Monday, August 3, 2015

Harvest Monday - August 3, 2015


So what’s new this week?  Well, let me think….oh yes – a lot!

One of the most anticipated first harvests of the season:

First tomatoes of the season
 
It was a tie between Bloody Butcher and Sungold.  I had thought that Juliet would be coming in at the same time but they seem to still be sizing up – I’ve never grown Juliet before and didn’t realize how large they got.  I think it is classified either as a large cherry or a small plum.

I had to pick off the majority of the green Opalka tomatoes as they all had blossom end rot.  No point in allowing the plant to invest more energy into maturing these doomed tomatoes when it can be devoting it to producing healthy fruits instead.

Blossom end rot on Opalka tomatoes
 
The next exciting harvest is also in the Solanaceae family…two varieties of peppers.  First up are the Padrons:

Padrons
 
I haven’t actually tried the Padrons yet – I’m actually a bit scared as I may have let some of them get a bit too big which may translate into some very spicy peppers.  I’ll likely take the plunge in the next day or so…or maybe I’ll let my husband be the judge.  I think he is a bit braver than I am when it comes to trying things with a questionable spiciness factor, which is a bit odd since I can usually handle a higher level of spice than he can.

My husband was excited to see the first of the Hungarian Wax peppers come into the kitchen – they are a favourite pickled pepper:

Hungarian Hot Wax
 
I grew Hungarian Hot Wax peppers from seed I obtained last year from Baker Creek as well as from new seeds purchased this spring from William Dam.  I had a lot of germination issues with the Baker Creek seeds last year (spotty germination and those that did germinate usually took a VERY long time to do so) and wasn’t sure if this was seed or variety related.  The William Dam seeds had no issues germinating this year, so I assumed that the seeds were to blame.  Still, I decided to grow plants from both sources so that I could see if there were differences in the peppers and/or yields.  The peppers themselves look very much the same, but just look at the difference in their growth habit:

Baker Creek Hungarian Hot Wax
All the peppers hang down

William Dam Hungarian Hot Wax
All the peppers point up
 
Would this mean that these are different varieties of Hungarian Hot Wax?  So I’m back to wondering if my germination issues are as a result of the seed or the variety.  Since we normally pickle these, I’ll wait until I make a batch to comment on taste.

Next up was the garlic harvest:

Garlic Harvest
 
I let the garlic mature until the bottom 3-4 leaves were brown before harvesting them this past week:

Garlic bed just before harvest
 
The bulbs look much better than last year overall.  I didn’t get any really large bulbs, but no teeny tiny ones either and the skins were nice and tight.

I like to keep the varieties separate, so I placed each one in a separate bag that I had already labeled with a Sharpie.

Garlic Express
 
Then I bundled them up into groups of 6-8 bulbs & tied them securely with jute.  I attached a piece of paper to each grouping that identified the variety.  And off to the garage they went where they are now hanging until they are dry – probably 4 weeks, but last year I left them there for a couple of months and they did just fine.

Garlic bundles ready to be hung
 
I also harvested a large chunk of the onions:

Copra (left), Rossa di Milano (bottom right), Camelot (top right)
 
I harvested most of the Copras & Rossa di Milanos as well as all of the Camelot shallots.  None of the Red Wings had fallen over yet, so those were not harvested.  I would say that about 25% of the onions are still in the ground.  I’ll be posting the details on the onion harvest tomorrow.  Update:  The onion post was "posted" on July 31 (even though I didn't actually post it until August 4th) because I accidentally published my draft on the 31st & subsequently reverted it to a draft...dang laptop.  So just in case you are wondering where that post is as it doesn't show up in the August 2015 archives, you will find it in the July 2015 section.

The garlic and onions are added to the tally only after they are cured & prepped for storage.  The only ones included in this week’s tally are the onions that I consider to be “runts” – those that are too small to store & will go straight from harvest to kitchen - plus a Rossa di Milano where the stem broke off when it was being harvested.

Onion Runts
 
I harvested my first really nice (for me) head of broccoli.  Not perfectly rounded, but big and lovely all the same:

Arcadia Broccoli
 
The lemon cucumbers have finally started to hit the harvest basket:

Lemon & Chelsea Prize Cucumber
 
The green beans are trickling in & I harvested a few more fava pods which  just barely amounted to a snack:

Contender & Extra Precoce Violetto
 
I harvested some more chamomile, but instead of another photo of the flowers, I thought I would make things a bit more interesting:

Aphids on chamomile stem
 
That is a photo of aphids on a chamomile stem taken through the lens of my son’s microscope.  I swear I use that thing more than he does.

Also harvested but not photographed were a few more handfuls of sugar snap peas.  I haven’t pulled the vines yet & now, of course, we are having some wet weather.  It’s supposed to dry out a bit this afternoon, so I’ll be picking them off then – I hope they don’t get moldy on me.

My harvest totals this week were:

Green Beans – 216 grams (0.48 lbs)
Fava Beans (shelled) – 36 grams (0.08 lbs)
Broccoli – 302 grams (0.67 lbs)
Cucumbers – 496 grams (1.09 lbs)
Onions – 796 grams (1.75 lbs)
Sugar Snap Peas – 246 grams (0.54 lbs)
Hot Peppers – 336 grams (0.74 lbs)
Tomatoes – 58 grams (0.13 lbs)
Chamomile – 36 grams (0.08 lbs)

Total for Week – 2,522 grams (5.56 lbs)

Total to Date – 37.24 kg (82.09 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

28 comments:

  1. Apparently there is a lot of confusion over Hungarian Hot Wax peppers vs.Banana peppers and I've read on garden forums that some seeds are incorrectly labelled. I had also read somewhere that HHW grow up and banana peppers grow downwards. My William Dam HHW grow kind of sideways ... but mostly up. :)

    Terrific harvest. Too bad about the blossom end rot, but congratulations on your first tomatoes!

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    1. Sideways? Now that's funny! I'll have to look into it as well - I didn't realize there was that kind of confusion about them except for in my garden ;)

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  2. Haha, love the Garlic Express with its off-road wheels! That's a lot of garlic. Everything looks great. Based on yours and Dave's experiences, I sure will skip Opalka. And seeing those hot wax peppers makes me want to grow them again. I sure do miss pickled peppers.

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    1. Thanks Will - it was the prospect of growing more hot wax peppers that made my husband more than willing to help out when we put in the new beds this year. Now I'm hoping the garden delivers or I'll be in trouble ;)

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  3. Lots of good things from your garden. You did a great job on the garlic and onions. I had the same issue with Opalka, maybe lost a third to BER. And your Padron peppers look like the perfect size to pick them. They shouldn't be hot, except for the 1 in 10 exception that makes them exciting to eat. Anyway, they are not Habanero hot, so nothing to worry about.

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    1. Ok...I'll take your word for it. I will fry them up tonight. Blistered, sprinkling of salt - I'm starting to look forward to this. But I'll have a bowl of yoghurt handy just in case. Actually, I think some more cucumbers are ready, so I'll probably throw some of those into the yoghurt - this is beginning to sound better and better...

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  4. Lovely harvests. I got my first lemon cucumber this week too. I've never grown it before. I love the taste, but it really takes so long to start producing. I'm not sure I love it that much more than Cross Country. I guess I'll see if it picks up production or not. I don't see any more starting right now, but small cukes are easy to miss in the thick foliage.

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    1. I'm not growing any particularly early varieties, so the lemon cucumber wasn't too far behind the other varieties I'm growing. They do have a lot of fruit maturing on them now, so I'm thinking I may start to harvest them a bit smaller - I prefer them when the seeds are still tiny anyhow. They seem to flower a lot more than the others and I'm wondering if more frequent picking will translate into a longer harvest.

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  5. I can't believe you're getting some tomatoes already. Ack!! Am I the LAST person on the planet to get them????? None of mine are even close---not even the cherry toms. Sigh. Give me your address. I need to pay you a midnight visit........................bwa ha ha!

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    1. Oh, you are just too funny! Now, don't you worry - I was saying the same thing about beans not that long ago - everyone was harvesting buckets of beans and all I could see were leaves on my plants. Thankfully that has changed - although I'm harvesting handfuls, not buckets - and I'm SURE that your tomatoes will start to colour up before you know it. Sometimes it sneaks up on you - I didn't even notice those Sungolds until I was harvesting the Bloody Butchers - for all I know, they may have been sitting there, all ripe and ready to pick for a few days already!

      So now I know where to look if one of my half-ripe tomatoes goes missing...just let me know if you bump into my corn stalk muncher while you are at it ;)

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  6. Oh wow tomatoes, how fabulous. We have our first beginning to go gold - excited. Your harvest all round if fantastic and very rewarding

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    1. Thanks Shaheen - it is very exciting...and looks like you won't have long to wait for that first, yummy bite!

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  7. What wonderful harvests you are bringing in! That's too bad about the blossom end rot. I always scatter crushed eggs shells around my 'maters - - supposedly it helps. Your garlic and onion harvests look very impressive to me! Actually, everything looks very impressive.

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    1. Thanks Jennifer! I did sprinkle bonemeal in the tomato bed, but I guess this variety may just be particularly prone to BER. Maybe next year I'll try eggshells AND bonemeal. I do like the sounds of this tomato, so if it gives me a halfway decent harvest during the rest of the summer and the tomatoes taste good, I'll probably give it another try.

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  8. Fascinating the difference between those wax peppers from different suppliers. Could be a completely different cultivar or just a result of each seed grower selecting a line and going with that. Nice harvest of garlic and shallots.

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    1. Thanks - I love growing alliums and the harvest looks fairly good so far. The peppers do have me wondering what the story is - I'll definitely be doing a bit of research on that one.

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  9. I love all those alliums! And there's nothing like the first tomatoes. Here's a 2nd Dave who had lots of BER issues with Opalka. It's too bad they did it for you as well. Good luck with the Padrons. I never got the timing right the last time I grew them, but I blamed our scorching summer heat.

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    1. Well, I gotta look on the bright side. Seeing how you seasoned veg gardeners have had this issue with the Opalkas, I'm guessing that I didn't do anything terribly wrong that caused this. There is always a little measure of comfort in not being alone when it comes to these types of things. The Padrons are on the menu for tonight. We'll see how it goes; I really hope I like them.

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  10. We got our first "serious" batch of tomatoes this week too. We've been dosing the water reservoirs once per week with calcium nitrate. The only BER problems we've had have been with a few Romas. They seem to be more susceptible to it than most other varieties.

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    1. Opalkas are plum tomatoes and I'm also growing Speckled Roman, Juliet and Amish Paste but all of those are fine. Seeing as you have had BER on your Romas but not any others, perhaps plum tomatoes have more susceptible varieties than other types.

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  11. Congrats on your first tomato, I grew Opalka many years ago, BER was an issue and the vines grew into a jungle and I had to pulled it.
    Interesting comparison between the Hungarian Wax pepper seeds, waiting to see which one is the real deal.

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    1. Well, it's not looking good for the Opalka's longevity in my garden. It's obviously a variety that gets around and what's interesting is that no one has commented that they have grown it without that issue.

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  12. Very impressive, Margaret. Gosh, I'm hungry--even though I ate a very healthy and hefty dinner! ;-) Too bad about the Blossom End Rot, but it sounds like you have it under control. I used to get that when I grew more Tomatoes, and before I discovered Better Boys--they never seem to get it, here at least. I only have two Tomato plants because of my limited sun, but I always look forward to eating the fresh-picked Tomatoes! I'm amazed at your harvests! Your garden is so productive!

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    1. I'm so glad that you have a couple of tomato plants in your garden - nothing beats a freshly picked tomato. I've grown quite a few different varieties and have had blossom end rot on maybe half a dozen tomatoes in total over the past 4 years, so I was quite surprised when I noticed it on so many of the Opalka's. I was quite looking forward to them as they are supposed to be a big, meaty sauce tomato, so it is pretty disappointing.

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  13. It will be interesting to see if there's a difference between the two peppers. I've never tried either Hungarian Hot Wax or Banana peppers. Were your peppers spicy or mild last year? I know that with the Padron peppers that weather makes all the difference, they always get spicy if we have extra hot weather, but so far this season they've all been mild, but then so has the weather.

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    1. I found last years peppers to have a good amount of heat - not too much and not too little. Kind of like Goldilocks ;) And now that you mention it, we have had VERY hot weather over the past month. And we did try the Padrons last night...and the larger ones were HOT. The small ones that were only about 1.5" had just the right amount of heat, but those larger ones, we had to eat them in small bites with a yoghurt/cucumber salad chaser :) I'll have to go back out and start harvesting them smaller.

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  14. Wow! Such an exciting week! The first ripe tomatoes are so special and your garlic and onions look very healthy and hearty. Bravo!

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    1. Thanks Rachel - it's been such a busy year in the garden and it's so satisfying when you get to reap the delicious rewards ;)

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