Raf's Garden Tips: Summer Vegetable Garden

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It’s late Spring and already time to start planning for the summer kitchen garden!  We are eager to enjoy some homegrown, fresh vegetables. You want to be ready as soon as the conditions are right to plant your favorites such as tomatoes, corn, and okra. 

These plants are a few of what are referred to as warm season vegetables that require long days and warm temperatures to thrive.  Unlike spring varieties such as lettuce and broccoli, warm season vegetables sulk in cold soil and can’t tolerate a frost. They also need longer periods of sunlight.

Here are some popular Summer vegetables to grow...
Bush Beans – Beans are easy to grow from seed. Direct sow them in the garden after the soil temperature has warmed to 60 degrees F. Sow seeds every 3 weeks for a continuous harvest. Stop sowing about 8 weeks before the first fall frost date. Bush beans do not require staking. Beans are shallow rooted so be careful when working the soil around the plants.

Corn – Corn requires a lot of space to grow and the pollination must be just right. There are few vegetables that are as tasty fresh from the garden so it’s worth the effort. Corn relies on wind to carry pollen from the tassels to the silks on immature ears. To increase the chances of pollination it is best to plant corn in a square of short rows. Space plants about 1 foot apart. Feed at planting with a general organic fertilizer and again when tassels begin to form. Water consistently and regularly. Corn is shallow rooted so water diligently, especially during dry weather.

Cucumbers – Cucumbers need full sun, at least an inch of water per week, rich soil and pollinating insects to produce. Pick fruits regularly so that the vines will continue to produce. Bush varieties are suitable for containers, but if you have the space try vining types because they will produce more fruit. Just be sure to support vining cucumbers with a trellis.

Eggplant –Eggplant require lots of sunshine and warm, well-drained soil. In spite of their love of heat, once in the garden, eggplants like cool, moist roots. Mulch the ground with straw and keep it moist but not soggy.

Okra – Okra loves hot weather, rich soil and full sun. Treat them like your mother’s best china when you plant seedlings because the roots are very delicate. Pick pods when they become 3 to 4 inches long. If they are allowed to over mature, the plants will stop producing. The over-ripe, tough pods are great for adding interest to cut flower arrangements.

Peppers – Give them full sun, well-drained soil and consistent moisture. Feed with an organic fertilizer after the plants begin to flower and set fruit. Sweet peppers and bell peppers planted in hot climates may not begin to produce until weather cools in late summer.

Summer Squash and Zucchini – Prepare your beds before planting with a generous amount of compost or well-rotted manure and an application of an all-purpose fertilizer such as 13-13-13. Gather squash when they are young and tender. Old, large fruits with tough skins should be removed from the vine and thrown away. This will encourage more flowers and fruit.

Tomatoes – Tomatoes need 6 to 8 hours of full sun. Get your stakes or trellises in place when you plant. Plant tomatoes deep; bury at least two-thirds of the plant’s stem. This will give the plant strong roots and better fruiting. If the plants start looking worse for wear toward the end of summer, cut back for a new flush of growth.

Recipe: Pistachio Hummus

We are head over heels for chef John's unique take on hummus - this one features nutty, vibrant pistachios instead of chickpeas. At Park Winters, we serve it with fresh seasonal veggies harvested daily from our farm, or earthy whole wheat bread from Uppercrust Bakery.

PISTACHIO HUMMUS

Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
Yiled: 8 cups

INGREDIENTS

1 cup pistachios
½ cup champagne vinegar
½ cup tarragon leaves
1 large shallot, minced
2 tablespoon minced garlic
¼ cup olive oil
1 ½ teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 can (12 oz.) full-fat coconut milk
2 teaspoon salt
¼ cup tahini paste
1 ½ teaspoon sugar

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°

Place pistachio nuts on parchment-lined sheet. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until light brown.

While the nuts are in the oven, combine vinegar, tarragon, shallots and garlic in a small bowl. This will help to open up the flavors.

Blend toasted pistachio nuts in the food processor until it has reached a fine crumble. Add in vinegar mixture, cumin and olive oil. Pulse until well combined.

Add remaining ingredients, blend until smooth.
 

Introducing the new Al Fresco Dinner Series!

We are excited to announce our new Al Fresco Dinner Series, celebrating the joy of dining outdoors with friends. This casual family-style dinner event will draw inspiration from the seasons, creatives and more... and will take place amongst the magical gardens of Park Winters!

Spring is thriving all around us... and we are soaking in every color, flavor and texture! Our first event will take place on May 21st, and is inspired by the bright and vibrant produce growing on our farm and the bounty of Yolo County purveyors. We are excited to capture the beauty of the season and share it with you.

Tickets are $85 and include a lovely 4-course dinner, served family-style. We invite you to arrive at 4pm for cocktails, lawn games, and a self-guided tour of our property. Dinner will start promptly at 5:30pm and will be served family-style, on two communal tables in our outdoor courtyard.

Our chef has prepared a beautiful menu for the evening, sourcing ingredients from our on-site organic farm, as well as from the best local purveyors in the region. Check out the menu below!

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'CELEBRATE SPRING MENU'

APPETIZERS
STRAWBERRY CAPRESE
Strawberry - Basil chamomile chevré - Fig balsamic

HARISSA LAMB BITE
Rosemary - Harissa yogurt - Herb oil

DINNER
ON TABLE WITH BREAD - GARDEN HUMMUS
Algonquin soil - Radish - Cucumber - Carrots - Flowers

EMERALD FARM CURRY
Asparagus - Alliums - Carrots - Fingerlings - Cilantro

BRICK OVEN ROASTED CORNISH GAME HEN
Mustard Frisée - Arugula pesto - Arugula greens - Green grapes

FRENCH CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
Caramelia chocolate - Citrus - Whip - Pistachio crumble

 

Executive Chef John Iacono

Congrats to the winners of the Photographers' Invitational!

We were blown away with the amount of stunning photography we received for the invitational! We pour so much heart and passion into Park Winters, and it was truly fulfilling to see our property through the eyes of so many talented people. It was a difficult task selecting a winner, and a near impossible task selecting 2nd and 3rd place... so much so that we decided to honor more than one photographer for the runner-up categories! Without further ado, the awards for the First Annual Park Winters Photographers' Invitational are...

 

FIRST PLACE: FRANCESCA ROSS

We couldn't get enough of her dreamy photos. It truly gave us a completely new perspective of our property... and we thought we had seen it all! Check out the gallery below to see some of our favorites from her shoot, starting with the winning photo of the tulips! To see more of her work, visit her website: francescafoto.com

 

SECOND PLACE:

JONATHAN MADSON

 
 

THIRD PLACE:

JUSTIN LEE