July Harvests: Eggplant and Tomatoes

I tell you, nothing says summer like ripe tomatoes! We had the first taste of slicing tomatoes yesterday. These Early Girls and Moretons in the photo below aren’t real big, but they sure were tasty. The next early tomatoes to ripen should be the Champions (1&2), and they are larger. Of course, bigger is not always better, even when it comes to tomatoes!

I also harvested the first eggplants of the year. These are Fairy Tale, a small eggplant I have growing in containers. We grew this variety last year in our MG AAS Display Garden, and they were positively loaded with these 3-4″ long little beauties.

Fairy Tale eggplants

Last year the MG’s were encouraged to take some home and try them out. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them, so I sliced them in half lengthwise and slapped them on the grill. They were done in no time. We liked them so much I decided to grow them here this year, and I’m glad I did.

They are giving us our first taste of eggplant. The plants are about a foot tall now and covered in blooms and fruit. Fairy Tale is a 2005 AAS winner. I’ve not been real impressed with the AAS vegetables in the last few years, but this eggplant is worth trying in containers or in the ground. Its mild tasting white flesh is not bitter and has very few seeds.

We also continue to get a lot of blackberries. Last week I picked about 12 pounds/2 gallons of them. Apache continues to be our best performer. My wife has decided it is the best tasting of the blackberries, but I can’t decide on my favorite just yet. I know one thing – it is sure easy to fill your bucket when the berries are so big!

We’re getting quite a few pole beans also. I’m having to make at least two trips a day to the beans to hand pick the Japanese beetles from them. It seems they have turned the pole bean area into a giant swap meet.

These Japanese beetles seem to be interested in two things only: eating and mating. The photo below shows the damage they have done to the bean leaves. You can see through many of the upper leaves.

Japanese beetle damage on pole beans

The same thing happened last year. The plants survived the onslaught and produced a lot of beans for us to eat. This is the only thing they have attacked this year, though I’m keeping a watch out on the blackberries because they do seem to like them too.

I used some of the beans and some cherry tomatoes in this Walnut Green Bean Salad. The recipe is here and this dish is one of our summer favorites when we have fresh beans and tomatoes. We love the taste of the bulgur in this dish.

We also got blueberries, onions, summer squash, cucumbers, lettuce  and broccoli in the harvest bucket this week. The total haul for the week was 37 pounds.

I also got the third possum of the year in the live trap. This one was kinda cute, in its own possum way, so I got a snapshot of it before it went to the retirement village a few miles from Happy Acres. I don’t know where all the possums are coming from this year, but I know where they are going, and that’s elsewhere!

For more harvest funvisit Daphne’s Dandelions.

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19 Responses to July Harvests: Eggplant and Tomatoes

  1. Robin says:

    Oh…..that’s a baby opposum. Yes, nothing says summer like tomatoes and of course Japenese beetles! The beetles have been munching away on my son’s rose bushes next door. They usually love my pole beans. I planted the Fairy Tale eggplant…they are quite good.

  2. Nartaya says:

    Oh, I am so jealous of your Fairy Tale Eggplant! I bought a plant from the nursery and it was labeled Fairy Tale, but alas I think it is just a black beauty. Good eating none the less. That Bulgur dish looks yummy, thank you for sharing the recipe, I think we will have to try it out this summer.

    Congrats on your harvest!

    Nartaya

  3. Shawn Ann says:

    oh those Japanese Beetles are terrible. They practically devoured what few strawberries I have! My husband brought home some traps by spectracide that are working pretty well! Those bags are soooo full, it’s unbelievable!

  4. Emily says:

    Those tomatoes and eggplants are beautiful. I’m not sure my eggplants are going to produce this year as they are still quite small in size.

  5. mac says:

    Your summer salad looks yummy!

    Those Fairy Tale eggplants are so pretty and cute, non-bitter is another plus, I’ll have to remember to put it on my trial list for next year.

  6. Thomas says:

    Beautiful eggplants. I love the color of the skin. I’m jealous of your tomatoes. We still haven’t gotten any beyond the Sungold.

    It seems you are catching possums at the rate I’m catching chipmunks…7 in 2 weeks so far.

  7. Allison says:

    Ugh I hear you on the beetles 🙁 Gosh are they so gosh darn aggravating!!

    Those eggplants look ‘dreamy’….just like a fairytale 😉

  8. Meredith says:

    I can’t believe you’ve already got eggplants this early, Villager! Color me jealous — and also now interested in that variety. I’ve seen them in the catalogs but didn’t realize how cute and small they are, like wee jewels. Can’t wait to try them next year (if I get a garden space then, knock on wood)!

    Hoping your Japanese beetles do no permanent damage. I’d hate for you to lose a single harvest with lovely recipes like that to share. 🙂

  9. vrtlaricaana says:

    Fairy Tale eggplants – I will have to remember that one. Looks delicious! I love grilled eggplants with just a few drops of olive oil!
    I have never seen Japanese beetles; they do make a lot of damage.

  10. Taylor says:

    Wow! That is QUITE a harvest you have there! I’m incredibly jealous of your blackberries. I picked my first one yesterday off of our wild bushes, but it was a bizarre outlier and no others are even close to being ripe. Patience!

  11. Mike says:

    Japanese beetles and possums aside, your garden blog is like a glimpse into the future of what we hope our gardening labors turn into.:)

  12. johanna says:

    Those eggplants are just precious. I’ve got the same japaneese beetle problem. I pick off about 3-4 a day but I it doesn’t seem to be helping that much.

  13. Daphne says:

    Oh the tomatoes. I keep checking mine, but no hint of red or orange yet. I can’t wait for them. I’m guessing they will come in right when I have to be gone for a week. Sigh.

  14. Christina says:

    Lovely harvest! I’m jealous about the eggplant–I don’t have any that are ready yet. And that salad looks spectacular.

    You commented on my blog that you had a recipe for fennel cookies and that you were willing to send it my way–that would be fantastic! I’d love to try my hand at fennel cookies.

    Have a wonderful day.

  15. thyme2garden says:

    Your eggplants look so pretty and delish. I will have to try grilled eggplants sometime. I also didn’t realize Japanese beetles attacked beans. They have been eating all kinds of holes into my basil, but I haven’t seen any damage to my few bean plants yet. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, but after seeing your pictures, I’m scared!

  16. Those blackberries look amazing! I’m envious that you have ripe tomatoes already. Our summer coastal fog seems to be slowing down the tomato garden a bit at the moment. As for the Japanese Beetles, I’m so glad we don’t have to contend with those, they look like they have voracious appetites. Your ‘possum population explosion might have something to do with the fact that just one female can produce a rather enormous litter! They are rather cute in their own odd sort of way though.

  17. YOu have tomatoes?!! I am so jealous. So far ours are all green, although we have lots of them set. My eggplants are struggling with aphids but I have no japanese beetles, so I guess we even out there.

    I wonder how far possums wander. A skunk has a range of about five miles, and if possums have a similar range you may be seeing returnees. . .

  18. I always enjoy trips to your blog and seeing what you have recently harvested. I am enjoying growing vegetables for the first time the summer and I am completely hooked. I may have to try the eggplant next year. We do not have Japanese Beetles in AZ….at least not yet.

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