High summer it is and here at the Gardens, besides a short grain paddy rice, we are growing a number of edibles which might surprise folks.
The cardoons are very closely related to artichokes. I could not get a good picture for scale, but the cardoon plants are nearly two meters in diameter and almost the same tall. Their silvery leaves are huge, beautiful and have nasty prickers on their tips, after all, they are a thistle.
The artichokes are near ready for [delicious] consumption and the plants are almost as large as the cardoons.
Quinoa getting ready to make seeds
Known as the 'Mother Grain', quinoa is very nutritious. Technically, quinoa is a seed which was originally cultivated in Peru and Bolivia. It is very closely related to spinach, beets, and Swiss chard, and is the same species as the barnyard 'weed' Lamb's Quarters. It contains vitamins, minerals, fiber, and fatty acids and is a complete protein. Some people who have tried to consume quinoa dislike it's 'soapy' taste, but that may be because it was not rinsed well enough to remove the saponins which cause the disagreeable taste. Usually now, commercially grown quinoa is rinsed very well before packaging. The seed comes in a variety of colours [white, which is the most common; red; and black], each with it's own subtlety of flavour. It is cooked either like rice; or like pasta and drained. I like to combine rice and quinoa and cook them together.
Growing within the shelter of the unheated greenhouse, figs are ripening. They have survived without protection there, due to our ever-milder winter climate.
Pecan trees have flowered and tiny nuts begun
Finally, glory hallelujah, the pecans trees flowered unbeknownst to any of us this spring (the flowers are tiny) and are now happily producing nuts! It has been a long, patient wait for the tiny whips to grow up and mature enough to produce, about twelve years, in fact.