The garden is just buzzing these days.
I noticed a lot of bees while I was pulling up the radishes that had bolted. Even after the plants were on the wheelbarrow, bees were still harvesting the pollen. I couldn’t help but wonder what radish honey would taste like, but I guess it would also be mixed with whatever else the bees had found flowering.
And there are flowers all over the garden. Some of them I am happy to see, like the peas. But when some plants bolt, they lose their spring taste and the vegetable is no longer desirable to eat (for humans, anyways).
Spinach starts to become bitter and radishes become woody when they start flowering. This is because the plant has just moved on to the next stage in it’s life: the act of producing seeds. But if the gardener doesn’t want those seeds for either eating or future propagation, the plant is removed, considered waste by some.
I have a friend who doesn’t like that word, “waste”. To him, there is no such thing. After all, this world was made so that what was not usable by one species could be taken up as nutrients by another.
When faced with plants that have gone to seed, I usually don’t treat them as “waste” but as green feed. Feeding the radishes out to the pigs is just a summertime treat for them. Normally they get grass as green feed.
But they don’t mind that the radishes have become woody, and they like the spicy taste of them, too.
They also love spinach, roots and all.
Even if they don’t eat them all, the plants get pushed into the soil where they break down eventually becoming “food” for the garden.
When these early vegetables are done, a gardener can sometimes plant another crop that will produce in a very short time. Usually something that will germinate in the heat of mid summer.
A second planting can extend a harvest. It is easier to deal with a smaller quantity on a longer time frame than to be overwhelmed by a huge harvest all at once.
There isn’t always time for a second planting to mature in the Yukon. But I have in the past planted spinach at this time of year for a fall harvest. Spinach doesn’t tend to bolt as fast when it is planted later in the summer. It bolts because of long daylight and so a spring planting can sometimes bolt before any leaves have even grown large enough to harvest.
But as the days get shorter, after the solstice, this is no longer as much of a concern.
This year I have, in other areas of the garden, planted more chard, onions and garlic. But as I am out of seeds that would be able to produce in the short time left, the area that the radishes came from will just remain empty until next spring.