August 29, 2016

Harvest Monday, 8/29/16

Peppers are still coming in and with all the rain the later peppers seem to have much thicker walls which is nice. The sweet peppers were added to a beef stir fry with store bought peppers mixed in, the sauce is soy sauce, Lea Perrins Worcestershire, sugar, and hot pepper flakes.

Hot peppers haven't done as well this year, that end of the pepper bed seems to have very distorted tiny wispy leaves.
Eggplants are doing ok, the long thin one is a Mazu eggplant which was very tender.
The last of the Korean melons. The white flesh is really good chilled, when well ripe it is tender and juicy.

There's some strange insects infesting the brassicas. They look like squash bugs but they're yellow with black spots. Brussels sprouts are starting to form on the plants, but the leaves are dying off. The bugs are probably spreading some kind of virus.

I picked four more grocery bags full of basil, three were taken to work and quickly nabbed. And of course I made and froze more pesto. There's still the Asian basil "Siam Queen" to deal with, whole leaves will probably get frozen in freezer bags so pieces can be broken off easily. I find normal basil to be very herbaceous and fresh tasting, whereas Asian basil has a cinnamon sweetness to it.

I'd been making lots of dishes with roasted tomatoes, chickpeas or potatoes, Indian curries and coconut milk. And then I tried a pasta dish with pesto, snap beans and potatoes from a Nigella recipe. My partner is appreciative of the efforts but I think it's too many meals with too many bright bold flavors. So lately it's been lasagna with salads, and today I cooked cube steak with mashed potatoes and gravy, and fried corn. It's funny how simple things can be so satisfying.

Please join us at Harvest Monday, a celebration of vegetables from the garden.


Sue Garrett said...

Your photos show two of the plants that we are not having much success with this year, sweet peppers and aubergines/eggplants. I don't think it has been sunny enough here this year and we had quite a cold start to the season. The yellow and white stripey fruit looks really interesting.

Phuong said...

Peppers seem to be more sensitive to temperature in general. If it's too cool they don't set fruit, if it's too hot they don't set fruit. We've had a brutally hot summer so most of the summery plants are finishing early.

The north American cantaloupe and watermelon reign in this part of the country, but it was a fun to have these melons throughout the summer. Although, my husband doesn't like them as much as a muskmelon/cantaloupe.

Margaret said...

Beautiful harvests - do you end up preserving the eggplant in some way? I'm toying with preserving some of it to use over the winter in Thai curries, but haven't settled on a method quite yet.

Totally agree with you on simple can be satisfying. I often find that when we return from a vacation, one of the first meals I want once we are back home is a bowl of plain spaghetti, drizzled with a bit of olive oil and topped with some parmesan. Add a simple salad and I'm in heaven.

Phuong said...

Hi Margaret,
I'm planning on roasting the eggplant in the oven brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper. Or maybe roasting them brushed with chimichurri sauce and then freezing them.

I feel the same way when we travelling, it's nice to come home and eat something less rich.

Dave @ HappyAcres said...

Your bugs on the brassicas sound like Harlequin bugs. They've hit here a couple of years ago, and they were really hard on the plants. I bought one of the Korean melons at our local international market yesterday, and it was pretty tasty. I will try growing it next year, and I imagine the homegrown ones will be even tastier!

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

We're sort of given up on brassicas -- some little black bugs wipe them out. It seems that the nasturtiums got the same infestation and basically collapsed overnight.

Those melons look refreshing. I'd love to find a variety that yields well here in the PNW.

Julie said...

I agree that your bugs sound like Harlequin bugs. I had large numbers of them this spring for the first time- they destroyed my turnips. In the spring and summer I have to keep my brassicas covered to protect them from all the bugs. Your peppers and eggplants look lovely. And yes, sometimes simple food is the best. I've been roasting piles of veggies on the weekend and then just throwing in some kind of protein and grain and I've got a super simple dinner.

Shaheen said...

I love the colour on your peppers and I am curious about the Korean melons, I've never seen anything like it, let alone tried it.

David Velten said...

The peppers are beautiful. Still waiting for most of mine, but at least the pepper plants look healthy. Your melon productivity is amazing. I have that one on my maybe list for next year.

Phuong said...

Hi Dave,
I looked up harlequin bugs and that's totally what they are. The broccoli and Brussels sprouts will probably have to get pulled up, I'll have to start covering the plants up next year.

I'm glad you liked the melon, hopefully it'll do well for you. We didn't amend the soil this year, so they'll probably do even better in your fertile garden.

Phuong said...

Hi A.J.,
We have problems with brassicas as well, it seems like a losing proposition. Especially since the seasons here are probably too hot for them.

It's definitely a smaller melon and they seemed to ripen and set fruit continuously throughout the summer. But this year was intensely hot.

Phuong said...

Hi Julie,
I'll need to start covering the brassicas then, there's just too many bugs to contend with. Your pumpkins and butternut squash are really amazing this year, so exciting!

Phuong said...

Hi David,
You've had a strange year weather wise, the lack of rain makes it really hard. But you're getting lots of different vegetables this time of year, and I think your bell peppers are much bigger than ours.

We found the melon plants to be fairly well behaved, it was easy to move them back into the pepper bed. Although they did try to climb the pepper plants a bit.

Phuong said...

Hi Shaheen,
I've only seen them in Asian grocery stores in bigger cities. Next year, we'll try growing charentais as well.

Mark Willis said...

I'm interested to hear about the ailments of people's plants, as well as their successes, so I'm wondering what may have affected your peppers - and about the Harlequin bug that you describe! Those melons look very attractive, don't they? Much nicer than boring old plain green or yellow.

Bill said...

Beautiful produce. I'm intrigued by the Mazu eggplant, which is unfamiliar to me. It's a great time of year for eggplant here too.

Harlequin bugs are awful. They can overwhelm a garden. Here they are much worse in the spring than in the fall, so hopefully you won't have too much trouble with them.

Phuong said...

Hi Mark,
I wondered if the pepper plants were affected by weed killer. It's only affecting plants in a certain section of the bed and those plants have hardly produced anything. I'll try to take some pictures after the garden cleanup of the harlequin bugs and infected peppers.

Phuong said...

Hi Bill,
The Mazu eggplant is excellent, tender and sweet and still seedless at 14 inches long.

The harlequin bugs have decimated the brassicas, all the plants are drying up and dying.

Susie - said...

Wow, I'm so impressed with your harvest, look at those peppers!!

norma chang said...

Hope you were able to eradicate the bugs on your Brussels sprouts and you will not lose the plants. I am not familiar with Mazu eggplant and will google to learn.