Monday Recap: Tater Time

The potato vines started yellowing and turning brown last week, and that me it was time to start digging a few potatoes. I started with the fingerling Red Thumb, then continued with Russian Banana and Purple Majesty. That made for a pretty trio of taters!

red, white and blue potatoes

red, white and blue potatoes

I used them to make some red, white and blue potato salad for the 4th of July. Of course the Russian Banana potato is actually considered yellow-skinned, but it was close enough for me. I used my recipe for Dilly Potato Salad, and it was a tasty way to enjoy the first potatoes of the season. I still have Adirondack Blue, French Fingerling and Yukon Gold left to dig. Those vines are not quite died down yet, so I think I will leave them for a bit longer.

Dilly Potato Salad

Dilly Potato Salad

It was just my wife and me for our 4th of July mini-picnic, but we ate well. We collaborated to make some Asian-inspired coleslaw, using our Tokyo Bekana and KY Cross cabbages. We also grated up a couple of freshly pulled carrots from the garden, and finely chopped some green onion to add to the mix. The dressing used rice wine vinegar and sesame oil, along with sugar and a little Thai Aioli sauce. We both pronounced it a keeper, and it’s too bad that was the last of the Chinese cabbage because it worked well in this slaw. I’ll have to grow some more this fall.

Asian inspired coleslaw

Asian inspired coleslaw

I enjoyed eating the first of the White Scalloped squash last week. This heirloom pattypan squash has a very distinctive taste and shape, and it is growing here for the first time in several years. My mother used to love this squash, and I always grew some for her as well as for me. I usually prepare it simply, cooked until just tender and then seasoned with butter, salt and pepper.

heirloom  White Scallop squash

White Scallop squash

The first of the bush beans were ready to harvest yesterday. That’s Derby in the below photo. I will be cooking them for dinner tonight. Derby is a 1990 All-America Selections winner and I’ve been growing it ever since it was first introduced. The pole bean Musica won’t be far behind, as they are setting on now too.

Derby snap beans

Derby snap beans

And the first of the Juliet tomatoes have started rolling in. This year I planted three cages of these productive mini-Roma type tomatoes, and they will find their way into a number of tomato sauces as well as in homemade ketchup. They are also great for drying and for slow-roasting. I know many folks who wax poetic when talking about Brandywine and other ‘classic’ heirloom slicing tomatoes, but if I could only grow one tomato it would be the hybrid Juliet. Mind you, I’ve got my favorite heirloom tomatoes too (Cherokee Purple and Vinson Watts come to mind), but Juliet and other hybrids are the dependable, productive workhorse tomatoes that we rely on year after year here at Happy Acres.

Juliet tomatoes

Juliet tomatoes

A while back I was looking for a way to protect the kale growing in one of the cold frame beds. It had gotten too large to close the cold frame lid, and I knew the deer would eat it up if I left it unprotected. I took the suggestions from several readers and made a frame using PVC pipe and draped some bird netting over it. That is working out great. I suspect I will wind up pulling the kale and replanting the bed for fall, but until then we can enjoy eating it without fear of the critters eating it first!

kale covered with netting

kale covered with netting

In other cold frame beds, summer lettuce is sizing up nicely. I’ve got Slobolt, Sierra, Anuenue and Red Sails growing right now, and all are handling the heat pretty well. It helps that they are on the east side of the greenhouse, where they get afternoon shade. That’s Red Sails in the below photo, sharing a bed with basil. That wasn’t an intentional companion planting, I just happened to have room in that bed for a few lettuce plants. They do seem to be getting along well.

Red Sails lettuce hanging out with basil

Red Sails lettuce hanging out with basil

Not far away in the Wild Garden, butterflies have been daily visitors to the coreopsis, bee balm, agastache and echinacea. I’ve seen a few Swallowtail butterflies and a couple of Monarchs so far, including the one on the echinacea in the below photo. Bumblebees and other pollinators love these flowers too, and you can see a bumblebee on the coneflower just behind the Monarch. I find if I stand still with my camera out there, everyone gets used to my presence pretty quickly and I can get some good images. The Monarch was seemingly fearless of me and I followed it around for quite some time before it finally had its fill of nectar and flew off.

Monarch butterfly on purple coneflower

Monarch butterfly on purple coneflower

I hope you have enjoyed this update. To see what other gardeners are harvesting, cooking or planting, visit Daphne’s Dandelions where Daphne hosts Harvest Mondays.

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14 Responses to Monday Recap: Tater Time

  1. Jenny says:

    Your potatoes look wonderful! and YAY for first tomatoes and beans of the season!
    Jenny recently posted…Harvest July 7My Profile

  2. Dave's SFG says:

    The red, white and blue potato salad was a great idea. Beautiful harvest, you’re way ahead of me. And I do have my 2 Juliet plants setting fruit. Originally I thought they weren’t very flavorful but you just have to let them fully ripen. You can’t beat their vigor and productivity and relative disease resistance.
    Dave’s SFG recently posted…Harvest Monday 7 JUL 2013My Profile

    • Dave says:

      I don’t think Juliet is necessarily the most flavorful tomato when eaten raw, but it is wonderful for processing in so many ways!

  3. Daphne says:

    My pole beans are starting to set too. I don’t grow bush beans, but they are early. And I love the red, white, and blue potato salad.
    Daphne recently posted…Harvest Monday, 7 July 2014My Profile

    • Dave says:

      Derby is the only bush snap bean I’m growing this year. The rest are shell beans, like Jacob’s Cattle. Last year the bush shell beans were more productive than the vining one.

  4. Very impressive harvest!

    I love that you’re hosting a wild garden as well.
    Lisa and Robb recently posted…The Caterpillar PlantationMy Profile

  5. Margaret says:

    Those scallop squashes look gorgeous…and of course, I’m salivating over the fresh tomatoes. Every day I’m out there checking the progress on my plants – It’s always hard waiting for that first ripe tomato.
    Margaret recently posted…Harvest Monday – July 07, 2014My Profile

  6. Jamie H says:

    Your harvests look amazing! I am so intrigued by the juliet hybrid. I think they will appear next year in my garden.
    Jamie H recently posted…Week 2 Garden HarvestMy Profile

  7. When do you start your potatoes? We start ours here around St. Patrick’s Day.
    Jay – Tossing Dirt recently posted…Harvest Monday, July 7, 2014My Profile

  8. Michelle says:

    I love the red white & blue taters. I hadn’t planned on growing bush beans this year, but my spot for pole beans wasn’t ready when I was ready to plant beans, so I’ve got bush beans. It’s a good thing too, my Musica pole beans are a long way from producing still. Those Musica beans are worth waiting for though.

    Beautiful Monarch. I only see them in the winter, they spend the season here on the coast and one of the groves they shelter in is right in town. It’s always a treat to stop by on a sunny day to see them.
    Michelle recently posted…Harvest Monday – July 7, 2014My Profile

  9. I love the color combination of the potatoes and the Asian slaw looks tasty. I do love Juliette. Thank goodness because I ended up with seven plants this year. I was growing extra seedlings for someone, but she ended up not planting a garden this year. I think I am going to have a LOT of tomatoes.

  10. Julie says:

    That is a lovely combination of potato colors! And I bet that potato salad was delicious. I like those scalloped squash too, although this year for the first time they are cracking on the blossom end. I assume it is too much water, but I don’t have cracking on anything else. Any ideas on why they are cracking?
    Julie recently posted…Harvest Monday 7/7/14My Profile

  11. Thomas says:

    Those potatoes look lovely. I sorely regret not growing any this year. My Red Sails grew bitter really early this year. I’m guessing I may have started it too early this year. Next year, I am determined to grow summer lettuce!

    Those patty pans looks very interesting as well.

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