August 21, 2016

Harvest Monday, 8/22/16

Fall is rushing towards us even as summer plants perk up with cooler weather and wet cloudy days. This has turned out to be the wettest August on record for us. Tomatoes and eggplant are still trickling in, although tomatoes are very much at their end.
The Ginkaku Korean melons have been a sweet surprise for us. Seeded May 1st and planted out in the garden May 30th, it feels like the plants have been giving us innumerable melons for months. At this point we're freezing cut up melons for smoothies.


Bell peppers and Jimmy Nardello sweet peppers are still coming in, and the cherry tomatoes are a surprise harvest. The thieving squirrels that used to frolic through our neighbor's oak trees and rampage through my garden haven't been around lately, nor the multitude of chirpy little birds. Something has them spooked and I'm guessing the hawk that's been flying around, or maybe the owl that can be heard at twilight.
Tomato season is definitely at an end. The plants will get pulled up next weekend, which is marked for the big garden clean up. Even so, eggplants and peppers are truly coming into their own with these wet 80 degree days with many starting to flush with fruit.
The last of the tomatoes have been made into roasted tomato sauce and frozen. Our plans for salsa this year just didn't work out, the early heat and the late pepper start really did me in. I'll have to be more disciplined and start those persnickety chile peppers in February rather than March.
I picked three big grocery bags full of basil. One bag equaled a huge colander full of leaves once destemmed. Three quarts of thick blender-ized basily goodness now rest in the freezer, topped off and protected by a layer of olive oil. Now there's only one variety of basil left to make into pesto. (Yes, I made separate pesto batches from each variety.)

The luffa vines have taken over all the bean and cucumber trellises. The long trailing vines that clamber over fences with leaves the size of dinner plates are finally blooming. I'm hoping for mountains of tender young loofah. The fry pan awaits.

Once the tomato and bush bean beds get cleared, and some of the pole bean trellises that aren't swallowed up by luffa. The peas can get planted and hopefully lettuce, spinach, fennel, turnips, beets, winter radishes and all the greens will find a place.

Please join us at Harvest Monday where rowdy and raucous gardeners share their love of vegetables and cooking said vegetables.

22 comments:

Lotte from Mrs Simple Life said...

I love the variety of tomatoes, they look so pretty!
Do you have a recipe for the sauce? I'm still searching for the perfect canning sauce: minimum effort & maximum flavour :-)

Sue Garrett said...

We haven't had much luck with melons in the past. We want to try again next year so need to search out a variety which will suit and climate.

Dave @ OurHappyAcres said...

It's amazing those Ginkaku melons did so well with all the wet weather. I made a note to give them a try in my garden next year. Your tomatoes are lovely even if they are at the end of the season. And that basil - at first glance I thought it was spinach leaves! It looks like your basil has been doing great this year.

Eight Gate Farm NH said...

Beautiful harvests, Phuong! Really impressed with the quantity and quality of your basil; a plant I never have super-success with. It's so strange that your tomato season is at an end while ours is just getting started--albeit late. You must be stealing our rainfall!

David Velten said...

Beautiful eggplant and tomatoes. Funny that your tomato season is winding down while I'm still waiting for it to begin. The Ginkaku melon sounds interesting. I may have to try it on a trellis. The fact it is productive is a plus if I devote that much space. Good for the hawks and the owl. That will take care of those rowdy squirrels.

michelle hamer said...

I guess I'm not the only one marveling that your tomato season is ending while mine has barely begun. Your tomatoes look great for end of season fruits. And gorgeous basil too! You are probably right about the hawks and owl keeping the squirrels at bay, I'm sure they keep the neighborhood squirrels from venturing away from the protection of the trees and into my garden. Now, if they would get to work on the rats...

Margaret said...

I think that blogger keeps eating my comments - hopefully third time is the charm!

Wonderful harvests...those melons look amazing! That's one crop that I've not tried to grow yet, but hopefully soon. Rain can wreak havoc with tomato plants, can't it. I suppose that's one benefit of a drier year, so long as you can keep up with the watering. And making separate pesto from each basil variety - that is so something I would do :)

norma chang said...

You sure had a bountiful harvest. I too am amazed at the Ginkaku Korean melons. Are you growing the smooth skin or the angled luffa? Have not grown angled luffa for a while may be I will grow them again next year.

k said...

I might have to try those Ginkaku melons, too. I'd love to grow some melons, and those seem like a good option. I can almost smell that colander of basil - one of the best smells of summer is fresh-picked basil, and there's nothing better than pulling some pesto out of the freezer in the middle of winter.

Lexa said...

Those Ginkaku melons are just beautiful! I wonder how they might perform in the Pacific Northwest? You have had record rain in August and we haven't had one drop. Feast or famine it seems. That's also a great harvest of basil. You will so enjoy pulling that our of the freezer this Winter. Have a great gardening week!

A.J. - Cheap Seat Eats said...

Lovely produce. It's remarkable just how different our summers have been.

Phuong said...

Hi Lotte,
We normally can lots and lots of salsa with the tomatoes instead of sauce. But this year we didn't have enough to do any canning, so I tried freezing roasted tomato sauce instead which was incredibly easy.

Phuong said...

Hi Sue,
Melons probably need some heat to ripen but if you're able to grow tomatoes outdoors, then maybe certain varieties of melons will work.

This is the first time we've had success growing melons, although I've done ok with watermelon. Conventional wisdom in our country is to group the plants in hills, but this is the first year I gave them lots of room at 4-5 feet apart.

Phuong said...

Hi Dave,
I'm really happy with how prolific the Ginkaku melons are and it was really nice how they set continuously so we got a few small melons each week with a few to share. Even with 2 out of 4 of the plants dying off during the season, the larger fruits that were set on the dying plants still managed to ripen. I would characterize the fruit closer to a honeydew with a hint of citrus, so cantaloupe it is not.

That's just the regular "Classico" Italian basil pictured, the giant leaved basil is ginormous. Even the Asian basil "Queen Siam" is a huge bush, they usually stay pretty small for us.

Phuong said...

Hi Eight Gate,
It's the best year we've had for basil, normally they just limp along producing just enough leaves to add to soups. I'm going to try to cut the rest tonight, and what doesn't get made into pesto will be divvied up at work.

Phuong said...

Hi David,
The melon is even better well chilled, seems like it brings out the sweetness even more. Tomato season is definitely over for us, we probably would have had a good year if it weren't for the squirrels. It gets so hot so early here which probably speeds up the ripening process.

Phuong said...

Hi Michelle,
It's crazy about the rat population boom. I couldn't imagine trying to deal with that. The big garden cleanup is scheduled for next weekend, it'll be nice to start the fall planting.

Phuong said...

Hi Margaret,
I've tried growing melons off and on and never had any success. It's so humid here the planting in groups in mounds promotes too much disease, giving them space seemed to do the trick.

Phuong said...

Hi Norma,
We're growing both the smooth and angled loofa. They just started flowering last week so I think they're flowering is daylight sensitive. It looks like one has set on the fence.

Phuong said...

Hi K,
The melons were planted amongst the peppers, so it was a good use of space for us. Although, I don't think my husband likes it as much as cantaloupe, then again I've only seen him eat cantaloupe and watermelon before.

Making your own pesto is surprisingly easy, I never realized. There's a homemade mac and cheese recipe that uses basil and spinach that I've been eyeing.

Phuong said...

Hi Lexa,
We had especially high heat in the hundreds off and on since the end of May, I don't know how much that played a part in how well the melons did.

Phuong said...

Hi A.J.,
Summers have gotten hotter and longer even since we moved here. It's the perfect place to grow tomatoes and peppers, but most people don't garden here because it's way too hot and humid.