This time of year, the garden is really keeping us busy with harvesting and processing. Tomatoes are coming on full blast, which means we have been dehydrating, slow roasting, freezing, making sauce, and eating them like crazy! This week we harvested 46 pounds of them.
This week was also time to start harvesting our winter squash. The delicata, butternut, acorn and Gold Nugget types were almost all ready, and quite a few of the Small Wonder spaghetti squash were ready as well. All added up they weighed 54 pounds. There’s still quite a few Small Wonder on the vines, plus we have the Fairy and Pennsylvania Dutch Longneck squashes to harvest, so it looks like a great year for the storage type squashes. The summer squash plants are all done for, except for the vining Tromboncino and Tatume.
The Tromboncino squash has proven once again to be a wonderful addition to the garden. Even though botanically it is more closely related to the butternut squash (Cucurbita moschata), it is usually used at the tender immature stage like a giant zucchini. I’ve given several of them away and everyone has raved about them, using them sauteed and in casseroles and ratatouille. The mild flavored flesh is less watery than most zucchini, and there are very few seeds. We’ve gotten 11 pounds of them so far this year, and the vines are still going strong. Having them trellised really makes for cleaner, straighter squash. Ours are vining on the deer fencing that surrounds our main garden plot.
The okra is blooming nicely now, giving us a harvest every couple of days. The pods grow so fast in this warm weather that you pretty well have to check the plants every day, or risk the pods getting over mature. I fried some one night to go with our BLT’s. And yes, I took a bite out of the sandwich before I remembered to grab the camera – I was hungry! We’ve started freezing some okra too. I blanch it, cut it, then freeze it in a single layer on a cookie sheet so the pieces stay separate.
We’re still getting a nice amount of cucumbers from the late planting. Tasty Green and Summer Dance are the two varieties, both Japanese burpless types with thin skins. I made a batch of bread and butter pickles with them this week. And we have refrigerator pickles going pretty much all the time.
The pole beans are not liking our heat wave very much. We’ve gotten very few of them yet. Still, the vines are alive and blooming and I have hopes they will give us a few beans soon. It’s not going to be a good year for those beans though. However the yardlong beans are loving the heat! We had a nice mess of them the other night. I dry fried them (stir fried in oil) and we had them as a side dish. The Red Noodle beans are so pretty when cooked. I will be growing these beans again for sure.
This week saw the end of the 2011 blackberry harvest. We hauled in 54 pounds of them (about 9 gallons). That was only a bit less than the 61 pounds we got last year, despite the fact we ripped up almost a third of our plantings. We are quite pleased with the results, which will certainly keep us in blackberries until next year’s crop comes on. The Apaches have been producing for 5 weeks now, and while the berries are getting smaller they are still nice sized.
The eggplants are doing well this year. We got several of the large Italian types this week, enough to make some Grilled Eggplant Parmesan. And we continue to get a lot of the Fairy Tales. The Thai Long Green is just now blooming, while the Pingtung Long and Millionaire are going strong.
That’s pretty much what we’re harvesting here these days. There are greens ready to eat (Pak Choi, Swiss Chard, Komatsuna), but we eat them all winter long. I’d rather have fresh tomatoes and the other summer veggies while we have them. We are getting enough lettuce for sandwiches, but it’s not liking the summer’s heat to say the least. Total harvested for this week was 129 pounds.
To see other gardener’s harvests visit Daphne’s Dandelions, host of Harvest Mondays. I’ll close with some more photos from this week.