WAKING UP TIRED VEGIES
Tired old vegetables that seem to have run out of steam in the heat of the later part of the year can now be retired. Or can they? We seem to think a lettuce will bolt to seed the moment it is planted as a seedling and finish up with that milky thistle taste.
This is mostly true. Maybe a new cuisine style of using bolted lettuce would work well with a few foodie adjectives.
If you are a keen vegetable nut and want to prove these theories a bit wrong, you might be right in finding a good cool space with just the right amount of heat and light and a breeze that lowers humidity. If not, we may see you in the supermarket at the iceberg lettuce counter.
About now you would be turning what you grow your vegies in to a fallow patch with lots of mulch, waiting for a wet season and high summer temperatures.
The other alternative is to grow loose-leaf varieties like mignonette (green and bronze) and the lovely butter crunch.
Rocket, or eruca as some call it, is a good summer crop that will cover a patch or pot fairly quickly if it is mounded and drained.
Try also radicchio, the leaf that made ersatz chicory-style coffee in the wars and is still sold today as a coffee substitute.
Chooks and budgies think this is banquet fodder and it produces very yellow-yolked eggs.
As the year winds down to a hot summer, you can try some of the Pacific vegetables. Okra for a change. Maybe malabar spinach and the other spinach lookalike, aibika, from a cutting that should get up to a metre in a month or so.
There are plenty of alternatives if you are keen enough to try a few garden experiments.
Most of the raw materials are at the market and are simply a few seeds perhaps or cuttings from a bush.