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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