Monday, September 14, 2015

Harvest Monday - September 14, 2015


We went from hot, hot, hot to sweater weather overnight.  This morning it was only 4C/40F, but it’s supposed to heat up again as of tomorrow, so I’m hoping that my warm weather veg keep going for a while longer.

This past week was a bit slow on the harvest front.  The first of the Stocky Red Roaster peppers were harvested and they were delicious!

Stocky Red Roaster & Melrose peppers
together with a couple of Sure Thing zucchini

I didn’t roast them, but instead stuffed them with a ricotta/spinach mixture and baked them topped with some “Lazy Baked Tomato Sauce” – thanks to Michelle for that idea.  It’s come in very handy, especially for quickly dealing with those less than perfect tomatoes that I don’t want to use for canning.

And yes, those are two more zucchini (Sure Thing) from the squash bales.  And then a couple of Romanesco's were harvested yesterday:

Romanesco Zucchini
 
If the weather does warm up as forecast, I may be in for several more zucchini before the month end – this sudden turnaround in the straw bales is definitely the BEST sort of surprise!

The peppers have slowed down quite a bit, but I did manage to get a few sweet & hot peppers from the plants this week:

Jimmy Nardello, Pepperoncino & Padron peppers
 
The tomatoes are still coming in dribs and drabs.

From top left:  Brandywine, Amish Paste, Sungold, Taxi, Opalka,
Aunt Ruby's Yellow Cherry, Juliet, Mountain Magic, Yellow Pear (center)
 
I think my major trimming/cleanup of the vines has helped & although blight is progressing, it seems to have slowed down a bit.

And look at this huge Opalka:

This Opalka was literally a handful ;)
 
I had harvested a few other large tomatoes from this variety, although I think this one was definitely the biggest and, unfortunately, all of the others had blossom end rot.  I don't think I'll be giving up on this variety just yet as a lot of my BER problems this year may have been due to inconsistent watering.

Yesterday's tomato harvest
 
My kitchen is a bit of a tomato rescue station right now with ripening tomatoes seemingly everywhere :)

I harvested a bunch of the Vermont Cranberry beans earlier in the week:

Vermont Cranberry Beans
 
And then the weather became wet and cool, so I harvested the rest (although I think there are still some hiding in the White Walcherse plants) together with the remaining Trail of Tears:

Vermont Cranberry & the remaining Cherokee Trail of Tears
 
The Walcherse Whites are just starting to look as if they are drying out and I’ll be harvesting those soon as well – I’ve never grown that variety before and wasn’t sure what a mature bean looked like, otherwise I would have already started to pick them.

I waited much too long to thin out the carrots and I’m concerned that the crowding has slowed down their growth.  Hopefully they start to size up quickly now.  Although tiny, we did enjoy the thinnings, which I roasted in the oven together with some eggplant & turnips.

Carrot Thinnings
 
Unfortunately, I completely forgot to weigh the thinnings, but I doubt it was more than half a pound, so not a big deal.

I harvested the French Prune plums last week as well in two small pickings.  They are TINY, but oh so good.  Still my favourite fresh eating variety from the 5-in-one tree.

French Prune Plums
 
One herb I completely forgot to talk about was the dill.  I harvested several of the seed heads last week and they are in a bowl in my basement drying out.

Dill Seed
 
I really want to start harvesting most of my own herbs instead of purchasing the who-knows-how-old herbs from the bulk store.

I harvested a bunch of broccoli - and that hyper plant is still producing like crazy.

The shoots from the hyperactive plant are on the top left, runty shoots
 are on the top right & the bottom shoots are from the rest of the plants
 
This weeks picking from that particular plant weighed in at 336 grams (11.8 oz) from 4 sideshoots - so far, that one plant has generated 864 grams (1.9 lbs) of side shoots PLUS the main head.  So we are talking about 1.2 kilo/2.6 lbs of broccoli heads from one plant.  I'm impressed, Arcadia, & you will definitely be coming back next year!

And lastly, I had a huge picking of chard, most of which I blanched and froze:

Fordhook Giant & Peppermint Chard
 
The Fordhook Giant continues to outperform the Peppermint by about 2:1, but you just can’t beat Peppermints beautiful colour & mild flavour.  It’s a keeper.

My harvest totals this week were:

Broccoli - 952 grams (2.10 lbs)
Sweet Peppers - 443 grams (0.98 lbs)
Hot Peppers - 86 grams (0.19 lbs)
Summer Squash - 1,375 grams (3.03 lbs)
Swiss Chard - 2,225 grams (4.91 lbs)
Tomatoes - 3,222 grams (7.10 lbs)
Plums - 126 grams (0.28 lbs)

Total for Week - 8,429 grams (18.58 lbs)

Total to Date 110 kg (242.49 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. Beautiful harvest, love the size of that Opalka tomato! Never tried to grow dried beans so might do that next year - these cranberry variety are gorgeous.

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    1. I think that dried beans are definitely worthwhile to grow & there are so many varieties to choose from...it's another veg where narrowing it down to which one is a challenge. They don't yield the poundage of fresh beans, but you also tend to use them in smaller quantities.

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  2. Lovely harvests and what a big Opalka! I'm with you on the "tomato rescue station" situation. Unfortunately that also means "fruit flies welcome here!" I've found that Fordhook chard outproduces other varieties as well. So nice that you are still getting lots of broccoli.

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    1. Yup, I know what you mean about the fruit flies - I have some apple cider vinegar in a pint canning jar topped with a funnel, which seems to keep them in check. I'm definitely loving the broccoli. Last year was my first try at it and I started it too late to get any side shoots - they are like the gift that keeps on giving ;)

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  3. The peppermint chard is just so pretty. I keep thinking of one of the colorful chards, but the white one I grow just does too well here. The colorful ones tend to struggle. And they never taste as good to me.

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    1. You are right in that the peppermint doesn't produce as well as the green one, but maybe you could squeeze in just one or two next year? I also don't like beets (I'm sure you know that by now!), but the peppermint is really nice & mild. I think you would really like it!

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  4. Cool, I'm glad the lazy sauce worked for you, it's one of two sauces I make for the freezer at this time of year, the other one is just about as easy. That Opalka is impressive! I grew that variety years ago and I can't remember why I stopped growing it (pre-blog days). Arcadia seems to be a popular broccoli amongst the bloggers I follow, maybe I should give it a try. I've been really happy with the newest addition to my broccoli lineup - Batavia. Maybe next year I'll do a comparison planting.

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    1. The thing with tomato varieties is that there are just way too many to try - and trying new ones is part of the fun. Arcadia is definitely coming back next year. I was actually planning on growing two other varieties of broccoli along with it this spring, but something happened - can't recall now what - and only the Arcadia ended up in the garden. Now I just have to find room for the other two as well for next year.

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  5. Nice varied harvest. I love cranberry beans wish I had more garden space to grow more bean varieties. Agree the peppermint chard is so pretty, ir cheers up the whole garden.

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    1. I've actually never tasted cranberry beans before, so I'm looking forward to it. That's what so wonderful about growing your own - it gets you experimenting with different varieties that would not normally end up in your kitchen.

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  6. Impressive haul. We'll be right over for dinner.

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    1. Well...you and Sarah are more than welcome to come on down! But I must warn you, the kids have really done a number on my repertoire in the kitchen...

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  7. Nice harvest! Our weather did the same thing. Hot, cooler and then is suppose to get back in the 80's. No zuke for me but I have enough in the freezer. Would be nice to have one to saute sometimes. The Cranberry Beans are pretty. Will they stay that color? Was straw bale gardening worth it? Will you do more of that type? Nancy

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    1. The beans are pretty, aren't they. This variety is used as a dried bean & the shelled beans are a maroon colour - I haven't cooked with them yet, but I think they do maintain that dark red colour. And I will definitely be trying the straw bales again next year - I think that the late start this year was because I didn't condition (i.e. fertilize) them enough in the spring so they have only now started to break down enough to provide the plants with the nutrients they need. I'll do a better job of it next year ;)

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  8. I think I'll try one of those 5 in 1 plum trees - I love plums but don't have room for companion trees. That Opalka is crazy big. I hope our weather works for your squash bales - definitely supposed to warm up at least another week or two.

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    1. Well, my 5-in-1 plum is really a 4-in-1 now as one of the grafts is still essentially a twig, so I don't think it will ever amount to much. I'm crossing my fingers about the weather too - a couple of nice warm weeks could make a big difference to a lot of the plants in the garden right now.

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  9. What a great harvest. The size of that Opalka tomato, wow! Love the sound of the Lazy Baked Tomato Sauce, I'll have to check that out.

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    1. Thanks Jo - The sauce is yummy & so easy, which is a big plus when you have a lot of tomatoes that need to be dealt with quickly.

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  10. Attractive chard -- We may need to try growing some instead of flowers. Have you tried "Bright Lights", or other colorful varieties?

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    1. I did try Bright Lights twice this year, but it just didn't do well. My spring planting damped off and my fall planting is still tiny...as in 2" tall. Yup - no harvest from those unfortunately! I will try again next year, though.

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  11. I love that you have a hyper broccoli plant. And it's fun that you use Cherokee Trail of Tears as a dry bean, I use it mostly as a green bean although it is easy to shell.

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    1. I really liked the Cherokee Trail of Tears as a green bean as well, but since I usually harvest more than enough green beans from my bush beans, I decided to use them only for dried beans. Dried beans, especially black beans, are one of my favourites so ideally I'd love to grow enough to keep us supplied all year.

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  12. What a whopper that Opalka is! I made a version of Michelle's oven roasted tomatoes last year and it was a great base for pizza, pasta, etc. I too am loving the Stocky Red Roaster peppers here.

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    1. Pizza - that's a great idea! I'll have to remember that the next time I make some so that I package them up in pizza sized portions.

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  13. I thought that very large tomato was a green pepper at first glance. Your courgettes (zucchini) have done much better than ours. We usually have a glut of them not this year.

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    1. I messed up on their planting pretty badly, so I'm just happy to get any courgettes this year!

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  14. Amazing! You have your own farm! Those plums look delish. :o)

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    1. Thanks Tammy! The plums were yummy - hopefully I get more of them next year.

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