June Salads and Herbs

Our experiments with having more salad greens this summer are paying off so far. I’ve got beds around the greenhouse that get morning sun and afternoon shade, and I’ve planted some of them with heat tolerant lettuce and other greens. Growing lettuce in our hot and humid summers is always challenging, and in years past we have been happy to get whatever we can. I am also trying some of the Asian salad greens to see what will take the heat.

 

Fun Jen pac choi (click on any image to enlarge)

This week we enjoyed the Asian greens Fun Jen and Tokyo Bekana in our salads. Fun Jen is listed in most seed catalogs as a frilly leaf Pac Choi, and I think it is best used raw. The Tokyo Bekana is a loose head Chinese cabbage which looks and tastes somewhat like Fun Jen, but is a bit bigger. Both are mild tasting, with crunchy ribs, and they also keep well in the refrigerator after harvest.

Tokyo Bekana Chinese cabbage

We’ve had at least two fairly recent hail episodes that were hard on all the greens, plus we’ve had a few flea beetles and caterpillars munching on the leaves, but not enough to move me to spray with anything. The slugs have not been an issue thanks to Sluggo applications. All in all the greens look pretty good I think. Two lettuces that are standing up to the June heat are the Batavian type Sierra and the leafy New Red Fire which is good here in all seasons.

 

Sierra and New Red Fire lettuces

I took a cutting this week from all our spearmint and peppermint plants for drying. We use both mints for teas, and it’s nice to have some dried for winter use. I used the dehydrator for them, instead of my usual method of hanging and drying. Our Excalibur dehydrator makes quick work of drying herbs, and the results are great. I’ll likely be using it again later in summer when I have enough basil to dry.

 

peppermint

Cucumbers from the greenhouse continue to come in. The Manny variety is medium sized and prolific on the two vines in there. We’ve been enjoying them on salads and made into refrigerator pickles. The outdoor cukes are just now blooming here.

 

Manny cucumbers from the greenhouse

And we’re getting a nice amount of summer squash. Actually, we’re about to the point where it’s coming on faster than we can eat it. It may be time to make some zucchini bread, or else freeze some grated zucchini for later baking. I will be donating some of it as well.

 

garlic scape salad dressing

I used up the last of the garlic scapes to make a batch of Daphne’s Garlic Scape Dressing. It has become a new favorite here, and I have tweaked the recipe a bit by using walnut oil, rice wine vinegar and adding a bit of toasted sesame oil. We will certainly miss the garlic scapes!

 

jars of dried mint

That’s a peek at what we have been harvesting here mid June. We hauled in a little over 15 pounds of goodies last week. For more gardener’s harvests, visit Daphne’s Dandelions, host of Harvest Mondays.

 

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16 Responses to June Salads and Herbs

  1. johanna says:

    Cucumbers look great and there is nothing better then cucumbers, dried mint and yogurt for a refreshing summer snack.

  2. Marcia says:

    I have to tell you we really enjoyed the garlic scape pesto using your recipe. (I gave you credit in my harvest post!) I didn’t use the entire stem of the scape only from the curve to the tip so have the remaining portions yet to use. Last night I chopped up one to use instead of garlic in quiche. I think I may look at the dressing recipe you linked to above to see if I can use more of them in that.

    I enjoy reading your blog.

  3. Diana says:

    Those Asian greens are very pretty! They look in between of napa cabbage and pak choi. Makes me think why they store longer than pak choi.

  4. Wilderness says:

    All sounds and looks so good. My mouth is watering for some fresh veggies but as they say my turn will come.

  5. kitsapFG says:

    I really need to try the Fun Jen, it looks like a good alternative to regular pac choi. Those cucumbers look great! Mine are struggling to get going this summer. Our weather has been so cool and wet. I lost most of the first planting (have a few left that are going) and had to reseed most of the planting. They are up no but stalled out because our weather turned cool again. I may get cucumbers yet but it will be a short harvest season for me as a result of these delays.

  6. Emily says:

    Your harvests look great. We hope to try both your garlic scape pesto and Daphne’s garlic scape dressing this week as we begin to harvest the scapes.

  7. Everything looks great! I am making a batch of Daphne’s scape dressing tonight too 😉 I like your idea on mint storage! I have some peppermint I am also getting ready to harvest.

  8. Lynda says:

    Lovely! I have no cukes yet. Yours look lip-smacken’ good. I love cukes with yogurt…yum! You have another envious Harvest Monday!!

  9. Barbie says:

    Looks great. I hope to join you on the greenhouse cukes soon! (Once the new ones come up that is!)

  10. I never think to dry mint. It’s probably the Brit in me, but I do remember to make mint sauce each year, but I should try drying some this year. I’m clearly going to have to plant some hardneck garlic next time for scapes too. I love the softneck garlic, but it tends to be scape free.

  11. michelle says:

    It all looks great! The fun jen looks like something to try one of these days.

  12. Daphne says:

    I love Fun Jen too. It is very tasty and like you I don’t like to cook with it. It doesn’t seem to have enough structure for that. But it is fabulous in salads. I wish my peppermint were growing fast enough to pick. It seems to be very slow. The petunias in the same pot are going to overwhelm it soon. I keep cutting them back, but that just makes them grow stronger.

  13. Shawn Ann says:

    What beautiful lettuce. Everything looks super! I used garlic scapes for my first time this week, I put it in pot pie! It was yummy!

  14. I love herbs and grow a lot of different ones and dry them for use in the winter. Your mint looks awesome!

  15. Wowee – what gorgeous cukes! You are having a very successful garden / harvest so far this summer! It’s inspiring.

    I loved your garlic scape pesto recipe SO much and cannot wait to try the salad dressing – brilliant!

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