Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. We’re having a hot summer here this year, and last week was the hottest week we’ve had so far. The high temperatures got over 100°F a couple of days, and the high humidity made the heat index reach 120°F. Despite all that, the garden is doing well, all things considered. And yesterday we finally got some much needed rain, almost two inches of it. Heat lovers like eggplant are happy for sure, and I got harvests of both Patio Baby and Fairy Tale last week. The first big fruits are setting on too, so we should be enjoying even more in the days ahead. These little ones got grilled as a side dish.
The tomatoes seem to be loving the heat too, and I found our first ripe slicers of the season on Friday. Better Boy is one of my old standbys, while it’s my first time growing Chef’s Choice Pink. The first big tomatoes are always a special thing for me, and these called for a BLT on some homemade whole wheat bread. Chef’s Choice Pink had a little catfacing, but still tasted great. I even managed to pluck a few leaves from the summer lettuce plants to go on the sandwich. It’s always a challenge here to have tomatoes and lettuce at the same time.
Another tomato worth mentioning is Sunpeach, which is a deep pink and slightly elongated cherry. This one is a sister variety to the ever popular Sun Gold, and was recommended to me by a local market grower who found it was not only tasty and productive but also didn’t split and crack like Sun Gold. I have to agree, and a little digging found there are more similar tomatoes from the same breeder (Tokita seeds), including Sunchocola, Suncherry, Sungreen and Sunlemon. I can see me trying some of these next year. Meanwhile, Sunpeach is a keeper, and I want to experiment with dehydrating it when I get more of them.
I pulled the last of the spring planted radishes last week so I could work up the bed for replanting. The last ones standing were a daikon type called Alpine. The largest one weighed almost two pounds, and the others would have gotten larger too if I had thinned them farther apart. It’s almost time to sow the seeds for fall radishes, and Alpine will be back again for sure. The spring planting gave me over 12 pounds of them, which has kept us well supplied and let me stock the frig with plenty of kkakdugi (radish kimchi) and radish pickles.
The pole beans are coming on like gangbusters now. I harvested a couple of pounds of them on Friday, with Fortex, Musica, Early Riser, Gold Marie and Trionfo Violetto all making an appearance. I got another two pounds plus yesterday, and I have started freezing them for later use.
The Rattlesnake beans are known for loving the heat and humidity. These beans have speckled/striped pods, and can be used either as a snap or dry bean. I harvest ours at the snap stage, where they are tender and stringless. I did a variety spotlight on this one back in 2013, and it remains one of my favorite beans.
Also showing up was a newcomer called Withner’s White Cornfield bean, an Indiana heirloom I got from Adaptive Seeds. Cornfield beans in general are vining types that are planted in the cornfield and allowed to vine up the corn. The long flat pods are stringless and tender, and the vines are quite vigorous.
The blackberries are winding down. It has been a so-so year for them, and no doubt they are not liking the hot and dry conditions. We haven’t irrigated the plants, since we have plenty for our needs. If the dry conditions persist though I may give them some water to encourage new cane growth for next year’s crop. The size has held up fairly well despite the dry weather. It’s all Apache berries in the below photo.
The broccoli plants are holding on, and gave us another flush of side shoots last week. I’ll pull the plants in a couple of weeks as soon as I have the fall kale transplants ready to go in. I’ve harvested over 12 pounds of it too, which is pretty good for me from the spring planting which usually struggles once the heat of summer arrives.
And last but not least I cut a couple more of the Tromba D’Albenga squash, one of which had managed to get stuck growing through the garden fencing. I used that one to make a crustless zucchini quiche yesterday for lunch. Or was it a frittata? I never know what to call some of these egg dishes, not that it really matters as long as we enjoy eating them.
I sliced the squash thinly on a mandolin and then cooked it and some chopped shallots in the skillet for a few minutes before adding an egg, cheese and basil mixture and popping it in the oven to finish cooking. I used the Corsican basil for this dish, fresh picked from the garden.
Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting!