Monday, August 30, 2010

Harvest Monday 8/30/10

I picked 3.75 pounds of grapes from our green grape vine. The photo of the bowl full of grapes didn't make it on the camera card so this photo of more on the vine will have to suffice. I used them to make grape juice and canned 4 pints of juice.
The tomato harvest has picked up with over 12 pounds this week. We used some to make a ketchup and barbecue sauce recipe, but it made less than a quart so I didn't can it. I'm still waiting for more of an onslaught so I can make salsa and sauce. The tomatillos are collecting on the counter and I need to make a salsa with them. However, they are the tiny pineapple tomatillos so I think it will just make one batch of fresh salsa. The cherry tomatoes were beginning to build up on the counter too so I dried some in the oven this week. Then they went in the freezer for later. I harvested over three pounds of cherry tomatoes this week.

We collected all the green zebra that were ripe and cooked them down with some onion and basil to make a tomato sauce. The zebra tomato sauce came out a pale green color with a bright flavor.Other larger harvests include 3 pounds of yukon gold potatoes we dug up this week to compliment some meals.
I picked some of my pole beans but found I'd let some of them go to long and they were tough. It is hard to find them among all the different vines as they are wrapped around my sunflower plants.

Total this week: 28.68 pounds
Total this year: 157.4 pounds

You can see what other gardeners harvested this week at Daphne's Dandelions.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Harvest Monday 8/23/10

This week was the first week of large tomatoes. Just a few ripened but more are on their way. I enjoyed my first BLT sandwich for a late breakfast on Saturday morning with a large pink heirloom tomato. It was delicious. We also enjoyed the purple calabash tomatoes that ripened. All together we picked 1.8 pounds of large tomatoes. The cherry tomatoes continue to be prolific, even after they took a beating when the support fell. I harvested over four pounds of them this week. They were used in salads, as the basis for a sauce and any way I could find. The tomatillos are ripening faster. I have a bowlful filling up on the counter that I should make some fresh salsa with. The fruit themselves are tiny so there is not enough to can. This week I harvested 6.5 oz of them.
This week the harvest is less, mostly because we didn't pick as much. There are beets and beans out there, but we didn't need them for any recipes, so I didn't pick them. We picked just 2.5 oz for carrots for a soup one night. I picked zucchini, cucumbers, tomatillos, and tomatoes as they ripened, but other things stayed where they were unless they were needed. There also weren't any big harvests like potatoes or onions.
In this harvest photo from Thursday you can see a pound of Swiss chard, golden zucchini, cucumbers, tomatillos, purple calabash tomatoes, green zebra tomato, and cherry tomatoes.
Total this week: 10.38 pounds
Total this year: 127.5 pounds

You can see other gardeners' harvests at Daphne's Dandelions.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


We've been enjoying our large sized cherry tomatoes. They are Sweet Chelsea Cherry and I've been picking almost a pound of them each day lately. They've gone into fresh sauce, tomato & cucumber salad, fresh salsa, and been eaten out of hand. Their flavor is fine, not the most exciting but they've been all we had. They may be a little more neglected now that bigger tomatoes are on the way.
On Monday we picked the first paste tomato. A paste tomato isn't very exciting as the first large red tomato, but we used it to make a sauce with the tons of golf ball sized cherry tomatoes we've been getting. Today I picked the first two purple calabash tomatoes. They are quite beautiful and there are more on the way. We've been getting a few green zebras for a week or two, but there is something more exciting about red (or purple) tomatoes.
More purple calabash are on the way. (seed shared by Miss M).
Here are some others that will be ripening soon. Amish Paste Tomatoes have grown so tall and gotten so heavy they broke the support. First individual plants broke the twine that supported them up to the wood cross bar. I strung more twine to try to tie them back up. Then the cross bar came out of the post. We had to jerry rig it back up to support them. We lost a few green tomatoes in the process, but hopefully it will hold for the next month.
Red zebras have just a hint of color.
And then I have many unknown heirlooms. Some are just beginning to turn. I'm also seeing a bit of color of the first of my Market Miracles. I was a bit surprised that they didn't ripen sooner, as some catalogs say they are relatively fast for their size, though I got my seed from Daphne. This photo below is an unknown heirloom.
So I think that tomatoes season has finally arrived. We have about a month to enjoy the bounty before we have to worry about frosts. Bring it on!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Harvest Monday 8/16/10

This week I harvested my first and only eggplant. The plants are just starting to bloom again.
The zucchini and cucumbers slowed down as the dry weather has hit and they have some downy mildew as well. Only 2.6 pounds of zucchini this week and just over a pound of cucumbers.
I dug the rest of my All Blue potatoes ( 5lbs 4 oz) and some Yukon gold as well (2 lbs 5 oz). The rest of the Yukon gold will stay in the ground until we need them or later this fall.
The cherry tomatoes continue to increase in production with almost 3 pounds of them this week. I made fresh salsa with some of them and the tomatillos (3 oz). I also got my first red zebra tomato, which isn't any larger than the cherry tomatoes. It also had blossom end rot at the bottom. :(
We enjoyed some nice large carrots. They were short but thick,and very good.
Here is arugula, slicing cucumbers, carrots, basil, tomatillos and cherry tomatoes.
I picked over a pound of chard, some leeks, dragon tongue and romano beans, a green zebra tomato, zucchini, tomatillos, and cherry tomatoes.
Total this week: 19.36 pounds
Total this year: 116.75 pounds

You can see other gardeners' harvests at Daphne's Dandelions.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Winter Squash Update

I've decided that I planted some of my winter squash too close together. They're running over into other beds and the paths, though they may do that even if I space them out more.

In one bed I have my buttercup squash with at least 6 fruit set.
In the same bed, I have two butternut squash hills and I've seen at least 4 butternut squash.There are also two hills of delicata. They have been shaded out a bit by the other vines. There are at least three squash set, though this one is the only one this far along.
I did better spacing the plants in the pumpkin bed. Even still, the vines want to take over other parts of the garden. I have about 5 pie pumpkins set.And last but not least, I have one large Jarrahdale pumpkin set. It is so beautiful I'm hoping others will set and mature too.
We're looking forward to enjoying lots of squash this fall and winter.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

How to String Onions

As I wrote before, I used the method from John Seymour's "The New Self-Sufficient Gardener." Here are photos to go along with the steps.

Start with dried onions. The tops need to be brown and mostly crispy.
Next you need about three feet of string I recommend something strong like twine. I used a light string for my first set and it broke the next day. Twine worked better. Tie a knot with the two ends and hang from a hook. I recommend doing it outside, as you end up with many onion skins and leaves all over by the time you are finished.
At the bottom of the string at the loop, take an onion with a long tail and tie it to the string. This is the only onion you'll have to tie.
Take the next onion and set it on top, putting the greens between the two strings.
Wrap the onion leaves around the string on the right, bringing it to the front. Then put them behind the string on the left.
Do this a few times to secure the onion.
Add another onion, and weave the leaves in and out between the strings. I found that if I continued to weave the leaves from all the previous onions in, that the weave got to too big and the onions were to spread apart.
Instead, it was better to weave the tops in some and then let them stick out at the sides, leaving room for the tops of the next onions. Make sure to add onions starting from all sides of the string.
Stop when you are getting close to the top of your string or you run out of onions.
Tie a knot with the twine above the last onion. Trim off the ends of the onion greens that are sticking out, then hang in a cool place to store.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Harvest Monday 8/9/10

This week I weighed my onions after I strung them. Here are my four strings of yellow onions. I have one string of white onions too. All together my storage onions weigh 25 pounds and 4 oz. I've hung the strings in a cooler storage room in the back of the house.
Following the onions in weight this week were cucumbers with over 6 pounds. They just keep on coming. I need to make another batch of pickles.
The zucchini keep coming too with over five pounds of them this week. I had to spray some milk/water solution on the leaves to counteract some powdery mildew but they continue to produce.
The cherry tomato production has picked up with over 1 pound 6 oz of them this week. It has been a daily routine to pick cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and zucchini.
There were two 'firsts' this week. The first non-cherry tomato, was a green zebra at 2.5 oz. This was one of my early started tomatoes. Next year I'll start a red tomato early because while the green zebra is good, I still want a large red tomato.
The other 'first' was the first pepper. It is a Hungarian Wax with a medium level of heat. There are a few more of these on the plants. These seemed to be the only peppers that flowered and set fruit during the high heat last month. Now the other peppers are recovering and flowering again so we should have more variety in a month or so.
Other things harvested this week include kale (3 oz),
carrots(3 oz), basil, and pineapple tomatillos (1 oz).
Total this week: 32.9 pounds
Total this year: 97.4 pounds

You can see other gardeners' harvests at Daphne's Dandelions.