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A Time To Bolt

In zone 7, it’s time for the cool-weather greens to start going to seed. Here’s the spinach bolting:


Unlike lettuce, the flavor of spinach leaves doesn’t turn bitter once the plant starts to go to seed. That means we can keep eating it until the leaves are too small to bother harvesting.

Since this area of the garden is not very well mulched, I’m going to let a bunch of the seeds drop and see if any volunteer next winter. Others I will harvest to cushion my dwindling supply.

I used to have a half dozen kale plants, but a mole came through and pushed up most of them last fall before their root systems were large enough to withstand the invasion. That’s one advantage to urban gardening: no moles! It is also why I encourage starting from seed indoors in my book, How To Grow Vegetables Without Losing Your MindI did not have the space to do that this year.

One kale plant ended up surviving. I harvested from it twice before it began to flower. Here it is:


I need to collect those seeds, because there’s so much hay around them that any seeds that fall won’t be able to germinate. Also, I am out of kale seeds, and would prefer not to buy more if I don’t need to.

The dock is now seriously bolting. I’ve been cutting off seed heads occasionally so that new plants don’t pop up all over the garden, and have been finding new, smallish leaves to put in our morning green smoothies.

But yesterday, the seed heads were taller and more prolific than other – and the new leaves are now too small to pick and use.

Here’s a picture of dock going to seed. Nothing pretty.


On the other hand, another cool-weather crop, the sugar snap peas, is still flourishing. The dwarf variety has been providing us a few pods every day, and now the tall peas have finally started flowering:


One final homesteading note for today: yesterday, B and I harvested more than twice as many strawberries as I had two days earlier. Check it out:


To compare, the empty container next to the dish with the berries is the container I filled the other day:


Unfortunately, for every strawberry we harvest, we have to leave another one that has gotten moldy (thanks to all the rain we’ve been having) or eaten half through by the hungry pill beetles. On the other hand, I might be overwhelmed if every single strawberry ripened correctly.

Regardless, we are, for the first time, harvesting enough berries to eat cupfuls at a time. And saving money on fruit is one of my top frugal goals! 😉

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