Monday, September 5, 2016

Harvest Monday - September 5, 2016

This week is a catch up post to cover the past two weeks because Dave and I took off on a hiking trip for a few days and I didn't have time to do a post last week. We are still waiting for "summer" weather to show up here on the California Central Coast. It's been foggier than usual and I can't really even remember the last day the temperature topped 80ºF (27ºC). In spite of that the tomatoes are ripening and all but one of the varieties that I'm growing have finally found their way into the harvest basket.

The latest tomato harvest included the first Orange Jazz, Chianti Rose, and Pantano (the split one) tomatoes. The only variety I haven't harvested yet is Pomme d'Amour but that will happen soon.

Orange Jazz

The brown tomato above is the first Mavritanskite tomato this year.

L to R - Etiuda, Lady Bell, Rosso Dolce da Appendere

Looks can be deceiving, those peppers look pretty in the photo above, but all of them except the small green one had been attacked by bugs where they touched the soil. The small green one was a Turkish Pimento that I accidentally knocked off the plant. The peppers weren't completely spoiled so I was able to use most of them. The one surprise was the Florina pepper which is supposed to be sweet but that one was spicy.

Bonica and Sicilian eggplants
The first Bonica eggplant was ready to harvest and the first Sicilian from the second of my two plants was also ready. I sliced and grilled both of them and used them to make one of Dave's favorite dishes, sort of a cross between Eggplant Parmesan and Lasagne, I layer the grilled eggplant with tomato sauce, ricotta, Parmesan, and Prosciutto and bake it.

The Romanesco zucchini was productive over the last two weeks, here's a sample of the harvests along with a trickle of Mouse Melons and cucumbers.

I have found that I like the ripe Mouse Melons which have a more full flavor and less tang than the "green" ones. The way to tell when they are ripe is when they fall off the vines (they look the same) so those are the ones I've been harvesting lately.

One of the zucchini got to be quite large while Dave and I were away on a short hiking trip. I used the big zuke and a few other larger ones to make a new batch of Zucchini Sott'olio (Preserved Zucchini). 

I harvested the first Tromba d'Albenga squash and the first head of Calabrese broccoli. And then the final harvests of Apollo brokali and Batavia broccoli from the winter sown plants.

Apollo Brokali
Batavia Broccoli
I also harvested a big bunch of Batavia broccoli from the summer plants but I didn't have time to photograph it.

Golden Gate Beans

The pole beans started to produce. First the Golden Gate beans.

Brinker Carrier, Golden Gate, Rattlesnake Beans
And then the Brinker Carrier beans were ready to harvest in a big way while the Rattlesnake beans started to trickle in. Those two photos look pretty similar but they are separate harvests. The Brinker Carrier beans are like the Rattlesnake beans in that they are a multi-purpose bean, good as a snap, shell, or dry bean. Some of the first beans I harvested got to be fairly large while I was away but they were still excellent. I stewed the first harvest in a tomato sauce and the meaty beans stood up well to that preparation.

Brinker Carrier, Golden Gate, Rattlesnake Beans
Another harvest last week was some ripe but green fennel seeds.

I harvest my fennel seeds in the same way I do coriander seeds, when they are fully developed and just on the verge of drying on the plant, they are more flavorful when harvested green.

Exhibition onions
I also cleaned up another Exhibition onion, this one had split 4 ways but it/they were still really nice onions after I trimmed and separated them.

Exhibition Onions

Yellow Spanish Utah
And I pulled another Yellow Spanish Utah onion off the curing rack. This one had bolted and isn't a keeper so I trimmed it and used it right away.

Other harvests that didn't get photographed were more celery, and lots of lettuce. I cleaned out the lettuce patch the day we left for our hiking trip and stuffed the refrigerator. I didn't even weigh it since we were in a rush to get out the door and on the road for the 350 mile drive. I did weigh most of the heads after we got back so those ones are in the tally but a few of the heads went to a neighbor before we left.

So once again I will mention the ongoing Soberanes Fire, now on day 46. The burned area passed the 100,000 acre point yesterday. We are safe here, but I know a few of you are concerned about the Tassajara Zen Center. The last I read was that the fire is about 2.5 miles away but perhaps within about a mile now. The staff that has stayed at the center has had fire fighting training but no actual experience. I do believe that professional  crews have been helping to reinforce containment lines around the center but it's questionable that they will stick around to help fight the fire when it gets there. More next week...

So here's the details of the harvests for the past two weeks:

Brinker Carrier beans - 1.9 lb.
Golden Gate beans - 1.5 lb.
Rattlesnake beans - 2.5 oz.
Batavia broccoli - 3.3 lb.
Calabrese broccoli - 1.3 lb.
Apollo brokali - 11 oz.
Pink Plume celery - 1.7 lb.
Green Fingers cucumbers - 1.4 lb.
Mouse Melons - 3.8 oz.
Bonica eggplant - 1.1 lb.
Sicilian eggplant - 14.6 oz.
Little Rosebud Romaine Mix lettuces - 3 lb.
Manoa Crisphead lettuces - 3 lb.
Exhibition onions - 2.5 lb.
Yellow Spanish Utah onion - 1.2 lb.
Etiuda pepper - 12.2 oz.
Florina pepper - 4.1 oz.
Lady Bell pepper - 9.5 oz.
Turkish Pimento pepper - 2.3 oz.
Rosso Dolce da Appendere pepper - 5.2 oz.
Camp Joy cherry tomatoes - 14 oz.
Chianti Rose tomatoes - 1.5 lb.
Jaune Flamme tomatoes - 4.4 oz.
Lime Green Salad tomatoes - 2.3 lb.
Mavritanskite tomatoes - 13.8 oz.
Orange Jazz tomato - 1.1 lb.
Pantano tomatoes - 10.6 oz.
Piccolo Dattero cherry tomatoes - 12.7 oz.
Sweet Gold cherry tomatoes - 1.7 lb.
Romanesco zucchini - 7.8 lb.
Tromba d'Albenga squash - 4.3 lb.

Total harvests for the past two weeks - 49.26 lb. (22.3 kg.)
2016 YTD - 503.5 lb. (228.4 kg.)

Harvest Monday is hosted by Dave on his blog Our Happy Acres, head on over there to see what other garden bloggers have been harvesting lately.


  1. I keep telling myself I don't want to grow tomatoes anymore (rather buy what I need locally) and then I see something like your Orange Jazz! I hope it tastes as good as it looks.

    I am just now seeing my first tromboncino zucchini sticking out (so should be ready soon) - it was planted the same time as those producing full winter squash already. Is that typical? I assume it had just got a slow start.

    1. My Tromboncinos got off to a slow start this year too and I think that they aren't going to be as rampant as they have been in previous years. Last year I had two plants, one was rampant and the other was a much more modest plant. So perhaps it's just natural variation from plant to plant and this year I got 2 modest growers. I don't really know...

      That's the problem with tomatoes, there's always some interesting one that you can't buy that you just have to try!

  2. Thanks for the fire update. Your harvest is gorgeous. Didn't know about the fennel seeds better slightly green. They sure are expensive in the store. Must say I prefer the fog to the heat. Still losing stuff.

    1. Thanks Jane. Have you ever tasted a green fennel seed right off the plant? It's so potent! There's a happy medium between too much fog and too much heat and lately the balance has tipped far to the foggy side. But given the choice I think I would opt for cool over the heat anyway. But it wouldn't be any fun if I couldn't complain about the weather!

  3. Are all those Romanesco from one plant? Hard to believe. Beautiful beans, and you reminded me I can stew the somewhat woody beans I have been able to harvest and freeze them. Thanks for the Tassajara update. Sounding like fire officials are just going to let it burn down again. But the monks are better trained and equipped than in past fires and just as determined. Hope there are no injuries from their efforts.

    1. They are all from one plant! It does seem to be very productive in my garden. The Tassajara situation is a tough one, but the staff there seems to be as prepared as possible. I think one of the difficulties there is that they are a little island of private land in a sea of National Forest/Wilderness Area and the Fed's aren't responsible for private property so they can't do anything. CalFire is supposed to protect private property, but I don't know if they can spare the resources to keep crews parked there. We'll see what happens, at the moment the fire seems to be headed in a different direction, but that could change with the wind.

  4. The Romanesco must be well suited for your climate. It does good for me, but not any better than other zucchini. It sure is tasty though! The eggplant dish sounds yummy, I would never have thought to pair it with Prosciutto. And thanks for the update on the Tassajara Zen Center.

    1. Maybe the Romanesco is particularly happy with my climate, it sure does well for me, one plant is all I need.

  5. An inspiring and delicious looking harvest! From your experience, would you be able to recommend some very flavourful large tomatoes to grow? Thank you.

    1. Actually, that's a rather difficult question to answer. My experience with growing tomatoes in 3 different gardens has taught me that different climates have different effects on the flavors of tomatoes. Varieties that tasted great when I grew them in a warmer climate didn't taste as good when I tried to grow them where I'm gardening now where it is on the cool side. So my advice is to find out what gardeners like who grow tomatoes in a climate similar to yours. Sorry, I really can't provide better advice than that.

    2. Thanks Michelle, I thought that perhaps the climate and soil would play an influence. Thanks for clarifying. I might give the Reisetomate a go for their wonderful appearance. :)

  6. Thanks for the fire update Michelle. It has been on my mind this week. I think you have had am AMAZING harvest this year with such a cool Summer. So much of your harvest, like the peppers, I would think must have hot, hot weather to produce but obviously I am wrong. I am intrigued by the Mouse Melon. I need to google them and take a look. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Oh Lexa, I have been on a quest for the past number of years to find peppers that will do well in my cool climate! I had to give up on some types, like Habaneros and their cousins because they just don't like it here. And it's really hit and miss with large fruited peppers like sweet bell peppers. The Mouse Melons are fun to grow and I like them, but not everyone does, some find them to be rather blah flavored.

  7. I had to laugh when you said your temps had hardly climbed above 27C. That's what we would call sweltering! Despite this, my chillis are beginning to ripen now. I think they adapt themselves to the cool conditions quite well. I'm still not convinced by the Mouse Melons - though our 7YO granddaughter was round here yesterday and she seems to love them (although I think the appeal was mostly in picking them rather than eating them!) I have a Leaf Celery plant that has run to seed (it's huge), on which I might try the technique you use for your Fennel.

  8. Lovely harvest! especially the tomatoes and beans

  9. Looks like your tomato harvests are ramping up - lovely variety! Your Romanesco is outperforming mine by a mile....or 10. I have just been too busy to fertilize the bales over the summer, so I'm thinking this would have definitely impacted on their productivity. Oh well, the Tromboncino makes up for it - it's SO good! And VERY envious of those fresh beans - mine were rather lackluster this year and once again, I didn't harvest enough to freeze.


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