Monday, July 21, 2014

Harvest Monday - July 21, 2014


And the winner is…..

Bloody Butcher!
 
The first ripe tomato of the season!  Yeah!

I’m wondering if this one was an anomaly.  All of the other tomatoes on this plant are still fully green and I also don’t see any sign of ripening on the two other tomato varieties with similar days to maturity (less than 60 days) – Ildi & Siberian.  Hopefully I’m not waiting too much longer for a steady supply of tomatoes.

This was an exciting week as there were quite a few firsts.

Our first two zucchini - always a treat in my garden where squash are usually few & far between.  These came from one of the Sure Thing plants.  I planted two and one is decidedly larger than the other, probably because of competition from the borage (that I have since removed).
 
Sure Thing Zucchini
 
I also harvested the first Suyo Long & Lemon cucumber:



Suyo Long & Lemon Cucumbers
 
I really enjoyed the Lemon cucumber - this is the first time I've grown it.  I had read that you have to harvest them quite young otherwise they get too seedy.  This one was perfect as an evening snack, just simply sliced with a sprinkling of salt.

The Suyo Long is in my fridge right now, waiting to go into a refrigerator pickle that I will hopefully get to this afternoon.  I really like the Suyo Long except that it does have a tendency (in my garden anyways) towards incomplete fertilization – which is what has caused it to be skinny on one end and fat on the other.  It’s still delicious, so I’m not complaining.

And still on cucumbers, I harvested a couple more Garden Sweets – these are doing very well.  Early production and they are pumping out a few cucumbers each week, it seems.  A few more hot peppers were harvested this week as well but the plants have really slowed down in the past week or so because of the coolish weather.

Garden Sweet Cucumbers & Hungarian Hot Wax Peppers
 
And lastly but certainly not least, I harvested the garlic and shallots.

I like to keep the garlic separated so that I can keep track of how well each variety did.  I find an easy way to do this is to pull up one variety at a time & place it in a plastic bag, together with the variety marker.  I then pile my bags into the wheelbarrow & take the whole lot to the garage where I tie them up into bunches.

Garlic - Harvested & Ready for Transport
I slip a piece of paper through the string on each bunch with the variety printed on it before hanging it up.

The garlic is hanging in the garage & each day I make sure to open the garage door in order to get some nice air flow.

Garlic Hung to Dry
 
Right now, the shallots are simply laying on a piece of chicken wire that is propped up by some wood.  In the next day or two, I am going to build a proper drying “rack” for the shallots which will consist of a wooden frame with chicken wire stapled to it.

Golden Shallots
 
The garlic harvest was much better than last year but still not that great.  Two of the varieites I grew – Porcelain and Czech - bulbed up very nicely & I’m satisfied with their size.  The other varieties, however, were still really small – Ichelium Red, Persian Star & Salt Spring Select.

I’m taking the small size with a grain of salt, however, as I did use the cloves from the disappointingly small garlic from last year (which I messed up because of insufficient soil amendments and spacing that was too close).  I do think that, although small, this year they are larger than last.  I’ll have to make a final determination on this once the garlic is dried and weighed.  If it is larger, then I will continue growing it, picking the largest bulbs/cloves for planting this fall.  I really don’t want to give up on a variety simply because I messed up one season, which resulted in super small bulbs (and planting stock), without giving it a chance to bounce back.

The shallot harvest was really good.  All of the bulbs were a decent size & they multiplied well – much better than last year, both in terms of size & division.  Both the garlic & shallots will be added to the harvest totals once they are dried & trimmed, which will be in about a month or so.

This past week I also harvested the last of the sugar snap peas…so sad.  On the bright side, I have a huge bagful in the fridge which will last at least a couple of weeks.

My harvest totals this week were:

Cucumbers – 1,082 grams (2.39 lbs)
Peas – 750 grams (1.65 lbs)
Hot Peppers – 212 grams (0.47 lbs)
Summer Squash – 962 grams (2.12 lbs)
Tomatoes – 80 grams (0.18 lbs)

Total For Week – 3,086 grams (6.80 lbs)

Total To Date – 31.41 kg (69.25 lbs)

To see what everyone else has been harvesting over the past week, head on over to Daphne’s Dandelions, our host for Harvest Mondays.

Till next time…

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things” ~~ Robert Brault

19 comments:

  1. Nice garlic and shallots, wish I have some, but I didn't planted any this year because they keep rotting or sprouting after one or two months of storage.

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    1. Oh, that's too bad...maybe a different variety or storage location would help? I just keep mine in the basement but we are fairly dry here with the a/c in the summer and the heat (which is super dry) in the winter.

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  2. Bloody Butcher? That's a heck of a name for a tomato! I think I'll try shallots next year. Do they need to be properly cured like garlic (I'm just comparing to onions which I don't dry as much).

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    1. Yup - I cure shallots the exact same way as garlic and they last forever!

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  3. I bought borage seed to plant alongside my tomatoes, but I wondered if that would cramp the tomatoes since I already had crimson clover in there at that point. How big was the borage when you ripped it out?

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    1. It gets BIG...mine was about 2.5' tall and about that wide too...I would only plant it on the corner of a bed because it is a space monster!

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    2. I had seen borage plants at a friends that were tiny (don't know what was wrong with them). I started some from seed this season and planted 6 in between strawberries and tomatoes. They are MASSIVE. Yes, I need to rip a few out, they are crazy big.

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  4. Hooray for the first tomato! Never heard of a Bloody Butcher tomato.. wonder how it got it's name? I'm imagining a butcher trying to cut a tomato with a hatchet and missing the tomato! I'm required to grow Lemon Cucumbers. My family always asks for them every year. My step dad claims he tastes a hint of lemon, but they just taste like cucumbers to me. I have noticed that they haven't gotten a bitter taste in the heat yet.

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    1. Oh, you are funny! I have no idea how it got it's name. The cucumber was delicious but I don't think I tasted lemon. I'll have to ponder that the next time I take a bite.

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  5. Nice harvest! I've always wanted to try bloody butcher. You'll have to let me know how it tastes. It's a determinate tomato right?

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    1. Actually it's an indeterminate - and it tasted really, really good - beautiful tomato flavour and not too much acidity. But I'm not sure if my impression was skewed because it was the first tomato of the season and almost any fresh, off the vine tomato would have tasted wonderful compared to the blandness of those from the grocery store. I'm looking forward to comparing the taste of all the tomatoes I'm growing with each other once the season really gets going.

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  6. Congrats on that first tomato! It always seems like the first one take forever to ripen. Lovely shallots you have. I need to think about growing them.

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    1. That's so true - it's hard being patient, especially at the start of tomato season. Every day I'm out there doing the big once over to see which one is going to land on our plate next.

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  7. I remember having trouble finding spacings for my onions years ago when I first started to grow them. Many experts said 4", but I just couldn't get them to grow with that spacing. 6" works so much better. And whoohoo on the first tomato. I always celebrated it when I could eat them. The first ones were never the best tasting ones, but still good.

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    1. So that means that the later ones will taste better? The first one was pretty good, so I can't wait for those! My onion spacing was all over the place from 6" for the Ailsa Craig to 4" for the Copra and I really wasn't sure about the Rossa di Milano so I used 4" with a couple of rows at 5" spacing - I'm really anxious to harvest to see how they did.

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  8. I had a similar experience with my garlic, planted cloves from garlic I grew last year which was not premium stuff and it produced tiny heads of garlic. The garlic I grew from fresh stock that I purchased came out huge and beautiful So this year I'm growing all my garlic from purchased stock, I just ordered it yesterday. My Japanese cucumbers are mostly forming skinny necks, I don't know if it's pollination problems or something else. I doubt it's pollination, there's lots of pollinators in my garden.

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    1. I remember your garlic post & I don't think I have ever seen such huge heads - I mean they were gigantic! I had always heard that if you propagated your own garlic for a few years, choosing the best heads, it acclimated to your specific garden. I'm going to give it a try but may have to resort to purchasing if it doesn't work out. There are also a few varieties that I have been meaning to try so I may purchase a couple of those this fall. Lucky you with all your pollinators. I am just starting to see a few more now, so it's not as bad as a month ago, but still not the best.

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    2. Congrats on your first tomato. I am still waiting for my first one. I used to separate and hang my garlic but one year they all got mixed up and now I simply plant them as mixed varieties. Will try to make it to the garlic festival this year and start over.

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    3. Thanks Norma - The first one is always the most highly anticipated! I have always wanted to go to a garlic festival but never got around to it. This past spring I vowed that this would be the year that I would finally go. My son, who is a true garlic fan - is hugely excited!

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