August 10, 2020

Harvest Monday, 8/10/20

 I've started the process of clearing out the garden. Squash bugs and harlequin bugs have arrived in droves, decimating the once pretty free range greens. I managed to clear out 4 beds on Friday with another 4 beds to go.

Just a few large tomato types left, these mainly go on sandwiches. I've started the process of removing the cages and plants.
Black Cherry has finally started sweetening up, they've been strangely sourish which I suppose could be from a cooler than usual early summer. Really, all the cherries have been on the sour end, except for Sungold and Juliet.
I made some more zucchini hash. Shredded zucchini was mixed with shredded cheddar and chopped turkey lunch meat. Then a handful of the mixture was dredged in egg, then dredged in panko bread crumbs, and fried in a little olive oil. So light and crispy, these were served with macaroni and cheese. They also heat up perfectly in an air fryer, if you want to make a big batch of them.

I picked quite a few snap beans and little squashes while clearing out those beds, but didn't get any pictures. And the soil beneath the sweet potato vines look like it's heaving, hopefully lots of big sweet potatoes are hiding under there.

August 3, 2020

Harvest Monday, 8/3/20

There's a weird space time anomaly surrounding this year. It just seems never ending. I hope everyone is staying safe and taking care of yourselves mentally and physically. Now is the time to be extra kind to ourselves and to our loved ones.
Kale, free range greens, cucumbers, zucchini, fat green onion, and those slender greens stalks on the right are garlic chives, and a giant summer squash.
Tomatoes and summer squash.

We eat a lot of ramen soups or curry noodle soups with tomatoes, greens, squash, onions, and chives from the garden. We also make sandwiches with tomatoes, cucumbers, and sprouts.

We've gotten a tremendous amount of rain the last couple of weeks and the plants our suffering because of it. The only things doing well are greens and peppers. The greens especially, look vibrant and have had a surge of growth that I find astonishing. It's time to clear out the great majority of the beds, except the sweet potatoes, greens, and peppers will get to hang out awhile longer.

We are having a cooler and wetter than usual August, so it's probably the perfect time to get some lettuce, greens, winter radishes, kohlrabi, and a second planting of snap beans in the ground. I'll be putting off planting turnips and spinach because they're so sensitive to temperature spikes. And I've actually ordered onion and shallot sets for fall planting, which should arrive the 3rd week of September. I'm so excited to try this new experiment in fall planting.

Please join us for Harvest Monday as hosted by Dave from Happy Acres.

July 26, 2020

Harvest Monday, 7/26/20

Tomatoes have come on strong this week. There's 45 tomato plants in my garden with 15 of them being small or cherry types. We'd been talking about drying the garden produce this year, which is why there are so many cherry tomato plants. I told my husband two weeks ago that we needed a game plan worked out because they were going to start ripening en masse.

On Sunday we processed about 40 pounds of tomatoes which are in the drying tent with a dehumidifier as I'm typing this. My husband is a ceramic artist and he uses a similar setup to quick dry newly made clay pieces in preparation for a kiln firing.

We've actually eaten a couple tomatoes the week before, but I've been kind of overwhelmed by the garden to post pictures. It's the weeding. The weeds have been going to seed and I couldn't let that happen, so between torrential rain showers I've been weeding like an insane person.

More tomatoes were picked on Saturday but aren't shown here. The small and cherry tomatoes include Juliet, Sungold, Fat Cherry, Black Cherry, Gardener's Delight, Taxi, and Juanne Flamme. The large tomatoes shown include Green Cherokee which have a yellowish skin color although the interior is very green, Giant Australian, and Brandywine. We've been eating tomatoes everyday this week so not shown are Marianna's Peace, Carbon, Oaxacan, and Goldie. The standout of the large tomatoes was Marianna's Peace, unless I'm confusing it with another tomato, it was delicious with a distinctly salty flavor. And for the cherry's, Juliet is just lovely, nice firm meaty texture with a sweet flavor that reminded me of a good grape tomato.

Also, you can see where I avoided the squash and zucchini beds because of all the rain and then was greeted by massive squashes. Must not put off visiting the squash beds. Once the tomatoes are dried, we're going to dry the squashes as well.
I've had a couple good pickings of snap beans. The first picking, the snap beans were sautéed with strips of carrots in a little olive oil with salt, pepper, and dried herbs till they were caramelized with a good bit of color. Then I added chicken stock and cooked it down until most of the liquid was cooked off.
A picture of the second picking of snap beans, right before cooking. I'm only growing 3 varieties of beans this year, Merveille De Piemonte, Purple King, and La Victoire bush bean.
The second batch of green beans was prepared in a similar manner to the first but I added orange juice at the end, instead of chicken broth. Then finished it with a Pico Fruta spice blend that includes chili pepper and lemon peel.

The tomato bed with Giant Australian, Oaxacan, Carbon, and Brandywine are dying from disease. Most likely fungal because of the very wet weather we've had this year. I'm leery of using tomatoes from diseased plants, so am pulling that bed this week.

I've already cleared the lettuce bed and one of the squash beds. The plan is to plant peas, more bush beans, rutabaga, endive, and chicory in the three beds.

Please join us for Harvest Monday, hosted by Dave at Happy Acres. A place to share what you're harvesting and the fun things you might be doing with your produce because eating goes hand in hand with gardening.

June 29, 2020

Harvest Monday, 6/29/20

It has been so hot but the weather finally broke and we got some much needed rain this beautiful Monday. Hopefully we'll get a little less than the 1.3 inches of rain they are predicting between tonight and tomorrow.
The pattypan squash plants are hunge with numerous branches. White Custard is tender for a pattypan squash while still holding it's shape well with cooking.

The Fordhook and Elite plants keep getting flipped over by the wind, but the zucchini they do produce are very nice. At this size they are not at all seedy with just a small spongy core.
The summer squash plants are coming into their own right now with lots of female flowers forming.
The round zucchini plants are trying so hard to put new roots down along their stems, but the wind keeps pushing them over and unmooring the little rootlets. I'm hoping they'll anchor themselves before their stem breaks from all the movement. They're not growing or producing as much because of it.

I found the first cucumber hiding near the ground. It's a little long in the tooth but there are a few more forming on the vines. These are growing in 5 feet tomato cages, which they have to be encouraged to climb.

At this point the garden is producing enough squash and zucchini, we could probably live off of them if we needed to. Lots of sautéed squash, squash in shrimp coconut curry, and squash hash have been eaten. I've ordered some udon to make squash and carrot curried noodles. 

I'm having problems in the large fruiting tomato patch. Classic yellowing of the leaves signaling magnesium deficiency which can be treated with Epsom salts. It's moving up the stem very quickly in a few plants, so I'll probably have to dig some into the soil around those plants once the rain passes. I've also been thinking about growing comfrey to use as a foiler feed for my garden.

Please join us for a gratifying and fun-filled Harvest Monday hosted by Dave at Happy Acres.

June 22, 2020

Harvest Monday, 6/22/20

We've been eating greens, herbs, and green onions from the garden. They usually go in omelets and soups.
Clockwise from the top left: lemon basil, red veined sorrel, edible chrysanthemum, green onion, and red amaranth. The amaranth is fairly bland, it does very well in the heat but I'm not sure I'll grow it again. The red veined sorrel is not lemony like I expected, although the texture is good. But the edible chrysanthemum has a very surprising flavor that is fairly herbal, my husband thinks it smells like a musty attic.

In the end we definitely prefer kale and mustard greens when it comes to flavor and texture.
Free range mustard greens and green onions which went great in a spicy noodle soup. The blooming tatsoi was still very good, I just snap off the tough parts. similarly to the way we snap the tough bottoms off asparagus. These became part of a spicy noodle soup, otherwise known as fancy ramen. I add sliced pork and an egg to the soup as well.
The first picking of squash on Wednesday, June 17th. Shown here is round zucchini and pattypan squash. My son had already chopped up the Straight Neck summer squash, dark green Fordhook zucchini, and another round zucchini before I could get a picture.

I ended up making a squash, pineapple, cucumber stir-fry with ground turkey and nuoc mam. It was actually pretty amazing. My maternal grandma made pineapple cucumber stir-fry with ground beef but I found that a bit too oily, and my father says his family usually made it with seafood like shrimp, octopus, or clams.
Pale yellow Butta zucchini on the left, four Straight Neck summer squash, and a pattypan squash. The two darker yellow summer squash on the left actually have much firmer skin than the two paler yellow summer squash on the right. Then tender skin of the pale summer squash reminds of Rugosa summer squash
All zucchini in this batch that was picked on Sunday.

There's been very few squash bugs or vine borers in the garden this year. The 3 squash bugs I did see ended up disappearing later. I'm attributing this to the surprising number of beneficial lady bugs in the garden as well as a long cold and wet spring. We might actually end up with an overabundance of squash this year. I only wish I had planted some winter squash.

What to do with all this squash and zucchini? Squash hash browns. Just shredded squash dipped in a little egg with salt and pepper and lightly coated in panko bread crumbs, and then fried in patties in a little oil. They're wonderful, so light and tasty. My friend uses almond flour for lower carbs.

I've added shredded cheddar cheese and chopped ham to the squash hash browns, which is just amazing especially served with macaroni and cheese. They also reheat very well in an air fryer.

There's a lot going on in the garden. Bush snap beans are thinking about blooming, little tomatoes are swelling, and it's actually time to start thinking about starting plants for the fall garden. I read an interesting blog post about overwintering broccoli and cauliflower plants that end up setting very early heads in the spring. It'd be a fun experiment to try.

Please join us for Harvest Monday, hosted by David at Happy Acres. Where gardeners from all around post about what's happening in their little and not so little vegetable plots.