Monday, September 12, 2016

Harvest Monday 9/12/16

Hopefully this was our last week with 90+ degree weather.  It has been impossible to prevent fall seedlings from wilting and fall seed germination rates have been terrible.  It's getting a bit late to plant fall crops unless we have a late frost, so hopefully I can get everything planted this week as the temperatures decrease.  The other problem I'm experiencing are bugs.  This is the time of year that I feel that I might as well wave a surrender flag.  For the fall seeds that manage to sprout in the heat, it doesn't mean that all is well.  Something has been eating the little, new leaves off my seedlings.  I was happy to see several lettuce seedlings one day, the next day they had vanished.  I'm not sure who the seedling eating culprit is, but they are not my friend!

Harvests this week include some eggplant, okra and a gourd.  The eggplants haven't been getting very large.  The leaf footed bugs seem to be trying out the eggplant, which may be effecting their growth. They suck the life out of veggies! I planted okra this year because it was supposed to thrive in the hot and humid South.  Well, it has not disappointed.  I have yet to find another way to cook it besides roasting that I can handle eating, but I have grown to like roasted okra.

A summer basket of okra, eggplant and an edible gourd
The peppers seem to be enjoying the heat.  Those same leaf footed bugs have been damaging the peppers too.

Marcani Red and Antohi Romanian Peppers

I've been getting a few, pathetic tomatoes.  You can see the speckles that the leaf footed bugs cause.  They have a piercing mouthpart that they use to suck the juice (and the life!) out of tomatoes.  I've had some tomatoes that I cut open and have no juice inside.  I was hoping my tomatoes were going to have a comeback and produce more, but I'm beginning to have doubts.

I discovered a zucchini that I let get out of control.  It's not really normal for me to get any zucchini this time of year, so I'll take overgrown one over nothing.  However, if you notice in the picture, it is covered with holes.  These are pickle worm holes.  I was not going to let some little caterpillars stop me from having zucchini!  I held it down in water for a few minutes and out came the caterpillars.  Surprisingly there was only one despite the many holes.  I then cut out the bad spots.

Caserta zucchini riddled with pickle worm holes
The good parts of the zucchini, eggplant, peppers and tomatoes went into ratatouille.  I combine it with some chickpeas and rice for a meal.

Ratatouille with eggplant, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes and herbs

I harvested some green and purple beans this week.  I've met my freezer goal for green beans this year.

Green (and purple) bean harvest
I also harvested a good sized spaghetti squash (4 lb 6.5 oz).  This will likely be my one and only spaghetti squash this year because the vine is looking almost dead and the remaining squashes are not ripe.  I also picked another Dickinson pumpkin at 9 lb 13.4 oz.  My one Dickinson pumpkin vine has now produced over 43 lbs!

I opened up three of the Seminole pumpkins that I harvested last week.  No ax was required.  They were harder to cut open than the Dickinson pumpkin, but not impossible.  They are also much smaller.  Most of mine are between two and three pounds, so after you get out the seeds and strings there's not a lot of flesh left. The flesh is also much wetter than Dickinson.  It did have a nice taste.  I made a pumpkin, sweet potato leaf and feta quiche.

Seminole pumpkin and sweet potato leaf quiche

On Labor Day we went apple picking.  Maybe one day we will get to pick apples at home, but until then we venture to an orchard for some delicious apples.

Apple picking
And of course, if you pick apples that means there must be pie!

Delicious apple pie
Weekly Harvest (lbs):

Summer squash  1.77
Peppers 2.31
Okra  1.18
Green beans 2.47
Tomatoes  0.88
Eggplant 2.75
Winter squash 14.24
Sweet potato greens  0.33
Soybeans  0.30
Gourd 0.24

Yearly Total: 778.8 lbs

That's all the harvests coming from my garden this week.  To see what others are harvesting, check out Harvest Monday on Our Happy Acres.


  1. Leaf footed bugs! Is there no end to the torments visited upon gardeners? Your harvests look great despite the problems you've had.

    1. Tell me about it! I'm pretty sure if a bug exists to eat a plant, then it will find its way to my garden.

  2. I'm guessing you don't like the slime factor of okra? I think steaming it helps take some of that away, though I just eventually learned to love it any way! I've not heard of leaf footed bugs or pickleworms. Both sound like trouble in the garden! Your ratatouille looks great. I never got around to making any and now my zukes are all dead. I do have lots of sweet potato vines though, and you and Norma have convinced me to cook some up this week!

    Your Seminole experience matches mine. The flesh is moist, but tasty. Mine do seem to keep for a very long time. I am hoping to try the Dickinson next year, and I hope it does as well here as it does for you.

    1. If Dickinson can survive here, then I think you should be fine. And yes, it's the okra slime that's a problem.. I was traumatized by it as a kid! Pickleworms can't survive winters, but they start migrating up from Florida and usually make it to South Carolina by the end of summer. The leaf footed bugs are a type of stink bug, but I'm not sure of their distribution other than being an unwelcome guest in my garden. You should definitely try sweet potato leaves, no bitterness for a summer green is fabulous.

  3. I've never heard of pickle worm. The apple pie looks tasty.

    1. Pickle worms aren't nice, they will burrow into cucumbers, any kind of summer squash and the worst is melons. You'll have a lovely melon and then a hole appears and the whole thing will rot and not ripen.

  4. The leaf footed bugs seems to do the same damage as stink bugs are they the same insects?
    Combining ratatouille with chickpeas and rice sure make a healthy vegetarian meals, great idea. Your quiche sure looks delicious.

    1. Yes, the leaf footed bugs are a type of stink bug and do similar damage. It seems the stink bugs are more abundant in late spring and early summer here and then in late summer the leaf footed ones take over.

  5. The colours of your vegetables are fantastic. I too have come to like okra but it hasto be cooked well not slimy. Your right, they are pretty long - I have never seen okra that long.

  6. Oh, this was a delicious post...that apple pie is calling my name :)

    Look at all those glorious beans! That's one crop that I know I'll be missing when I dig into the freezer stores over the winter. And I'm glad you gave your opinion on the Seminole pumpkins - I didn't get any fruit at all as none of the female flowers ended up setting.

    Ah fall planting - I usually find it difficult to get fall crops going, but in my case, I think it has more to do with motivation than anything else.