The season has turned, from being one where we watch the tiny flowers and fruits and wonder just when they will be ready to harvest, to where I have to make several trips out of the garden with armloads of vegetables.
There is a considerable shift on our table, as well. Late spring meals tend to be eggy, and on the meat-and-potatoes side…all the green stuff in the garden having bolted or turned bitter. Now almost everything we eat comes from the garden. It’s not just a salad – it’s green beans, squash, cucumber and tomato salad, fried green tomatoes, Malabar spinach, AND collard greens – in the same meal. You can’t save it for later, because there will be too much. As Ethan said one year, in the midst of plenty, “Lazy Lips Sink Ships.” I will certainly be pickling next week.
I have tried again and again to plant things early or in succession to fill in the gaps in late summer or late spring, but only a few things really thrive at those in-between seasons. Late frosts, or heat and bugs make it difficult, so I always turn to pickling (brining rather than heat-canning) to preserve the harvest. Besides, after several months of a mostly vegetable diet, meat and potatoes sounds great. And after a few weeks of that, something fresh from the garden is most welcome.
We are still in the delightful part of the season, where everyone is glad to have the new vegetables we haven’t had since this time last year. Soon, however, things like, “I can’t stand to see one more cucumber,” or “I hate green beans,” might be heard. And by then the eggplants, the peppers, and the pumpkins will be ready. There’s always something to look forward to, as long as you think ahead and get things planted.