Harvest Monday August 17, 2020

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. As autumn approaches (according to the calendar), I started harvesting the first of the winter squashes last week. The delicatas are ready, and with our wet conditions we lost a couple of them already to rot. The Honey Boat variety seems to be quite variable, and this year the fruits were on the small side compared to past years. We cooked one up and they are just as tasty though.

Honey Boat delicata

Tetra is a hybrid delicata I’m growing again this year, and they turned out larger than the Honey Boats. Delicatas don’t keep very well, and they also don’t need curing like some winter squashes so we will be eating these in the next few weeks. Our favorite treatment is to cut them into slices and roast in the oven.

Tetra delicata

The third squash I harvested is called Jester, and it has a rounded shape like a Sweet Dumpling squash. It’s hanging out with two of the Honey Boat squashes plus eggplant and a zucchini in the below photo. The summer squash are done for as I finished pulling the vines on Saturday. It was an outstanding year for them as I harvested 140 pounds of them! That means I likely need to plant a bit less next year, though none have gone to waste and the freezer is full. I use the frozen zucchini in my morning smoothies, as well as for winter soups.

squashes and eggplant

Jester squash

We’ve had over seven inches of rain already this month, and the tomatoes are not liking it very much. Wet conditions plus high heat and humidity have many of them rotting on the vines as they ripen. That said, I got enough of the paste tomatoes to cook up another batch of sauce last week for the freezer. I had over 10 pounds of them once I culled out the ones that were bad. The slicers are suffering the most it seems.

paste tomatoes for sauce

The pole beans are setting on and with all the rains the vines are lush and it promises to be a good year for them. Being up off the ground is a virtue during wet conditions. I did sow some bush snap beans for a fall crop.

Robe Mountain beans

This red hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus) is blooming in the Wild Garden. The seeds were a gift from two sisters who grew it in their garden that was part of the SWIMGA 2009 garden walk. We’ve been enjoying it here ever since, as have the butterflies and hummingbirds. The blooms only last for a day.

Hibiscus coccineus

I baked up a sourdough batard last week for sandwiches. I added a bit of freshly milled Yecora Rojo wheat flour to give it extra flavor, and it made for a tasty and crusty loaf. I slice and freeze the leftovers for later use, so we always have some on hand.

Sourdough batard

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!

 


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Harvest Monday August 10, 2020

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. We’ve had a bit of unseasonable weather here in August, with cool mornings and less humidity than usual. I’ve taken advantage of that to work in the garden as much as possible and that includes planting things for fall like bush beans and collard greens. Meanwhile, it’s still tomato season and while it’s not going to be the best year for tomatoes due to all the rain we’ve gotten I am still finding plenty for processing. I harvested about 15 pounds of them last week, mostly paste types. I made tomato sauce with most of them, cooking them down then putting in containers for freezing.

paste tomatoes

I got almost seven pounds alone of Juliet, and all of those went into the sauce. When cooked down they made over six pints of sauce.

Juliet tomatoes

The eggplants seem to be loving the weather, and Galine and Nadia wound up on eggplant sandwiches.

eggplant Galine and Nadia

The squash are on the decline, and I pulled a few of the bush types to make room for a fall planting of turnips. I got tromboncino, Tempest and Zephyr last week which kept us supplied, along with two of the Syrian heirloom Homs Kousa.

harvest of summer squashes

I used squash, eggplant and tomatoes to make a Quinoa Salad with Roasted Vegetables last week. It has a light olive oil and lemon juice dressing, with feta cheese and fresh basil from the herb garden. I’m always looking for ways to use quinoa and salads are one of my favorites.

quinoa and roasted veggies salad

I also pulled the first planting of blackeyed peas to make room for fall plantings. This is the Fast Lady Northern Southern pea, and I have another short row of it just starting to bloom. We got about a pound of shelled peas from this batch, plus enough dried ones for planting next year.

blackeyed peas

For those not familiar with blackeyed peas (aka cowpeas or field peas), they are legumes related to the yardlong bean and grow on shorter, bushy vines. The Fast Lady Northern Southern variety is compact compared to some. It made for a great ‘edible cover crop’ that I sowed back in early June. In just over two months time I got a decent harvest and now that spot is free for a fall planting of something else. For this variety the pods start out green, then turn yellow and finally brown as they mature. I pick them when the pods start to turn yellow, while the peas are still plump and green inside.

black eyed pea plants

black eyed pea blooms and young pods

The first of the pole beans are coming on, and I picked enough for a side dish. These are Robe Mountain, from the Sustainable Mountain Agricultural Center, and the earliest to bear of the varieties I have planted. Musica is now blooming and I should get some of them next week.

Robe Mountain beans

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!

 


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Harvest Monday August 3, 2020

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. The summer harvests are keeping me busy, which is not a bad thing of course. We’re getting a good selection of veggies from the garden now, and filling up the freezer and pantry as well. We had an exciting “first” last week, which was the first blackeyed peas of the year. They are actually a smaller “lady” pea called Fast Lady Northern Southern Pea. Lady peas are a bit smaller than most blackeyes, and have a sweet flavor and creamy texture. The pods also have a zipper, which makes them a bit easier to shell. The first harvest yielded over a cup of peas, and the second harvest a few days later yielded twice as much. We ate some and froze the rest.

Fast Lady Northern Southern Peas

peas after shelling

It’s definitely tomato season here now, and I’m keeping busy harvesting and processing them. I got 5 pounds of Juliet tomatoes on Friday, and along with other Roma types with turned them into Homemade Tomato Ketchup yesterday. I say this all the time, but Juliet is probably my favorite tomato ever and it has never failed to produce loads of tomatoes for me.

Juliet tomatoes

making ketchup

I’m growing several determinate short vine paste tomatoes this year (like Health Kick, Plum Regal and Early Resilience), but Granadero is an indeterminate type with big fruits that also does well for me here.

Granadero tomatoes

My wife and I did a taste testing of the new Galahad slicing tomato compared to my long time favorite Better Boy. We thought they both were tasty, with Better Boy having more acid than sweet and Galahad having more sweet than acid. The Late Blight resistance of Galahad is a big bonus. Even though it hasn’t hit our Indiana garden yet, I believe it will eventually and I want to be prepared with tomato varieties that are resistant. Both tomatoes wound up on a BLT we had for lunch one day, using my homemade Multigrain and Whole Wheat bread.

Better Boy(L) and Galahad(R) tomatoes

BLT sandwich

The summer squash harvests have slowed down a bit, but the plants are all still alive and the squash bugs have not done too much damage yet. The Korean avocado squash (Teot Bat Put) make a great squash for stuffing, as well for sauteing and roasting.

Korean avocado squash

The eggplants are all fruiting now and keeping us well supplied. Galine and Dancer are two I’ve grown for years. Galine is an oval dark purple Italian type while Dancer is a deep pink Italian type with mild flesh.

eggplant and zucchini

The Asian eggplants are producing too, and I got one each of the light colored Bride and the darker purple Machiaw. I roasted these two, and the flesh was mild and tender with this treatment.

Machiaw and Bride eggplant

The Orient bush beans I’m growing have been quite prolific. I only planted about a five foot row of them, but they have been covered in blooms and beans for weeks now. It’s almost time to plant the beans for a fall crop, which has been successful for me the last few years now and give us beans in late September into early October.

Orient bush beans

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!


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Photo Friday: Wild Garden Makeover

The last few weeks my wife and I have been cleaning up and mulching the area we call the Wild Garden. It’s planted with flowers and other plants that are attractive to butterflies, hummingbirds and pollinators. It’s been quite a while since I shared any photos from this area. Here’s how it looked back in 2009, a couple of years after it was established.

Wild Garden – October, 2009

And a photo of how it looked in 2016.

Wild Butterfly Garden

Wild Garden in 2016

Here’s how it looked earlier this week, partially weeded and mulched.

Wild Garden in 2020

Some of the same plants from 2009 are still around, like bee balm.

red bee balm

And the Ratibida pinnata (aka grey headed coneflower) from 2016 is still going strong.

Ratibida pinnata

There’s still several of the purple coneflowers too (Echinacea purpurea), and they are blooming now.

Purple Coneflower

Other plants like allium Millenium were moved to the Sun Garden. And the Autumn Joy sedum is gone since we got tired of the deer eating it. The purple leaf Picolette sedum is still there, and the pink blossoms are about ready to open.

sedum Picolette

The native Joe Pye Weed is also starting to bloom. It’s not a real showy plant, but it is a favorite of butterflies.

Joe Pye Weed

The Brown Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba) plants are also blooming now. It’s taller than the Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) which is also blooming.

Brown Eyed Susan

And towering up high is the bronze fennel. The feathery leaves are food for the swallowtail butterfly caterpillars.

Bronze Ffennel

I hope you have enjoyed this look at our Wild Garden here in late July. We have several new plants we’re going to add this fall, including Stoke’s Aster, Coreopsis, another Penstemon, more bee balm and a blue-flowered Salvia. I’ll be back soon with more happenings here at Happy Acres!

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Harvest Monday July 27, 2020

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. We’ve settled into our seasonably hot summer weather, which means I work in the garden either early in the morning or shortly before sundown. I usually do harvesting in the morning, before I eat breakfast even. Last week I pulled the last of the spring cabbages, to make room for a fall planting of collard greens. It’s been a good year for cabbage, and we have been well supplied. I even froze some for use in soups this winter. We’ve been enjoying them fresh, including in slaw and on fish tacos we had last week.

Tendersweet cabbage

In the most exciting news of the week, we got the first ripe large tomatoes of the season. The first slicing tomatoes to ripen this year were my old standby Better Boy. I’ve been growing it for as long as I can remember, and it always delivers for me. I like its balance of sweet and acid flavors, and they are just the right size for sandwiches. We ate these sliced as a side dish.

Better Boy tomatoes

The second slicing tomato to ripen was the 2020 AAS Winner Galahad. This first one weighed in at 8 ounces, and had a good flavor. I look forward to getting more of this one, which is blight resistant and grows on determinate vines.

Galahad tomato

Galahad sliced

The smaller fruited tomatoes are abundant now, and I’m dehydrating them as well as using them fresh.

squash and tomatoes

Another first last week was the first large eggplant. This was Galine, one I’ve grown for years now along with Nadia which is a bit larger and later. Galine is large enough that we enjoyed it on an eggplant and tomato sandwich one day for lunch. I’m still getting quite a few of the Patio Baby and Fairy Tale eggplants as well.

Galine, Fairy Tale and Patio Baby eggplant

Squashes are still coming on strong. I don’t photograph them all, but it is quite an assortment of sizes, shapes and colors. The Korean zucchini squash Meot Jaeng I Ae has been prolific and versatile in the kitchen, as has the Korean avocado squash Teot Bat Put.

Centercut, Safari and Meot Jaeng I Ae

I’m getting enough of the bush snap beans to keep us supplied until the climbing beans start bearing. They are blooming, so it shouldn’t be much longer. The Orient variety makes beans that are perfect for cooking whole, which is how we’ve been using ours.

Orient beans

In non harvest news, I made a batch of blue corn tortillas to go with a meal of fish tacos we had for dinner one night. I love fresh corn tortillas, and using the blue corn masa added a bit of a twist to our tacos that night. I have several bags of the masa, so we will be enjoying these blue tortillas for some time to come! I freeze any leftover tortillas for use later. No pics of the tacos though. I made a fresh tomato salsa with some of the small fruited ones to go with them, and chopped cabbage to use instead of the usual lettuce.

blue corn tortillas

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!


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