Monday, July 31, 2017

Harvest Monday - July 31, 2017

Harvests haven't changed much in the past couple of weeks except for the first two tiny pickings, I almost said handfuls but they didn't quite amount to that much, of cherry tomatoes.

Piccolo Dattero & Sweet Gold

Piccolo Dattero, Sunrise Bumblebee, & Purple Bumblebee
I used both "handfuls" of tomatoes to garnish some Zucchini Gazpacho.

Caper Berries or "Cucunci"
I didn't harvest any caper buds this year so the plants are producing a lot of caper berries. I've got this lot fermenting in a plain brine at the moment. When they are done I'll drain them and pack them in a good white wine vinegar.

Coriander of Morocco
Coriander of Morocco is grown primarily for its seeds. I was careful to not allow any of the other cilantro/coriander volunteers in my garden to bloom while this variety was blooming. I grew only a small patch so the harvest isn't large and I also left a number of umbels on the plants to allow to dry before I harvest them for seed saving rather than culinary use. I like to harvest culinary coriander seeds when they are ripe but still green because I think they have more flavor.

Fennel Seed Umbels
I also harvest fennel seeds green for their superior flavor. These came from various plants that I allow to volunteer around the garden.

Orion Fennel
The Orion Fennel got to be a bit overgrown but is still tasty. Last night I made a gratin with diced fennel, zucchini, onion, and sheep milk ricotta that was a winner. I'll have to write up the recipe before I forget it.

Rossa Lunga din Firenze Onion
I pulled all the onions a couple of weeks ago and have been letting them sit outside in baskets to cure. There are a number of nice bulbs but none of them compare in size to what I've grown before. I'll enjoy them while they last and then it will be purchased onions for the next few years while the downy mildew spores in the garden hopefully die out.

Chelsea Prize & Green Fingers Cucumbers, Romanesco Zucchini
The cucumbers are coming in in spurts, the plants produce a few and then take a break so the harvests haven't been overwhelming. On the other hand, there's been a parade of squash and zucchini.

Tromba D'Albenga Squash

There has also been plenty of Broccolini and Broccoli.

Aspabroc (aka Broccolini) & Batavia Broccoli
That's the latest harvests from my garden. 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.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Harvest Monday - July 17, 2017

Zucchini dominated the harvests last week with a total of more than 5 pounds. Well, technically it wasn't all zucchini since Tromba D'Albenga isn't really a zucchini but a zucchetta, but I lump them together since I use them interchangeably. That's most of it below but I skipped photographing the 4 Romanesco zucchinis from yesterday.

Romanesco Zucchini

Romanesco Zucchini
Tromba D'Albenga Squash

Tromba D'Albenga Squash
A few other veggies found their way into the harvest basket on a few occasions.

Romanesco Zucchini, Aspabroc, Green Fingers Cucumbers
Green Fingers popped a few cukes and but now it's taking a break. The other 2 varieties of cucumbers haven't produced anything yet.

Green Fingers Cucumber

The Aspabroc (awful name, Broccolini is much better sounding) keeps putting out a handful of shoots now and then.

Orion Fennel
I remembered to photograph the second fennel bulb but skipped the third, it looked pretty much the same.

The kitchen project is keeping me from doing very much real cooking, but I did get the Big Green Egg fired up to grill a bunch of zucchini and some broccoli. That wasn't so remarkable but the dressing that I put together to accompany the grilled veggies was very interesting, Caper-Raisin Vinaigrette. It's a very bold combination of Capers and raisins, obviously, but there's also a generous amount of anchovies and parsley, plus garlic, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. Sweet, salty, savory, rich and delicious. The recipe is not mine so I won't be posting it, you'll have to go find yourself a copy of Six Seasons: A New Way With Vegetables by Joshua McFadden. Find the book, it's one of the best vegetable cookbooks I've come across in a long time.

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.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Garden on July 14, 2017

It's been a while since I last did a garden tour and things have changed a lot since then.

First I'll show a couple of big picture shots. Note the gray background, that's normal for this time of year. It's the morning version of No Sky July (preceded by June Gloom and May Gray). Most evenings the fog rolls in from the coast and hangs around for a while and then it generally dissipates after it has thoroughly cooled things down and then it's back first thing in the morning and usually disappears by mid morning or noon, usually...

Beds #1 and #4
Bed #1 has only tomatoes and peppers. Bed #4 is primarily curcurbits.
Beds #2 and #3
Bed #2 is mostly corn and beans. Bed #3 is transitioning from onions and winter/spring veggies to summer greens and fall/winter veggies.

Bed #1
The last tour was just after I had planted out the tomatoes and peppers in Bed #1. A couple of warm spells made them really take off. Most of the peppers have started to bloom and I spied the first baby peppers, the largest on a Violet Sparkle plant. The tomatoes have been blooming for a while and there's quite a few small fruited tomatoes hanging on the plants but it will still be at least a few weeks before the first ripe tomato. The larger fruited tomatoes are more fussy about the cold nights and haven't really set anything yet so it will be a couple of months before I might get the first of those.

Bed #2
Bed #2 had just been cleared of favas when I wrote up the last tour for June 8 and the bed was basically empty. Since then I planted out 3 varieties of flour corn, 4 varieties of bush snap beans, and 3 varieties of dried beans. That corner on the right is where some pepper plants from last year are trying to make a comeback accompanied by a patch of Cilician parsley.

2016 Peppers
The Aji Amarillo Grande pepper which dominated this corner last year is the most reluctant to regrow. The Baby Aji Amarillo (on the left) which was crowded by the Aji Amarillo Grande last year is trying to make up for it and is the happiest of the bunch. There's also a Mareko Fana plant coming back and it's blooming already.

I sowed the corn seeds on just about the coldest day we had this spring and I was worried that they wouldn't germinate. But nearly every seed germinated and the plants seem to be quite happy now.

Last year I had a lot of problems with the Damn Rabbit munching on my beans so this year I set up some hardware cloth barriers before I even set out any of the plants which I had started in paper pots. No bunny problems but I have lost a few plants to either damping off or the predations of sowbugs which like to strip the outer layer off of the lower stems.

I've dedicated one section of this bed to an attempt to get a steady supply of cilantro. I thickly sowed some seeds in one row and then as soon as they poked their first little leaves out of the soil I sowed a second row (8 days) and likewise as soon as those popped up (8 days again) I sowed a third row and in a couple of days those should (hopefully) germinate and then I'll sow a fourth row and then I have room for 2 more rows. I figure that by the time the first row is ready to harvest I should be able to start the succession all over again. The cilantro bolts quickly in the summer but I plan on harvesting the plants when they are still quite small which is why I sowed the rows so thickly. I've had a few losses of seedlings and to a surprising culprit. Usually I would blame the birds or the sowbugs but I happened to be watching when I spotted one of my beloved Western Fence Lizards snacking on some of the seedlings! It then scampered down the bed, stopping to take bites of a few weeds that had popped up. I didn't know that lizards ate plants but now I've learned that they do, but they are fairly polite about it, just sampling and not mowing down entire stands of seedlings. I'll share...

Bed #3
Bed #3 is where I had spring lettuces, cabbage, cauliflower, greens, and broccoli. The rest of the bed was dedicated to alliums and parsley.

Pink Plume Celery
The newest addition to this bed is some Pink Plume celery. The plants might look a little better if they hadn't sat in pots for a bit too long. I hope their extended confinement hasn't stunted their growth or made them more likely to bolt.

Batavia and Aspabroc Broccoli

The spring planted Batavia broccolis have surrendered their main heads and seem reluctant to produce side shoots.  There are some Aspabroc (Broccolini) plants beyond that are producing a few side shoots but nothing all that impressive. That is just as well because I can't deal with a glut of veggies at the moment beause my kitchen is, shall I say, "in transition" at the moment.

Batavia Broccoli
That's the winter round of Batavia broccoli which I thought was pretty much done producing a few weeks ago but I keep finding some really nice side shoots. They are doing so well that I have to let them stay. They don't seem to mind the parsley that is filling in around them. I wonder if the parsley is good for the broccoli in some way.

Cauliflower Resprouting
The Fioretto Stick cauliflower is next to the Aspabroc. I was just about to pull it out when I noticed that the plants were sprouting from the base so I decided to wait and see what would happen. Not much yet but I don't really need the space at the moment so I'll continue the experiment.

My attempt at getting a patch of bulbing fennel to get going seemed futile when I got very poor germination so I sowed arugula, mizuna, and Tokyo Bekana cabbage around them. I left the few fennel seedlings just to see what would happen. The greens came and went and the few fennel seedlings hung in there and now they've actually produced some decent bulbs. I think I'll have to try this again next spring.

Zebrune Shallots
The onions were hit hard by downy mildew and what I allowed to stay in the garden produced much smaller than usual bulbs. The Zebrune shallots seem to be a bit more resistant and look like they may produce some pretty good bulbs. I'm glad I didn't yank them out when they looked so miserable earlier this year.

This is the space that was until just the other day occupied by most of the offending alliums. I pulled those and am allowing them to dry and now the space is ready for Brussels sprouts and Kalettes which I started in pots a few weeks ago.

Bed #4
I was in the process of digging out nearly half of Bed #4 back on June 8 to get rid of invading roots, a combination of oak and rosemary roots. I didn't realize that rosemary roots could be so aggressive, but learned that when one of the rosemary bushes along the perimeter of the garden died after I dug out the roots in the corner of the bed nearest that bush. Roots are gone and that end of the bed is lined with a double layer of fabric extended up the sides of the bed so it should be good to grow for at least a couple of years. That end of the bed is now home to some Kurin Kabocha squash which I'll train up the trellis. Beyond the Kurin Kabocha are Terremoto squash seedlings. I'll let the squashes take over that third of the bed and spill over into the pathways. Beyond the squash seedlings are some very small seedlings of Crane melons.

Tromba D'Albenga Squash
Back on June 8 the Tromba D'Albenga vines hadn't even reached the bottom of the trellis yet. Now they have reached the top and beyond and I've just harvested the first young squash this week.

The cucumber vines in early June were still snug in their water bottle sleeves, protected from cold and bugs. They too are clambering up their trellis and the Green Fingers plants have started to produce.

Italian Mountain and Corsican Basils
Oh my, the basil plants. I keep cutting and they keep growing. I can't keep up. And look at that Romanesco zucchini back there.

Romanesco Zucchini
The Romanesco zucchini is going bonkers, again. This and the Tromba squash are the only summer squashes that I grow these days. Both are very suited to my climate and produce abundantly. They both are resistant to powdery mildew which can be a scourge here. And both of them are very good eating. And both of them dehydrate well. Winners all around

That's the latest from my garden. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Harvest Monday - July 10, 2017

Harvests are still pretty light here considering it is full on summer, although a couple of new things hit the harvest basket last week.

Romanesco Zucchini and Green Fingers Cucumber
The first cucumber, at last. The other first, one Orion fennel bulb, didn't get photographed. And below is a freshly picked zucchini in hand to give some perspective on the size of them at 2 days old.

Romanesco Zucchini

Batavia Broccoli Side Shoots
The winter round of Batavia Broccoli plants are still popping out side shoots and there's LOTS of basil, only a small portion of which I photographed.

Italian Mountain Basil
I used a good portion of a harvest of Corsican Basil to make a basil oil using a recipe from Patricia Wells book Vegetable Harvest. Her method briefly blanches the basil first and then it is pureed with olive oil and a little salt. That's it, it's not strained or filtered. It was so delicious I wanted to eat it by the spoonful but I resisted and instead dribbled it generously over some burrata cheese and accompanying cast iron skillet roasted Fioretto Stick cauliflower and Aspabroc. I will definitely be making more basil oil and will experiment with freezing it.

I also harvested but didn't photograph another small bunch of Aspabroc, the last two pots of Yellow Finn potatoes which brought the total potato harvest to 8.5 pounds, and more runty onions.

The annual harvests totals are up to a respectable 355 pounds, the details of which you can find here

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.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Harvest Monday - July 3, 2017

There's not a lot of variety coming out of the garden at the moment. I didn't transition the plantings from spring to summer very quickly so there's a fairly significant gap for this time of year.

Romanesco Zucchini
I got the zucchini planted on schedule so there's plenty of that. We have already enjoyed the first Scarpaccia of the season and I made a favorite zucchini gratin that is boldly seasoned with anchovies,  capers, onions, olives, and parsley.

Batavia Broccoli
And the overwintered broccoli is still producing along with the spring sown broccoli so there's no lack of that either.

Last year at this time I was harvesting lettuce, peas, snap beans, and celery also. No peas this year, the snap beans aren't even big enough to start flowering, the celery is too small to start harvesting, and I didn't get around to sowing more lettuce.

I did dump another pot of Yellow Finn potatoes which I didn't bother to photograph, although I did take a photo of a pizza we had last night topped with some of them. I also used some fresh sage from the garden, dried I'itoi onions, and white truffle oil.

And I've been harvesting the runty onions which I will not dignify with photographs. There's tons of basil and parsley to harvest but I don't tally those and rarely photograph them.

So that's the latest harvest report. 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.