Monday, October 19, 2020

Harvest Monday - October 19, 2020

I harvested all of the winter squash that was in the garden, all of 2 Delicata squash. And those only made it into the garden this year because a friend shared some seeds with me. Winter squash just wasn't a priority this year.

Tetra Delicata Squash

I have lost count of the number of heat waves that we have endured this summer and fall. Summer actually started off with mild weather. We enjoyed our typical warm days and cool nights until about the second week of August. I remember that Dave and I enjoyed a 5 day backpack trip in Emigrant Wilderness with perfect weather in the first week of August and then after that it got hot. And we've cycled between HOT weather and okay weather since then. This last week the highs were in the mid to high 90ºF range. I haven't been loving the heat but the little Jamaican Burr Gherkins have. The rest of the garden has been hanging in there. Maybe it's the shorter days, but the 2 year old Orion fennel plants are now putting out shoots that don't want to bolt right away and some of them are fattening up a bit. The latest succession of arugula is mature enough that I have started to cut some of the most mature plants. And the broccolini is putting out numerous side shoots.

Jamaican Burr Gherkins, Orion Fennel, Speedy Arugula, Broccolini


The paste tomatoes are pretty much finished for the season although there are a few green tomatoes on the vines. Cherry tomatoes are still abundant thanks to the long lasting Piccolo Dattero vines.

Piccolo Dattero, Sweet Gold, Brad's Atomic Grape

And the Tromba d'Albenga vines are getting a second wind.

Tromba d'Albenga

Not photographed this week were more ripe sweet peppers and a few humongous Yellow Cabbage Collard leaves.

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.

And here's a bit of action that I caught on my critter camera that sits just outside my garden. I keep a big tub full of water there and it attracts a variety of wildlife most nights. This shot is of a bobcat taking a long drink and a fox waiting for its turn at the tub. It's the first time I've seen the two different critters there at the same time. 

Monday, October 12, 2020

Harvest Monday - October 12, 2020

October tends to be a pretty productive month in my garden. Summer vegetables are hanging on and fall/winter veggies are maturing. I got one more significant harvest of paste tomatoes. This year was a good one for the paste tomatoes. My freezer is now well stocked with tomato paste, puree, sauce, and roasted tomatoes. I've got a good stash of dehydrated cherry tomatoes also. 

Marzano Fire

The sweet peppers have been very productive too. I didn't grow as many peppers as I've been wont to in past years. This year I grew only 4 varieties of sweet peppers and so far I been using them fresh from the garden in various ways. We love roasted pepper salads and a basketful of peppers like the ones shown below when fire roasted, cleaned, cut into strips and turned into a salad will get gobbled up in one or two sittings.



My gamble with a late sowing of eggplant has paid off. Badenjan Sesame eggplant is supposed to be a early producer which probably helped and no doubt the hotter than normal weather in August and September was a factor as well. Now that October is looking to be quite warm as well I may have a few more harvests to look forward to.

Badenjan Sesame Eggplant

Another late sown "summer" vegetable is giving me some good harvests also. The green Roland filet beans are almost done with a first flush of beans and are healthy enough that they may produce a second flush. The Amethyst Purple filet beans are now in the middle of their first flush. The purple beans lose their bright color when cooked.

Roland and Amethyst Purple Filet Beans

I've been harvesting small bulbs of Orion fennel all year long. They tend to want to bolt right away but if I cut them before they elongate too much they are tender enough to slice thinly to use in salads. The burr gherkins are now producing so many that I'm going to have to find some way to use them other than in salads.

Orion Fennel and Jamaican Burr Gherkins

The broccoli and broccolini plants are producing side shoots now. They should keep producing through the winter.

Batavia Broccoli and Broccolini

The hot weather has sent the collards into a huge growth spurt. I hope that it doesn't prompt them to bolt. I would like to try to harvest it through the winter as well.

Yellow Cabbage Collards

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, October 5, 2020

Harvest Monday - October 5, 2020

No, I haven't given up on blogging again, I've just been distracted by other things such as a trip to Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument for a 5 day backpacking trip. It was a trip that came about through a series of twists and turns. We had originally signed up early this year to join a group in Alaska in June to backpack through the Brooks Range in Gates of the Arctic National Park but that got cancelled because of the Coronavirus. So we then opted to do a backpacking trip with the same group in September in the high country of Yosemite. That got cancelled because of choking smoke from the many wildfires burning in California. So the group organizer offered to lead us on a trip in Escalante and most of us hopped on board. So between dealing with our oldest cat Hank who made his final exit just days before we left, and working on making the landscape around the house more fire resistant, and getting ready to go, and being gone, and getting caught up after returning home I've just not gotten around to blogging. Being out in the backcountry was a truly welcome escape from reality.

Here's a few photos from the trip.

So, back to the regular programming - Harvests!

We have been eating a lot of broccoli in the past week. I harvested 1 big head before we left.

Batavia Broccoli

Four more heads were nearly large enough to harvest before we left and I had to choose between harvesting them small and leaving them in the fridge for a week or leaving them in the garden and letting them get oversized. I opted to leave them in the garden because the weather was forecast to be relatively mild while we were gone. I figured it would be better to have fresh extra-large heads rather than old heads that needed to be dealt with right away when I got home. I'm glad I left them in the garden, they weren't too overgrown and they were fresh and delicious.

Batavia Broccoli

There were broccolini side shoots ready to harvest when I got home also.


That's the last Tatume squash and nearly the last San Pasquale zucchini. Both plants have been hit hard by powdery mildew and have quit producing. The Tromba d'Albenga squash is more productive than ever, it always seems to be the last squash vine to quit and it's usually cold weather that does it in rather than disease.

Tromba d'Albenga, Tatume, San Pasquale

The Jamaican Burr Gherkins have been thriving in the heat waves that we've been enduring. Production slowed down in the mild weather while we were gone but has picked up now that it has gotten hot again. The bush beans that I planted in the summer for fall harvests are producing now. Both are filet types so I'm picking them while they are still thin. The purple beans are always slower to produce than green beans so I've only gotten a few of the purple ones so far.

I have managed to harvest arugula all summer long even through successive heat waves. My new approach to growing arugula in the summer is to sow the seeds thinly and allow the plants to grow to the point that they seem to be on the verge of bolting. Then I harvest the entire plants. Spacing the plants further apart seems to prevent them from bolting right away. I usually leave a few spindly plants when I harvest the bulk of the plants and the extra space lets them continue to grow without bolting. Speedy arugula is a very mild variety and the heat does make it bit more spicy but not too much for my taste. The plants shown below are some of the spindly plants that I left from the last succession. If I trim and wash and spin dry the arugula right away and keep it in the fridge in a produce storage container it will keep for about 2 weeks. I sow a new succession every few weeks.

Speedy Arugula

The amaranth is also enjoying the heat. This is my third harvest this season and if the weather stays warm I could get a fourth.

Thai Tender Amaranth

And it's well and truly tomato season. The Brand's Atomic Grape plants have never thrived but haven't died either. That's the best harvest of them so far and that's from 2 plants. Sweet Gold cherry tomatoes have ripened at a fairly steady pace over a few weeks, that's been a pretty typical harvest about once a week for the a while. They are starting to slow down now.

Brad's Atomic Grape and Sweet Gold

The Piccolo Dattero tomatoes take longer to ripen but hold better on the plants than most cherry tomatoes that I've grown. I held off harvesting before I left so there was an extra large harvest when I got home. Their flavor is average if they are picked too soon but if they are left to get deep red and  ripe on the plants they are very sweet and delicious. It takes a lot of patience on my part to wait for them to be ready to harvest because it takes a couple of weeks or so from when they start to turn red to when they are actually ready to harvest. 

Piccolo Dattero

I had one harvest of Marzano Fire paste tomatoes before we left for Utah. I turned that harvest into 5 pints of tomato paste to keep in the freezer. After I got home I got two harvests like the one shown below. The first harvest got turned into tomato puree and I'm planning on using the second harvest to make tomato sauce, all of which I will have to find space for in my freezer.

Marzano Fire

I've got loads of ripe sweet peppers in the garden now which I will have to find time to deal with this week. Odessa Market is one of my favorite sweet peppers, it's fairly thick fleshed and sweet and my favorite for eating fresh so I've been harvesting a few of them at a time on a regular basis for cutting into strips to eat raw or for chopping up to use in salads.

Odessa Market

That's representative of what I've been harvesting for the past few weeks. It's technically fall but the weather here is expected to stay warm so the summery harvests should continue for a while. 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.

Thanks for stopping by!