Monday, July 10, 2017

Harvest Monday - July 10, 2017


This is turning out to be "one of those years" - you know, those really bad years that are sprinkled amongst the good ones?

Here we are in mid-July and this is my first Harvest Monday post of the year - THAT'S the kind of year it's shaping up to be.  Firstly, I've been incredibly busy both in and out of the garden - I'm having a hard time keeping up (and truth be told, I'm not keeping up at all but am way behind).  Then there is the frustration of those dang rabbits - they are still getting into the veg areas and I've just about given up.  Many veg have been damaged, among them lettuce, peppers and eggplant, but their primary focus lately has been beans and peas.  The rabbits are, apparently, very particular as some varieties have minimal damage while others are now mere sticks poking out of the soil.

Another unwanted newcomer to the garden that I mentioned in a previous post has ramped up it's presence - from one lone beetle spotted about a month ago to this:

Potato Beetle Larva - All were picked off and dropped into a soapy water solution
minutes after their moment in the spotlight

I only see the larva on the volunteer potato plants at this stage - it looks like Mother Nature is teaching me a valuable lesson.  Letting the volunteers mature is not in line with the principles of crop rotation - a fundamental practice in reducing or eliminating pests and diseases.  I should really be pulling up those baby potato plants as soon as I see them.  It's a tough one when the gardener in me wants to take full advantage of these surprises and reap the rewards.

So I've pulled out one of the volunteers (which was in the potato bed from two years ago!) and harvested a couple of tiny potatoes:


Tiny, but mmm, mmm good with a bit o' salt and butter to accompany my lunch...shhh...don't let the rest of the family know ;)  I'll bite the bullet and pull up the rest of the volunteers this week.

Other than the baby potatoes, the harvests are rather late this year.  Our wacky spring really threw things off and we are at least 2-3 weeks behind.  Here is a rundown of what I am/have been harvesting:

Kohlrabi (Kolibri)

Shelling Peas (Aladdin)

Kale (Red & White Russian and Ursa Red)

Sugar Snaps & Snow Peas (Mammoth Melting)

Lettuce (Mignonette Bronze and Tropicana)

All of the lettuce, except for the Tropicana (the frilly green leaves near the bottom of the bowl) is either bolting and/or getting bitter from the heat.  I didn't place a shade cloth over the bed as I usually do, which may have contributed to this, although I'm also growing a few new varieties so that may be it as well.  I'll be reseeding more lettuce this week.  Many people think of lettuce as such a lowly veg, but I find it's the one crop that I really miss if I run out of it in mid-summer or fall.

Also harvested within the past few weeks but not photographed were salad turnips/greens, mizuna and a huge quantity of scapes (over 1.5 kg/3.4 lbs!).  As a side note, I am weighing the harvests but have not had the opportunity to transfer my kitchen notebook scribbles to the computer yet - as I said, it's turning out to be one of THOSE years.

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.

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

30 comments:

  1. You have my deepest sympathies about those D*** Rabbits, I know first hand how destructive they are. I know how difficult it is to keep them out of the garden. I've seen them jump right through the deer fencing that surrounds my garden. This year I caged in my beans with 1/4-inch hardware cloth as soon as I set them out - bunnies LOVE beans.

    It's good to see that you're getting some lovely harvests now.

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    1. Oh, thank you Michelle - if anyone knows the angst of dealing with persistent pests it's you! I have chicken wire attached to posts on the inside of one of the pea/bean beds and it's the only legume bed that has so far gone unscathed. I'm going to have to reinforce my fencing, obviously, but it's going to be another major task so who knows when I'll get to that :(

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  2. I've been thinking about this since you posted "Year of the Pest". Is there anything out there that is not pest-prone? Also what do you do about it? Give up? or put everything in cages of some sort? Most all of us home vegetable gardeners are plagued with something be it heat, drought or hail, rabbits, rats of squirrels or other.

    I just read some good news, and that is that coyotes keep the rodent population down. Yay! We now have a resident coyote on the street right in the middle of one of the densest urban populations in the world! It's fine if you don't have pets; I don't.

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    1. Well, Jane, I think the only things that is not pest prone in the garden are those that we don't want - bindweed and Canada thistle come to mind! I wish the rabbits/critters would develop an appetite for those!

      The chicken wire fencing has worked well for a few years but my next door neighbour inadvertently had a momma rabbit and her brood (is that what you call them?) in her garage this past spring/early summer (they were getting some work done and her garage was left open most of the time). That pretty much solved the mystery of why are there so many darn rabbits around all of a sudden. When one of them finds a gap in the fence, s/he runs to tell their siblings.

      We have coyotes around here too but haven't seen any this year - it's a good thing for dog owners but not so good for veg growers! As you say, there is an inverse relationship between rabbits and coyotes so I'm hoping that one or two come to hang out in this area soon.

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  3. Oh, I feel for you, there's nothing more disheartening than putting all the effort in to seed sewing, potting on, planting out and tending young plants just for pests to come and destroy all your hard work. At least you're managing to harvest some things now though and what you are harvesting look great.

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    1. Thanks Jo, the harvests are a consolation, although seeing the chewed leaves, dying plants, etc., is indeed disheartening. At least the rabbits haven't gotten into the tomatoes yet - my neighbours tomato plants were not as fortunate.

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  4. It's good to see you again on Harvest Monday, and I'm glad you posted despite your setbacks. The stuff you're managing to keep from the villains is really nice. That's quite a good haul of shelling peas. Who thinks lettuce is "lowly?" I demand to know their names for a good talking-to.

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    1. Thanks :) Ha - you said it when it comes to lettuce, Will! Whenever people see a bursting lettuce patch with fresh, crisp leaves and have a taste, they usually change their tune.

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  5. I feel your pain with those rabbits! And I'm with you on the lettuce too - it's never lowly here either. I pulled all of my spring lettuce since it was touch and bitter. I have some summer varieties planted, but they won't be ready for a couple of weeks so I had to buy some. I find the grocery lettuce to be mostly tasteless.

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    1. Agreed! And it's usually somewhat limp to boot...or at least doesn't have anywhere near the crisp, fresh texture of homegrown. Who knows how long it's been sitting around in trucks/boxes before it ends up at the grocery store - it's no wonder it starts to go bad so quickly.

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  6. Such a shame when pests ruin your efforts. At least our really dry weather isn't good for slugs but the snails can cope.

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    1. If I had a choice, I would much prefer dry to wet weather - not only do many pests/diseases thrive in wet weather, it's also beyond our ability to control. Of course, if we were in drought conditions, I would probably feel differently.

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  7. My rabbits cut through the plastic fence so I had to add chicken wire. Beautiful harvest, that's a lot of scape, did you freeze some?

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    1. Yup - I wash/dry it then cut it up and freeze it in freezer bags. The pieces stay separate so you just take out what you need - The couple of bags usually lasts me the entire year as I mainly use them for dips/dressing.

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  8. Oh wow, well at least I don't have potato bugs. But I do have every stinking rodent you can think of! pack rats, wood rats, kangaroo rats, chipmunks, ground squirrels, cottontails and jack rabbits. So far very few large tomatoes and zero cantaloupe. Between them all almost no broccoli this spring either, and no cauliflower at all, out of about 150 plants. I sooo sympathize! Our spring was about 6 weeks early!

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    1. Oy - that is quite the list! I've never even heard of a couple of them (wood/kangaroo rats - yikes!). That is so incredibly frustrating having lost all of those plants - sometimes this type of situation just makes you want to throw your hands up and surrender. But we push on because the good generally outweighs the bad. With all of those rodents, though, I'm thinking that some type of electric fencing may not be out of the question!

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  9. Some years pests seem to overwhelm us, don't they? We don't have quite as many big ones as you though. Outwitting them is all part of the cycle, even if sometimes you wish you could round them all up and fly them off to the moon!!

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    1. This is definitely one of those years! Only a veg gardener would look at all the netting and chicken wire in my garden with understanding and appreciation :)

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  10. I have been experiencing pest problems galore this season so I feel your pain. Rabbits, woodchucks, deer and gypsy moth caterpillars which now seem to have died without pupating...a good thing. Today I sit reading as the rain pours down. I am thankful for the rain. Your harvest looks bountiful, really. I should try that kohlrabi. Yours looks wonderful.

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    1. Kohlrabi was a revelation - I first grew it a few years ago and didn't much like it, but that was all down to the variety (Early Vienna) - it was MUCH too cabbagy. I tried Kolibri the following year and WOW - what a difference! My faves at the moment, both of which are tender and sweet are Kolibri and Kossak (which gets HUGE btw).

      Aahh rain - we are "supposed" to get some this afternoon - fingers crossed!

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  11. Pesky beasties make our life as veg growers hard, but we strive on. We have a problem with slugs, last year was bad and the white cabbage butterfly laying eggs on brassica continues. Still I envy your marvellous harvest, especially the Russian kale and kohlrabi.

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    1. Cabbage whites are among the first butterflies to come out and the last to leave, unfortunately for us. I took my netting off the kale in late September last year, thinking that it was late enough to avoid any issues. What a mistake...I was picking worms out of the curly kale from there on in. Learned my lesson on that one!

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  12. I am sorry you are having so many pest problems this year but it is good to see also what you are harvesting. I guess that is the way with gardening. Some good years and some bad. Nancy

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    1. Exactly - there are always bad years but the good ones make up for it. You also learn a lesson or two when things go bad, so I would say that increases your odds of more good years further down the line :)

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  13. Ick, I feel lucky that I've never had the potato beetles before. Rabbits I have dealt with, and they can be extremely frustrating. My raised bed and hardware cloth fence combination is working so far. Despite the awful pests, your kohlrabi and peas look great.

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    1. The rabbits don't seem to bother anything under netting (yet!) so I'm at least thankful for that!

      Never say never, K! I said the exact same thing last year about tomato hornworms in a comment on someones blog and within a week or two I found a whopper on a tomato plant - yuck!

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  14. Perhaps we should start an organization to educate the public about the real story behind all those so-called "cute" rabbits. How's this for a name: SOAR - Stamp Out All Rabbits.

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    1. HA! And header would have rabbit silhouettes on both sides topped with big red no symbols...

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  15. Oh, I want your lettuce! Mine is done, and the seeds I planted just gave out with the heat and humidity. I'll have to wait until the fall, I guess. Yes, I feel your pain with the wascally wabbits and the Japanese beetles. Both are so frustrating!

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    1. Yes, very frustrating!! I've just started some more lettuce as well - I started them indoors and will be transplanting them in another week or so.

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