Harvest Monday July 2, 2018

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. First I want to thank everyone who sent kind words about our cat Ace’s passing last week. Ace was one of those special pets, with enough personality for at least three cats. It’s safe to say we are still grappling with his sudden exit. Having said that though, we are happy to have another special kitty still with us, our 12 year old Puddin. Puddin has seen a lot in her time, from three houses to multiple cats and even kids and a dog before her original humans took her to the shelter and then we took her in. She has a sweet disposition and is quite a lap cat. She has been getting extra attention from me and my wife, at least when she is not sleeping.

Puddin in the sunshine

Puddin in the sunshine

And now on to the harvests! The broccoli is not happy with all the heat we’ve been having, but I did get a couple of decent heads last week. I’m hoping for some side shoot production, but the quality isn’t the greatest given the growing conditions. It’s almost time to start seed for the fall brassicas, which should at least have cooler weather as they are maturing. In addition to brutally hot temperatures, we got 10 inches of rain in June. That has made gardening a challenge, as too much of a good thing is as bad as not enough.

first broccoli

first broccoli

The summer squashes aren’t real happy with the weather either. I’ve lost a couple of plants already due to stem rot, with more looking sad. These two white scalloped squash made me happy though.

white scalloped squash

white scalloped squash

And I got a decent harvest of yellow squashes last week. I’m growing the crookneck Tempest for the first time, and it is a real keeper. Bred by Johnny’s, it may be the best tasting yellow squash I have ever grown. So far it has been prolific too. The striped yellow zucchini Sunstripe is no slouch either, and I’m growing it for the second year now.

Tempest and Sunstripe squash

Tempest and Sunstripe squash

I dug all the early garlic last week. I have a feeling it’s not going to be a great year for garlic here. The plants never really looked all that good, and despite my top dressing them with fertilizer this spring and watering with fish and seaweed fertilizer, they never greened up like they should. I’m guessing all the rain has washed the nutrients right out of the soil, or else drowned the roots. We’ll have plenty to eat though, and hopefully it will keep long enough for me to replant this fall. It looks like the onions were a total bust, except for the perennial ones like I’itoi. After buying some lovely local onions at the farmer’s market this weekend, I have decided to not grow the big ones next year. I need to remind myself I don’t need to grow everything, and I’m better off concentrating on growing things that I can’t really buy around here. I’itoi is a keeper though, and so are the Yellow Potato multiplier onions.

harvest of early garlic

harvest of early garlic

Garlic is one thing I do plan to keep growing. Xian is one I’ve been growing for several years now. These I dug don’t look bad, just smaller than usual. I’ve got them curing now, and I’ll weigh them in a few weeks once they are dried and trimmed up.

Xian garlic

Xian garlic

We’re getting enough blackberries to eat and freeze. These are Natchez, the earliest of the two I have planted. The Apache berries are just now starting to turn. I made a test planting this year of two new cultivars from the University of Arkansas breeding program. Osage is an upright thornless variety, while Sweetie Pie is a thornless trailing type with a high sugar content. It will be next year before we get our first taste of these.

Natchez blackberries

Natchez blackberries

My wife has been busy harvesting the blueberries. She tells me it’s Chandler and Elizabeth that are giving us the most right now. We eat some fresh and then freeze the rest.

blueberries

blueberries

The bush beans are still coming on despite the heat. Derby is a real winner here in our garden, and I’ve been growing this 1990 AAS Winner for many years now. I plan on sowing more seed in July for a fall crop.

Derby green beans

Derby green beans

Red Racer tomato is a new favorite here, making lots of salad sized tomatoes with a good blend of acid and sweet taste. I trialed this 2018 AAS Winner last fall, and it was a hit here then too. The plants are determinate, and bear a big crop early before dying back. They are giving us exactly what I wanted though, and we have been enjoying them on salads and even on tacos we made last week.

Red Racer tomatoes

Red Racer tomatoes

And last but not least, I got the first ripe peppers. I sort of cheated, because this was a plant from last year I overwintered indoors. It bloomed inside, and I plan to save seed from it as well as use the peppers. It’s Czech Black, and the fruits go from a blackish purple to dark red as they ripen. It is similar in size to a jalapeno, but in our garden it’s a bit milder in heat than most jalapenos. I have another plant going in the ground which is just now blooming. I used one of these in a jar of fermented curtido I made last week, where hopefully it will give just the right amount of heat.

ripe Czech Black peppers

ripe Czech Black peppers

I’ll close with a wildlife note. It brought joy to my heart to find 5 bluebird eggs in the nest box last Wednesday. The parents wasted no time in starting a new nest after the snake incident wiped out the last brood. This box is mounted on a pole with a predator guard which should keep out the critters.

bluebird eggs

bluebird eggs

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 of any size or shape you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And please be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting!


This entry was posted in Harvest Monday and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Harvest Monday July 2, 2018

  1. Lis says:

    Great harvest and do you have a post on curing your garlic?

  2. Shawn Ann says:

    I love kitties. I have two myself and the family keeps discussing the possibility of another. You have so many good looking things! My squash of any kind is not doing well this year. boo. I’m jealous you have peppers already! I keep waiting for mine to get red but they just keep staying green! But I have so many! So glad the birds are back. Hope they stay safe.

  3. Phuong says:

    It’s crazy how much rain we’ve been getting, and they’re calling for more rain at the end of the week. Insanity. I always love seeing your giant blackberries and blueberries. They’re incredibly massive. And green beans and tomatoes are such a highlight of summer produce. Those are beautiful broccoli heads especially given how they matured in the heat of summer.

  4. Michelle says:

    You certainly do have plenty of challenges from the weather this year. That’s something that I can’t complain about too much, it seems pretty “normal” other than below normal rain.

    Puddin looks like a sweetheart. I imagine she must be missing Ace too.

    Your harvests are looking nice and summery. Tomatoes, beans, peppers, squash. Wow.

    • Dave says:

      Puddin was all over the house the first couple of days looking for Ace. But he sometimes pestered her more than she liked, so she may be adapting more quickly than the humans!

  5. Mike R says:

    I’m having the same issues with onions, garlic and squash. The weather in the midwest this year has not been conducive to growing vegetables. Still, you’re getting tomatoes and beans, and the blackberries look delish.

  6. Lorraine Barnett says:

    Dave, thanks for your beautiful harvest pics and your honest gardening woes you share. We had the opposite problem with rain. We were 1 and 1/2 months with essentially no rain and very hot and humid temps. We had the hottest May on record and July is panning out pretty much the same and the past 2 months. We finally got two good rains, though, so I’m hopeful that it will continue? My broccoli has made zero heads!!! I have 20 plants or so and not one had headed up!! I’ve never seen that ever before. They are now making pitiful little shoots which are tasty but I’ve babied alone all these plants for a harvest of nothing. Yikes!! Ditto on the small garlic and squash issues…but my Stripey Marzano Rogue is loaded with nice fruit that is hinting at ripening soon. Cannot wait! Your berries look good enough to snarf! Hugs all ’round to you and your wife and Puddin’.

    • Dave says:

      That’s too bad about your broccoli. We haven’t gotten much, but at least we got something. My Stripey Marzanos are setting on but no ripe ones yet.

  7. Sue Garrett says:

    Our broccoli has suffered from the heat too and was quickly starting to flower so the plants had to be stripped and the heads frozen.

    You are ahead of us with the blackberries and well ahead of us re the tomatoes.

  8. Kim says:

    Our cucumbers are started to feel the heat, I think the 4×4 bed will be done this week or next.

  9. Margaret says:

    How wonderful to see those bluebird eggs! You are racking in some wonderful harvests, despite the challenging conditions. Around here, the heat is making it difficult for both for the garden and the gardener – I have a feeling this will not be one of the “good years” when it comes to harvests.

Leave a Reply to Shawn Ann Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.