From Wellspring Charitable Gardens this Week - July 7, 2022
From the Garden this Week… Summer Squash, Cucumbers, Carrots, Beets, Tomatoes, Green Onions, Torpedo Onions, Garlic, Peppers, Arugula, Basil, Rosemary, Chives, Cilantro, Apples, Peaches, & Nectarines
Coming Soon… Lemon Cucumbers, Mariposa Plums
Using your Produce… by Julie Moreno
We grow several varieties of summer squash that are ready now. Regardless of color or size they can all be cooked the same way, just cut them into pieces that are about the same size. My favorite way to cook squash is to grill it. The best advice I can give is to grill it without any seasoning or oil. And then after it is cooked, sprinkle with salt and pepper, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice. This is backwards from most recipes, but I find it to work better. You don’t lose your oil and seasoning on the grill. You do want to make sure that your grill is very hot when placing on the squash or they will stick. I usually cook my vegetables first and then cook meat afterwards. The vegetables can soak up the marinade while you are finishing the rest of the meal. My next favorite way to cook squash is the recipe below.
Parmesan Roasted Summer Squash
1 cup coarsely grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons of finely chopped
fresh or dried Italian seasoning
(basil, rosemary, thyme, parsley)
4-6 summer squash, sliced into ½
inch rounds or quarters
(depending on the squash size)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black
½ teaspoon garlic powder
*Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. and line a large rimmed-baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl combine the squash rounds with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Toss to coat. Add the Parmesan cheese and herbs and lightly toss again. In an even layer place the seasoned squash on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the squash is tender and the cheese is deeply golden.
The English word “squash” comes from the Narragansett word “askutasquash” which means “a green thing eaten raw”. Squash is classified as either summer or winter varieties, depending on when it is harvested. Summer squash is harvested when immature. Its seeds and rind are not fully developed, are still tender and edible. Winter squash is harvested and eaten as a mature fruit, meaning its seeds are fully developed and skin has hardened into a tough rind.
In the summer when it is too hot for lettuce, cucumbers stand in as the base for all of my salads. Peel them or don’t; remove the seeds or leave them in, it is your choice. For me this can depend on the cucumber but enjoy them however you like. They will come all summer, and this is the time to enjoy their cool and crisp texture.
1-2 cucumbers, peeled and seeds removed if desired
¼ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon sugar
½ cup sliced red onion
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
2 teaspoons rice vinegar or white wine or red wine vinegar
Cut the cucumber in half from top to bottom and the slice each piece, with the flat side down on your cutting board, into thin half-moons. In a large bowl, combine the cucumber, salt, sugar, red onion, red chili flakes, and vinegar. Let stand for 10 minutes and then enjoy.
Metaphors of Soil and Soul…Dormancy by Ronda May Melendez
I noted that this year’s cherry trees’ fruiting was not nearly as prolific as last years. Since I really enjoy fresh cherries, and all the other ways to prepare them, it is exciting when the cherry trees fruit. Alas, when the crop was not large, I was a bit saddened and tried to find out the reasons why.
It turns out, dear ones, that cherry trees require between 1,000-1,500 hours of chilling time to produce flowering!!! I did notice there were fewer blossoms this season. I am wondering now if there was not enough time to chill! This is extremely important as cold causes hormonal changes in the tree that signal dormancy can take place. When there is a warmer winter, dormancy does not last as long and can result in irregularly formed flowers and/or a longer flowering season. This is problematic; the longer the flowering season, the more susceptible the flowers are to disease, which impacts quantity and quality of the fruit.
I’ll be honest. The thought of ‘chilling’ is difficult for me. In modern vernacular, “to chill out” means to relax or calm down. I once knew how to do that in an okay way, but I will confess that I pretty much stink at it now and am actively having to remember how, even as I type! That being the case, this insight about dormancy is challenging me to re-evaluate my approach and perspective to cherry growing and to living! Who would have thought that the ability to chill impacts productivity!
Humans need ‘chilling’ times, too. I, personally, love, love, LOVE that God designed a purpose for the chill time of the cherry tree and all other things, too. I invite you to read the wisdom of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 3. For the cherry, the purposed timing in dormancy allows for a healthier blossom, a sweeter fruit, and a more productive tree. That is true of humanity, too - “Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest. In plowing time and in harvest you shall rest.” Exodus 34:21
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens…