Kitchen Garden: Eggplant, Potatoes, Peppers & Carrots
You may remember in my Lessons Learned post that I learned that the eggplant blooms are wind pollinated. Sometimes with the summer's heat and humidity the pollen becomes sticky and doesn't fall down on the pistil. My hope was that Fall's cooler weather would result in pollination. Alas, look what is growing in the garden now! We are on the way with three fruit and several blooms.
Have you ever wondered why a sweet potato blooms? Well, its probably not something you've spent an entire day pondering over but maybe it has crossed your mind before. These are the type of things I contemplate as I am weeding in the garden.
Oh, I realize that the plant is putting out a flower to attract pollinators so that it can produce seed and give life to the next generation of potato. I know if I were a pollinator I would hang out with them. They are really attractive blooms. Kind of resembling a morning glory. But, who grows potatoes from seed? Are those pollinators working hard for nothing?
If you were stranded on an island and you could choose only one food the sweet potato should be it! They are the most nutritious vegetable in the world. They are a very good source of vitamin C, copper, fiber, vitamin B6, potassium, iron and manganese. The vitamin C and beta-carotene in the sweet potatoes even work as powerful antioxidants. And, best of all they are delicious with all their sweetness and creamy texture. So, what's not to love?
Our potatoes are not ready for harvest just yet. My son grew these potatoes with his Junior Master Gardener group and he is very proud of them!
Did you know that sweet potatoes are not even in the potato family? Look at its botanical name Solanum tuberosum and you see that it belongs to the Solanaceae family which includes tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and tomatillos.
(In response to your comments I obviously wasn't clear in my writing above: Solanum tuberosum is the potato family which includes potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant in the genus Solanum. Sweet potatoes (Ipomaea batatas) are in the Convolvulaceae family which include morning glories in the Ipomoea genus. Sorry for the confusion!)
The cherry tomatoes which were planted in early summer from purchased seedlings are still producing some fruit.
We love spicy hot at our house! The mouth burning, eye watering kind of hot. We grow jalapeno, cayenne, hot banana and habanero peppers.
We planted a late crop of carrots in spring hoping to harvest them before the heat set in. They were the slowest growers ever! I left them in the garden over the summer for the black swallowtail caterpillars but they seemed to prefer the fennel and parsley. To make room in the beds for sowing cooler season crops I decided it was time to pull them out. Well, much to our surprise we had carrots.
We steamed them, added a little salt and pepper and they were very tasty!
Soon we will be pulling out the remaining summer crops and planting Brussel sprouts, turnip greens, cabbage, mustard greens, and carrots. We've already planted lettuce and spinach. Have you started a fall garden yet? What will you be growing?