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.

Broccolini

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!



13 comments:

  1. Usually your trip photos are inspiring, and the photos from your garden that make me envious. This time it is the other way round. I'm envious of your getting out of all the smoke and heat that we've had,and the pictures of your tomatoes and peppers are inspiring. How do you manage to avoid the sun scald on your tomatoes? It's been a problem on this side of the Grade. But to be honest, I never thought that sun scald would be a problem in Carmel Valley.

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    1. The cherry tomatoes don't seem to get sun scald but there were a number of the paste tomatoes that got fried, I just didn't photograph those. Some of the peppers have gotten it too. Good leaf coverage is the best prevention but you can use a lightweight row cover fabric to provide some sun protection. I use Agribon-19 floating row cover to shade a number of different veggies. I just didn't bother with it this summer, I'm getting more lazy about the garden these days.

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  2. Your tomatoes are gorgeous!

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  3. If Dave gave out "Blue Ribbons" for Harvest Monday posts, yours would win! The broccoli is just amazing. I'm growing traditional Marzanos this year for the first time, and really like them, but Marzano Fire looks more productive. Glad you had such a nice adventure in Escalante.

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    1. Thanks Will! The Marzano Fire tomatoes are productive, the only challenge is that most of them ripen in one big rush, but fortunately they keep pretty well on the plants so I can harvest what I can deal with and leave the rest in the garden for a while. (So long as the furry pests allow which I'm happy to say are less of a problem this year).

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  4. I wish I could grow amaranth like that but every time I've tried the leaves get attacked by a beetle that eats them right up. That's a lovely collection of tomatoes too. Marzano Fire is the only one I'm familiar with and it didn't do that well for me here. We had plans to go to the Sedona area last month but those plans got scrapped. I'm hoping travel looks better for us in 2021.

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    1. The only pests that seem to bother the amaranth here are aphids and if I harvest regularly it doesn't give them a chance to get established. We had other travel plans this year that got scrapped too. About the only getaways we're comfortable with now are backpacking since it keeps exposure to a minimum. And it has to be somewhere that we can drive to!

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  5. Sorry about your cat but I’m sure it was good to get away. You’ll be really healthy eating all that broccoli. Our tomatoes are really slow to ripen this year.

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    1. It sure was good to get away. Thankfully it was definitely Hank's time otherwise we would not have left. Our tomatoes ripened quickly this year thanks to a series of hotter than normal weather. I'm ready for some cool autumn weather.

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  6. Nice to see all your adventures--backpacking and gardening. Does the Batavia broccoli hold up well in the heat? Whenever I try to grow broccoli in the spring it "buttons up" (very tiny head). Ilike your arugula plan. I'll have to try that. I usually just scatter sow and cut from that until it starts to bolt.

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    1. The Batavia broccoli does seem to hold up well in the heat. I sowed the seeds for this lot in June and got the plants into the garden in July. The weather stayed pretty mild until we had our first heat wave in mid-August. So perhaps the mild weather got them off to a good enough start to withstand the heat. But I've been growing Batavia for a few years and have experimented with starting it at various times and the only time I've had a problem with it was when I tried starting it when the weather was too cold. When I grow arugula for the winter I start it in the fall and then harvest it on a cut and come again basis until it bolts in the spring. It will not get going if I try to sow it in the winter, the cold weather and short days stunt the seedlings and they bolt as soon as the weather warms up.

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