Monday, August 18, 2014

Harvest Monday - August 18, 2014

I don't keep track of and generally don't bother to report on what are usually pretty minor harvests of fruit from my garden, but this past week I harvested two baskets of grapes. What's really remarkable about these grapes is that they are coming off of a vine that is totally neglected, in fact I never got around to properly planting it. It is sitting in a big plastic pot wedged up against a hedge of rosemary, it sent its roots through the openings in the bottom of the pot and is now happily sending its vines through the rosemary hedge. Last year it produced a few bunches of grapes that were consumed primarily by birds and rats. This year there are bunches of grapes hanging everywhere. The grapes are pretty small but they are flavorful. My lazy Dave doesn't want to bother with them though because the stems tend to break off with the grape and he doesn't like that. So I sat down and went through a couple of baskets of them, plucking off the grapes that hadn't split or been pecked at, then I dusted off my old dehydrator and now I've got a quart jar full of raisins.

Don't laugh, I know I've already got more zucchini than I can deal with, but I just couldn't resist trying another type of summer squash this year. That's the first Tromba d'Albenga squash of the season, you can tell that it didn't get pollinated because the bulb at the end is so small. This squash is a Curcurbita moschata, the same type of squash as butternut squash. These can be harvested at all stages of their development, from babies to be prepared as summer squash and any time until they turn into hard skinned winter squashes. In their winter squash form they are very much like butternut squash. This same squash goes by a number of names - Zucchino Rampicante, Tromboncino, Zucca d'Albenga. It is a vining plant so it can be trained up a trellis which is what I have done. The hanging trombone shaped squashes are quite attractive. And the squash is delicious with a nice firm texture since the seeds only form in the bulb at the end of the squash. Oh, and for those of you who are plagued by squash bugs , um borers, it's supposed to be resistant.

One more new thing from the garden is the first little Amish Paste tomato shown below between the eggplants and another Tromba squash.

The bean harvests are still generous and the cucumbers come in at a manageable pace.

I'm harvesting lots of Padron peppers.

The Sweet Gold cherry tomatoes are steadily ripening, yum these are good!

One morning I harvested all the blooming zucchinis.

Which were promptly turned into a Ricotta and Zucchini flan. I'm still not satisfied with the way this came out, it was good but not great. I'll keep working on this dish and when I get it right I'll post the recipe.

More of the usual suspects...

Golden Gate and Musica beans

Sweet Gold and Isis Candy cherry tomatoes
Garden Oasis cucumbers and Padron peppers

Romanesco zucchini

Ah, the first harvest from the new patch of Speedy Arugula.

Speedy arugula

And the first harvest of dried beans for the season.

Black Coco beans

Rosso di Lucca beans

Other harvests not photographed last week included more broccoli shoots, cutting greens, and onions which I've been weighing as I use them. I used part of the huge cauliflower I showed last week to make Smashed Cauliflower with Caramelized Garlic (thanks for the inspiration Dave V.). Sorry, I still need to write up the recipe and put it on my recipe blog.

Here's the details of the harvests last week:

Speedy arugula - 1 lb., .5 oz.
Golden Gate beans - 1 lb., 6.9 oz.
Musica beans - 2 lb., 4.8 oz.
Black Coco beans - 1 lb., 4 oz.
Rosso di Lucca beans - 1 lb., 3.9 oz.
Di Ciccio broccoli - 1 lb., 11.4 oz.
Tokyo Bekana napa cabbage - 1 lb.
Garden Oasis cucumbers - 1 lb., 8.3 oz.
Salangana eggplants - 1 lb., 14.4 oz.
Baby Portuguese kale - 7.3 oz.
Ruby Streaks mizuna - 2.9 oz.
Candy onion - 1 lb., 2.2 oz.
Purple Pac Choi - 6.5 oz.
Padron peppers - 1 lb., 8.9 oz.
Amish Paste tomato - 1.7 oz.
Isis Candy cherry tomatoes - 1.4 oz.
Jaune Flamme tomatoes - 8.1 oz.
Sweet Gold cherry tomatoes - 2 lb., .1 oz.
Romanesco zucchini - 6 lb., 7.8 oz.
Tromba d'Albegna squash - 3 lb., .7 oz.

The total harvests for the past week were - 29 lb., 11.7 oz. (13.5 kg.)
Which brings the total harvests for 2014 up to - 494 lb., 2.3 oz. (224.1 kg.)

Harvest Monday is hosted by Daphne on her blog Daphne's Dandelions, head on over there to see what other garden bloggers have been harvesting lately.


  1. Beautiful harvests, as usual. Love the dried beans - I'm hoping to get dried beans from the Trail of Tears vines. Only a couple of pods right near the bottom of the vine have so far been infected with bacterial brown spot, so hopefully the rest mature before it has a chance to climb up that high. And I am also loving the Tromboncino squash - got my first one this past week too.

  2. Hi Michelle, I'm not an envious person by any means BUT I really, really, really want a vegetable garden like yours! :) *insert deep sigh here* I started my vegetable garden about three years ago and have tried many different things in my vegetable garden, tried different plants at different times of the year & even let it lay fallow for a season. It still has no where near the harvest or as nice looking plants that you have. I am sure it would be very difficult to assess without knowing more information but I still have to ask...would you have any advice for a novice South Florida (zone 10b) vegetable gardener like me? Anything and everything would help, lol. Thanks so much and love living vicariously through your blog...keep up the great work!

    Happy Gardening & Best Wishes,

    1. Even though we are only one zone apart your climate is really different than mine so it would be really difficult for me to advise you about what to grow and when. I think the best thing you can do is find some local advice. I like to send gardeners to their local Master Gardener program, they are trained volunteers with local extension services and they should be able to give you advice that is tailored to your growing conditions. I found a web page that lists the Broward County Master Gardener Public Service Centers, the locations, phone numbers, and hours - try calling one of them to see if they can help you. The best general advice I can give you is to take good care of your soil, feed it, not your plants. Use plenty of good quality well aged compost and use only natural fertilizers. You can't grow great veggies in crappy soil, I know, I've tried, it doesn't work. My native soil here is awful which is why I have huge raised bed filled with imported soil. I'm really sorry that I can't be of more help, but here's the link to your local Master Gardeners:

    2. I found another, even better link to the Florida Master Gardeners, there's loads of good information that you should find helpful.

    3. Thank you soooo much for the advice Michelle!!! I already started tilling the soil with some compost, some peat, some organic fertilizer and a little bone meal. So excited to try something new.

      Happy Gardening!

  3. Beautiful harvests and congrats on those grapes! I planted to grape plants this year and am hoping to get grapes in a few years, so I feel a little envious of yours. Those squash look so good! Thank you for sharing the variety - - I might have to try it next year. I haven't been very pleased with my squash varieties this year and might want to 'branch' out.

  4. Beautiful harvest. Nice to see you varying your diet with the Tromboncio. I'm not sure it is resistant to squash bugs, but since it is a moschata, it is supposed to be resistant to the borers. This year I tried growing it on same trellis as the Musica beans, and as strange as it sounds, beans win. Thanks for the cred on the cauliflower recipe. Describing it as smashed cauliflower sounds much better. And just yesterday I came across a pizza crust recipe that uses riced cauliflower and a couple of eggs to bind it, so low-carb pizza may be in my future.

    1. Oh, you are so right, I think I have bugs on the brain, I meant borers, thank you for catching that! I am surprised that the beans beat the squash, gardening is full of surprises.

  5. have you thought of having zucchini and grapes/raisins?? Although this is intended as a lighthearted comment, they might actually be good together. They are probably combined in some Middle Eastern dishes.

    1. Actually, one of my husband's favorite zucchini dishes is Zucchini in Agrodolce, pan fried zucchini in a sweet and sour sauce with raisins and pine nuts. It is a delicious combination. I kind of had that in mind when I dried the grapes!

  6. It sounds like those grapes were really, really determined to produce! And the Tromboncino was unbelievably productive here for me. I can only imagine how much it and the Romanesco will produce.

    I love the advice you gave to Sheri. "Take good care of your soil" is some of the best advice I could think of for any gardener, anywhere, growing anything. When something doesn't produce for me, I always look first to the soil.

  7. Beautiful harvest baskets, I grew Tromboncino 2 years ago and love its firm texture, will be growing it again next year if I can fit it into the garden, it grew wild last time.

  8. Gorgeous harvest as with most weeks for you - beautiful colours and a great variety of veggies. I have a wild grape plant that I neglected to plant last year and it came back strong in its pot, but no actual grapes yet. I should get it into the ground soon so its ready for next year. And I should be harvesting the borlotti beans this week ...

  9. Typical gorgeous harvests. How long does it take to make raisins in the dehydrator? If our grape crop comes in better than last year, and it looks like it might, I was thinking we would only make wine, but I love raisins! Our grapes have such a problem with black rot that we can't be sure of getting anything.

    1. It doesn't really take long, I set my dehydrator at 105°F and it takes about two days or so and would take less time if I wasn't turning it off when I get tired of the noise and then I forget to turn it back on.

      Your problems with black rot makes me think of the other grape vine in my garden that was planted by a previous owner - that thing grows like a weed, sets tons of grapes, all of which are ruined every year by powdery mildew. It's got my wondering if I can graft some of the other healthier vine on to the PM prone one.

  10. Lovely harvests. And the grapes look great. I would never have thought about making them into raisins. Not sure why not, but my mind never went there when I saw the grape photo.


Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I value your insights and feedback.