces. Dark colour, I guess.
‘Shiny Boy’ watermelon, another All-America Selections winner, is spreading out nicely. No fruit yet. The peppers are starting to colour up—’Gusto Purple’ and ‘Pinot Noir’. And the tomatoes are covered in fruit, but nothing ripe yet. Beans should be ready in a week.
‘Apollo’, a broccolette-style broccoli, was early. I have harvested all the main heads. They are smaller and more loosely beaded than traditional broccoli. I like the heads on my ‘Green Goliath’ better, but this sure beat it in terms of earliness.