Digging It

It seems I have been doing a lot of digging in the garden lately. First it was the garlic crop that needed harvesting about three weeks ago. That means it is now time to trim and weigh it all. The garlic has been hanging out (literally) in our warm basement, where the dehumidifier has been running overtime drawing moisture out of the air.

garlic hanging to dry

garlic hanging to dry

And last week it was time to dig the rest of the potatoes, and to pull the onions. They wound up in the basement too, since it is the best place we have for curing and drying. I’ll weigh the onions after they have cured, but the 2013 potato crop weighed in at 65 pounds, which should keep us supplied with potatoes for some time to come. All in all it was a pretty good year for potatoes here. Fully 37 pounds of those were fingerling potatoes, so I definitely got my invested money back from those mail-ordered potato sets. The two fingerling varieties I grew were Russian Banana and French Fingerling. The Russian Banana was more productive, averaging 24 ounces of potatoes per hill, but the French Fingerlings are definitely bigger, and averaged 20 ounces per hill. Both were planted about 12 inches apart in the row.

French Fingerling potatoes

French Fingerling potatoes

Russian Banana potatoes

Russian Banana potatoes

The other potatoes I grew were Red Lasoda and Yukon Gold. I bought the seed potatoes for these two locally. Though they weighed less total than the fingerlings, I also planted less of them. I cooked some of the smaller of these two varieties with some green beans the other night. We will use most of the larger ones baked. My wife and I often make a meal off a baked potato, topped with a little cheese and other seasonings. We love both these varieties for baking, as well as for boiling and roasting. I’m not a big fan of russet potatoes, which is a good thing because I’ve never had much luck growing them in our climate.

Red Lasoda potatoes

Red Lasoda potatoes

Yukon Gold potatoes

Yukon Gold potatoes

green beans and potatoes cooking

green beans and potatoes cooking

I also dug up some of the spring carrot crop. The ones in the below photo are mostly Yaya. I still have more to harvest, but the refrigerator is full of veggies at the moment. Insects are not currently a problem with them, so I will leave them in the ground until I have more room in the frig. Though I might consider freezing some of them too. I generally get the worst of the soil off them outside, then leave the final cleaning until just before we use them.

bagged carrots

bagged carrots

As I said, the onions are curing in the basement along with the garlic and potatoes. I’m still trying to find varieties of onions that do well for me here. The Red Tropea did great again this year, and so did Candy and Superstar. But I tried Big Daddy as a storage onion, and it didn’t size up at all. It is supposed to be a long-day type, so I’m not sure what the problem is. At any rate, we do have plenty of onions for a bit, even if none of them are exactly good keepers. They should keep plenty long enough to go in sauces, salsas and the like when the tomatoes start rolling in.

onion harvest

onion harvest

Moving away from root crops, the blueberry harvest is at long last winding down. We have enjoyed them for 6 weeks now, and the harvester (my wife) has hauled in almost 50 pounds of them. After eating them fresh daily, and filling the freezer, we are now dehydrating them. We have wanted to do this for some time, and this year is the first time we have had enough to make it worthwhile. My wife is in charge of that operation, and has posted instructions on her blog: How To: Dried Blueberries. It is nice to have some dried blueberries that aren’t all sugared up. We also plan on making some low-sugar blueberry jam in the near future using the Pomona pectin.

dehydrated blueberries

dehydrated blueberries

As the blueberries are winding down, the blackberries are ramping up. We did a taste test of our four varieties this past week. I will post the somewhat surprising (to us) results soon. We haven’t tried dehydrating the blackberries, but my wife does make them into blackberry leather, which is a great way to enjoy their concentrated flavor. We are also freezing a lot of them. A few wound up in a Blackberry Cobbler I made a few days ago.

Blackberry Cobbler

Blackberry Cobbler

And speaking of the future, one of my ‘squash futures’ is starting to turn color. The large Boston Marrow squash is looking good. So far the vine has only set two squash, but considering the size of them that will be a lot of squash if they both make it to maturity!

Boston Marrow squash

Boston Marrow squash

The slicing tomatoes are taking their time to ripen, but we are getting a variety of cherry and grape tomatoes. And the summer squash, cucumbers and eggplants are keeping us well supplied also. It is a great time of year, when we have such a varieties of goodies coming in from the garden!

July harvest from the garden

July harvest from the garden

I pulled the bush snap beans to make room for fall crops, and I have already planted Brussels Sprouts, Swiss Chard, and a few more celery plants. Other fall plantings will go where the potatoes were dug. The pole beans are slowing down, though Trail of Tears and Rattlesnake are still blooming and setting pods. I’m letting both of these go for dried beans, though we enjoyed quite a few of the Rattlesnake beans as snap beans. It is a nice dual-purpose bean, and seems to love our hot and humid summer weather.

Rattlesnake pole beans

Rattlesnake pole beans

That’s a look at what we have been digging and hauling in from the garden lately. To see what ‘goods’ other gardeners are digging, visit Daphne’s Dandelions, where Daphne hosts the Harvest Monday series.

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17 Responses to Digging It

  1. Patsy says:

    I am awed by the amount and variety of your harvests! You are well ahead of me with summer crops, so many of mine aren’t mature yet due to the limited sun I get. Fifty pounds of blueberries! Wow! That is an amazing amount!
    Patsy recently posted…Harvest Monday: Heartbreak EditionMy Profile

  2. Jenny says:

    WOW! that’s really a great harvest week with very nice variety! Love all those potatoes and carrots, that huge squash and colorful eggplants with tomatoes. very lovely indeed.
    Jenny recently posted…Harvest July 21stMy Profile

  3. Shawn Ann says:

    Wow that squash is impressively huge! You have a good bunch of potatoes. I grow Red La Soda too, I like them. They have done well for me the last 2 years. You have a beautiful variety.
    Shawn Ann recently posted…Harvest Monday 7/22/13My Profile

  4. kitsapFG says:

    That is a very big winter squash! I just have some baby pumpkins and acorn squash on here, but feeling good that they are setting fruit early enough they have time to mature this year. Sometimes we have really cool/wet summers and the squash just do not stand a chance when that happens. Your potatoes look gorgeous too. They all look very good sized and blemish free. I stole the first potatoes from my patch yesterday and since I waited so long to do that this year, they were really good sized already. Great harvest this week!

  5. Michelle says:

    Wow, 50 pounds of blueberries is amazing. I don’t envy your wife, blueberries are rather tedious to harvest. There’s so much good stuff coming out of your garden. I’m always amazed by how much you can grow.
    Michelle recently posted…Harvest Monday – July 22, 2013My Profile

    • Dave says:

      She claims she enjoys harvesting the blueberries. I’d rather pick blackberries, which takes a bit less effort!

  6. Stoney Acres says:

    A great harvest week Dave. I love all the garlic hanging around in the basement!! I had no idea your wife had a blog too. I’ve added her to me feed reader!!

    Your potatoes look awesome! I’ve had a hard time growing russets too, I’d like to get it figured out just because they are supposed to last longer in storage than the red potatoes I like to grow. It would be nice to have some that would keep well into the spring each year, but I never can get any of the russets to grow well enough to bother!!
    Stoney Acres recently posted…Monday Harvest Report 7-22-2013My Profile

    • Dave says:

      I’m sure it’s our weather that the russets don’t like. I’m not even sure if any russet seed potatoes are available locally.

  7. Mike R says:

    That’s a great harvest of potatoes this year and the Boston Marrow is a beautiful squash. I planted Ruby Ring onions from Johnny’s this year and it looks like they’ve been a real success. They’re still drying but I’d guess there’s a yield of about a pound per square foot of onions there and they sized up really nice. The garlic picture just loaded. Looks like there will be no bad spirits in your basement!
    Mike R recently posted…The calm before the stormMy Profile

    • Dave says:

      I will file Ruby Ring away for future reference. Redwing is iffy here, so a reliable red onion would be nice.

  8. Dave's SFG says:

    Great looking harvest. A lot of potatoes, onions and garlic, your’re almost set for winter. And your garden is way ahead of mine. I haven’t seen a squash or cucumber yet, just a few cherry tomatoes.
    Dave’s SFG recently posted…Harvest Monday–22 July 2013My Profile

  9. Hopefully you will get a break from all that digging. At least you got lots of delicious harvests for all your hard work!
    Budding and Blooming recently posted…Harvest Monday 7/22/13My Profile

  10. Norma Chang says:

    Is there a difference in texture between the Russian Banana and French Fingerling? Which do you prefer?

    • Dave says:

      Norma, I haven’t tried very many of the French Fingerlings. They have yellow flesh that is very similar to the Russian Bananas.

  11. GrafixMuse says:

    Very impressive and colorful harvest this week. Reading this post makes me want to expand my garden so I can grow more. I started curing my garlic and onions in the basement a few years ago. We have to run the dehumidifier anyway.

    Our blueberries are just beginning to ripen. I love going out each morning and picking them. I am heading over to your wife’s blog now to learn how to dehydrate them…
    GrafixMuse recently posted…Harvest Monday: July 22, 2013My Profile

  12. Daphne says:

    Wow I dream of that many blueberries. I buy the dehydrated ones to put in my granola all the time. It would be nice to have my own. I did plant a couple more blueberries but it will be a while before I see any fruit from them.
    Daphne recently posted…Under the WeatherMy Profile

  13. The number of crops you’re growing is really impressive. I’m thinking about growing some fingerling potatoes next year but the cost of having to mail order a few seed potatoes (as opposed to buying seed potatoes from the local garden center) has stopped me in past years…

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