July Harvests

All of a sudden, it seems the harvests have gone into full-blown summertime mode. We’ve been harvesting cherry and cluster tomatoes since late June, but this week we got our first Early Girls and Jaune Flamme’s. That’s a good sign of more things to come in the tomato department.


Mountain Magic (L), Jaune Flamme (M) and Early Girl (R) tomatoes (click on any image to enlarge)

I even got enough to oven roast a pan of them. They wound up on a pizza. The slow roasting really intensifies the tomato flavor. In the above photo, the Mountain Magics on the left are larger than a golf ball, while the Early Girls on the right are slightly smaller than a tennis ball. The heirloom Flamme’s in the middle are in between in size, and had some concentric cracking and splitting no doubt due to our recent moonsoonal rains. They normally are pretty crack resistant, but when you get 6 inches of rain in 5 days like we did, I guess that was just too much for them. I also used some of the tomatoes to make salsa to go with our black bean and chicken taco dinner last night.


first green beans, potatoes, Early Girl tomatoes and blackberries

We had our first cooking of green beans and potatoes this week. The beans are the bush beans Derby and Purple Queen, and the spuds were Desiree. Put them all together and they are delicious!


Dasher (L)( and Manny (R) cucumbers

The outside cucumbers have finally started producing. The Dasher 2 variety has really nice, straight 8-9″ long slicers. I made some refrigerator pickles, and we gave some away. The cucumber plants in the greenhouse are still producing as well, though a spider mite outbreak might do them in. Every time I grow cukes in the greenhouse I either have problems with whiteflies or spider mites. Thankfully the outside cucumbers are rarely bothered by either of those pests.


Tromboncino and Tatume squashes

Two unique heirloom squashes also found their way into the harvest basket this week. In the photo above we have the long, skinny Tromboncino zucchini, and the round softball sized Tatume. I sliced the Tatume, coated it with a little seasoned flour and then fried them in oil. They were wonderful. I plan on sauteing the Tromboncino for dinner tonight.


Apache blackberries are big and sweet

The early harvests of blackberries were enough for us to have a taste, but Saturday I picked a gallon of them. Most were the large and sweet Apache variety. Much of those wound up in the freezer, but we have been enjoying a bowl of them most nights after dinner, topped with a bit of whipped cream. The blackberry harvest should continue on through most of July here. We likely won’t get anywhere near the 10 gallons we picked last year, because I pulled up the Arapaho variety and replanted with Ouachita and Natchez. The Arapaho was pretty blah tasting and stingy in yield, so it was time to give something else a try. I hope the new ones do as well as they are reported to perform.


Purple Italian garlic

I finished digging the rest of the garlic bulbs, including Spanish Roja and Purple Italian. Both are rocambole hardnecks. The Purple Italians are huge – easily the biggest I harvested this year, that is until I harvested the Lorz Italians which are about the same size. This was the first year I’ve grown them, so that really bodes well for future harvests. It was the second year for Spanish Roja, and it seems to be acclimating to our area. Both will be back next year for sure. And I will be planting even more of the Purple Italian this fall. Lorz Italian (a softneck artichoke type) has done well here for several years now, and the long keeping silverskins Nootka Rose and Silver White did well also. I’ll have a final tally of the garlic harvest in a couple of weeks when they all finish curing.


Hansel and Fairy Tale eggplants

And also arriving on the scene was eggplant. I harvested several Fairy Tale and one Hansel this week. They got grilled for lunch, served with Tahini Yogurt Sauce (click here for recipe).


Sierra lettuce

The summer lettuce is hanging in there. I cut a head of Sierra that has been hanging on out in the heat for several weeks. I’d give this one two thumbs up for its heat resistance and holding qualities. It’s crisp and tasty as well. New Red Fire and Red Sails have been doing well in the heat too. I just planted some Anuenue about a week ago. It usually does well in summer here too.


spearmint for drying

And last but not least was another batch of spearmint I harvested for drying. These herbs don’t weigh very much, but the mint will be handy to have in winter. I’ve got almost 2 quart jars full of dried mints already, so it does add up.

That’s a look at what we’re harvesting here at HA in early July. We hauled in 45 pounds this week. To see other gardener’s harvest, visit Daphne’s Dandelions, host of Harvest Mondays.

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24 Responses to July Harvests

  1. Allison says:

    My goodness what a wonderful harvest! I am dying for our Blackberries to be ready so I can make some jam.

    Your tomatos look delicious!!

  2. kitsapFG says:

    It just does not get much better than that – garlic, tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, potatoes, lettuce, summer squash, eggplant, and berries! It sounds like you had a rain of bibilical proportions, it is not a wonder that you got a little cracking on the tomatoes after that.

    • Villager says:

      I didn’t track the precip from Jan-Mar because the freezing temps cracked my rain gauge. So I only know what we’ve gotten since April. The weather service reports 42 inches so far this year, which is 16 inches above normal. So it’s not quite biblical in proportion, but certainly ‘epic’ and a year to remember! 🙂 Last year we couldn’t buy rain.

  3. Marcia says:

    I see why you call yourself Happy Acres. That is an incredible amount of produce and the tomatoes are just starting, too. What will the totals be later this month? Whew!

    I’m going to try your refrigerator pickles. I have some in a jar made with Daphne’s recipe. Just wondering how long yours will keep if I put them in a jar in the refrigerator? Also have to look back at how you did you zucchini for freezing. I’m at the abundance stage with them.

    • Villager says:

      I honestly don’t know how long the fresh pickles will keep. We make them in small batches, and normally eat them up within 3-4 days of making.

  4. johanna says:

    Incredible harvest. The eggplant are beautiful and everything else is such an incredible size – garlic, cucumbers, berries. Wow!! Would love to know what you do with the eggplant.

    • Villager says:

      Much of it gets grilled. It’s one of my favorite ways to cook eggplant. I love to make grilled eggplant parmesan, it has all the flavor of the traditional recipe but a lot fewer calories. I’m also planning to use some in a stir fry this week.

  5. WOW! Another fabulous harvest! I love those squash! It’s always so inspiring to see what you bring in from you garden – may the great harvests continue.

  6. Diana says:

    Beautiful harvest. I wish I can have a taste of that juicy berry harvest.

  7. Barbie says:

    Holy cowabunga that lettuce looks fabulous for July!

  8. michelle says:

    45 pounds this week! Wow. Your garden doesn’t seem to mind the torrential rain. It all looks great.

    • Villager says:

      Only the brassicas seem to mind the wet conditions, and that was early on when the plants were small. Everything else has done amazing well. The garlic is as big as I’ve ever grown it!

  9. Hanni says:

    Oh my mercy, you have an amazing harvest! That’s dedication. 🙂

  10. Daphne says:

    Great harvest. I wish I had blackberries, but they didn’t make the cut for the yard. We are only a happy fifth of an acre and a shared yard at that. Oh but I do wish I could make blackberry jam.

  11. Wilderness says:

    Villager what a harvest. Normally the reason the tomatoes crack is a very dry spell when the skins harden do to lack of water then a wet spell when the start growing again and the skin is no longer pliable for it to stretch with the new growth. When it is dry I try to keep my tomatoes well watered so that doesn’t happen.

    • Villager says:

      I wish we would have a dry spell so things could dry out a bit. 😀 We’ve had 30 inches of rain in 3.5 months!

      I mulch our tomatoes with newspaper and cover with straw. That keeps soil moisture from fluctuating too much even in a dry year, like 2010. But sometimes nothing you do will prevent tomatoes from cracking or splitting.

  12. Robin says:

    I planted the Tromboncino zucchini a few years ago. Boy, they can get to be almost 4′ long and not be old! I had one plant that grew from a pot sitting on the ground all the way around the railing on the porch, approx. 20′! It’s a very good variety with only seeds in the end.

    Aren’t you just loving those blackberries? Boy ours are wonderful!

    • Villager says:

      We are loving the blackberries! I’m going out later this afternoon and try and find enough for dessert tonight.

      That Tromboncino is amazing. I learned to give it plenty of room to ramble about!

  13. Sherry says:

    Very nice harvest, Villager!
    We are getting plenty of blackberries here, too. I haven’t grown tired of them yet. I used them in different things. I thought we would have a lot left to freeze, but so far I’ve only collected a small zipper bag.

    I’ve seen Tromboncino squashes before, but this is the first time I heard about Tatume squash. I’m curious to see what it looks like inside and it’s taste and texture.

  14. Shawn Ann says:

    Wow, you did have an awesome harvest! I can’t wait till my garden kicks into high gear! Some things are a bit behind though. But they’ll get there! Love those squash! Very cool find!

  15. Jason says:

    We’re just getting our first Romas, with Early Girls in the next few days.

    We’ve also been getting some summer squash, but nothing like your load. Great harvest.

  16. Bee Girl says:

    What an absolutely fantastic harvest! Congrats on your tomatoes!!! I am anxiously awaiting my first tomato! There are so many green ones, they’re just taunting me at this point!

  17. meemsnyc says:

    I must buy an Apache blackberry plant to put in my garden. I love how large the fruits are! Totally amazing!

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