It’s hard to believe, but asparagus season is winding down here. We started cutting spears back in mid April, and since then my wife and I have been enjoying fresh, homegrown asparagus as often as possible. It’s been grilled, steamed, stir-fried and roasted. Some of it’s been shared with friends, and some of it has been frozen for later enjoyment. But now, it’s time to stop harvesting and let the ferns grow so they can replenish the roots for next year’s crop. We got 26 pounds from our patch this year, which is down a bit from last year but still plenty of asparagus for us.
Yesterday I stir-fried some with a few sliced mushrooms and some chopped up garlic scapes. I cooked it only briefly, then tossed it with some Garlic Scape Pesto while it was still warm. I generally try and keep it simple with fresh vegetables. And homegrown asparagus is pretty much a rockstar all by itself I think.
But even as the asparagus exits the scene, new arrivals are showing up here. Like raspberries, for instance. This spring I planned on cutting down the old canes on the plants so we would only get a fall crop, but never got around to it. So now we are enjoying raspberries produced on last year’s canes. The red varieties producing now are either Caroline or Autumn Bliss. I planted both but with the way raspberries spread I can’t tell which is which right now, since they have grown every which way. These everbearing raspberries also produce berries in late summer and fall on the current year’s canes.
The blueberries are also starting to ripen about now. My wife usually handles most of the harvesting of these blue jewels. She likes to say she knows every one of them personally, and I am thankful she takes care of this time-consuming but rewarding job!
The fresh berries have been a real treat at breakfast time. I have been enjoying them with some of our homemade muesli. And we’ve started freezing the blueberries.
I harvested the first head of broccoli last week, which was soon followed by several more. Those in the below photo are the Packman variety, which was the first to head up this year. It’s nice to have fresh broccoli again. Some of it went into a Broccoli and Walnut Salad.
The spring planted kale is also nice to have. That’s the Wild Garden mix in the below photo. It has a mix of kales with leaf types that range from smooth, to curly, and even frilly. It has a delightful taste and tender leaves.
Another first on the scene is zucchini. There is usually a glut of it later on but right now the first one looks pretty special to me. The one in the below photo is Partenon, which is a parthenocarpic type that doesn’t need pollination. It should be ready to harvest this morning. For folks who have a hard time growing zucchini due to insect problems, or lack of pollination, the parthenocarpic types can be grown under cover and still produce fruit. Cavilli is another one I’ve grown with light green squash that is parthenocarpic. I like these types because they can set fruit on cool and wet days when other squash might not get pollinated.
And speaking of pollination, I’ll close with what I think was the best news of all from last week – the bees are back! Last Friday we made a half day road trip to Paducah, Ky to pick up our bee nuc. A nuc is a mini-hive and includes a queen, her workers, plus five frames with eggs, brood and food stores. The below photo shows my wife carrying the nuc down to our hive.
We installed the five frames and all the bees in our own hive as soon as we got them home. That’s me in the below photo making the transfer. We’ll give them about a week before we do a hive inspection and see how the queen is doing. They had a rough ride in the back of the truck, and we want to give them a chance to get settled in before we disturb them by opening up the hive. We will feed them with sugar syrup until they are well established.
I hope you have enjoyed this update of current happenings at HA. To see what other gardeners are harvesting, cooking or planting, visit Daphne’s Dandelions where Daphne hosts Harvest Mondays. I’ll be back soon with more news as it happens!
I’m always amazed on how ahead you get of us over time. We are in the same zone, but we are so close to the ocean that it tends to keep us a lot cooler. Our raspberries and blueberries are still a long way from ripening. And the zucchini plants are tiny. I know they will get there though. I ought to try a parthenocarpic variety. I’ve done that in the past with cucumbers.
Zucchini and raspberries already?? WOW! Amazing. So glad to see your bees are back and hope you’ll get plenty of honey once again.
I’m interested in your parthenocarpic squash. I’ll have to look into it.
I helped a friend move bees our of her tree, where they had established a small colony and were building wax comb. I’ll go check on the hive I set up in her yard some time later this week.
Wow, look at all of those berries! They look so delicious. I have one zucchini on the vine right now, about the size of my pinky finger and I’m very excited about grilling it up when it gets bigger! Congrats on the bees.
Yet another great post, Dave. I also enjoyed your cherry picking and chocolate cherry muffin posts, but was sad to read of the passing of Annie’s Granny. I admired her amazing productivity (usually over 1,000 lbs of produce a year) and baking. But for some reason, I was not able to post to her blog. Ditto Daphne’s Dandelion. It must be some incompatibility between WordPress and whatever host they use. I am happy that you have bees again. Happy gardening.
Great harvest as usual. Thanks for the tip on parthenocarpic-type squash. I have grown this type of cucumber but never squash. I cover my squash but eventually have to pull the covers off after a few weeks of failed manual pollination. We also had a hive in our backyard in the pine trees. Produced great honey but after 2 colony collapses, the beekeeper retrieved his hive. He found a flying squirrel family having babies in the abandoned hive.
That’s too bad about the beehive. It is certainly tough to keep a hive going, and we know that all too well after losing ours to hive beetles last year.
I think the last thing I need is a parthenocarpic zucchini, my Romanesco zucchini is going crazy again this year and I’m already dealing with a glut.
How interesting that your asparagus is just ending now, the local asparagus grower that I buy from at the farmers market just finished harvesting also. That’s the last asparagus for me, I only buy it locally grown.
Wow! I second Daphne’s comment. You’re very far ahead of us in the produce department, especially with the blueberries. Mine are still green and pea sized. Those asparagus spears are perfect looking. You must have well established crowns. I just planted mine earlier this year so I’m guessing it will be a few years before I can harvest spears like those.
Wow! You are so far ahead of us! We won’t see zucchini for another 5 weeks at least! Oh how I wish we could grow blue berries in our area, but it is just impossible with our soils high PH. Yours look fantastic!!
Wow – two months! I had no idea that asparagus harvests lasted that long. Asparagus is in my plan, maybe in the next year or two – can’t wait! And that is a great idea on growing a parthenocarpic squash variety – I’ll have to keep that in mind for next year. Congrats on your bees!
I am amazed at how much you have harvested already! You have created a great garden resource. I look forward to your updates and seeing what else you have growing this year.
Wow! You’ve got so much great stuff in your garden! I’ve been thinking about trying to grow some blueberries. Do the deer leave them alone or do you keep the blueberries fenced-in?
The deer occasionally munch on the blueberry foliage, but so far they have left the berries alone.