Grow Your Own
June is the month to plant Southern peas, sweet potatoes, and a second crop of cantaloupe and honeydew. Southern peas, also known as cowpeas, are actually drought-resistant beans that can be grown without irrigation. Like other legumes, they improve the soil where they’re planted by adding nitrogen through nodules on their roots. They can be shelled fresh or dry and include crowders, field peas (like Sea Island Red Peas), black-eyed peas and cream peas. Try the organically grown Calico Crowder, available at Southern Exposure Seed Exchange: www.southernexposure.com.
July is a prime month for starting your fall garden by planting pole beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cucumbers. Sprouting broccoli is a good choice if you prefer a steady supply of smaller florets. Most types of sprouting broccoli require cold weather before producing, but the Santee variety does not. Although growth in the fall and early winter will be slow, Santee will be the star of your garden when temperatures start to climb again in February. (Available at High Mowing Seeds: www.highmowingseeds.com.)
Second crops of mustard, lettuce, kale, collards and bush beans can be planted in August. Add color to your fall salads with the purple-green, red-veined, curly-leaf Scarlet Kale. Smooth German Kale is another variety with great potential. Its leaves looks more like baby collards than kale, and the large plants grow 3 to 4 feet in diameter. Both are available from Seed Savers Exchange: www.seedsavers.org.