Harvesting Bitter Melons and Planting Black Futsu Squash

JULY 20th, 2022

Bitter melon is officially back in season! We’re growing a new variety this year called Big Top. It yields bumpy green melons with a unique heart shape. This variety is said to be more mild than others in terms of bitterness so we hope you’ll give it a try! Farmer Nathan recommends pairing it with long beans, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and a pinch of brown sugar in a stir-fry. You can try this beautiful bitter melon variety at the farm stand this weekend or in your vegetable share.

We just planted a new-to-us winter squash variety: Black Futsu. It is an heirloom Japanese pumpkin with deeply ribbed, bumpy skin. The Black Futsu is blackish-green when mature and once it is harvested and cured, the color changes to a dusty terracotta orange. The flavor is said to be reminiscent of butternut squash. As you can see in the photo below, we gave our transplants a little sunscreen in the form of kaolin clay. This will also help to deter pests in the early stages of growth. We are excited and hopeful for this round of winter squashes!

Remember the first round of cowpeas we planted as a cover crop? Last week we planted an additional round in our former tomato beds. In the middle of planting, we realized we were low on seed. Since we had extra sesame seeds from our experimental planting last summer, we decided to use them to fill in the gaps! While sesame isn’t a nitrogen-fixer like cowpeas, it will keep the soil covered and eventually provide organic material once it is mowed down. Plus, it presented an opportunity to minimize seed waste! You can see the small sesame sprouts in the photo below.

Currently in Season at the Farm Stand: Scallions, Long Beans, Sweet Potato Greens, Amaranth Greens, Sweet Peppers, Hot Peppers, Asian Eggplant, Italian Eggplant, Cucumbers, Burr Gherkins, Zucchini, Okra, Bitter Melon, Korean Melons, Sugar Cube Melons, Basil, and Lemongrass.


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