Malcom, Judy and Kevin at the Good Samaritans in Garland, Texas - June 7, 2016
Yesterday Kevin, Margie and I picked fresh produce from the Garland Community Garden and delivered to the Good Samaritans here in Garland. We delivered 18 pounds of Okra, blackberries, stringless green beans, kale, and variety of fresh herbs.
Our gardens are overflowing here in Garland. Charlie's cherry tomato bushes are loaded and they are over 7 feet tall. My blackberry bushes have already produce 20 pounds of berries. I hope that folks will remember to not only pick their harvests on a regular basis, but to share the bounty in their local communities.
Speaking of bounty, it will continue to come down at the Garland Community Garden. Our hops are blooming already with more than three times the amount produced last year. We have three teepees of pole beans that are blooming. All our bush beans are already producing. The loofah are finally beginning to take off. We have two large beds of Asian melons that will soon be producing. Our two cantaloupe beds are thriving. We have tomatoes all over that are filled with green tomatoes. Our Malabar spinach is beginning to produce. Our blackberry bushes are finally coming into their own. We've already harvested 8 pounds from the garden. Peanut bushes are thriving all over the garden. This year we planted those nitrogen-fixing plants as ground cover amongst our tomatoes.
Sweet Potato Slips Monday Night at the Loving Garland Green Meeting
Jane Stroud, one of the members of Loving Garland Green's Board, brought sweet potato slips to share with members. Jane, a microbiologist by profession, is also a diligent gardener and wildlife preservationist. She is the one who introduced me to the value of native bees and showed me how to build houses for them. Until I knew Jane, I didn't realize there were so many varieties of sweet potatoes. Jane shared the following varieties with us: Allgold, Arkansas Red Leaf, Becca's Purple, Cordner's Red, Ginseng Orange, Mahan/Bradshaw, Molokai Purple, Maryland Red, Texas Porto Rico AKA Red Velvet.
Sweet potatoes are a great vegetable to grow here in North Texas. They are great for container gardens. In fact, that's what Jane grows them in--large plastic storage containers. I am making one for the folks at the Good Samaritans. The great thing about sweet potatoes is that you can also eat the leaves. Unlike other potatoes from the "white" varieties, sweet potatoes are not members of the nightshade family. Thus you can eat their leaves while the potatoes are growing underground. The sweet potato thus produces food from about the end of June until the first killing frost here in November.
We harvest our sweet potatoes here in North Texas after Halloween and before Thanksgiving (usually the first week in November). Harvest two to three weeks prior to eating. The tubers need to cure and develop sweetness.