Monday, September 26, 2016

Harvest Monday 9/26/16

This week is scarce on photos, but not on harvests.  I had to breakout the wheelbarrow to haul everything from the garden.

Early Autumn Bounty
Winter squash made up the bulk of this week's harvests at 24 lbs.  I picked several butternuts and Seminole pumpkins along with one spaghetti squash and a Dickinson pumpkin.  I've now harvested 12 small pumpkins off one Seminole vine and there are still plenty more.  I'm glad that winter squash stores well because I doubt I could keep up with cooking these as I harvest them.

Eggplants were also abundant this week at 7.2 lbs.  I roasted some of them with peppers, a gourd and green beans to eat during the week.  I also cooked a green bean and eggplant stir fry, but forgot to take a picture.  The rest of the eggplants were roasted and frozen.

The big yellow melon in the wheelbarrow is an odd Moon and Stars watermelon.  Sadly it was not ripe.  The vine had died and it sounded hollow, so I was hoping for a delicious melon.  Luckily I had some cantaloupes instead.

First bite 
My peppers and okra are plodding along in the continued heat.  I've also been harvesting a good amount of green beans (3.8 lbs). The cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and edible gourds have made a small comeback.  Hopefully this past weekend will be our last 90 degree day for 2016.  I planted my remaining fall seedlings with hopes that some of them will survive.  The forecast predicts clouds and rain for the next two days, so I hope that'll give them time to get settled.  Now if only the seedling eating enemies will leave some for me! 

Weekly Harvests (lbs):

Peppers 1.9
Okra 1.1
Cucumber 0.9
Green beans 3.8
Tomatoes  0.6
Eggplant 7.2
Melon 6.6
Winter squash 24.3
Gourd 0.4

Yearly Harvests: 851.9 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.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Harvest Monday 9/19/16

The weather forecast for it to get cooler did not happen.  We had two days in the mid-80's and the rest went over 90, again.  Did I mention I'm tired of the heat?  We also have not seen any rain in weeks.  Perhaps the bugs are sucking the life out of my veggies because there's no water.

Despite the weather and the bugs, I still have some harvests to report.  I'm getting a good amount of melons.  They tend to be smaller and not as juicy, but they are still tasty.  I've had mostly cantaloupes, but did pick a small watermelon.  I haven't cut into the watermelon yet, so I'm hoping it's a good one despite its small size.

A bowlful of cantaloupe cubes

I also picked several more Seminole pumpkins.  Even though they are individually small, the vine is producing quite a few.  I've harvested seven so far and there's plenty more ripening.

Seminole Pumpkins
The peppers continue to produce.  They seem smaller than earlier in the season and tend to have some sun scalding and bug damage, but they are still delicious.  Peppers are one of my favorite vegetables and I've been freezing some for the winter.  They are also colorful and very photogenic!

Sweet Bell Peppers

My sad cucumber vines managed to produce a few little cucumbers.  I've only tasted the lemon ones so far and I'm happy to report that they are not bitter, which is impressive given the oppressive heat.  I would be bitter if I had to sit out in that heat and humidity all day!!

The green bean supply continues.  I harvested 3.3 lbs this week.  About 2 lbs went into the freezer and the rest were steamed for eating.

An assortment of beans to be frozen
The eggplants yielded some small fruits this week.  There are plenty more small eggplants growing.  I haven't seen as many leaf footed bugs this week.  Maybe they have moved on and the eggplants can thrive for the next month until that first frost comes.

Black Beauty, Long Purple and Florida Market Eggplants

I was searching for recipes to cook with an odd variety of pumpkin, eggplant and peppers and stumbled upon a curry that used all three.  It called for spinach, but I used my sweet potato greens instead.  The curry had a great flavor, although it took longer than thirty minutes for my pumpkin to get tender.

One Pot Eggplant, Pumpkin and Chickpea Curry
I still had pumpkin leftover to use, so I made some pumpkin, oat and chocolate chips cookies.. yum!

Pumpkin-Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Weekly Harvest (lbs):

Peppers 1.7
Okra   0.96
Cucumber 1.1
Green beans  3.3
Tomatoes  0.36
Eggplant 2.7
Melon 10.4
Winter squash 6.0
Sweet potato greens 0.22

Yearly harvests: 805.2 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.

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.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Harvest Monday 9/5/16

This has been cantaloupe week here in South Carolina. None have been overly large, but there have been several.  Eating a juicy cantaloupe while sitting on the back porch swing is a quintessential summer activity.  As much as I'm ready for autumn and some cooler weather, cantaloupe brings nostalgia for long summer days.

Eating cantaloupe on the porch
Perhaps I'm just nostalgic for summer vacation.  I've only been back to work for two weeks, but I'm really happy to have Labor Day off.  It has given me time to catch up on fall planting in the garden and getting veggies cooked and preserved. One thing I did was to chop up a pile of peppers.  Some will be frozen and the rest will be sauteed and eaten with fajitas tomorrow.

Lots of lovely sweet bell peppers
We finally got a good three inches of rain from hurricane Hermine last week, so I'm hoping it will give new life to some of the summer veggies that have been looking a bit pathetic.  I've been getting a few eggplants this week.  I know I haven't had too many yet because I'm not tired of them.  Eggplant is one of those veggies that I like, but not in large quantities.  I roasted the eggplant along with some okra.  Then I threw the veggies with some quinoa and feta for a quick and simple meal to eat during the week.

A little basket of Long Purple and Black Beauty Eggplant
This was the year that I experimented with growing some different varieties of pumpkin.  I struggle with pumpkins due to vine borers, squash bugs, wilts and powdery mildew.  The goal was to find some varieties that can survive all these problems.  If you check out last week's harvest report you will see that the Dickinson Pumpkins have been a large success and will become a regular in my garden.  This week I harvested the first of my other experimental pumpkin variety, Seminole Pumpkins.  These are much smaller than the Dickinson Pumpkins.  Mine are a little over 2 lbs each, but one vine has grown well and has probably 15 pumpkins on it.  It has definitely thrived despite the all the potential problems.  From what I've read it is very good at storing.  The one downfall I've read about so far is that it may take an ax to open them!  I haven't tried yet, but I will report back about opening and cooking one of these little Seminole Pumpkins soon. 

Seminole pumpkins
I also harvested and froze some soybeans...
Blanched soybeans ready for the freezer
along with some green beans.  I make and freeze my lunches well in advanced.  One of my favorite lunches is lentil loaves with green beans.  I now have enough lentil loaves and green beans to make it through the entire academic year.

Green beans

Weekly Harvests (lbs):

Summer squash 0.16
Peppers 3.98
Okra 0.66
Cucumber 0.81
Green beans 0.96
Tomatoes 2.26
Eggplant 0.61
Melon 16.01
Winter squash 5.36
Soybeans 0.84
Gourd 1.47

Yearly Total:  752.3 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.