Summer Solstice Report

Maybe it’s a coincidence, or maybe it just depends on happening to be here in the lower Delaware Valley, with a pretty temperate climate coming off a reasonable winter, but in the last few days I’ve observed:

My favorite forage food, the minty Creeping Charlie, has gotten on the tough side. Now just the newest leaves are edible (photo: April 21, when even the stems, and also the purple flowers, were tender and tasty).

But happily, my summer favorite, purslane, is taking its place! Purslane (left, below) is a succulent related to the garden plant portulaca. It’s an annual that seeds itself very efficiently whether you like it or not. So you might as well like it and consume it! It add a nice taste and crunchiness to salads and sandwiches, and has exceptional food and health value.

And (unfortunately not edible) canna lilies have started flowering! At least, this one to the left has. It spent the winter in a big pot in my study, so had a head start on the others, even though eventually, by April, its leaves and stalks died down to nothingness. The other cannas, those that spent the last 6 months stored in peat in the basement, didn’t go back in the ground till May, so their stalks are only a foot or so high now.

In the vegetable garden, this year, asparagus continued to produce edible shoots until about a week before the solstice, an unusually long season, no doubt owing to a relatively cool spring with a good amount of rain. But asparagus has now leafed out into the phase where it fortifies its roots for next year.

At exactly the same time, peas took asparagus’s place. I’ve never enjoyed such a big pea harvest! Here, my rustic pea trellis on June 13, just as the peas were starting to ripen. Now, with the hotter weather, they will probably finish up by the end of June.

About politicswestchesterview

Nathaniel regards himself as a progressive Democrat who sees a serious need to involve more Americans in the political process if we are to rise to Ben Franklin's challenge "A republic, madam, if you can keep it," after a passerby asked him what form of government the founders had chosen. This blog gives my views and background information on the local, state, and national political scenes. My career in higher education was mainly in the areas of international studies, foreign languages, and student advising, most recently at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, from which I retired in 2006. I have lived in West Chester since 1986.
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2 Responses to Summer Solstice Report

  1. Meryle Rothman says:

    Nathaniel -So happy to see that you are keeping busy in your garden.  Thank you for inspiring me to learn more about Creeping Charlie….one of the secrets to your excellent health. Back in the day folks were eating creeping Charlie as a cure-all for a variety of ills, from congestion to inflammation to tinnitus. Also, way back when, beer was a different animal. In the 16th century, hops were not available in England, but beer was and ground ivy was the flavoring as well as the preservative in beer production. In fact, one of its common names is ‘Alehoof,’ meaning ‘ale-herb,’ in reference to the time when ground ivy was used instead of hops.  Edible ground ivy does have a pungent, minty flavor that works well for use as an herb in some foods. Aside from that, ground ivy is best used when the leaves are young and less pungent. It can be eaten fresh, although it’s a bit tangy. Leaves can be cooked just as you would spinach. The dried leaves can be used to make tea and are often combined with verbena or lovage and, of course, ground ivy apparently tastes great in beer.

    Read more at Gardening Know How: Eating Ground Ivy: Is Creeping Charlie Edible   Nathaniel – Stay safe, stay healthy and continue to keep us enlightened. Meryle

  2. Pingback: Purslane | West Chester Green Team

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