It’s time for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. The weather has been hot, humid and rainy here in July, and we’ve had small amounts of rain every day so far this month. The summer veggies seem to be loving it, even if this gardener isn’t! I’ve harvested quite a bit of summer squash, over 40 pounds so far, and I’ve frozen quite a bit for later use and we’ve given some away to friends. The yellow squash Tempest has been quite productive, and we continue to enjoy eating it every which way we can.
I’m also getting the first of the White Scallop squashes. These are a Native American heirloom, also known as pattypan squash. They were a favorite of my mother, and I learned to like them at an early age. They have a different flavor than other summer squashes, and if I have extras I will freeze them for later use in soups.
Another heirloom squash I harvested last week is the Tatume. This one is popular in Mexico, and does well here in our hot and humid summers. I like to slice these and grill them, and young ones can be prepared much like you would zucchini. I did a Variety Spotlight on it last year if you want more information about it. This one was hiding from me and got a little larger than I like. I usually harvest them a big smaller before the seeds start to get big. It was still quite edible though, and the flesh and skin were still tender even if the seeds had started to develop.
The cucumbers are producing despite hot conditions inside the greenhouse. I’ve gotten quite a few slicing types lately, including the green Nokya, white Itachi and the Beit Alpha type Socrates. We enjoy these on salads and turned into refrigerator pickles, which makes for a cool side dish on a hot day. I also made a yogurt raita to go with a meal, which was cool and tasty.
It’s my first time growing the white skinned Itachi. According to Johnny’s Selected Seeds, it’s an Asian type cuke with crispy bitter-free flesh and a small seed cavity. Like all the cucumbers I grow in the greenhouse, it’s parthenocarpic and doesn’t need pollination to set fruit. It’s doing well so far, and we’re enjoying the fruits, so I believe it will make an attractive addition to the lineup in the future.
It’s proving to be a good year for the blackberries. I’ve picked two gallons so far, and the vines are still loaded with berries. The thornless canes make harvesting a joy compared to the thorny types I used to grow years ago.
We used some of those berries to make a Blackberry Cobbler last week. We don’t do a lot of sweets here, but this made for a sweet treat that I really enjoyed. I used freshly ground whole grain White Sonora flour to make it.
My wife has been picking the blueberries, and it looks to be one of our best years in a while. She has brought in over 11 pounds so far, with more to come. Our biggest producer and best tasting berry is Elizabeth, an old variety named after blueberry expert Elizabeth Coleman White, who set out in the early 1900s to create a variety with an authentic blueberry flavor, and I think she succeeded! I love a plant with a good story, and this blueberry has a great story indeed.
The cherries tomatoes are ripening in good numbers now. I planted mix of all colors and shapes, and most are represented in the below photo. The orange one is Sun Sugar, a non-cracking cherry that I think is as tasty as Sun Gold. And the white one is Fire Fly, a 2019 AAS Winner with a great flavor.
One of note is called Amy’s Apricot mix. I got the seeds last year from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, and the plant I set out in 2018 made the expected sweet flavored orange fruits. I saved seeds from those orange tomatoes, and the lone plant I set out this year is making red tomatoes! The folks at SESE warn that it’s an unstable mix and that “Many plants bear red fruits, and a wide range of orange types is present as well.” The good news is that the red ones I’m getting this year have an awesome flavor. I gave one to my wife and she said it had “that old fashioned tomato flavor”, which I think sums it up nicely. I’ll save seeds from this one too, and who knows what next year will bring with this unstable but tasty tomato!
The container planted Patio Baby and Fairy Tale eggplants continue to give us lots of fruits. We roasted this batch in the oven in a cast iron skillet. This gives much the same flavor as grilling, but without slaving over a hot grill out in the heat! I’ve gotten five pounds from three plants so far, and a later planted fourth plant is just now starting to set fruit.
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!