Monday, September 6, 2010

Harvest Monday - September 6, 2010

Ahhh, September...  it's typically the month that ushers in the best weather of the year around here and this year is no exception. Thank goodness, the months that most of you would call Summer were exceptionally cool (rather than just mostly cool) and I was worried that our True Summer, which most of you would call Fall, would be equally crappy. Although the weather forecast for the rest of the week seems rather pessimistically cool, I'm hoping they are wrong... At least for now we've been enjoying mostly fog-free nights and warm sunny days. And tomato season is kicking into high gear, at least as high a gear as it can find this year.

Here's a box of Ananas Noir (top left), Katja (pink), Chocolate Stripes, and the first Not Wes (actually it's a Not Quite Not Wes).

And a plate of sliced Chocolate Stripes and Lennie and Gracie's Kentucky Heriloom....

which became a lunch of Caprese salad.

A box of Gigantesque tomatoes, the earliest and most prolific variety that I'm growing this year coming in at just shy of 27 pounds so far. It's not quite like the photo that I posted on October 12 last year, but considering the weather we had this summer I'm not complaining too much.

A sampling of some of the peppers that are coming out of the garden, or rather the bulk of the pathetic crop. One Madrid Bell Sweet on the right, this pepper had no seeds, weird. The pointy ones in the bottom of the photo are PI593480 (Morocco), a sweet pepper with an interesting hint of spiciness in it's flavor (there are more of these coming along). And the other peppers are Topepo Rosso, a moderately spicy cherry pepper, one of the few varieties doing okay this year. Sheesh, I just realized that I didn't even get around to weighing these. I'm all messed up with the peppers this week, posting photos of peppers I didn't weigh and weights of peppers that I didn't photograph. Oh well, at least they're all documented in some way.

These yellow peppers are a baccatum species called Guyana, they have a lovely aromatic fruity spiciness that is delightful. I'm happy that these plants are doing well this year. I used one of these rather than a Thai chile (which I'm not growing this year) to spice up a Vietnamese dipping sauce, big yum. And I think I'm going to use some of these in my Spicy Meyer Lemon Marmalade this year.

Here's my new experiment with a very old method for preserving green beans. In the days before canning a common method for preserving the green bean crop was to string them up or lay them out on screens to dry to make "leather britches". This method works best with old varieties of beans, the modern varieties of beans aren't meaty enough to dry well. The variety that I'm using is called Turkey Craw, an heirloom from Appalachia. The beans are usually picked when the seeds are quite well developed but before the pods begin to dry on the vines, although they can be harvested and dried when the seeds are smaller. I got my seeds in a trade with Nancy (thank you!) who lives in East Tennessee, she and her husband grow a few varieties of old fashioned Appalachian beans, all  of which have interesting histories. I'll be doing a future post about these beans since there's a lot more to say about them and I also want to document my experiments with them .

And did I say that these beans are truly string beans?

And one more new item in the harvest basket, Thai Tender Amaranth. These plants sulked along for the very cool weeks of "summer" and then we had a heat wave and they took off. They finally got large enough to harvest and we enjoyed these last night simply sauteed with garlic, another yum.

These weren't in the harvest basket but my husband keeps saying wouldn't it be nice to have one of them adorn the Thanksgiving table this year....  um, honey, did you want it roasted?

Here's the harvest totals for the past week:

Thai Tender amaranth - 15 oz.
Garafal Oro romano beans - 1 lb., 7 oz.
Turkey Craw beans - 7.5 oz.
Chamomile - 2.5 oz.
Suyo Long cucumbers - 2 lb., 13 oz.
Diamond eggplant - 1 lb., 7.75 oz.
Malaysian Dark Red eggplant - 1 lb., 7.25 oz.
Sweetie Baby romaine lettuce - 15 oz.
Guyana peppers - 4 oz.
Poblao peppers (the entire pathetic crop) - 8 oz.
Tlostenna Dunajska Krajova peppers - 4.25 oz
Viego Arruga Dulce peppers - 4.25 oz.
Strawberries (both varieties) - 2 lb., 3.75 oz.
Ananas Noir tomatoes - 1 lb., 4 oz.
Andine Cornue paste tomatoes - 3 lb.
Aunt Rubys cherry tomatoes - 12.5 oz
Chocolate Stripes tomatoes - 3 lb., 11.75 oz.
Galinas cherry tomatoes - 11.5 oz.
Gigantesque tomatoes - 6 lb., 15.25 oz.
Katja tomatoes - 6 lb., 2 oz.
Lennie and Gracies Kentucky Heirloom tomtoes - 1 lb.
Not Wes (Not Quite) tomatoes - 5.5 oz.

Whew! the total for the week was 41 lb., 12 oz.
The total for the year is 476 lb., 10.75 oz.

If you would like to see what other garden bloggers have been harvesting lately head on over to Daphne's Dandelions, the home of Harvest Monday.


  1. What beautiful pictures! I'm looking forward to watching the bean experiment unfold.

  2. Great harvest, well photographed. Stunning yellow chili will spice up appetite! ~bangchik

  3. Beautiful pictures of a lovely harvest.
    If you go for the bird, my experience prompts me to say, go the POT roast road. And, you will need several if you are going to have company.

  4. I love all the colors of the tomatoes you are growing! I have looked at that post from last year tomato harvest, it was a great year for growing tomatoes.

    I am very interested to read about the bean experiment.

  5. Wow, 41 pounds! That's a pretty nice weekly harvest total. And over 2 pounds of strawberries? I think i see a strawberry patch in my future.

    Beautifully documented harvest, thanks for the continued inspiration ; )

  6. I'm interested in hearing how the leather britches work out. I've read about them but never heard of anyone actually making them. I remember reading about them in one of the Foxfire books.

    Those Guyana peppers are so...yellow! They remind me of the Lemon Drop peppers I grew a few years ago. Great photos.

  7. As usual, impeccable post and harvest. Great variety and pics ! Look forward to the bean post !

  8. Those tomatoes are gorgeous! Chocolate stripes is very pretty. In your post last year, you said you were not impressed with the chocolate stripes tomato. WHat changed? Is it more amenable to cold weather, or did the plant's health make it taste badly last year?
    Glad things are warming up for you.

  9. Ribbit, thanks! The Turkey Craw bean adventures will be back...


    Banchik, thank you also! The yellow chile is a pretty one and it does pique the appetite.


    Patricia, and thank you! The Thanksgiving bird won't be quite that local, I don't actually have the means to bag my own, but it is fun to joke about it. Should I ever have the opportunity to try a truly wild turkey I'll keep your advice in mind.


    vrtlarica, I do try to pick a variety of colored tomatoes to grow each year, it's fun to have all those colors to work with. Last year was a much better year for tomatoes even though they ripened later.


    Julie, 41 pounds, I think that was my single best week this year. And 2 pounds of strawberries was a huge wonderful surprise for me, I planted the berries on a whim and have been battling the rodents for my share, what joy to have such a harvest. I'm so happy to have inspired you!


    villager, I had never heard of leather britches until Nancy offered me the seeds for the Turkey Craw beans, and then I just had to try them. I think the Lemon Drop peppers are much hotter than the Guyana peppers, though they are both baccatum peppers. I can't do really spicy peppers like the Lemon Drops, I guess I'm a wimpy chile head.


    miss m, thank you! I'm looking forward to further experiments with those beans and will share the experience.


    henbogle, last year the Chocolate Stripes plants really suffered from my inept attentions for what ailed them, the cure was worse than the disease. The tomatoes never properly sized up last year and they just were not good. This year I just let the plant be and it set wonderful fruit that sized up and ripened beautifully. I'm glad I gave them a second chance because they are my favorite (so far) this year.

  10. I have serious tomato envy going on here! Those tomatoes look both plentiful and beautiful. Our non summer is going right into late fall weather bypassing any hope of a warm and dry early fall. (sigh)

  11. Oh Michelle, your tomatoes and peppers are just absolutely gorgeous. Those colors are really spectacular, and I can only imagine (and be envious of) how good they all tasted. I know the cool summer has not been good for the California gardens, but it looks like your garden is well on its way to recovery!

  12. I'm amazed every week at your harvest. The tomatoes are just beautiful. Very inspiring.

  13. The tomatoes look great, especially the wonderful colours of the Chocolate Stripes and Lennie and Gracie's Kentucky Heirloom, which look even better with the mozarella on them! I'm glad you're getting some better weather at last.

  14. Beautiful harvest. We used to have turkeys that came on and off our property. We always thought about catching one for dinner. We never did (being that it is illegal here), but we did think about it.

  15. kitsapFG, I feel for you, it has to be so frustrating. Let's hope for a real summer next year.


    thyme2garden, thank you! I don't know about a full recovery, but it looks like I'll eke out a halfway decent summer harvest.


    Lanie, thanks so much!


    chaiselongue, I am so happy to have some nice weather finally. I do love those Chocolate Stripes, I think they will be a regular in my garden.


    Daphne, It's probably illegal to "harvest" them here as well, at the very least I'm sure I would need a hunting license. But I think I enjoy watching them bumble around the property more than I would enjoy eating them.

  16. Looks at all those tomatoes! How beautiful! I have to try chocolate stripes, next year.

    That seedless peppers probably was one that didn't get pollinated. This cool year I've had a lot of seedless peppers. They are also smaller that the others on the plant.

  17. I really like the look of the pink tomatoes! I find them to be some of the sweetest in the garden. The red ones are a beaut too.

  18. Angela, the mystery to me about seedless peppers is why does a pod form at all? There are so many blossoms that don't get pollinated and simply fall off the plant, what makes some of them form seedless pods? I've found a number of seedless pods on the rest of the plants also.


    Thomas, the red tomato I'm growing is interesting because the flesh is pink, it's hard to tell them apart from the pink tomatoes when they are sliced and laid out together.

  19. Interesting way to preserve beans!

  20. Gorgeous harvest despite the cool summer. The tomatoes and peppers are beautiful, I'll have to try the chocolate tripe tomato someday.


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