July 25, 2016

Harvest Monday, 7/24/16

It's been a hot year and I'm starting to look forward to fall and winter. We had such a mild winter last year, I wonder what this year will bring.
Tomatoes are coming in but the squirrels have discovered and are getting tons of them. They've been tearing the fruit off the vines or just eating them where they hang. What I thought were peck marks from birds, turns out they're claw marks from squirrels.
Cherry tomatoes are really nice to have around, they're great in omelets or just to pop in the mouth.
Combined the bush beans and pole beans are producing terribly this year, but at least they are starting to produce more. I'll probably be pulling them to make room for a fall planting of peas eventually.
Cucumbers, eggplant, zucchini, and summer squash still coming in steady amounts. Squash bugs have invaded, so every couple of days I go out with duct tape to collect eggs and the occasional nymph and adult squash bug. After being hit by vine borers, the plants just aren't producing many squashes, plus there are cucumber beetles everywhere.
Three small ripe melons and a summer squash. The Ginkaku melons keep making melons, I counted eight still on the vines. Squirrels have been digging in the bed, killing one of the four plants.

I also picked a more ripe melon that isn't pictured to see how it would taste, very sweet and still crispy but starting to get a bit mealy. We much prefer them crispier with their sweet citrusy kind of honeydew flavor.
I picked a few tomatoes on Sunday that were just starting to ripen, to beat the squirrels. You can see the puncture marks from their claws on the Black Brandywine from when they got a couple of the other fruits. I'll probably go back to using fencing as supports for the tomatoes next year.

The loofah plants have started taking over the whole row of trellises but not a single bloom has yet to form, which makes me think their blossoming is dependent on day length. The winter squash and wax melons have just started vining, hopefully there's enough time left for some fruit to set. And the first Jimmy Nardello peppers are just starting to ripen, which I'm very excited to try.

Please join us at Harvest Monday, a place where gardeners and vegetable enthusiasts share their love of growing things.

Harvested this week:
10.632 lbs. tomatoes
3.932 lbs. melon
2.336 lbs. zucchini
2.000 lbs. cucumber
1.158 lbs. green beans
0.536 lbs. yellow summer squash
0.402 lbs. eggplant

weekly total: 20.996 pounds

July 18, 2016

Harvest Monday, 7/18/16

A mixture of Black Cherry, Sun Gold, and Fat Cherry tomatoes were picked on Tuesday.
 There was also a cucumber, zucchini, and handful of green beans picked from the pole beans. 
 On Sunday the first eggplant and Ginkaku melon was picked. 
Golden King of Siberia weighed in at 0.902 pounds and there are also two Black Prince tomatoes in the front.
From bottom left counter clock-wise: Black Prince, Goldie, and an Italian Red Pear.

A few of the tomatoes had split from the heavy rains but luckily they weren't so bad. But the squirrels have definitely gotten a few big ripe tomatoes. I found three still hanging on the vine with bites taken out of the bottoms, three were dropped in the yard where they tried to carry them away, and two were in the ally where they managed to get them over the fence.

It's so unbearably hot and humid here, I can understand why people don't garden in this area.

Please join us at Harvest Monday, kindly hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres.

July 11, 2016

Harvest Monday, 7/11/16

Cherry tomatoes, zucchini, and green beans are still trickling in. We've been getting lots of big rain storms passing through last week. The plants are looking greener than ever and not having to water the garden has been wonderful.
The plants had put on so much growth, I actually had trouble tying up the tomato plants and knocked a couple green tomatoes off. Luckily the green tomatoes were fairly small.  :)

A couple of Homestead tomatoes ripened and they're very small, not much bigger than a cherry tomato. I looked up a couple of reviews and people said that this variety gets smaller the hotter it gets. Strangely enough, the tomatoes swelled quickly but once it got truly hot they just stopped growing and eventually ripened instead.
A handful of Asian greens and some basil gets picked for soup occasionally. Mibun, tatsoi, and mizuna  make up this handful and you can tell the flea beetles have been at the leaves.
And of course summer squash marks the highlight of a summer garden. It looks like the pattypan squash are starting to blossom, so they're not far behind.

My parents have been visiting this week, so I have to keep this simple. I hope everybody is enjoying the summer weather. It's shaping up to be a decent summer, no huge gluts to speak of but hopefully there'll be many good things in the future.

Please join us at Harvest Monday, hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres.

July 4, 2016

Harvest Monday, 7/4/16

Summer squash, zucchini, and cucumbers have started producing this week. I've been hand pollinating since bees have yet to discover the squashes, but the zucchini is harder to get to and pollinate.
The first tomato is a Sun Gold Cherry. We're also growing Fat Cherry and Black Cherry, all new varieties for us.
More summer squash were gathered on Saturday. The plants have all been attacked by squash vine borers, so I'm trying to pick the squashes young and maybe they'll recover.
 And another single Sun gold tomato. My husband's being generous and letting me eat them.
Summer squash, zucchini, and green beans all from the garden stir fried with pork and onions on Sunday. The sauce was so simply and yet so good just fish sauce, a little sugar, and fresh ground pepper. With stir fries I do everything to taste, sometimes vegetables are a bit astringent so need a little sugar to take the edge off.

I also do a beef stir fry with sweet peppers and onions. The sauce is just soy sauce, Lea and Perrins worcestershire, hot pepper flakes, and a little sugar.

The garden is slowly coming into production which is really nice. Plus we got lots of rain Saturday and Sunday. Yayyy, I don't have to water after work on the 4th of July.

Please come join us at Harvest Monday where vegetable gardeners get together and share all their trials and triumphs.

July 2, 2016

Melons in the Pepper Bed and the Biggest Tomato in the Garden

See what a week has wrought, this Ginkaku Korean melon has grown so much. When ripe the thin rind will turn yellow and have sweet crispy white flesh.
Here's a picture of that melon from just 6 days ago.
There's 6 melons in the patch but the rest are much smaller than the two photographed. The plants were started on May 1st and planted in the garden May 30th.
The four Ginkaku melons have definitely taken over the pepper bed.
This pepper/eggplant bed has wax melons planted between the rows, but they're still little and have yet to start running yet.
The biggest tomato in the garden is definitely this Golden King of Siberia. It's nice and heavy too, but no where close to ripening.

Cherokee Purple has some nice big tomatoes as well, but they're right next to the monster zucchini plant and it's hard to get a good picture of them.
Can you see the monster zucchini plant to the back right?

We finally got a good soaking rain today, and it's been in the 80's all week. You can feel the sigh of relief from the tomato plants. But next week it's back to 90's and 100 degree weather (35 Celsius). The tomato plants are nowhere near as lush as last year when it was cooler and wetter, but the zucchini and summer squash are loving the heat.

It's so wonderful to have the backyard fully fenced. And today we spread grass seed and straw over the newly graded and composted non-garden area. Soon our little one will have a new grassy area to play in next to the garden. I'm so excited! Maybe we'll get a toddler swing and wading pool.