Despite an exceptionally soggy spring, the plants in our “Chicago Tonight” garden continue to thrive.
Earlier this month Jeanne Nolan and her team from The Organic Gardener helped us plant crops that could stand up to the cold. Now it’s time to get some warm weather crops into the ground. And thanks to some fast growing French breakfast radishes, we’re also ready for a small harvest.
Despite being only one month old, Nolan says the radishes are ready to eat.
“They are young but most of the crops in the garden should be eaten when they are young because that’s when they are delicious,” she said.
Another crop that is almost ready to harvest is the purple kohlrabi, also known as a German turnip.
One pest that likes to eat kohlrabi as well as cabbage, broccoli and kale is the cabbage looper caterpillar. Nolan says that one trick to keep loopers at bay is to plant fennel alongside your cabbage and kohlrabi.
“It’s a companion plant,” said Nolan. “It actually deters the bad bug that likes these crops. So they do well together and we typically plant them together.”
Among the warm-weather plants that can now safely be planted outside are jalapeno and serrano peppers, green tomatillo and tomatoes – all ingredients for salsa. But no salsa would be complete with cilantro. Nolan says that the key to multiple cilantro harvests throughout the summer is to always plant it from seed.
“I learned the hard way,” said Nolan. “The trick is you always grow it from seed. You do not buy a plant and put that in the ground because it will last about a week.”