Monday, August 10, 2015

Harvest Monday - August 10, 2015


Not a lot of harvesting was happening this past week as it was my son’s birthday & his party with his friends was on Saturday.  But I did have two very exciting, highly anticipated first harvests.

The one that literally made me dance around was the first of the potatoes – in this case, it was the first ever potato harvest as I have never grown them before:

First ever potato harvest - Yukon Gold
The large one weighed in at 386 grams (13.6 oz)
 
I’m waiting until the plants die back before harvesting, but I was so curious about what was going on under all that straw and soil, I decided to do a bit of exploring.  Most of the potato plants still have green on them, but there was one Yukon Gold stem that had completely turned brown, so I dug underneath it and we harvested that huge potato and a mini-me ;)  Yup…I was a proud one showing off my potatoes to the family.  I’ve decided to wait until that entire section of the bed dies back to root around for more.

Also harvested this week were the first of the plums:

First picking of Shiro plums
 
The first to ripen are the Shiro plums.  They are pretty small, most being about half the size of those you find at the grocery store – I guess I should have thinned them out.  This is only our 2nd year with a plum harvest, so I am nonetheless really happy.  They taste good, but I do find the skin gives them quite a sour finish.

I’ve lost quite a few plums to Japanese beetle damage:

Japanese Beetle Damage
 
They do most of their damage to the leaves, but I find that if they are chowing down on a leaf that is right next to a plum, they will often end up nibbling on the plum as well.

The last of the sugar snaps – for real, this time!

Final sugar snap harvest
 
I pulled the vines and harvested all of the semi-dry peas.  There were quite a few fresh peas near the bottom of the vines and I even saw some new growth coming from the bottom of the plants.  I placed the dried peas on newspaper to finish drying out; my seed stock is now replenished.

I also harvested a basket of Gold Marie beans and a few more Padron peppers:

Gold Marie beans with a few Padrons
 
Many of the Gold Marie’s are pinched and I’m not exactly sure why:

Pinched bean pods
 
Could this be from some sort of stress?  It was quite hot for several weeks and I think I let the bed dry out a bit too much a couple of times so I’m wondering if those were possible factors.

Some more cucumbers were harvested:

Chelsea Prize, Garden Sweet & Lemon cucumbers
 
And 3 big heads of broccoli (plus a few side shoots), one of which had already started to flower:

Arcadia Broccoli
 
I don’t think I’ve quite figured out when to harvest broccoli, but I’m working on it.

Finally got around to harvesting a big bunch of chard which was blanched & frozen:

Fordhook Giant & Peppermint Swiss chard
 
While I was harvesting the chard there was a large bug flying around under the netting – it turned out to be a cicada, the first time I've seen one in my garden:

Cicida on oregano
 
I noticed that there were several open holes in the bed & 5 exoskeletons lying around, so I guess the other 4 cicadas made it out of the netting.

Cicida exoskeleton
 
This past weekend I also pulled the fava vines.  Many of the vines & pods were turning brown/black and I wasn’t sure what to think.

Regular pods as well as black/blackening pods
& leaves on fava plants
 
But when I cracked one open, I found some perfectly dried beans:

Dried Extra Precoce Violetto Fava Beans
 
So now I realize that this whole turning black business with the favas is not a disease but simply their life cycle – I was quite relieved.  I decided to pull up all of the vines and harvest the fresh and dried pods.


Extra Precoce Violetto harvest
 
I hadn’t even harvested any of the fresh Ianto favas yet – they were much smaller than the Precoce Violetto’s and I wasn’t sure how large they were going to grow.  By the time I realized that their pods were naturally small, many of them were turning black already.


Ianto's harvest

Looks like I won't be needing any fava bean seed for next year.  Considering the packets of seed I purchased were fairly small, that's a very good thing.

A couple of other fava observations – unlike bush beans, each fava plant developed multiple stems:

All of these stems belong to one plant
 
Also, I noticed that a couple of the Precoce Violetto plants had a 2nd growth spurt near the base of the plant, producing a huge grouping of pods:

2nd flush of pods around base of fava plant;
this particular plant had over 10 pods
 
The favas were harvested yesterday and I will not be shelling them until this afternoon, so they are not included in this weeks harvest tally.

And lastly, I harvested a couple more Sungold & Bloody Butcher tomatoes this week, but didn’t remember to take a photo.  The tomatoes are only trickling in but I do notice the Juliets are starting to colour up, so those will be in the harvest basket by next week.

My harvest totals this week were:

Romano Beans – 820 grams (1.81 lbs)
Broccoli – 1,497 grams (3.30 lbs)
Cucumbers – 1,628 grams (3.59 lbs)
Sugar Snap Peas – 222 grams (0.49 lbs)
Hot Peppers – 48 grams (0.11 lbs)
Potatoes – 442 grams (0.97 lbs)
Swiss Chard – 1,661 grams (3.66 lbs)
Tomatoes – 212 grams (0.47 lbs)
Plums – 558 grams (1.23 lbs)

Total for Week – 7,088 grams (15.63 lbs)

Total to Date – 44.33 kg (97.72 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

38 comments:

  1. Another fine harvest---LOVE that HUGE potato. Those are always a nice surprise. Usually that's the one I stab with my digging fork. I used to get upset, until I realized-duh-baked potato for lunch--hooray!

    I've never seen a cicada. Not much in the looks department. Glad I'm not a she-cicada. Blech!

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    1. Your cicada comment just made me burst out laughing :)

      When you go a few inches down, the soil in the potato bed is surprisingly compacted, considering the bed was only filled this year. I had to get the garden fork out to loosen it a bit first and that was my first thought too. I'm sure I'll be spearing many a potato before the season is out.

      And I'm still chuckling...

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  2. Wow, that is a LOT of broccoli!! I'm so glad you got your first potato, I just love fresh taters from the garden.

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    1. The first couple of broccoli plants only gave me small heads, so these were a real surprise. We've been so busy the last couple of days that I haven't been doing much cooking; that potato is going to finally end up on our dinner plates tonight & I can't wait!

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  3. What a wonderful harvest! Congrats on first potatoes and holly cow on broccoli!

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    1. Thanks Jenny! Hopefully there is more to come on both of those.

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  4. Cicadas--so creepy to look at, but what would a summer day be without their "song?" Congratulations on your first (and large) potato. Aren't they a fun crop to grow? I still can't believe you're still harvesting broccoli, and nice ones too.

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    1. Large bugs is one reason why I could never live in a tropical location, so seeing something of that size flying around was a bit of a surprise. And I am definitely loving the potatoes...can't wait to see what the rest of the bed holds in store.

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  5. I'm impressed with your broccoli, doesn't look to me like you haven't figured out growing it. The Gold Marie beans look good. I get strange ones every now and then but never figured out what caused it.

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    1. Thanks Dave - and I'm glad to hear that the oddly shaped beans are only an occasional issue. I have to do a big harvest of beans today & hopefully not too many more are like that.

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  6. Home grown potatoes are far better than supermarket potatoes. Hope they produce well for you. I think the beans grow like that when they are stressed by disease or growing conditions are not optimal. Mine have been like that lately too.

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    1. Will be tasting that potato tonight and I can hardly wait - having never tasted a homegrown potato, I can't really imagine what the difference would be.

      My impression is that growing conditions may have been the cause - I've been more diligent in monitoring the soil moisture lately and our temps have moderated so I'm hoping this means fewer pinched pods for the rest of the season.

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  7. You have a great looking harvest this week. Your giant potato with your little potato cracked me up...too funny. I hope the rest of your potato harvest is plentiful when you dig them up. I really like having fresh potatoes. They are so much more delicious than store bought.

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    1. I do keep hearing that homegrown potatoes are amazing and I'm so curious to find out what they taste like - tonight it the night!

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  8. Congrats on that big spud! And I agree with Mike on the beans, mine get funny shapes when they are stressed. I also blame pollination issues when it's too hot. Since I've never grown favas, I would not have known about the whole pod turning black business either!

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    1. Thanks Dave! I've never had more than the occasional pod being deformed like that, so I suppose that some bean varieties are just more susceptible to stressors than others. All those blackening leaves and pods on the favas really freaked me out - I was dreading having to deal with yet another bean disease.

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  9. Hi Margaret, Just checking in on your Monday harvest! That one potato looks great but I am thankful for all sizes! Your broccoli looks like quite a bit. Will you freeze some. My sugar peas ended quite some time ago and like you my tomatoes are just starting to ripen. I think perhaps I have not watered my garden enough either. Happy gardening this week. Nancy

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    1. I am chopping up and freezing the big broccoli heads, but I'm using the side shoots fresh. It's great to have had sugar snaps for so long, but I did sow them late again this year - while you were harvesting your early peas, I probably only had shoots coming out of the ground! Have a wonderful week, Nancy!

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  10. That's one amazing potato! They are such a fun crop to grow and so rewarding too. And you have padron peppers! That's what my mystery pepper was suppose to be, oh well.The plums are just coming into season here too. I have been watching a neighbors tree and it is full of lovely yellow orbs. Happy harvest week!

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    1. Thanks Lexa! I had a mystery kale like that last year too - was supposed to be a curly kale, but definitely didn't look like one. But it was so good, I'm still growing it & I'm actually kind of glad I didn't get the curly kale after reading so many buggy comments on curly kale. I hope you're mystery pepper end up being a good surprise & you eventually find out what it is.

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  11. That's huge for a Yukon Gold potato! The few times I attempted to grow potatoes (half hearted attempts really) it always seemed like treasure hunt at harvest time. My treasure chests always had meager contents so I gave up on growing them. I always get beans like that at the end of the season. I'm not sure why, probably not from too much heat around here, we don't get very many hot days. I've always guessed it was from disease or pest stress, my bean plants always get attacked by powdery mildew and/or spider mites.

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    1. Oh, that's too bad about the potatoes - I guess everyone has those few veg where it is just too much effort for the results. I have a feeling that corn may be mine as I'm having my doubts as to whether I'll be able to protect it form whatever ravaged it this year.

      The bean plants themselves look ok - no PM or pests on them quite yet. But now that you mention it, I did have a similar issue with my burgundy bush beans, also at the end of the season. The initial ones would be nice and long/straight, but they got much smaller and curly after the first good flush of beans.

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  12. I can't wait until I get plums. I keep trying. And I didn't know they got beetle damage. Luckily we don't have many Japanese beetles in this neighborhood. And yay for broccoli. I always love when I get to pick it. It is one of my favorites. I love the brassica family, but don't get much of it besides broccoli over the summer.

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    1. We will definitely not be getting as many plums as I originally thought as quite a few fell off while still immature and I've been picking off those with Japanese beetles sticking out of them. It's actually quite humorous sometimes as there will be 3 or 4 beetles neck deep into a plum, all squashed into the same opening, with their little butts sticking out. Oh, we have a TON of Japanese beetles around here. Normally they go for both the plum tree and the pole beans, but this year, the beans have very little damage for some reason.

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  13. That potato's huge, let's hope you find plenty more like that when you start digging. I grew lemon cucumbers a couple of years ago, I wasn't very keen on them but my dad loved them so I now grow them for him. I got loads off the plants last year but they're very slow this year, I haven't had one single fruit yet.

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    1. Lemon cucumbers can be somewhat seedy, but it is one of the most vigourous vines in the cucumber patch - it's already up to the top of the 6' trellis! - and it has definitely given me the most cucumbers so far this year. All my other varieties are being slowpokes.

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  14. The woodchuck took care of my broccoli side shoots no more homegrown broccoli until next year. Your plums are beautiful. You are going to love the taste, texture and flavor of your new potato, hope you get a bountiful harvest.

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    1. Thanks Norma. We had the potatoes yesterday for dinner - so delicious!

      Every year there is something, isn't there - I've gone through a basilless year because of disease, carrotless year because of slugs and this year no corn because of a mystery muncher.

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  15. Beautiful harvests! That potato is HUGE!!! And how interesting that the beans turn black as part of their natural cycle of drying out... I probably would have thought it was a disease and tossed the black ones, assuming them to be inedible.

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    1. Thanks Jennifer! I definitely thought that the black was a disease at first too, especially when they just start to turn black in spots and sort of shrivel up. And blackened leaves on a plant is almost never a good sign. If I had been more "on the ball", I may have tossed them. Sometimes it pays to procrastinate in the garden ;)

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  16. We are starting to pick plums too, Thankfully we don't have Japanese beetles although we have more than enough other pests.

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    1. We do definitely have more than enough pests to deal with and it seems like there's at least one or two new visitors each year.

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  17. My shiro plum that planted last year gave us three fruit. Hopefully next year we'll get a few more! I haven't gotten around to digging up my purple potatoes yet but I think it's about time I did so I can free up more space for fall veggies.

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    1. Our tree didn't give us ANY fruit until it's 3rd year, year 4 was a wash out with nothing and now we are on year 5. If you have already harvested 3 plums (plus all those apples!), I have a feeling you will be harvesting many more next year. You must be "the tree whisperer" when it comes to planting and caring for fruit trees!

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  18. It's great that you were still getting sugar snap peas in the middle of August. And so fun that you found such a giant potato, hopefully there's tons more hiding in the soil. Yukon Golds are some of the yummiest potatoes and home grown potatoes are where it's at. We grew potatoes so easily in Idaho, but I have yet to get a potato harvest in Kentucky.

    Japanese beetles can be a menace. Do you find lots of their grubs in your soil? Ucky.

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    1. I'm thinking I may try a bit of a succession planting of sugar snaps, just to see what happens. We like them best fresh, so I would love to figure out the timing for a small, continuous harvest instead of a 3 week glut.

      Yup - not a fan of grubs ;). I don't find them in the raised beds - I think they like to feed on grass roots - so I don't come across them that often as the only time I dig up the grass is if I have to plant a tree or expand a mulched area. They must be there as we get tons of beetles every year although, surprisingly, they are leaving the pole bean leaves alone this year, which is a first.

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  19. Wow your veggies are amazing! Digging for taters is like being on a treasure hunt! All your produce looks great, and it's amazing how much you can produce when you start weighing and adding it up. Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog, I finally answered it today.my apologies! I forgot to mention that we have only fertilized some of the bales with fish fertilizer. I was reading some of the comments in an earlier post and people seemed concerned a lot of chemicals are used. You can condition the bakes with organic fertilizer too. For our impossible growing conditions in our backyard the bales have been a great alternative. It sure is a lot of fun growing and eating fresh veggies from our gardens isn't it! Have a great weekend! Ps That's one weird looking bug!!

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    1. Thanks Chris! I do plan to give the bales another go next year, especially after seeing your success with them. I have been fertilizing them with fish emulsion (although I've been lax with that lately as it didn't seem to be doing much good), but since I didn't do the initial conditioning, it was probably a case of too little, too late. It would be really great if it did work out - a portable garden that I can grow ramblers like pumpkins and position the bales where I wouldn't have to worry about where the vines went...now that's something worth striving for!

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