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Bolting Brassicas

June 9th, 2012

This spring has been HOT, HOT, HOT here in NE Ohio. We’ve already had days in the 90’s and next week looks to be just as hot. We never really have a spring as most people think of it, we go from winter directly into summer here. It makes growing brassicas a bit of a challenge. These little napa cabbages never had a chance. I planted in a raised bed in the back where they get some shade, but that wasn’t quite enough.

I suppose I could still harvest some of the leaves, but I decided to pull them all out and use them as mulch instead. They were replaced with celery, which will come in handy when making quarts of my homemade tomato soup.

In the Midwest, growing brassicas can be challenging. This year a few of my broccoli plants produced nice heads and the ones that started producing after the heat stroke hit are producing little button heads instead.

Of course that’s what we get when we try to grow things outside of their comfort zones, so we take a risk and roll the dice on what kind of summer we’ll have. Tomatoes and peppers don’t like the cold, brassicas and peas don’t like the heat. Different varieties also fare differently in weather extremes, thus it’s worthwhile to try a few different kinds. I have one type of broccoli that’s definitely weathering the heat better than the other. I bet the other one does better as a fall crop.

The beautiful thing is, I can simply pull out the bolting brassicas and replace them with something that’s going to LOVE the hot dry summer ahead – like peppers, tomatoes and squash. Sometimes it’s best to go with the flow and take advantage rather than trying to fight it! Looks like my pantry will be stuffed with lots of fire roasted peppers for the winter!

Are there any plants that you would love to grow but can’t because of the zone/climate you live in?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.