July 12, 2021

Harvest Monday, 7/12/21

Mix of cherry tomatoes and small tomatoes like Jaune de Flamme, Sun Gold, Candyland, Yellow Pear, Bumble Bee, and Jelly Bean. None of the tomatoes are really sweet right now, which is likely due to the very hot dry weather interspersed with torrential rainfall. Yellow pear is sourish and the tiny Candyland has surprisingly crispy flesh.

Garlic chives, red shisho or perilla, and green shisho or perilla. I find perilla to have a complex herbaceous flavor that's hard to describe. People say it has an astringent or basil like flavor, but I don't find that at all. So far they've been put in stir fries at the end of cooking.

I had problems seed starting the perilla. What finally worked was wrapping them in damp paper-towels inside ziplock bags, and then wrapping that in a towel on top of a seedling heat mat with a thermometer to keep them from getting too hot.
On the left is Colza (rapeseed) and on the right is Nero di Tuscana kale. There's also assorted cherry tomatoes.

Ner di Tuscana can be a little coarse during the hottest part of our summer, but the leaves are never bitter. It's actually my first year growing Colza and I find the flavor very similar to kale, and the leaves are nice and tender with no signs of blooming. 
This is what happens when you don't go in the garden for 3 days, lots of big zucchini and cucumbers. There's a yellow Butta zucchini in the back, the short blunt ones are Bolognese which were still seedless surprisingly, and the round ones are Chiaro di Nizza.

I did grow some White Custard pattypan squash, but a few were terribly bitter. So now I'm always eating a few slices of zucchini raw before cooking.

The cucumbers on the right are mostly Telegraph which have been fantastic in salads. Luckily they go to seed very slowly.
From left to right: Stella, Nero De Tuscana kale, Colza, and sorrel. Stella's slender leaves are crunchy but it has a bitter endnote that I'm hoping cooking will tame. The bitterness could be due to the heat or the fact it's going to seed. Sorrel on the far right is shockingly lemony.

We've also been getting a few Jet Star tomatoes for a couple weeks and they are great in salads and stir fries. The plant has good disease resistance and has bounced back well after being terribly rootbound when planting was delayed. The other large tomatoes are still a ways behind.

I've been eating massive salads everyday for months. Makes me sad we didn't grow any spring lettuce. So, lots of endive, escarole, chicory and lettuce were started over the weekend in preparation for the fall garden.

One note on failures. I had started rhubarb from seed. Had nice beautiful plants, which were then killed by over fertilization. When they say one tablespoon of fish emulsion per gallon of water, that's really what they mean.

Please join us for Harvest Monday, a group of intrepid gardeners, where neither harsh winds, sun, or rain will keep us from growing vegetables.

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 huge 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.