July 19, 2017

An Epic Year in the Vegetable Garden

Apologies for not posting, but we have been having the best year in the garden ever. I have been gardening for over twenty years, and I have never seen anything like this. Yesterday I gave away 90 pounds of tomatoes between family, neighbors, and coworkers. And yet, there are still tomatoes on the counter. So far we have canned 44 quarts of salsa and 14 quarts of tomato juice.

I have even started picking green tomatoes for people to fry up, which I never do. The plan is to pressure can the rest of the tomatoes in juice and make some green tomato pickles. A friend of mine says she has canned so far, 130 quarts of snap beans and last year they had only canned 50 quarts. And it's not even the end of the season yet. People in our area are abandoning their gardens and telling neighbors to come pick what they want because they're done canning for the year.

Months ago I scheduled to be off the last week of July for canning because that's usually when tomatoes start coming in strong. Instead I'll be pulling out the bush beans since rust is moving quickly through the patch and rabbits are nesting there. And I'll be clearing out most of the zucchini and summer squashes, and the greenhouse.

So here's a few pictures of what we've been harvesting.
I ordered a Victorio food strainer to help with making juices and sauces, and found it much more efficient than a food mill.
The winter squash beds are inaccessible but a few are growing along the fence. I'm hoping there's lots of them hiding in their patch.
This year we're growing Queensland Blue winter squash, Black Futsu pumpkin, Thai Rai Kaw Tok pumpkin, and Yokohama winter squash,
We won't be having any melons this year, since they're all overshadowed by the massive tomato plants. And the leeks were squished by the rampaging zucchini plants, but maybe they'll recover once the zucchini gets pulled.

July 3, 2017

Harvest Monday, 7/3/17

On June 26th we harvested tomatoes with Black Brandywine as the biggest one weighing 1.418 pounds. Also pictured is Granny Cantrell's German Red, Paul Robeson, Cosmonaut Volkov, Black Prince, and Taxi.

Black Brandywine continues to produce early heavy tomatoes. Cosmonaut Volkov and Paul Robeson are producing the biggest tomatoes I have ever seen from them, which tells me they don't like our normally hot spring weather. But there are some gigantic Pink Brandywines starting to ripen that should weigh more.
Also harvested June 26th: beans, Butta zucchini, and basil. My husband was elated to see fresh beans coming in from the garden.

I picked the basil thinking it would go well with tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, but with more than 5 pounds of tomatoes harvested a day it looks like salsa canning is scheduled for Friday.

 June 27th: just under a pound of beans and some cherry tomatoes.
June 27th: Butta zucchini and Zephyr squash.
June 27th was a good day for tomatoes with more than eleven pounds shown here.
On the 27th: the never ending parade of squash continues.
 Harvested June 28th: almost seven pounds of tomatoes.
Also harvested June 28th: under three pounds of peppers. The peppers were a disappointment this year. The plants are big and lush and the peppers themselves are huge but the yield is dismal. In 2013 my first harvest of peppers was 12 pounds with almost the same number of plants. We haven't gotten a single pepper from Numex Joe E. Parker yet.

On the June 29th we were running around getting ready to can salsa the next day so I didn't get to photograph 17 pounds of tomatoes, almost 3 pounds of beans, and just under 4 pounds of squash picked that day. I'm trying to process the salsa only when our kiddo is out of the house because the fumes from all the peppers and onions can get pretty bad.

With all the tomatoes coming in we're going to try pressure canning tomato juice and sauces. It'll be great, we can add the tomato juice to our fresh vegetable juice blend. My favorite is carrot, celery, and apple that we run through our juicer. We'll probably can some crushed and whole tomatoes for  soups and chili.

Harvested this week:
41.644 pounds tomatoes
8.918 pounds squash
5.686 pounds beans
2.720 pounds peppers
0.294 pound cherry tomatoes

Total Harvest: 56.542 pounds

Please join us at Harvest Monday hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres, a happening place full of vegetables and their gardens.