Monday, August 15, 2016

Harvest Monday - August 15, 2016


It's the middle of August and the warm weather crops are at full speed ahead.

From left to right:  Melrose, Odessa and Hot Wax

It's so exciting when the first of the red, ripe peppers appear and this year Odessa, a new variety in the garden, was the winner of that race.  The Jimmy Nardellos are not far behind and I'll be picking a couple of those in a day or two.

The tomatoes are rolling in and the pace has really picked up.

From the top left:  Sungold, Juliet, Taxi, Amish Paste,
Super Sweet 100, Bloody Butcher

Along with tomatoes, squash, beans & favas, one surprise landed in this basket:

That bit of green at the bottom are sugar snaps

I decided to leave the sugar snap vines to see what would happen and we were able to harvest a deliciously sweet handful.  And I spot a few more peas and flowers on the vines too.  No plans for this bed for the rest of the year, so I'll be squeezing as much out of the plants as I can.  I wonder what will happen in a couple of weeks when the weather starts to cool down....

A few broccoli side-shoots were harvested, together with the first Cherokee Purple:

More tomatoes....and a few bits of broccoli

The shoots above are from the Munchkin and Packman plants.  I have one more variety that is now producing side shoots - Arcadia - and (spoiler alert!) it looks like it's amazing performance from last year will be repeated.

The first of the Costoluto Genovese were harvested.  This one is a favourite in the looks department...and it tastes good too, which is always a plus ;)

From the top left:  Costoluto Genovese, Sungold, Taxi,
Aunt Ruby's Yellow Cherry & a mystery tomato

Just below the Costoluto Genovese in the above photo are some large cherry tomatoes.  These guys are a mystery.  This plant was supposed to be a Speckled Roman but they are obviously neither speckled nor a paste tomato.

I've had issues with labelling this year, but I'm fairly certain the tomato labels were ok.  At first I though it may be a second Super Sweet 100 cherry, which is the only red cherry I'm growing this year, but these are definitely not the same as they are twice as large:

Super Sweet 100 on the top & mystery tomato on the bottom

Now, I've grown plants from this packet of seeds before and have 2 other plants in the garden that are, in fact, Speckled Romans, so I'm not sure if this is my mistake or a rogue seed from the packet.

Together with the tomatoes, the cucumbers are picking up the pace as well:

From the left - Summer Dance, Lemon, Chelsea Prize

Tomato and cucumber salads have been a mainstay of our dinner table lately...and no one's complaining :)

Garden Sweet & Little Finger
(including one that got away from me but was still fine for pickling)

You know it's summer when the canning supplies are brought up from the basement and find a quasi-permanent home in the kitchen.  I'll be canning some tomatoes and making a smallish batch of pickles this week.  I find that we don't use pickles very much, so 4 or 5 jars will do us for the winter.

My harvest totals this week were:

Fava beans – 36 grams (0.08 lbs)
Romano beans – 558 grams (1.23 lbs)
Broccoli – 158 grams (0.35 lbs)
Cucumbers – 2,564 grams (5.65 lbs)
Snap Peas – 70 grams (0.15 lbs)
Sweet Peppers – 670 grams (1.48 lbs)
Hot Peppers – 238 grams (0.52 lbs)
Summer Squash – 358 grams (0.79 lbs)
Tomatoes – 8,456 grams (18.64 lbs)

Total for Week – 13,108 grams (28.90 lbs)

Total to Date – 79.25 kg (174.70 lbs)

To see what everyone else has been harvesting over the past week, head on over to Our Happy Acres where Dave is our host for Harvest Mondays.

As a side note, the Weather Network issued a "Special Weather Statement" alert this morning that I found simply hilarious.  Just to highlight how dry it's been this summer, the alert read as follows:  "A rare weather event expected for Southern Ontario Tuesday:  a rainy day".

And that's it for the harvest & weather report.  Now on to a rather ironic discovery in the garden the other day.

I was harvesting some tomatoes and noticed some poop on the tomato leaves.  I immediately thought it was bird poop.

Poop on tomato leaves

But it seemed to be in an odd spot - not directly under the trellis but about 6" to the side.  So maybe a bird pooped as it flew over or it was a windy day and the poop flew...who knows?  Well, as I was pondering the poop ('cause that's what we gardeners do) I noticed something.  Take a look at the above picture again, focusing in on the stem on the lower, left side.  See it??

A tomato hornworm!  And he was a big fellow too:

First every tomato hornworm

So what's ironic about my discovery?  Only 2 days earlier, I mentioned to Sue in a comment that I hadn't seen a "real-life" hornworm yet.  That's right - I hadn't seen one in the 5 years I've been growing tomatoes and it only took 2 days for one to show up as soon as I mentioned that fact.

Figures :)

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

42 comments:

  1. Summer has really arrived at your place. Nice haul of tomatoes, peppers and cukes. And the hornworms are really hard to spot. That was a big one.

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    1. Thanks David - And thank goodness for the tell-tale poop, otherwise I definitely would have missed it!

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  2. Oh how I wish we were getting baskets of lovely tomatoes like yours! Everything else looks so good too. Except the hornworm. I haven't yet found one of those buggers, but since you never had either I'm starting to question.

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    1. Thanks Will - I would suggest going outside in the next day or so and checking for poop on your tomato leaves...especially now that you've said that out loud ;)

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  3. Ah, caterpillar poop! I almost always spot the poop before the caterpillar. I hope I'm not jinxing thing by saying that I haven't found a tomato hornworm in years, the rats are bad enough.

    Odessa Market is usually one of the first peppers to ripen in my garden too, but this year it is losing the race to a couple of others. Mystery tomato, hmmm, I guess if it tastes good it's not such a bad thing.

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    1. Well Michelle, Odessa was a choice inspired by your gorgeous baskets of early, red, ripe peppers, so thank you! It is definitely a winner in my garden.

      Chances are the hornworms would do a lot of damage before you realized what was going on if it wasn't for that poop. This is probably one of the few times when I am glad that things poop on my plants!!

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  4. Such a lovely colourful harvest. I've never heard of a tomato hornworm before, it's a huge caterpillar.

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    1. Thank you Jo. I think that hornworms are fairly prevalent in North America, so even those of us who have not had one in the garden know what they are. I suppose they are one of the few pests that have yet to hop across the pond!

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  5. As soon as I saw 'poop on the tomato plant' I thought hornworm! I had them bad at my old garden, where farmer grew tobacco nearby. That is one reason I don't grow flowering nicotiana, even though I love the scented ones, because it seems to draw the hornworms in too. Nothing says summer to me like tomatoes, peppers and cukes but then you still have peas and broccoli, which is amazing to me. The season for cucumber and tomato salads is always too brief for me, so I can easily imagine you are enjoying them now!

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    1. Well Dave, so far I haven't seen any more poop, so that's good. And thanks for the heads-up on nicotiana. As I'm looking at flowering plants to add to the borders I'll stay clear of those, for the time being anyhow.

      The summer crop season is definitely too brief, although today it's hard to believe. In light of the heavy rains we were expecting today, I was out in the garden harvesting as much as was ready/near ready. So now I have a kitchen full of veg that needs to be dealt with...actually a satisfying task on a rainy day, so it's worked out well!

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  6. So.Many.Tomatoes! So great! As for the hornworm...now that they've found you, they know where to find you ;-) You'll never not have them again on your property... :-( Our chickens and ducks are happy to make a meal out of 'em though!

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    1. Oh no, Melissa, say it ain't so!! No more signs of poop, so I'm hopeful that this guy was a stray that got separated from the pack. On the other hand, if we had an influx of them, that may be a good argument to present to my husband as to why we "need" chickens!

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  7. Everything you have arranged in the baskets is so so colorful. How lovely. So if we don't mention it it will not come? Let's try it with our laughable weather. I'm going to mention rain. We haven't seen it in years. Tee-hee.

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    1. Thank you Jane! And yes...don't mention it - don't even think it. And NEVER say how fortunate you are NOT to have experienced this or that pest as they will hunt you down and knock on your door before you know it.

      Did you mention rain? Well, it's pouring outside, so does that mean it works? Maybe I should mention rain the next time I comment on one of your posts :)

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  8. WE get huge caterpillars here too, but they are not common. Mostly it is masses of small ones. Love the look of those peppers. I really struggle to get ripe ones so am a little bit envious
    Kathy aka alittlebitofsunshine (Sorry to be "anonymous" but I cannot seem to log in as anything!)

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    1. Thanks Kathy - we've had a very hot summer this year, so I'm sure that has contributed a lot in getting those peppers to change colour.

      The majority of our caterpillars are much smaller as well, probably 1/4 the size of this one, so it's a bit of a shock when you first see it. And yes - unfortunately, most of us are ALL too familiar with internet issues.

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  9. All the things you are harvesting makes me miss my garden! A friend did bring some cucumbers to share with me! That was so nice. How many of those lovely baskets do you have? Ugly tomato hornworm. Yuk! Hope you don't get any more! Nancy

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    1. Thanks Nancy...I'm hoping that I don't see another for a very long time...or ever would be preferable!

      As for the basket with the handle, I only have one of those but I seem to be using it practically every time I harvest now. It's a new find that I got from a thrift store a few months ago & I just LOVE it! It holds a lot & is very sturdy too.

      I'm glad that you are enjoying some fresh, homegrown veg, even if it's not from your own garden...I'm sure you are relishing those sweet cucumbers!

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  10. It's looking like summer in your neck of the woods! That's exciting to have peas at the same time as tomatoes and peppers. I haven't found any hornworms this year, but I haven't looked. It's amazing how they can be so big, but so hard to find.

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    1. I know Julie, I was shocked at how chunky that guy was! Fascinating to look at...so long as he stays off my tomatoes ;)

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  11. Great tomatoes harvest, I hope your rain finds it way down south to the Hudson Valley, I know, it's a long way off but I am hoping, we sure could use a good soaking.

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    1. We have rain to spare today, Norma, so fingers crossed that some of it heads down your way!

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  12. Lots of beautiful tomatoes. Do the lemon cucumbers taste like other cucumbers? That hornworm was huge. I know they are very destructive, but I think they are pretty caterpillars, and I love the moths they become. If only they would eat weeds instead of tomatoes.

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    1. Thanks k, and yes, the lemon cucumbers taste like regular cucumbers, but they do tend to be a bit seedy. They are one of the most prolific flowerers on the cucumber trellis, which is the main reason I enjoy growing them now - the pollinators love them! And agreed about the hornworms. They are very pretty caterpillars...it's a shame they don't have an affinity for bindweed :)

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  13. Those Hornworms really blend in, don't they?! They are such beautiful moths--too bad they do so much damage to the tomato plants. Do you have a sacrificial plant for it? Wow, it's the height of tomato and pepper season, isn't it? Yum. I like the way you present your harvests in those beautiful baskets!

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    1. Thanks Beth! I don't have a sacrifical plant for it but Dave was saying that they are attracted to nicotiana. The problem is that nicotiana may do more to attract hornworms to the garden, rather than keep them off the tomatoes. Well, one isn't a big deal and I'm hoping that it stays that way so that I don't have to come up with a strategy for dealing with them.

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  14. What's a garden without a hornworm. They sure leave some piles, don't they? And the bigger the worm, the bigger the pile. You got a doosie there. Back a hundred years ago when I had chickens, they reacted to the sight of those like I do with European Truffle pie!!

    The harvests are sure beautiful, Margaret. I just love summertime meals, don't you? Often times, there is no room for meat and hubby never even notices. Ha! Good deal.....cuz to me, a plate of vegetables is heavenly!
    Have a terrific week in the garden
    :)

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    1. Oh, that's so funny, Sue! The poop is like a big ol' neon sign saying "Here I am!". I found that with cabbage worm poop too - the bigger the poop on the leaves, the bigger the caterpillar.

      And I completely agree with you on meat-free meals...I enjoy meat, but often gravitate to vegetarian options. Unfortunately, my husband is more of a "where's the meat" sort of guy. I can get away with a meat-free meal maybe once or twice a week but more than that and he'd be heading to the nearest drive-through :)

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  15. Beautiful baskets of colourful veggies, the pictures look great! A shame about the hornworm. I did have them in a previous location (lots of them) but only once and I did not see them again so fingers crossed for you that they aren't a permanent fixture - they can do some mighty damage and can be hard to spot until it's too late.

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    1. Thanks Susie! My fingers are definitely crossed. As I was picking tomatoes yesterday (in preparation for all the rain we are getting today), I kept an eye out for more poop...didn't spot any, so big sigh of relief!

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  16. OOH, congratulations on your first tomato hornworm! So gross and I had no idea that it would leave so much POOP! I've also never seen them in my garden but now I'll know what to look for if I encounter a lot of mysterious poop.

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    1. Well thank you for the congrats ;) I know, the poop was huge - it's no wonder I thought it was from a bird!

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  17. I do love tomato season. I also have the Costoluto Genovese although I found them a bit lacking in flavor. Still, they are very pretty. Now, for a BLT!

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    1. Yum to BLT's! You are right in that C. Genovese is not one of the most flavourful varieties in my garden - Brandywine got that honour when I did a side-by-side taste test a couple of years ago. But I do find it to have a nice flavour, nonetheless, and it's such a gorgeous tomato, I think that it would have to taste downright bad for me to stop growing it :)

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  18. Yep, the advent of ripe tomatoes, peppers, & chillis is the high-spot of the gardening year! Finding the rogue "Speckled Roman" might turn out to be a blessing in disguise - maybe you have a new hybrid variety? The Hornworm is indeed truly impressive, as others have already said...

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    1. It certainly is - and I'm quickly approaching the "mercy" point with the tomatoes :) I have a pile on the kitchen table that need to be dealt with and more in the garden to pick. As for the mystery tomato, it reminds me of the Chadwick Cherry I grew last year & decided not to grow again as it was a bit too big to use as a cherry and a bit too small to use as a salad tomato. I doubt I'll be saving seeds!

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  19. Ooh I see what you mean about your tomatoes, wow. And I just looked up the hornworm, what a caterpillar and what a moth!

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    1. Yes...the tomatoes are flowin'! And the hornworms are impressive, aren't they!

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  20. Looks like you're bringing in a fantastic harvest. But that tomato hornworm is huge!

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    1. Thanks Jason - so far I've only found one, but I'm now on poop patrol :)

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  21. I love how artistically you photograph everything. That hornworm is huge! I used to put mine in the bird feeder and the big black birds would devour them.

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    1. Thanks Tammy...and now THAT'S an idea!

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