The summer vegetable harvests have slowed down considerably here, and I must say we have mixed emotions about that. The heat and drought have definitely made for a lousy year for peppers and eggplant, and the pole beans suffered as well. Last year was a banner year for all three.
But in a flip-flop, last years tomato harvest was terrible, but this year we have been up to our ears with them! So far we have harvested 174 pounds of tomatoes. We still have a few on the counter, but I’m planning on using the ripe ones in some spaghetti sauce tonight, and frying the green ones. There’s a few more on the vines, but they are nearing their end.
So despite the weather, we have harvested 736 pounds of fruit and vegetables from our gardens so far this year, and we are very thankful for that. But we are ready for a slower pace – ready to enjoy autumn, and yes winter too. We’re well prepared when it comes to food. Our freezer is crammed full of goodies.
We have lots of winter squash in the cellar.
The Gold Nugget squash was very prolific this year. The size is just right for a serving.
But the gardens aren’t done yet, not by a long shot. The Fairy Tale eggplants I have growing in pots are blooming and getting their second wind, as it were. I gave them a drink of fish emulsion a while back, and they have responded with a new flush of blooms. These eggplants have given us over 4 pounds of their tasty little beauties this year.
I also planted an heirloom long-neck pumpkin vine back in early July, and it has taken over the lasagna garden area where potatoes grew earlier. The plants are just now starting to set some pumpkins. With 60 days left until our usual first frost date, they should mature in plenty of time – at least I am hoping they do!
The necks are already curved, and the shape is distinctive. These pumpkins can weigh up to 20 pounds, so even if we get a few of them we will have lots of pumpkin for pies and such. Lynn over at Wood Ridge had a great post last year about how to cook and process them.
I’ve also got my eye on two Asian persimmons that are on one of our two small trees. This is the Ichi Ki Kei Jiro variety (say that three times fast!). The other variety we have planted is Gwang Yang. These non-astringent persimmons are marginally hardy in our area, but we are hoping these varieties will make it here in our zone 6b climate.
One interesting thing I harvested last week was a volunteer ‘mystery’ squash that was growing over by the compost bins.
It’s a mixed variety, sort of resembling a cross between a Delicata and an acorn squash, though I didn’t grow any acorn squash last year! I have no idea what they will taste like, but we’re going to bake them up soon and see. Hopefully they will at least be edible.
So that’s a look at some past and future harvests here at HA. Last week’s total harvest was about 11 pounds. Check out Daphne’s Dandelions for more harvests!
Everything looks so nice. I especially love those mystery winter squash. With the freezer so well stocked and those squash, winter might not be so bad.
I love pumpkin patches – how they grow and take over the world, and then tucked underneath all that vegetation are the beautiful maturing fruits.
That is a wonderfully full freezer! My freezer is also getting well filled – but my canning pantry is largely empty as unlike you – my tomatoes are not having a stellar year. Too cool for them in the coastal pacific northwest this year.
Sounds like you have had an excellent tomato year, plenty to enjoy later this winter, from the look of your freezer. That squash looks very intriguing.
Tomatoes always perform better in heat and drought – that is also my experience. We have had a lot of rain this year, so tomatoes did not produce that much, but we are having a lot of peppers growing and still flowering.
I have my eye on that persimmon as well!! LOL. I would love to grow a non-astringent variety but alas, I think it’s too cold here in Zone 6A. Hopefully we’ll get to see pictures of it ripe.
The mystery hybrid squash is good looking, I hope it is a good tasting!
What a nice sight, your freezer! That’s the way to go. You are writing about they season winding down while I am feeling like mine just got started, I hope.
Will you be supplementing your freezer catch with fresh greens from your greenhouse?
I will be planting some winter greens in the greenhouse soon. Last winter we had a nice assortment, and fresh greens all winter long.
I believe the mystery squash is a Sweet Dumpling. I grew them last year, and the seeds must have wound up on the compost pile and sprouted. I didn’t realize they got yellow like that, but apparently they do.
I meant “cache” above, sorry.
The squirrels have nothing you! At least you’ll remember where you hid all your stores for the winter 😛 Your harvests looks great. You have to love squash, they cross so easily. We seem to have strange mutant delicata cross that volunteered in the garden too. I expect one of your neighbors may have been growing the acorn squash! We love persimmons. Our plan is to add at least a Fuyu persimmon here. I like the non-astringent persimmons just because they’re a little more readily usable straight from the tree. I must admit the Ichi Ki Kei Jiro is a variety I’m not familiar with.
Congrats on all those harvests, over 700lbs is very impressive! My garden is just starting to ramp up with warm season crops, been a strange year really. Lots of heat but everything is taking ages.
Beautiful harvest! I really want to make an effort to include some winter squash in the garden next year.
That is what I love to see – a full freezer ready for winter. Mine seems pretty bare this year. I have tons of tomatoes (which are all getting canned) and cucumbers (with plenty of pickles made), but not much for the freezer.
What a wonderful harvest! I’m hoping your volunteer squash is tasty. I do so love volunteer plants in the compost bin!
Lovely harvests. I’m wondering how you prepared your winter squash for storage. I have some on the vine that look ripe but I haven’t found any clear answers. Should I pick them or wait until closer to my frost date?
Your pumpkin patch looks really healthy. My first effort at growing squash (just a plain zucchini) was squashed (ha!) this year when my three plants all succumbed to powdery mildew. Do you ever have any problems with that with your various squashes? I’m really impressed with your winter squash stash. That mystery squash looks really pretty in yellow and green. I would definitely like to try my hand at some winter squash varieties next year.
I hope that my freezer looks like that some day! I can’t believe you have harvested that many pounds – I can’t imagine how rewarding it must feel to know that you have produced so much delicious food.
Even if those squash are not very tasty, they sure are great to look at. They’re gorgeous.
We’ve got a freezer and pantry full too. I’m excited and happy about it but I’m also getting kind of sick of cooking food we won’t eat for months!
You will be eating well this winter and you certainly have earned a break from all your hard work in the garden. The long neck pumpkin certainly looks interesting. And do let us know how that volunteer tastes, it such fun to watch the freebies grow and then it’s a great bonus when they are tasty too.
I wish we could trade a few squash – I have an abundance of orange spaghetti squash and only one gold nugget! Great looking harvest.
What a nice stock of winter squash! And the mystery ones are pretty cool looking! Hope they taste as good!
Wow, that mystery squash is gorgeous. Such pretty flecks of color!
I have a non-astringent persimmon on my property that was here when I moved in two years ago. When I moved in, the owner told me it had never produced. Last autumn, it gave me six huge, delicious fruit. This year, it is covered with fruit. I’m going to have to find ways to use non-astringent persimmon! It’s a lovely little tree–well-established, but not very old. I have no idea what exact variety it is.
I am jealous of all the tomatoes you’ve managed to process and freeze. We were out of the country for the first slam of tomatoes, and we’ve had a steady dribble since we’ve been back, but not enough to do too much with. The plants are gearing up to give another crush of tomatoes in the next couple weeks though. I hope I get a chance to can a bunch.