Last week I harvested quite a few of the winter squashes. Like most everything else in the garden this year, they were running about 3 weeks ahead of last year’s crop. The Delicata and Acorn plants were totally done for, and most of the butternuts were done as well. All of those were bush varieties. I also hauled in many of the Small Wonder spaghetti squashes. The squashes may be smaller sized, but the vines sure love to ramble! It made for a little over 40 pounds of squash.
The Gold Nugget squashes weren’t quite ready yet, and I still have Tatume, Boston Marrow and the Pennsylvania Dutch Crookneck (aka neck pumpkin) growing. It looks like a pretty decent year for the winter squashes, even if I did lose the Kuri Kuri and Candy Roaster vines earlier on to wilt. One of the Delicatas was attacked by the dreaded squash vine borer, but so far only one squash plant has been hit. Bacterial wilt is usually a bigger problem here than the SVB, with the striped and spotted beetles both serving as vectors for the disease.
And speaking of insects, it’s been an interesting year so far. We’ve had very few Japanese beetles or squash bugs, which is good news indeed. Both of these are usually quite pesky around here. And we’ve also had very few flea beetles. But we had a real explosion of the striped cucumber beetles, which no doubt caused much of the wilt problems. Oh well, every year brings its own set of challenges to the gardener, for sure.
Meanwhile, we have started the annual tomato processing marathon. My wife has been drying them in the dehydrator, and I froze a few pints of cut up ones for soup. And we had several on BLT sandwiches this week. That is a summertime treat I really enjoy! When more of the paste types are ripe I will start cooking some down for sauce and puree.
I also harvested the potatoes from the 2012 Smart Pot Experiment. I got slightly less than 3 pounds of spuds from two large pots. That is an experiment I won’t be repeating. I know other gardeners have success growing potatoes in containers, but it wasn’t worth the effort or expense for us, consider how well they grow when planted in the ground.
Now appearing in the harvest basket is the first of the eggplants. Millionaire is a long purple Japanese type eggplant that does well for us here. It went into a mixed stir fry one night, along with squash, carrots, yardlong beans and some shrimp. The smaller Hansel and Fairy Tale eggplants are coming on now as well, and I fixed some of them on the grill.
We slipped away to Nashville last week to see a concert. The next morning we had breakfast with a friend, and then headed to the great downtown Farmer’s Market to see what goodies we could find. We came back with some shelled purple hull peas, speckled lima beans, bi-color sweet corn, and a couple of melons. All are things we don’t grow here, but still enjoy eating now and then. One of the melons was a yellow canary type. We bought it on the recommendation of the grower, and it was very tasty, with a flavor somewhat in between a honeydew and a cantaloupe.
I’ve never grown a canary melon before, but I believe it will be on the 2013 garden plan, along with my old standbys like Burpee’s Ambrosia and Sugar Queen. We’re planning on replacing the plastic deer fencing around the big vegetable garden with some metal fencing this fall. This fencing project will expand the garden by a couple hundred square feet, and I plan to put the extra space to use by growing things like dry beans and melons.
That’s a look at what we’ve been harvesting here this July. I’ll be back later this week with a recipe using zucchini squash, and it’s a summertime favorite here!