Monday, August 31, 2015

Harvest Monday - August 31, 2015


I’ll start off with the biggest surprise this past week, literally:

Gargantuan Choy
 
That is a (not so) baby bok choy.  That's right, I said BABY choy, and we harvested two large heads this past week.

If you recall, I tried growing baby choy in the ill-fated Bed #8 that was partly shaded and also had the invasion of willow tree roots.  I harvested 8 baby choy from that bed with a total weight of 140 grams (4.9 oz).  The one head in the photo weighed in at 940 grams (2 lbs).  In this case, it was definitely all about location.  Unfortunately, I completely forgot to note the variety so we are either looking at a Green Fortune or Ching Chang Choy.  From the rate at which my new fall seeding of baby choi is growing, I’m venturing a guess that this variety is Green Fortune.

I had one “never before harvested” veg this week:

Ping Tung eggplant with Amish Paste tomatoes
 
Ping Tung is my absolute favourite when it comes to eggplant, so I was thrilled to be harvesting one.  The eggplants have been hit with what I suspect is Verticillium wilt and it’s anyone’s guess how much longer they will last. They are hanging in at this stage so I’m still hopeful that I’ll harvest a few more eggplant before the end of the season.

Grouped with the eggplant are the first of the Amish Paste tomatoes.  You’ll see that I’ve split them up into two groupings – the group of 3 have been struck with, you guessed it, blossom end rot which you can just make out in the upside down tomato.  The 2 tomatoes beside the eggplant are fine.

Between this variety and the Opalka, I have never had such an issue with blossom end rot before.  Interesting that it’s only on these two paste tomatoes; I suppose they are simply more susceptible.  The other paste tomato variety I’m growing is Speckled Roman, which I grew last year as well & these do not seem to have this issue.

Speaking of tomatoes, I also harvested the first of the Chadwick Cherry tomatoes, pictured here with Aunt Ruby’s Yellow Cherry:

Aunt Ruby's Yellow Cherry & Chadwick Cherry
 
The Chadwick cherries are definitely a large cherry & they taste pretty good too.  These are being eaten fresh, while I’m using the Aunt Ruby’s primarily for roasted cherry tomatoes, which then go in the freezer.  I really enjoyed using the roasted tomatoes last year over the winter.

The tomato harvests have started to pick up and the annual graduation from harvest basket to harvest box has taken place.  This box includes the first of the Brandywine tomatoes:

Clockwise from the top left:  Amish Paste, Aunt Ruby, Juliet, Costoluto Genovese,
Chadwick Cherry, Yellow Pear, Bloody Butcher, Brandywine, Taxi
 
I’m not harvesting anywhere near the amount I did last year, but on the bright side, most of my tomato plants actually look much better all of a sudden.  Perhaps it was the fish emulsion I gave them or our recent dry weather which may have slowed down the blight.  Whatever the reason, I may not get a larger overall harvest than last year, but I’m hopeful that I’ll at least have a longer harvest period (last year all of the plants had been pulled by the 2nd week of September because of blight).

Another picking of peppers, including the first harvest of Anaheim peppers:

Peppers clockwise from the left:
Padron, Ostra Cyklon, Anaheim, Hungarian Hot Wax
 
The Anaheim plants are very productive – those pictured in the basket came from only one plant!

I harvested a couple of the summer sown turnips – this variety is “Just Right” & I think I let them grow a touch to large:

Just Right Turnips
(Excuse the blurry photo - the mosquitos were particularly bad at the time)
 
Although they were still tender & not at all woody, the roots were not as sweet as the White Lady turnips I grew in the spring.  I’m not sure if that is because I let them get so large, the hot weather we’ve had or simply the variety.  I only grew four of these and there are two smaller ones in the ground which I will harvest this coming week.  We’ll see if those are sweeter.

As I did with the spring turnips, I kept the leaves, trimming off those with a bit too much damage.  Just Right doesn’t seem to produce as many leaves as White Lady, which is a shame as I enjoy them almost as much as the roots.

Also harvested but not photographed were a handful of cucumbers.  There are a couple of small ones left to pick before I pull the vines up today and then they are done.  It was a dismal cucumber year.  At least I was able to get a couple of jars of refrigerator pickles out of them.

Also included in the tally is a late picking of plums that I forgot to include last week and I’m adjusting my numbers for the potato onions.  As I’m using them in the kitchen, I’ve found that removing the tough flower stalk often reduces the usable portion of the onion quite a lot, so I’m cutting the weight for the potato onion harvest in half.

My harvest totals this week were:

Chinese Greens – 1,702 grams (3.75 lbs)
Cucumbers – 366 grams (0.81 lbs)
Eggplant – 174 grams (0.38 lbs)
Onions – reduced by 633 grams (1.46 lbs)
Hot Peppers – 992 grams (2.19 lbs)
Tomatoes – 12,893 grams (28.42 lbs)
Turnips – 564 grams (1.24 lbs)
Turnip Greens – 338 grams (0.75 lbs)
Plums – 1,025 grams (2.26 lbs)

Total for the Week – 17,391 grams (38.34 lbs)

Total to Date – 85.28 kg (188.01 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

42 comments:

  1. What a beautiful and colourful box of tomatoes! I have never like Italian style eggplant but I do like the asian variety and might try some next year. A shame about the wilt.

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    1. Thank you Susie - I too don't like those large, purple globes at the supermarket. There is one exception, actually, which is baba ganoush. Other than that, I think that the Japanese eggplants are superior in every other dish.

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  2. The baby bok choy is so huge which tickles me to no end. And you're getting loads of beautiful tomatoes. That is an amazing amount of Anaheims off one plant, do you remember the variety?

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    1. Thanks Phuong! Are there different varieties of Anaheim? I had no idea! I purchased mine from Baker Creek and their packet simply calls them Anaheim. I've roasted and individually froze them so that they are ready to go whenever I am.

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  3. That choy is trick photography, the same one fishermen use--holding the fish out in front of you to make it look bigger! No, really, it is beautiful. And what a nice box of tomatoes. The eggplant is really pretty. Do "Asian" type eggplants really taste different?

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    1. That's a great little photography trick - gotta keep that one in mind ;) And I find that Asian eggplants are very different from those large ones you see in the supermarket. They are not bitter, they have very few seeds, their texture is firmer and not as spongy AND their skin is so tender I rarely peel them....how's that for being different!

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  4. WHOA! That's one HUGE choy! That will make one wonderful meal in itself.

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    1. We did have it, that very night, in a wonderful chicken stir fry - yum, yum, yum!

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  5. Ching Chang Choy, what a great name. Whichever variety, it's a brilliant size, I bet that lasts you a while. Your tomatoes look wonderful set out like that, so many different varieties. I've had a great tomato year this year, more than I know what to do with.

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    1. You know Jo, bok choy is a lot like spinach - a whole lot of it cooks down to hardly anything. Almost all of that huge head went into a chicken stir fry, which was just enough for 4 adults. Good thing 2 of us are kids so that I could have the leftovers for lunch the next day! I often freeze peeled chopped tomatoes that I can then toss into a skillet for a quick tomato sauce. Or even easier is to simply stem & wash them and toss them in a zip lock bag in the freezer.

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  6. That is definitely an impressive choy, whatever the variety, and no holes in the leaves. The Ping Tung is nice, mine never get that long. The BER is a pain, I tossed a lot of the tomatoes I picked last week because the rot had gone too far. I think paste tomatoes are more susceptible because of their shape. It is farther from the stem end to blossom end, so nutrients don't get there in quantity needed while the tomato is rapidly growing.

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    1. That's a very good theory - I've been wondering why none of my other tomatoes seem to be affected. I may try these two again next year and add extra bonemeal to the bed, just to see if that helps - I don't like giving a tomato the boot for stuff like this without at least trying to fix the problem first.

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  7. Brandywines????? OMG. I STILL haven't gotten a single one even thinking of ripening yet. We are running out of time before our first frost. I'm so disappointed with the tomatoes this year. I've had but a mere handful of the cherry toms....that's IT!
    I'm happy for you. That box of tomatoes is so lovely.
    Sigh.

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    1. Oh, hang in there - as soon as you see that first little hint of a blush...get it off the vine and into your kitchen! My tomatoes have been ok, but nothing (in terms of quantity anyhow) compared to last year - it can't always be a great year, I guess. Next year will be better, right? I'm sending tomato ripening thoughts your way....;)

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  8. Those are some lovely tomatoes and what a huge choy! I laughed when I read about your 'graduation' from basket to box for the tomatoes. I call it a Jaws moment - we're gonna need a bigger box! Hopefully the blight will hold off a little longer.

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    1. Last year we went from basket to box to bigger box. This year, I don't think I'll be getting the bigger box out, but I'm ok with that...I was a bit overwhelmed last time round, especially as it was my first huge tomato harvest & first time canning too.

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  9. That is a huge choy. Sometimes my baby choys get pretty large, but never a couple of pounds. My summer sown turnips did pretty poorly because of all the flea beetles, but the later sown ones for the fall seem to be growing well. I hope they do well.

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    1. I sowed some more White Lady turnips (the variety I grew in the spring), so we will see how they do for the fall. I'm fairly sure that I will stick with this variety over the ones I grew in the summer as it's so much faster (at 30 days) and tastier.

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  10. That box of tomatoes is a real object of beauty! Love the peppers / chillis too. I am not a fan of aubergines, but I did once grow some, and they were the same as yours - Ping Tung Long.

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    1. Thanks Mark! Tomatoes and peppers are so lovely in and of themselves, that I think it would be difficult to take a bad photo of them ;) I wasn't a fan of eggplant growing up either, but my mom usually only made fried eggplant parmigiana type dishes with those huge purple globe eggplants. My first Thai curry with eggplant was a revelation - I was hooked after that.

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  11. What wonderful harvests you're bringing in! That "baby" bok choy is enormous! Your last box of tomatoes is enviable, to say the least! Though I am sorry to hear about your blossom end rot on a few of your toms...that's always disappointing. Things are looking great there, though! Congratulations and happy harvesting!

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    1. Thank you Melissa! Every year there are a few unpleasant surprises in the garden, and I guess I had just better get used to it. And the successes, big or small, more than make up for the failures!

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  12. Your tomatoes are really lovely. I love the variety of them all! I tried growing yellow pear, but I started them too late. I'll try again. What do you think of their flavor?

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    1. I enjoy the flavour of the yellow pear - it's light & a bit fruity but super sweet as Sungold. I'm actually thinking that next year I may use that one exclusively for my oven roasted cherry tomatoes and drop the Aunt Ruby's. The only issue I have is that it does seem more prone to disease.

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  13. That picture of your box of tomatoes is truly a work of art! And your choy is amazing too. Even at that huge stage, it is still such a lovely plant. Enjoy these few crazy weeks of the harvest. Before we know it, it will start to cool down and the heat lovers will disappear for another year.

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    1. We are having a bit of a heat wave this week, but I know how quickly it can start to cool down now that we have hit September. When it's still so hot, it's easy to get lulled into thinking that the season will last for a few weeks longer than it actually will.

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  14. Whoa~ big big choy you have there and the box of tomatoes is amazing, hope you get more eggplants soon, sometimes I get flea beetles on my eggplants but they don't seem to hurt the production much.

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    1. My Slim Jim eggplants are not looking good at all - only a few non-wilting leaves left on those. They do have one medium and several tiny eggplant forming, but I'm doubtful the smaller ones will make it to maturity. At least there are no flea beetles on the eggplants yet...let me look around for some wood to knock on now ;)

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  15. Wow! What a gigantic bok choy!! I've never seen one so big! You grow such a variety of things, it all looks lovely and so colourful!

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    1. Thank you Susie! Every year I have added a few new crops to the garden - not all of them have been successful, but it's fun to try & you learn so much in the process.

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  16. You do such a lovely job of displaying your produce for your blog. Beautiful photos of tasty edibles--you should submit some of these photos for magazine publication. The Baby Choy is impressive! And wow--all the Tomatoes!

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    1. Oh, Beth, that's so nice of you to say. Now if I only knew how to use that new camera of mine - I guess going through the gazillion page e-manual is what the winter will be for ;)

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  17. The secret to liking globe eggplants is to grow your own and pick them young before the skins get tough and the seeds develop. Not always an easy moment to catch though...

    I just graduated to tomato boxes recently also. :-)

    Big baby! It's gorgeous.

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    1. Thanks Michelle! And you're right, I probably shouldn't write off the globe eggplants based on those that I find at the supermarket. Practically all homegrown produce is infinitely tastier, so why wouldn't that apply to those as well?

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  18. Hi Margaret, Wow! what a huge choy!!! And a wonderful harvest you stil have! Hope your tomatoes continue to do well for you! Nancy

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    1. Thanks Nancy! I'll be outside, picking off all the yellowing leaves in the hopes of controlling the spread of disease. Hopefully I won't be pulling these plants up until the end of September this year.

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  19. That is one very big baby. We haven't had any blight this year either which is very strange I think it's the first year for a long time that I can remember us being blight free. Regular blight was the reason we stopped growing tomatoes outdoors. Coincidentally we planted some outdoors this year and they have done well.

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    1. That's wonderful! I've noticed that most people in the UK seem to grow their tomatoes in greenhouses. My first experience with blight was last year & it was pretty horrible, although at least I was able to get a really good harvest before it hit.

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  20. Wonderful! I found a few Roma tomatoes with blossom end rot. I hope today's heat helped cut down on that.

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    1. Thanks Daisy. And just when I said that my Speckled Romans were BER free, I find it on one of them...ugh. Good luck with your Roma's!

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  21. oh my will you look at that choy!! mm yummy!

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    1. I don't know what happened but I just noticed that your comment didn't get published - I usually get email notifications of pending comments but looks like this one didn't go through...dang blogger. And you are right...it was yummy!!

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