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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Harvest Monday July 20, 2020

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. We’re keeping well supplied with squash and cucumbers these days, and have had enough to start giving them away. I’ve been freezing squash for use later, and we’ve been eating a lot of it. I’ve harvest 90 pounds so far, and that’s just the summer types.

assortment of squash and cucumbers

One of my favorite things to do with the cucumbers is make Quick Refrigerator Pickles. I make them often during cucumber season and they make for a cool and easy side dish.

Quick Refrigerator Pickles

The 7082 cucumbers have done quite well for me this year in the greenhouse, which is where I’m growing all my cucumbers. These make great pickles, and that’s what I have been using most of this variety for.

7082 cucumbers

But wait – there’s more squash! This time paired with an assortment of small-fruited tomatoes. We haven’t got any big tomatoes yet, but the small ones are keeping us well supplied now. I even had enough of the Juliet tomatoes to dehydrate a couple of trays worth of them.

harvest of squash and tomatoes

tomatoes

dehydrating Juliet tomatoes

The blackberries are winding down, and my wife has declared an end to the blueberries. It was a great year for them, not so good for the blackberries.

blackberries

The small-fruited eggplants aren’t done for yet though. The striped Fairy Tale and dark purple Patio Baby have been prolific this year. Both are growing in containers, sitting outside the greenhouse.

Fairy Tale and Patio Baby eggplant

We got our first big eggplant last week, and it went on an eggplant sandwich we have for lunch one day. The beans got roasted in the oven, and showed up alongside Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats.

Galine eggplant and Orient beans

Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats with roasted green beans

I pulled the last of the spring cabbages to make room for a fall planting of collard greens. It has been a good year for cabbage, and I have even frozen some for use later in soups. I also made some sauerkraut with one head of it, and gave another head to a friend to enjoy.

cabbages and eggplant

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 July 13, 2020

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. The blueberries are beginning to wind down, and I’m guessing my wife is not entirely unhappy about that since she is in charge of the harvests. She has picked 17 pounds of them so far, and those that we haven’t eaten fresh have been frozen for use throughout the year. A few did make their way into a batch of blueberry muffins last week though. These had a full 1-1/2 cups of berries in them, so there was none of that “where’s the blueberries?” like I sometimes see in commercial ones.

blueberry muffin

It’s cabbage time here, and it looks to be a better year than last was for it. I cut two heads of the flathead Tendersweet and a big one of Green Presto. It’s my first time growing the latter, and this one weighed in at two pounds. It went into a batch of sauerkraut, while we’ve been using Tendersweet for cooking. I’m not exactly a connoisseur of cabbage, but I can tell a difference in some of them and Tendersweet lives up to its name.

cabbage harvest

Green Presto cabbage

I’m getting a few green beans now too. I planted Orient this year, which is supposed to make pods that are 4 to 4-1/2 inches long. Mine have been running a bit smaller than that so far. They are a tender variety though, and are a good size for roasting or steaming whole. It will be a few weeks before the pole beans start bearing, and these will give us a taste of beans before then.

Orient green beans

The squash are another story, and we’re getting lots and lots of them. Meal planning has almost become “what squash do we cook and what do we serve them with?” I grilled one of the zucchinis and one of the Korean Meot Jaeng I Ae squash one day for lunch. I sliced the squash on the mandoline, then brushed with a little olive oil before grilling. Both of the squashes worked well for this treatment, and I continue to like the Korean zucchini which I’m growing for the first time. I sauteed one of the Korean avocado squash (Teot Bat Put) and it was tasty too. Thanks to Lou Murray (Lou Murray’s Green World) where I first heard about this squash!

squash harvest

grilled zucchini and Korean zucchini

Teot Bat Put squash

One thing we like to do with our vegetables is to put them in a Veggie Quesadilla. We roast or saute the vegetables first. Then we put mashed avocado and sliced cheese on the quesadilla before piling on the veggies, folding over the tortilla and toasting in a skillet. It makes for a light but filling meatless meal, and for the last one we served some refrigerator pickles on the side.

Veggie Quesadilla

I saved my favorite harvest of the week for last. We got our first cherry tomatoes last week, a mix of Sun Sugar, Jasper and Sunpeach. We enjoyed these on a salad, though I confess there were several that didn’t make it to the house or the photo!

first tomatoes of 2020

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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