June 25, 2018

Harvest Monday, 6/25/18

Sun Gold cherries on the left and Be My Baby cherries on the right with Mrs. Burns lemon basil.

The basil has a delicious scent, a lovely mix of lemon and basil. I'm going to try drying it for tea.
Nero de Toscana kale on the left and Cavolo Lacianato kale on the right.

The kale plants are massive. They're obviously loving all the rain we've been getting. These greens are growing in the shadiest bed in the garden. The giant leaves are surprisingly tender and have good flavor. With none of the bitterness I've found with growing collards in the high heat of summer. They show no signs of bolting, we're supposed to get close to a 100 degrees this week (37.8 Celsius) which will be a good test for them.
On Sunday I collected all the tomatoes that were near ripe as it was supposed to rain a couple inches that night and almost an inch the next day. We ended up with a surprising amount of cherries, the larger ones are Black Vernissage, Sun Gold, Be My Baby, and Indigo Blueberries. Indigo Blueberries only darken when they're touched by the sun, otherwise they remain a pretty red color. But the first large ripe Pink Berkley Tie-Dye got eaten by some critter, probably a squirrel.
The cucumbers are just starting to produce. We never seem to get huge amounts of them. Probably a product of the varieties chosen and the high disease pressure in our garden.

There's lots going on in the garden. We've got corn tasseling and melons swelling. I'll be sharing pictures in a couple days.

I hope everyone is having a great summer. It's crazy that July is almost upon us. Time to start thinking about fall crops.

Please join us for Harvest Monday as hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres. Where gardeners from around the world share the wonders of their garden as well as trials and tribulations.


Eight Gate Farm NH said...

"Corn tasseling and melons swelling"...sounds like a song! Wish we had those things now. Your harvests look great.

Michelle said...

Your kale is massive. Strange, I always think of it as a cool weather crop, I'm surprised that it's doing so well in the heat. Tomatoes and cucumbers are still just poking along here, it will be weeks before I have any hope of harvesting any.

Sue Garrett said...

Do you find Sungold split easily?

Margaret said...

I'm so envious of people that are harvesting cucumbers - we LVOE our cucumbers around here, but our plants are just starting to run so it will be a while. And ripe tomatoes...yum! Have you tried the Black Vernissage yet? They looked nice, but otherwise I wasn't impressed by them - their flavour was only ok and their texture was grainy. But tomato quality can vary so much depending on the conditions, I'm interested to know how you found them.

joy said...

I love it when the first tomatoes start to be ready to pick. We are probably a month away from picking ours. I also grow the Mrs Burn's basil and love it.

Shawn Ann said...

OOOHHHH! You have so many tomatoes already! I'm really surprised my white currant tomatoes haven't begun ripening yet! They are tiny. I did have a single Cherokee purple. I usually have a hard time with cucumbers too. It is hit or miss. I seem to be having a good go of it with the Sweet Success variety I am trying this year. I will definitely do those again! But not too many pickling cucumbers are being harvested at all. If you save and trade seeds I would love to get some of the indigo varieties from you to try! Your harvest looks great! Can't wait to see what you have next week!

Phuong said...

Hi Will,
I love this time of year when things start finally coming in. The corn is supposed to be an early 70 day variety and I planted mid-May, so it feels about right. You are having an incredibly cold spring, but your spring vegetables are looking good.

Phuong said...

Hi Michelle,
I was surprised with how well the kale's been doing. With no bitterness whatsoever. It seems like you're having a fairly cool summer, but that's probably close to normal for you. We've gotten massive amounts of rain the last 5 days, and I can see weedy grass starting to go to seed. Ack!

Phuong said...

Hi Sue,
Sungold splits all the time for me, it splits more than any other tomato I grow. I'm crossing my fingers that you'll get a good rain soon.

Phuong said...

Hi Margaret,
It seemed to take forever for cucumbers to get going. The vines are huge but they just started to produce. Black Vernissage was surprisingly acidic, which is what I noticed first off and maybe a little mealy. That plant is definitely dying so it's probably not a fair comparison. Sometimes the first couple tomatoes can taste off and they get better later in the season. I might try again next year just to give it a fair chance.

Phuong said...

Hi Joy,
The amount of rain we've been getting is probably watering down the flavor a bit, but the tomatoes are still pretty good. I can't wait to get a big one and put it on a sandwich.

Phuong said...

Hi Shawn Ann,
That's so cool, your first tomato was a big Cherokee Purple. That variety has never done well for me, I really think it prefers raised beds in wet regions. I'm definitely going to try saving seeds from the Indigo Blueberries, so will probably be able to pass on some at the end of the season. They're a very vigorous healthy plant even with all the wilt making its way through the garden. But we do get a lot of sweat bees pollinating tomatoes, so it's entirely possible they won't be true to type.

Kathy said...

Fantastic tomatoes. Ours are still a long way off being ripe, they are still hard and green. And I have not heard of the lemon basil before.. I must see if it is available here as it sounds lush

Phuong said...

Hi Kathy,
The lemon basil was actually purchased from a UK website called Seedaholic. I recently picked a huge colander full of snap beans. We love them braised or in stir-fries.

Jade said...

Hi Phuong,
I have a few Thai Basil plants. Do you have any idea if they are good for making tea? And do you crush them into smaller pieces after drying? Thanks in advance!
You have fantastic harvests! All of them look so pretty and delicious!

Phuong said...

Hi Jade,
I have never tried Asian basil for tea, but it sounds delicious. The flavors are usually fairly intense so it never occurred to me. I don't think it's necessary to crush the leaves after drying. When people grow chamomile for tea they just leave the whole flowers, rather than crushing them.

I was thinking of freezing our extra Asian basil in ice-cube trays covered in water, and then put them in bags after they're frozen. So later they can be popped into soups as needed.

Jade said...

Thank you so much Phuong! Such a great idea to freeze them so for later soup-making use. It suits me perfectly as I can't always travel miles back to my garden and get it. As for tea, I will try it anyway to see how I like or dislike it. Thanks again!

Dave @ HappyAcres said...

It's a lovely mix of tomatoes you have there! Too bad about the Pink Berkeley Tie Dye getting eaten. I'm growing that one this year too but they're not nearly ready yet. You reminded me I need to start thinking about starting some seeds for fall - hard to believe it is time for it!

Phuong said...

Hi Jade,
You've got me curious about the Asian basil tea. I might dry a couple plants just to see how it tastes.

Phuong said...

Hi Dave,
Did you get as much rain as we did? It rained eight days in row here, huge torrential downpours everyday. Disease is just rampant in the tomato beds.

I went through my seeds last night to get a picture of what needs to be started for fall, so exciting. Hopefully we'll have a long mild autumn this year.

Unknown said...

What can be grown in the autumn and when should I plant autumn crops? Also, how do I know when to harvest root vegetables? Thanks in advance!

Phuong said...

Hi Patricia,
I think you're located much further north than us, and I'm not sure when your first frost is. You can probably start planting carrots, beets, and long season turnips like Gilfeather turnips now. If you want to do kale and chicories, now is the time to start them in flats. Sweet salad turnips, and regular turnips do better when it cools off a little, so we plant them at the end of August. Spinach needs temperatures under 80 to germinate so those usually get seeded in the garden in September, but that might be late for you unless you grow them under row covers.

The one thing I thought was amazing last fall was Asian greens, they're just so good in soups and stir fries. People even put the young leaves in salads. Mizuna, Mibuna, and Tatsoi are my favorites and they can take light frosts. Depending on when it finally starts cooling off here, I start them in flats at the end of August or in September. The timing might be different for you.

Root crops like salad turnips are so much better when they're little, the size of ping pong balls. I just cut them in half and sauté them in butter with a little salt, so good. People sometimes pick beets when they're also small and parboil them, slip off their skins, and slice them to serve with young beet leaves, crumbled cheese, and a vinaigrette for a warm salad.

I'm still experimenting with getting the timing right for fall kohlrabi, peas, and broccoli. And I'm going to try overwintering fava beans this year, they probably won't get seeded until October.