Monday Recap: Melon Madness

A couple of weeks ago, if I wanted a melon I had to go buy one. Then all of a sudden, last week we had lots of them – 23 pounds of them to be exact. So, we got busy and started eating melons! That wasn’t exactly a tough thing to do, since my wife and I both love them. The first one ready was Sensation. This is a white fleshed melon with a very sweet taste.

Sensation melon

Sensation melon

That was followed by several Ambrosia melons. Some of them were starting to split around the stem end, no doubt due to wet conditions as they were ripening. I was able to cut out any bad spots on those and eat the rest of the melon. That’s the Ambrosia melons in the below photo along with another Sensation in the back.

melons

melons

We have been  eating the melons pretty much every day now, and enjoying them while they last. The Sensation and Ambrosia are great together.

bowl of Sensation and Ambrosia melons

bowl of Sensation and Ambrosia melons

I also harvested the Gold Nugget winter squashes and about half of the Bush Delicata last week. Both are old favorites here, and I can’t wait until they have cured a bit and we can get a taste of them. The Delicata is on the menu this week.

Gold Nugget and Bush Delicata squash

Gold Nugget and Bush Delicata squash

Peppers are also ripening now. The big yellow one in the below photo is Flavorburst, while the orange ones are Orange Blaze and Gourmet.

Flavorburst, Orange Blaze and Gourmet bell peppers

Flavorburst, Orange Blaze and Gourmet bell peppers

One of the smallest harvests came while I was thinning the radishes. The China Rose sprouts were just too pretty to throw away, so I brought them in and cleaned them up. This variety is often used for sprouting because of the pretty red stems. They were great on a salad, and we even put some on a pizza we made last week, where the spicy flavor worked much like arugula does. I think they would be tasty in a stir fry too.

thinnings from China Rose radishes

thinnings from China Rose radishes

And speaking of small, how about the Piccante Calabrese pepper in the below photo? This is my first time growing this Italian red cherry pepper, and I am looking forward to pickling them when more ripen.

Piccante Calabrese cherry pepper

Piccante Calabrese cherry pepper

A larger harvest was the paste type tomatoes in the below photo. I used them to make a batch of Vitamix Tomato Sauce. It’s a mix of Viva Italia, Health Kick, Rio Grande, Big Mama, Quadro, Golden Rave and Juliet. The mild-tasting yellow Golden Rave got mixed in with the red tomatoes, though it’s also a good tomato for soups, salsas and sauces by itself.

harvest of paste type tomatoes

harvest of paste type tomatoes

For this sauce the raw tomatoes go in the blender, skins and all, before they are cooked down to the desired consistency. A little over ten pounds of tomatoes reduced down to make three quarts of sauce. I like to use this unseasoned sauce for chili and other soups, and it makes a great base for a marinara sauce.

Vitamix Tomato Sauce

Vitamix Tomato Sauce

The pole beans have gotten their second wind, or perhaps it is a third or fourth flush of growth. We have had a study supply ever since they started producing about six weeks ago. There is a new round of blooms opening up now, so there will be more beans for awhile. In the below photo they are hanging out with some Fairy Tale and Dancer eggplant, which is just now coming in. The long red peppers are Jimmy Nardello, which dwarf the little Piccante Calabrese at the bottom.

mixed August harvest

mixed August harvest

I did find time to bake some bread last week. That’s a loaf of Bohemian Rye in the below photo, which was proofed in a brotform before baking in the oven on a hot pizza stone. The recipe came from Whole Grain Breads by Machine or Hand by Beatrice A. Ojakangas. I am slowly baking my way through this book which features 200 whole grain bread recipes. If the rest of them are as tasty as the Bohemian Rye, then we are in for a real treat. And I will need to bump up my exercise regimen!

Bohemian Rye Bread

Bohemian Rye Bread

It’s been a while since I shared any news about our cats, so I’ll close with a gratuitous cat photo. Puddin has found a new place to sleep in my wife’s studio, lying on a soft bed of fabric pieces. She can while away the hours in relative peace and quiet. She looks a little grumpy in the below photo because the paparazzi woke her up. And our other cat Ace likes to sit behind me when I’m working at the computer, so he has been helping me with this post.

Puddin in her comfy sleeping spot

Puddin in her comfy sleeping spot

To see what madness other gardeners are sharing, visit Daphne’s Dandelions where Daphne hosts Harvest Mondays.

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26 Responses to Monday Recap: Melon Madness

  1. Norma Chang says:

    I have been throwing out my radish and other greens thinning as they are a pain to clean, you have convinced me to save them in the future. After all they are micro greens that are pricey at the food markets
    Norma Chang recently posted…Harvest Monday, August 18, 2014 + A Few Frist + Maximizing Garden SpaceMy Profile

    • Dave says:

      Norma, it was a little trouble to clean them but it was worth the effort. I am tempted to sow a few more of the China Rose seeds in a container and harvest them for sprouts only.

  2. Jenny says:

    Holly cow that’s a lot of melons! Love it! And such beautiful harvest squash, peppers, eggplants and tomatoes. You must have really great soil to have such bountiful harvest.
    Jenny recently posted…Harvest August 18My Profile

    • Dave says:

      Jenny, we have a fine silty loam soil. It is easy to work, but does dry out quickly. And it needs lots of compost to keep it productive.

  3. Margaret says:

    That first melon photo just made me drool…I can imagine how fragrant it must have been. I’m growing Gold Nugget squash as well and was wondering just a few days ago what they should look like before I pick them. My only large one is still yellow so I guess I have a ways to go yet. The other plant has just set another squash so hopefully I get at least two from these plants – yes, I have high expectations 😉
    Margaret recently posted…Harvest Monday – August 18, 2014My Profile

  4. Margaret says:

    Forgot to mention – very impressed you have a brotform. I think I first saw one in The Bread Bakers Apprentice cookbook & have wanted one since. That bread looks gorgeous.
    Margaret recently posted…Harvest Monday – August 18, 2014My Profile

    • Dave says:

      I have 2 round brotforms and an oblong one. I love them too. It is so easy to proof the bread and then invert it either right on the hot pizza stone or else on a pizza peel and then slide it onto the stone. I got them from Fantes. They have a nice selection and seem to be well-made.

      http://www.fantes.com/brotforms.html

  5. Daphne says:

    I’m growing Sensation melon too. Though I’m surprised that it ripens at the same time as Ambrosia. I think of it as an earlier melon. I might have to try Ambrosia again. I think they grow fast enough for it to ripen where it is now. And it is such a delicious melon.

    • Dave says:

      I was surprised they all matured about the same time. We have had an unusual summer, cooler than usual and alternating with normal hot and humid spells.

  6. Michelle says:

    You can pay a small fortune for radish sprouts and they’re so easy to grow! I think I’ll have to give that a try. I’ve been harvesting my cilantro like that lately, it bolts so quickly at this time of year so I sow it in clumps and pull them as babies. There is so much good stuff coming from your garden now, it’s fabulous.
    Michelle recently posted…Harvest Monday – August 18, 2014My Profile

  7. Jennifer says:

    Beautiful harvests! Wow, your melons are amazing! So many melons! I have three melons on the vine, one of which I’m excited to harvest soonish. How many plants do you need to have to produce that many melons??? …I need to make some of that Vitamix Tomato sauce, as I’ve been having a hard time keeping up with my tomatoes.
    Jennifer recently posted…~ harvest monday august 18 2014 ~My Profile

  8. Dave's SFG says:

    Lot of melons there. Would be nice to have so many you could sit down and have a melon orgy. The Vitamix looks like a handy device to have but the wife doesn’t want me to have another toy. I’m thinking I could take care of that surplus of kale but I don’t think I could get her to drink anything green.

  9. Amy says:

    What amazing, inspirational harvests!

  10. Mike R says:

    My sweet peppers just started reddening up a few days ago – surprising since it’s been overcast for nearly a week. The Piccante Calabrese pepper looks like a Cherry Bomb pepper. Is it hot?
    Mike R recently posted…Monday August 18My Profile

    • Dave says:

      Yes, it is hot, but not too hot! I am hoping the pickling will tame it down a bit. It is thick fleshed like a jalapeno.

  11. Suzanne says:

    Hi Dave, discovered your site when searching on how to dry Juliet tomatoes. Grew them for the first time this year. They are so tasty. & prolific. Thanks for all the great gardening & cooking info. You love gardening & cooking “from scratch” just like I do. But wow! You are a real champ. Curious how you use the long thin skinned sweet pepper like the Jimmy Nedello? Thanks

    • Dave says:

      Hi Suzanne. Thanks for your kind words! The Jimmy Nardello peppers are great grilled or sauteed, and they also dry easily. A lot of them wind up on pizza, or in egg dishes, or used as a side dish.

  12. Lexa says:

    Oh Dave, Once again I have such harvest lust! Especially those melons. Amazing to this Oregon girl. Mine are still the size of a small baseball..fingers crossed. I certainly wish I had a Vitamix to try your recipe. It looks delicious and much lower in labor than so many recipes. I am getting very close with the harvest on my Delicata squash too. It is maybe my favorite. It can’t be beat for single serving ease.
    Lexa recently posted…The Canning Season BeginsMy Profile

  13. Will - Eight Gate Farm - NH says:

    Nice melons (hee hee)! Wish I could grow more varieties of winter squash like you, but the SVBs are just too much around here. I’m restricted to butternut. And hi! to Puddin.

  14. Love the melons! It has been a while since I have gown melons and I remember very well the period of melon glut where it all ripens at once. Does the vitamix blend the skins completely?
    Rachel @ Grow a Good Life recently posted…Celebrating Harvest Monday: August 18, 2014My Profile

    • Dave says:

      The skins disappear completely, and so do most of the seeds. There are a few seeds that don’t want to blend up, but the longer you blend the tomatoes the less seeds you will see.

  15. Jan says:

    Lovely harvest Dave, I hope my summer harvests look as good.

  16. Sarah C. says:

    We have started getting a few Thai Golden Melons. I got the seeds from Baker Creek because the reviews were intriguing – either folks loved them or hated them. After tasting it, I have to admit I was not wowed. They are the first melon to actually produce any fruit of decent size. It may be the last year I try melons as I just don’t seem to be cut out for them. I can use the space for something else with a better yield.
    Sarah C. recently posted…Pantry Dinner: Pasta with Tuna and PeasMy Profile

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