My vegetable garden in April is starting to produce food for the table. However, this early spring harvest is a tease for the big bounty coming in May.
The Central Florida weather has cooperated, giving us a balance of rain and beautiful sunny days. Temperatures have reached between 75 and 85 degrees, which is perfect tomato-growing weather. I ate my first tomato of the spring, a Juliet hybrid, last week. Juliet is larger than a cherry and most resembles a grape tomato in size.
The vegetable garden in the backyard has produced a harvest of sugar snap peas, collard greens, Swiss chard, arugula, kale, banana peppers, spicy red lettuce, celery, parsley, mint, basil and dill.
I have been most impressed by the quick growth of the sugar snap peas. In one month, they climbed a 5-foot Eiffel Tower trellis along a backyard path and now shoot beyond the top. The peas are delicious eaten raw. Many never make it to the table.
Vegetables in the early stages include okra, acorn squash, carrots, golden beets, yellow bell peppers, jalapenos, Malabar spinach, eggplant, cucumbers and beans. Culantro will be ready for Cinco de Mayo.
The front yard garden landscape is starting to fulfill its promise with blueberries in the offing. Three varieties, Emerald, Windsor and Palmetto, are ripening at various stages. So far, I have picked two bowls for morning breakfasts.
We have been picking dozens of Meyer lemons throughout winter and spring, with new fruit on the way. It feeds my regimen of drinking lemon juice with warm water in the morning to wake up the digestive system. They also make a delectable sauce with capers and white wine for chicken and fish.
With the rains being so frequent, my biggest gardening chore has been weeding. I don’t mind. The weather is pleasant and it’s a stress reliever to be outside in my gardens. This weekend, I added a layer of decomposed pine straw on top of the raised beds to preserve moisture and help control weeds. I’m preparing for the hot, humid days around the corner.
As if on cue, grape leaves have just started covering the backyard pergola. It will be my shelter on warmer gardening days to come.
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