It seems I have been doing a lot of digging in the garden lately. First it was the garlic crop that needed harvesting about three weeks ago. That means it is now time to trim and weigh it all. The garlic has been hanging out (literally) in our warm basement, where the dehumidifier has been running overtime drawing moisture out of the air.
And last week it was time to dig the rest of the potatoes, and to pull the onions. They wound up in the basement too, since it is the best place we have for curing and drying. I’ll weigh the onions after they have cured, but the 2013 potato crop weighed in at 65 pounds, which should keep us supplied with potatoes for some time to come. All in all it was a pretty good year for potatoes here. Fully 37 pounds of those were fingerling potatoes, so I definitely got my invested money back from those mail-ordered potato sets. The two fingerling varieties I grew were Russian Banana and French Fingerling. The Russian Banana was more productive, averaging 24 ounces of potatoes per hill, but the French Fingerlings are definitely bigger, and averaged 20 ounces per hill. Both were planted about 12 inches apart in the row.
The other potatoes I grew were Red Lasoda and Yukon Gold. I bought the seed potatoes for these two locally. Though they weighed less total than the fingerlings, I also planted less of them. I cooked some of the smaller of these two varieties with some green beans the other night. We will use most of the larger ones baked. My wife and I often make a meal off a baked potato, topped with a little cheese and other seasonings. We love both these varieties for baking, as well as for boiling and roasting. I’m not a big fan of russet potatoes, which is a good thing because I’ve never had much luck growing them in our climate.
I also dug up some of the spring carrot crop. The ones in the below photo are mostly Yaya. I still have more to harvest, but the refrigerator is full of veggies at the moment. Insects are not currently a problem with them, so I will leave them in the ground until I have more room in the frig. Though I might consider freezing some of them too. I generally get the worst of the soil off them outside, then leave the final cleaning until just before we use them.
As I said, the onions are curing in the basement along with the garlic and potatoes. I’m still trying to find varieties of onions that do well for me here. The Red Tropea did great again this year, and so did Candy and Superstar. But I tried Big Daddy as a storage onion, and it didn’t size up at all. It is supposed to be a long-day type, so I’m not sure what the problem is. At any rate, we do have plenty of onions for a bit, even if none of them are exactly good keepers. They should keep plenty long enough to go in sauces, salsas and the like when the tomatoes start rolling in.
Moving away from root crops, the blueberry harvest is at long last winding down. We have enjoyed them for 6 weeks now, and the harvester (my wife) has hauled in almost 50 pounds of them. After eating them fresh daily, and filling the freezer, we are now dehydrating them. We have wanted to do this for some time, and this year is the first time we have had enough to make it worthwhile. My wife is in charge of that operation, and has posted instructions on her blog: How To: Dried Blueberries. It is nice to have some dried blueberries that aren’t all sugared up. We also plan on making some low-sugar blueberry jam in the near future using the Pomona pectin.
As the blueberries are winding down, the blackberries are ramping up. We did a taste test of our four varieties this past week. I will post the somewhat surprising (to us) results soon. We haven’t tried dehydrating the blackberries, but my wife does make them into blackberry leather, which is a great way to enjoy their concentrated flavor. We are also freezing a lot of them. A few wound up in a Blackberry Cobbler I made a few days ago.
And speaking of the future, one of my ‘squash futures’ is starting to turn color. The large Boston Marrow squash is looking good. So far the vine has only set two squash, but considering the size of them that will be a lot of squash if they both make it to maturity!
The slicing tomatoes are taking their time to ripen, but we are getting a variety of cherry and grape tomatoes. And the summer squash, cucumbers and eggplants are keeping us well supplied also. It is a great time of year, when we have such a varieties of goodies coming in from the garden!
I pulled the bush snap beans to make room for fall crops, and I have already planted Brussels Sprouts, Swiss Chard, and a few more celery plants. Other fall plantings will go where the potatoes were dug. The pole beans are slowing down, though Trail of Tears and Rattlesnake are still blooming and setting pods. I’m letting both of these go for dried beans, though we enjoyed quite a few of the Rattlesnake beans as snap beans. It is a nice dual-purpose bean, and seems to love our hot and humid summer weather.
That’s a look at what we have been digging and hauling in from the garden lately. To see what ‘goods’ other gardeners are digging, visit Daphne’s Dandelions, where Daphne hosts the Harvest Monday series.