To Every Vegetable There is a Season
I hope that the heat wave will ease this week and that on Wednesday, as the month of Elul is upon us, autumn scents will tantalize the air at last. Or at least a hint of those scents… For our part, we are in complete sync with Elul, starting our chorus once more, beginning to seed carrots and beets and green beans in preparation for autumn. The first fall plantings will wait another ten days, as the cauliflower and cabbage will only arrive around August 20, and the rest of the planting and seeding–the major quantities–begin at the end of August, just in time for the new Hebrew year.
But with all due respect to the scents of autumn, let’s put in one last word about this month’s heat and the seasonality of vegetables. Many have asked me how we manage the heat, and also, how do the vegetables manage. Are we constantly watering them? How do we chill the air (sprinklers)? The answer, surprising enough, is that there is not much difference in either their watering and or in their condition, and truthfully, the heat has not affected them. On second thought, since summer vegetables actually grow in the summertime, it’s less puzzling.
By this season most of our vegetables are already big and well-set in the earth. We don’t plant much during the months of July and August; mostly we harvest existing plants and watch others grow. The existing vegetables are already firmly growing in the field- the pepper bushes have been trimmed and trellised; the beanstalks are climbing high; the tomatoes are bountiful; the okra and soy are ripening in larger quantities; the pumpkins are being gathered to a big and impressive pile; and the eggplants are blooming again, bearing their chubby fruits. This crowd is not easily bothered by heavy heat waves, high temperatures and extreme humidity: summer is their home and their time.
Most of our real challenges have to do with caring for our young’uns: the lettuce, onions, and tomatoes that are being planted now, the corn that is still being seeded. The youth receive initial watering by hose to grant them a first portion of water, easing their absorption. We have to keep our eyes wide open and make sure the earth around them does not dry up. It seems like the young vegetables are acclimating easily- the lettuce under the shade net, the tomatoes in the open. The corn seeds love high temperatures (it’s harder in the beginning of the season, when they need to sprout in cool weather), and within a day or two we start seeing the green sprouts.
The lettuce plants aren’t too happy, though. Last week we thought they got a little scalded- white spots appeared on their leaves, perhaps a reaction to the heat and acute radiation (or because of last week’s solar storm? Who knows?) On the other hand, the fungus that attacks more during hot weather slows down somehow when it gets really hot, so some good does come out of a strong sun.
Aside from the vegetables that you have already met in your boxes over the summer, you will also be receiving the popcorn, which arrives after its fresh sibling–We have to wait until it dries up and the corncobs harden in order for them to reach the proper level of crispness for popping. An additional friend we are expecting is the sweet potato, whose bulbs are already becoming rounded under the earth, covered in a magnificent carpet of tangled leaves and intertwined with beautiful purple flowers.
Here is what it looks like:
Wishing you a fresh breath of “normal for the season” temperatures, and an autumn-like month of Elul for us all,
Alon, Bat Ami and the Chubeza team
This week’s basket includes: (We still encounter a shortage in cucumbers and were unable to buy them this week as well. Hopefully this period will end soon)
Monday: edamame, yard long bean, mint, butternut squash, tomatoes, basil, onions, lettuce, potatoes, corn/melon, eggplants – small boxes only.
In the large box, in addition: cherry tomatoes, cowpeas or okra, pumpkin, parsley
Wednesday: butternut squash, lettuce or basil, tomatoes, onions, yard long bean or edamame, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, potatoes, dill, peppers, corn or melon or eggplants – small boxes only
In the large box, in addition: okra or cowpea, pumpkin, eggplant, melon or corn
August vacation has had its way with us too—-This week we’re skipping the recipes, but we’ll see you here in the Recipe Corner next week!