Monday Recap: Summer-y

Both the calendar and the garden are confirming it is summer here. Yesterday I brought in the first tomatoes, not surprisingly a few of the Sun Gold variety. It will be a bit before the rest of the tomatoes start rolling in, but the first ones are always extra nice.

Sun Gold tomatoes

Sun Gold tomatoes

Summer means zucchini too, and the plants are in full swing now. That’s a couple of Striata d’Italia hanging out with a Romanesco (in the middle) in the below photo. Even though they look similar in the photo, the Romanesco has a distinctive ribbing while the Striata is striped but smooth.

Striata d'Italia and Romanesco zucchini

Striata d’Italia and Romanesco zucchini

Some of both the zukes wound up in a spiralized zucchini salad I made last week. I ran the zucchini through the Paderno Spiral Vegetable Slicer, and dressed it with some garlic scape pesto. Then I added a few dehydrated Juliet tomatoes from last year (after rehydrating) and tossed in some pine nuts for good measure. It made for a light side dish I served with planked salmon one night, and it was tasty enough I made more for lunch the next day.

Spiralized Zucchini Salad

Spiralized Zucchini Salad

My wife and I both got out and worked on the currant harvest one day. We got a decent amount (almost three pounds) from our two year old bushes, more red than white. I made a cobbler with some and froze the rest for later use. The red variety (Cherry Red) has more flavor than the white (Primus) in addition to being a bit more productive. We have a spot for another bush, and I am thinking about adding Pink Champagne next year. The currants are decorative as well as edible, and so far we have not had any pest or disease issues with them.

harvest of red and white currants

harvest of red and white currants

There are lots of cucumbers coming in right now. I planted the pickling variety Calypso this year for the first time, so far it is making lots of cukes. I definitely had plans for the ones in the below photo.

Calypso cucumbers

Calypso cucumbers

I used them to try a couple of different recipes for lacto-fermented pickles. I made one batch of sweet bread and butter pickles, and one of  spicy brined pickles. Both have started bubbling after a couple of days, and I will taste them and move them to the refrigerator when they have fermented enough for me. It’s been a long time since I fermented cucumbers, and I am looking forward to more experimenting with them. These are a lot easier to make than the 14-day pickles I used to make in a big five gallon crock. I may try some fermented dill pickles too when I have some fresh dill, plus perhaps a bit of relish.

lacto-fermented cucumbers

lacto-fermented cucumbers

The greenhouse cukes are going great about now too. I have four plants in there, two of Tasty Jade plus one each of Manny and Corinto. All do well in the summer greenhouse, and usually keep going until August depending on the weather and if whiteflies or spider mites move in. I’ve got them vining up some old remesh cages, and when they get a bit past the top of the cage I pinch off the growing point to get them to branch out. Almost every leaf node makes a fruit so they are quite productive. We usually take our extra cukes and squash to our local food pantry to share them with others.

greenhouse cucumber plants

greenhouse cucumber plants

Since the cucumbers don’t have to deal with the weather, or many insects, the fruit stays clean and the skins are smooth and tender. That’s Corinto in the below photo, almost ready to harvest. Not many things can take the heat of the greenhouse in our summers, but the cukes do well as long as I keep them well watered.

Corinto cucumber

Corinto cucumber

We continue to enjoy the Thai Rai Kaw Tok winter squash from last year. They are keeping extremely well, with the flesh remaining firm and sweet after eight months in storage. I used some of the one in the below photo for a curry dish. Since the squash are so big, I had raw squash leftover. We have lots of cooked and pureed winter squash in the freezer already, so I decided to treat it like I sometimes do butternut and cut it in cubes and freeze it raw.  It will be nice to have it that way as well. I sure hope the plants do well this year. We still have one left in storage, and I will try and sample it in another month or so and see how it is keeping.

inside of Rai Kaw Tok squash

inside of Rai Kaw Tok squash

I also dug one hill of potatoes to see how they are sizing up. They looked good, and I think I can start digging them as needed. That’s German Butterball in the below photo, and they wound up joining kale in some Kale and Potato Hash my wife cooked up last night.

German Butterball potatoes

German Butterball potatoes

That funky looking head of Gypsy broccoli from last week wound up in a Broccoli Walnut Salad I made. Looks didn’t matter when it met up with cranberries, walnuts and a little bit of bacon. I love my version of this retro salad that is usually served up with raisins, lots of mayo and at least a half pound of bacon. I prefer to be able to actually taste the broccoli!

Broccoli Walnut Salad

Broccoli Walnut Salad

That’s a look at what’s happening here in late June. To see what other gardeners are harvesting and cooking up, visit Daphne’s Dandelions where Daphne hosts Harvest Mondays.

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19 Responses to Monday Recap: Summer-y

  1. Daphne says:

    Is the white currant sweeter than the red? I wonder since Pink Champagne is a cross between the two. I know it is sweeter than my red one. It isn’t quite ready to pick though. Very soon.
    Daphne recently posted…Garden in the RainMy Profile

  2. Dave's SFG says:

    I can’t believe you are getting tomatoes, cukes and zucchini already. I suspect my first tomato may be a Juliet. The Esterina cherries are flowering but no sizeable fruit yet. It will be awhile for squash and cukes.

  3. Margaret says:

    The pasta with the zucchini sounds delicious as does the broccoli salad! I can’t believe that the Rai Kaw Tok squash is still good – it won’t be long until you are harvesting some more. Looks like you may never need to purchase winter squash again!
    Margaret recently posted…Harvest Monday – June 29, 2015My Profile

    • Dave says:

      We haven’t bought winter squash for several years now. And in the zucchini recipe, the squash IS the pasta, so to speak. The spiral cutter cuts in into a spaghetti shape. We served this raw, but you can also briefly cook the squash and top it with marinara sauce or whatever.

  4. You are harvesting tomatoes BEFORE July? Wow. Awesome. I just love seeing all the produce that you are able to grow. Such a wonderful variety.
    Lou Murray’s Green World recently posted…Sesame Kale ChipsMy Profile

  5. Michelle says:

    Wow, tomatoes and cucumbers! It really is summer in your garden. That squash is amazing. I used the last of my Honey Nut baby butternut squash a week or so back. It was still sound but the center had hollowed out, but what was left was still delicious and did a fine job gracing the top of a pizza.
    Michelle recently posted…Harvest Monday – June 29, 2015My Profile

  6. Susie says:

    Amazing that your squash keeps that long! I’ve been planning on buying a veggie spiralizer this year but waiting for my first zucchini (don’t want to jinx myself). I bet the Paderno is a good one? I haven’t really looked into the various models yet.
    Susie recently posted…Harvest Monday: June 29, 2015My Profile

    • Dave says:

      My wife did the research on the spiralizer, and the Paderno seems quite nice. We are really just now getting to use it a lot. I do want to try sweet potatoes and regular potatoes with it too. Today we had a cucumber salad that we used it on.

  7. Jennifer says:

    Congratulations on your tomatoes! I just harvested four Sun Golds as well and they were like eating candy. I need to buy one of those spiralizers because your zucchini salad sounds amazing!

  8. Mike R says:

    Everything looks great, and early! I’m a fan of the Calypso cucumbers and will try fermenting the next batch that ripens. Can’t decide whether to leave them whole or slice them.
    Mike R recently posted…Monday June 29My Profile

  9. mac says:

    Nice harvest, the zucchini salad looks delicious. I forgot to plant cucumber this year, maybe it’s not too late to start couple plants for fall harvest.
    mac recently posted…Harvest Monday – June 29, 2015My Profile

  10. Will - Eight Gate Farm - NH says:

    Hooray for tomatoes, zucchini, and cucumbers–things that seem to be late summer around here. Impressed with the keeping qualities of that squash too–it’s a moschata, right?

  11. Phuong says:

    Everything is looking so good in your garden. The garden potatoes and broccoli salad looks delicious. When do you plant your potatoes? I think we have similarly hot springs and wanted to get an idea of when to plant. I’m so jealous of your zucchini, I couldn’t get any variety to sprout. The zucchini noodles were on my list to try.

    How do currants taste? I’ve seen them growing wild in the woods out west, but was too busy picking huckleberries to try them out.
    Phuong recently posted…Harvest Monday, 6/29/15My Profile

    • Dave says:

      I planted potatoes at the end of March this year. I would have planted them earlier but it was so wet I couldn’t get the bed worked up for them. As for currants, I can’t really describe the flavor. They are tart, and ours have a pretty mild flavor overall.

  12. opal fly says:

    I love these recipes you are posting–fantastic! and I am in the same boat as another commentor–Ive only gotten 1 cuke so far. Thanks for the inspiration

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