Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Harvest Monday 8/11/14

I've been a bit overwhelmed this week, which is why my Harvest Monday is on Tuesday.  I was out of town last week and then came back to a pile of veggies and a garden overrun with weeds, fungus and bugs.  Luckily this should be the last time I have to go out of town for awhile.  I think next year I need to have a travel moratorium for July and August!  Adding to the overwhelmed feeling is the fact that the semester starts next Monday and I'm teaching a new course plus I have an extra course.  I planned out the fall garden and of the nine rows I have, I'm only going to plant two and a half of them.  This should be more manageable for a busy semester plus I need to work on improving the soil in the rest of the garden this fall.

I may have reached the garden harvest peak last week at 80 lbs.  This week was a close second at 75.4 lbs.  I didn't do I very good job of taking pictures this week, but this represents most of what I harvested this week:

The biggest harvest continues to be melons at almost 25 lbs this week.  I've still been eating a melon per day, which I don't think I would ever get tired of!  I picked the first watermelon.  It was a small one and was alright, but definitely could have been riper.  Several of the melons started cracking from our never ending rain, but I can't complain because I've had a lot of melon this year.

The other big harvest this week has been tomatoes at 16 lbs.  I'm amazed at how much the tomatoes have produced because the plants look sad and pathetic with blight.  I have been picking the tomatoes early and letting them ripen inside because if I leave them to vine ripen they crack because of that never ending rain again.  I roasted a big batch of the tomatoes and made I big pot of curry that I then divided up into freezer bags for quick and tasty lunches.

I didn't take a picture, but I did harvest another Cushaw squash.  This one was a little over 12 lbs.  I cut it into cubes and roasted it in oil and salt.. delicious!  The bell peppers have been doing pretty well.  They are one of my favorite summer veggies.  I have been sauteing them in all kinds of dishes.

I learned this week that if you leave carrots in the ground too long, they start rotting!  I don't know if this is normal or if the excessive rain caused the problem.  I have been pulling carrots as I use them, but then I noticed black leaves and started pulling and many of them were rotting.  I harvested the ones that were not rotting, which was 5.7 lbs.

In a previous post I wrote about harvesting potatoes and about how my potatoes were not very big, so I was going to let them completely die back and harvest the rest.  Well, I harvested the rest of the potatoes and got 0.23 lbs.  Once again, I don't know if it's because of all the rain, but most of the potatoes rotted.

I continue to get a few cucumbers and summer squash and beans, but bugs and fungus have definitely hampered their growth.  I let the Mexican bean beetles get out of control and the larva have practically decimated the beans.  This is what the larvae look like and this is how many there are on a somewhat whole leaf:

And this is what the leaves look like after they've munched (you can also see an adult on the left):

I spent awhile this morning picking the adults and larvae off the beans, but it is looking hopeless.  I have new bean seedlings for fall that haven't been attacked yet, so I think I'm going to have to just patrol the new beans and give up on the old beans.

Weekly harvests (lbs):
Onion 0.76
Herbs 0.04
Potatoes 0.23
Summer squash   3.43
Peppers 5.43
Cucumber   3.22
Beans 0.45
Carrots 5.71
Tomatoes 16.12
Corn         0.79
Melons 24.76
Cabbage 2.41
Winter squash 12.09

Weekly total: 75.4 lbs
Yearly total: 376.55 lbs

That's all the harvests coming from my garden this week.  To see what others are harvesting check out Harvest Monday at Daphne's Dandelions.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Harvest Monday 8/4/14

This week has been a wash out.  Thursday evening it started raining.  Of course I had watered the garden that morning because I looked at the weather earlier in the week and every day had about a 30% chance of rain,but we hadn't seen any in awhile.  That is typical for our summers.  There will be scattered storms that are very patchy.  Then it rained all Thursday night and Friday morning and we ended up getting six inches of rain!  Needless to say the garden was a muddy mess.

I was worried about my newly sprouted bean seeds.  I was so sure they had washed away.  Luckily they were fine, although they were standing in about an inch of water.  The biggest problem was the sunflowers and amaranth.  They had come toppling down, roots and all.  The good is that I guess the corn was too short to fall down!

I tried to right the fallen plants.  The amaranth aren't as top heavy as the sunflowers and they seem to stay standing.  The sunflowers just won't stay up.  I would need to stake them.  I am out of town (again!) and didn't have time or the stakes to deal with it.

Well that was the bad garden news for the week.  The good garden news is harvests are rolling in and I can't believe I beat last week's record of 66 lbs.  This week was 80 lbs!  It was a big week for melons and winter squash.

That giant squash is a 13 lb Green Striped Cushaw.  It is a Cucurbiat mixta and I am happy to report that the vine borers did not touch it.  Something did, however, bore a hole into the squash.  If you can see the hole in the picture, it is right above that small cucumber.  When I cut open the squash there was nothing inside, but obviously something was munching away at some point. It was surprisingly not impossible to cut open the squash.  I peeled it, cut it into big chunks, covered it with aluminum foil and then roasted it for about an hour.

We ate some out of the oven with butter, salt and pepper and it was delicious.  It is mild, a little nutty and sweet.  The rest I pureed.

You can use it in the place of pumpkin or other winter squash.  It is a bit more watery, so either strain it or reduce the liquid in the recipe.  I used a recipe for sweet potato patties and turned it into Cushaw patties (left out the water in the recipe) and it was delicious.  The rest of the puree I froze for now.  The next day I picked another 10 lb Cushaw that didn't make it into a photo.  There is a third one that I have yet to pick.

In other winter squash news, I picked the first spaghetti squash and a little pumpkin.

I really should stop growing pumpkins.  The vine borers just love them.  For the same space I got this one 2 1/2 lb pumpkin compared to over 30 lbs of the Cushaw squash.  The pumpkin also has one of those holes in it too.

I picked the biggest ears of corn so far this season.  Unfortunately one of them had been eaten quite a bit by earworns.  It seems this time in the garden is a peak for pests and fungus! The peppers are producing quite a bit while the tomatoes and cucumbers are struggling.  All that rain is not going to help the tomatoes with early blight.  I pruned all the dead leaves and added another row of wire to the Florida weave in an attempt to get them higher.

The other harvest that has been exceptional this week have been the melons.

I harvested almost 27 lbs of cantaloupe this week!  I binged as much as possible.

But that was too much for me to handle in a week!  The neighbors got some melons and the rest I cut into chunks and froze for future smoothies.

If you recall last week I was overwhelmed with all the banana peppers.  I also gave a bunch to the neighbors, but then I canned some marinated peppers.  I don't know how they taste, but I think they look pretty in the jars.

Finally I harvested a bouquet of flowers from the garden.  I'm not good at cutting flowers from the garden because I feel like I am stealing from the bees and butterflies and hummingbirds, but there were so many blooms that I thought they may not notice if I took a few.  They definitely brighten the kitchen table.

Weekly harvests (lbs):

Onion 0.67
Summer squash  1.19
Peppers 6.24
Cucumber   3.22
Beans 0.71
Tomatoes 10.53
Corn   1.29
Melons 26.69
Dried beans  0.09
Winter squash 29.74

Weekly total: 80.4 lbs
Yearly total: 301.13 lbs (surpassed the 300 lb mark this week!)

That's all the harvests coming from my garden this week.  To see what others are harvesting check out Harvest Monday at Daphne's Dandelions.