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Blog archive: June 2012

June Garden Update

June is the first true month of Summer here in Malibu, with the first summer crops ready to eat and the last of the spring crops banished by the rising heat. So we say good-bye to English peas, but we still have plenty of sweetpea flowers, which are edible as well as sweetly fragranced.

The garlic is ready and uprooted and on Summer Solstice, I braided it! This is what I did.

1. Grow your garlic until the tops have truly toppled over and look finished.

2. Use a garden fork or hori-hori knife to dig the bulbs out of the ground.

3. Leave the bulbs to dry for a few days so the braids won’t go moldy. The best way to dry them is to hang them on a line of string, or alternatively if your region isn’t humid, simply lay them on a table in the sun.

4. Braid the blubs together, adding more bulbs as you go, and adding raffia if needed to keep the braids long and well-plaited.

The last of the chives are ready to harvest too, pinched out just before the aphids find them… Because rising heat means rising insect populations, and so more insect patrols are essential now it’s getting hot.

It’s still nice here, mid-to late 70′s on most days at the end of June. But it’s a little known fact outside of the Los Angeles area that June in this whole region experiences is a mini-cool season all of it’s own. It’s known as ‘June Gloom,’ and what this means is misty, foggy, overcast days in the late 60′s and early 70′s, with cloud cover and marine layer ocean mists that roll in before dawn, and are finally burned off by the sun around 1 or 2 p.m. By 4 p.m., it’s usually in the mid-70′s, and the fruit and flowers continue to ripen and offer their scents while I make a nice cup of tea.

June is a time of floral dead-heading, which means picking out the flower heads from the herb beds, as well as spent flowers in the flower beds. Also, I thinned the flowers on our bell pepper plants, selecting the healthiest looking blooms and pinching out the other ones so there will be less peppers, but they will be bigger, better and tastier ones.

The mint continues to go insane… it’s hard to kill this stuff, which is lucky, because we use tons of it at the Ranch for drinks for our guests! Also the tarragon is going bananas, and the New Zealand spinach bed from last year has finally found it’s moment to be eaten! I’m giving it time to replenish before August, when we’ll be more reliant on it as our main source of heat-resistant greens.

The lettuces are delicious, and the first zucchini are ready, along with their delicious blooms so great when chopped up as they are and served as a salad ingredient.

Here’s a list of the Summer crops that are currently growing:

Tomatillos – 1 1/2 beds ready in a month from now
Cucumbers – 1 bed ready around August
Eggplants (Aubergines) – 1 bed ready August
Tomatoes – 2 beds ready August onwards
Jalapenos (Chile peppers) – 1/4 bed ready July onwards

Red Noodle Beans – 1 bed ready around September
Fava (Lima) Beans – 1 bed ready now, 1 bed ready around August / September
Red Russian Kale – 1 bed ready now and for next few weeks

Leeks – 1/2 bed ready July, 1 bed ready August onwards
Onions – 1/2 bed ready in next few weeks, 1 bed ready August / September
Celery root and tops – 1/4 bed ready August,

Crenshaw melons – 3/4 bed ready September
Watermelons – 1/2 bed ready September

New Zealand Spinach – 1/2 bed ready now and will keep producing all summer
Malabar Spinach – 1/2 bed ready August

Zucchini (Courgettes) – 1/2 bed starting to be ready now
Butternut Squash – 1 bed ready September / October
Patty Pans – 1 bed ready August / September
Delicata squash – 3/4 bed ready September / October 
Kabocha Squash – 1 bed ready around October

Carrots – 1/2 bed ready to harvest, 3/4 bed ready in August / September
Radishes – 1/4 bed ready to harvest
Beets (Beetroots) – 1/2 bed ready late July / August
Mixed baby greens – 2 beds growing in succession for daily greens
Swiss chard – 1/2 bed ready August / September

Citrus – lemons continue to produce
Apples – 4 of the trees continue to produce, the others not ready yet
Figs – are getting ready and are looking productive!

Cilantro (Coriander)
Red shiso (ready August)

And also of course edible flowers and cutting flowers.

Yes, we are blessed in Malibu with an incredibly abundant garden. I’m so grateful for this beauty!

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