Both the calendar and the garden are confirming it is summer here. Yesterday I brought in the first tomatoes, not surprisingly a few of the Sun Gold variety. It will be a bit before the rest of the tomatoes start rolling in, but the first ones are always extra nice.
Summer means zucchini too, and the plants are in full swing now. That’s a couple of Striata d’Italia hanging out with a Romanesco (in the middle) in the below photo. Even though they look similar in the photo, the Romanesco has a distinctive ribbing while the Striata is striped but smooth.
Some of both the zukes wound up in a spiralized zucchini salad I made last week. I ran the zucchini through the Paderno Spiral Vegetable Slicer, and dressed it with some garlic scape pesto. Then I added a few dehydrated Juliet tomatoes from last year (after rehydrating) and tossed in some pine nuts for good measure. It made for a light side dish I served with planked salmon one night, and it was tasty enough I made more for lunch the next day.
My wife and I both got out and worked on the currant harvest one day. We got a decent amount (almost three pounds) from our two year old bushes, more red than white. I made a cobbler with some and froze the rest for later use. The red variety (Cherry Red) has more flavor than the white (Primus) in addition to being a bit more productive. We have a spot for another bush, and I am thinking about adding Pink Champagne next year. The currants are decorative as well as edible, and so far we have not had any pest or disease issues with them.
There are lots of cucumbers coming in right now. I planted the pickling variety Calypso this year for the first time, so far it is making lots of cukes. I definitely had plans for the ones in the below photo.
I used them to try a couple of different recipes for lacto-fermented pickles. I made one batch of sweet bread and butter pickles, and one of spicy brined pickles. Both have started bubbling after a couple of days, and I will taste them and move them to the refrigerator when they have fermented enough for me. It’s been a long time since I fermented cucumbers, and I am looking forward to more experimenting with them. These are a lot easier to make than the 14-day pickles I used to make in a big five gallon crock. I may try some fermented dill pickles too when I have some fresh dill, plus perhaps a bit of relish.
The greenhouse cukes are going great about now too. I have four plants in there, two of Tasty Jade plus one each of Manny and Corinto. All do well in the summer greenhouse, and usually keep going until August depending on the weather and if whiteflies or spider mites move in. I’ve got them vining up some old remesh cages, and when they get a bit past the top of the cage I pinch off the growing point to get them to branch out. Almost every leaf node makes a fruit so they are quite productive. We usually take our extra cukes and squash to our local food pantry to share them with others.
Since the cucumbers don’t have to deal with the weather, or many insects, the fruit stays clean and the skins are smooth and tender. That’s Corinto in the below photo, almost ready to harvest. Not many things can take the heat of the greenhouse in our summers, but the cukes do well as long as I keep them well watered.
We continue to enjoy the Thai Rai Kaw Tok winter squash from last year. They are keeping extremely well, with the flesh remaining firm and sweet after eight months in storage. I used some of the one in the below photo for a curry dish. Since the squash are so big, I had raw squash leftover. We have lots of cooked and pureed winter squash in the freezer already, so I decided to treat it like I sometimes do butternut and cut it in cubes and freeze it raw. It will be nice to have it that way as well. I sure hope the plants do well this year. We still have one left in storage, and I will try and sample it in another month or so and see how it is keeping.
I also dug one hill of potatoes to see how they are sizing up. They looked good, and I think I can start digging them as needed. That’s German Butterball in the below photo, and they wound up joining kale in some Kale and Potato Hash my wife cooked up last night.
That funky looking head of Gypsy broccoli from last week wound up in a Broccoli Walnut Salad I made. Looks didn’t matter when it met up with cranberries, walnuts and a little bit of bacon. I love my version of this retro salad that is usually served up with raisins, lots of mayo and at least a half pound of bacon. I prefer to be able to actually taste the broccoli!
That’s a look at what’s happening here in late June. To see what other gardeners are harvesting and cooking up, visit Daphne’s Dandelions where Daphne hosts Harvest Mondays.