Friday, July 15, 2011

I Got The Blues

Blue is not just for flowers anymore!

Beautiful Blue Borage Brings Bees to the Beds

We have plenty of blue this year. Blue is really a novelty color in vegetable breeding, and growers are pulling out all the stops and developing some intense color.

The deep purpley blue of the blue podded peas is hard to capture on camera. It straddles the line between unique and grotesque.

The flowers are really the high point of these peas. The blue pods are pretty when fresh and new, but as they mature they darken to a morbid purple. It does make them easy to find on the vine. The peas are sweet enough, nothing to compare to modern sweet varieties, and the texture is rather dry and pithy. The pea seeds themselves are pale, and stand out a rather sickly shade in a plate of fresh cooked peas. This will not become a standby favorite of mine, although I'm sure I will grow it again just because it is interesting to watch. It falls in the class of ornamental novelty for me. Almost as pretty as ornamental sweet peas, way easier to grow, and edible as a bonus.

The garden is in full swing. We are eating squash, beans, peppers, onions and I've sampled the first of the Sun Gold cherry tomatoes.

The Purple Queen bush beans are a favorite of mine. (pictured with Magda squash)

Purple Queen is a beautiful dark green plant with stunning purple stems. The flowers are two tone purple, and the beans themselves are like frosted amethyst art glass making them easy to find, and a joy to pick. I try to pick these very early and slender as they quickly get coarse and over mature. Unfortunately, when you cook them, they turn regular boring green, leaving the cooking water a shocking lime jell-o green.

And look at this!

I picked these before supper, rinsed them and put them in a bag in the fridge. When I took them out, I noticed the water in the bag had turned a brilliant blue as if I had added food coloring. Fascinating!

Lots going on in the garden right now, and I think this might be a pickling weekend! Tim (who peels them and eats them like Popsicles) is not staying ahead of the cuke harvest and the onslaught is just beginning...

See the mishapen ones? That is from poor pollination. They are usually found tucked away in heavy foliage. Luckily, the honey bees have found the garden, and the borage/cuke row is a busy buzzy hive of activity. These cukes are all Marketmore. I have a second row of Sweet Success which is two weeks behind and just beginning to bloom.

When I'm not watering, picking and pickling, I will be doing my rain dance.

WE NEED RAIN BADLY! The 500 gallon rain water tank is half empty, and if we don't get the forecasted rain on Monday, Tim will have to bring the auxiliary rain barrel with the hand pump over to the garden. I long to wake up to the sound of rain on the window, roll over, and enjoy an extra half hour of sleep.


  1. Blue is for BOYZ but borage bringing bees is beautiful ! :)

  2. hadn't really thought about blue being a novelty colour in the vegatble garden, but you're right. My sugar snap peas have just started producing lovely white flowers and the plants are almost 6 feet tall! I'm trying to source purple podded peas here in North Yorkshire (UK). No luck, so far.