It is amazing to me how the garden can change directions so quickly. Last week it seemed like all of a sudden it was time to harvest roots here. It started with the onions. I pulled a couple of the Candy onions to grill them for a pizza, and I was surprised how big they were getting. I pulled a few more for another meal, and they are tasty even if not quite fully grown.
These onions surely lived up to their name. They were sweet and mild to begin with, and grilling just made them taste even sweeter. The pizza also featured arugula from the garden and tomato sauce and roasted tomatoes from last year, plus cheese and mushrooms. I need to share the crust recipe sometime because it is pretty tasty, made from sourdough whole wheat. And it is easy to throw it together too, especially with the bread machine doing most of the work.
Then it was carrots. I needed a few for a salad, and decided to see if any of ours were ready. Sure enough, I pulled a couple of the Yayas and they were definitely big enough to eat. I’ll pull some more to go in a quiche my wife is making later this week, along with some of our broccoli and another onion.
Next it was garlic. I really wasn’t planning on digging any until this week, but the garlic had other ideas. I was out in the garden doing other things and noticed that the foliage on the early types was turning yellow. After a quick inspection, I decided it was time to dig a few. I wound up digging all the Asiatic/turban types and the artichoke types as well. That’s Siciliano in the below photo, a nice big artichoke variety. They will be so nice for baking whole. It is my first year growing this one but I am thinking it will be back next year based on size alone.
Last year I waited too long to dig the garlic, and the outer wrappers started disintegrating on me. This year I was resolved to do a better job on the timing. And I planted the garlic with harvest sequence in mind. I started the row with the early types on one end and the later types on the other end, so that hopefully I could move down the row as they matured. That strategy is working so far. I did some other things different this year as well, and I’ll talk more about the way I grew it after it’s all harvested and cured. I’m hanging the garlic in our hot and dry basement to cure. It will be smelling good down there for a few weeks, if you like garlic! And it is safe to say we love garlic here. In the below photo is Uzbek, a turban type that I have been growing for several years now.
Botanically speaking, the kohlrabi bulb is a swollen stem and not a root, but it keeps like a root vegetable, and to me it looks like a root. I harvested more of the Kossak variety last week. The three in the below photo weighed right at six pounds total. We have enjoyed the kohlrabi sliced and then grilled, and this week my wife is going to roast some.
And some of the potato vines are definitely starting to dry up. So yesterday I dug one hill of them to see what sort of hidden treasure I could find underground. I got almost 13 ounces of fingerling Red Thumb potatoes from that hill. We will get our first taste of new potatoes later this week. I’ll wait and dig other potatoes as needed.
We are harvesting plenty of other things above ground too. Right about on schedule, the first ripe cherry tomatoes showed up last week. We typically start getting them the last week of June, give or take a week or so in either direction. The first to ripen here was Sun Gold, followed shortly by Supersweet 100. It will be awhile before any others are ready, but the vines are loaded with green tomatoes and that is a great sign of things to come.
The blueberries keep coming on strong, even as the raspberries are winding down. The everbearing raspberries are setting on the summer and fall crop though, so it won’t be long before they start ripening. We’ve hauled in 21 pounds of the blueberries so far. We are surely enjoying all the fresh berries, and not a day goes by when we don’t eat our fill of them. The blackberries are just now beginning to ripen, and I will be out there harvesting them soon as well.
I harvested one head of the Tokyo Bekana last week. This is a non-heading Chinese cabbage that is easier to grow here in spring than the heading types which too often bolt before they head. It is much like Fun Jen, if you are familiar with that one. The slugs and sow bugs had done a lot of damage to the outer leaves but there was still plenty left after cutting them off. We usually eat these raw, and indeed this one wound up getting mixed with lettuce for a taco salad. Despite the mixing of cultures, it was pretty tasty, and there is more of it to enjoy later.
And the first cucumbers are coming on right about now. The ones in the below photo were barely in the house before I was making refrigerator pickles with them and the Sierra Blanca onion next to them. The cucumbers are a mix of Tasty Green, Summer Top, Dasher and Green Fingers. Ironically, the ones planted in the main garden have matured just ahead of the greenhouse varieties which got off to a somewhat later than usual start.
We had bad news last week on the wildlife front. A House Sparrow trashed the bluebird nest yet again. The five eggs were about twelve days old, and there had been no sign of the sparrows for a couple of weeks. But a male showed up one morning, and when I went out to the garden I noticed the bluebird eggs were all pecked out and laying on the ground. It’s senseless, because he did it in one nest box but then took up residence in another one that was unoccupied. It’s no wonder these aggressive invaders have decimated so much of our native bird populations. Sadly, they don’t even need a cavity to nest, unlike the bluebirds who have no choice. Hopefully the bluebird pair will give it another try this year.
I’ll close on a happier note. The fall vegetable seeds I sowed last week sprouted in no time. It seems like I just got rid of the plants I started for spring and summer, but I think that’s the way it always seems. I’ll be potting these up into larger quarters in about two weeks or so, and they will get planted starting in early August.
I hope you have enjoyed this update of the happenings going on here in late June. To see what other gardeners are harvesting, cooking or planting, visit Daphne’s Dandelions where Daphne hosts Harvest Mondays.