Monday Recap: Transition Time

As the seasons change, it seems that much of my gardening time goes from planning to planting, then eventually to harvesting and preserving, which is what I find myself doing a lot of lately. I’ve frozen summer squash and raspberries, and I’ve fermented cabbage, kohlrabi, radishes and cucumbers. My wife was in charge of the asparagus and blueberries, and we have lots of them in the freezer for use throughout the year. Now I’m working on tomatoes and drying, processing and freezing them.

Sun Gold and Supersweet 100 tomatoes

Sun Gold and Supersweet 100 tomatoes

Juliet tomatoes are coming on strong, as are the Sun Golds. I added some of the Supersweet 100s and had enough to fill the dehydrator last week. That’s Juliet in the below photo, which I cut into quarters before drying. I cut most of the cherry types in half when drying. Juliet is one my favorite tomatoes, and this 1999 AAS Vegetable Award winner never fails to produce lots of fruit that are perfect for drying, roasting, and turning into sauce, puree and paste.

Juliet tomatoes ready for drying

Juliet tomatoes ready for drying

And speaking of sauce, I harvested more Juliets yesterday and used them to make a batch of Freezer Tomato Sauce. I don’t peel the tomatoes anymore like the recipe says, but instead blend up the raw tomatoes in the Vitamix before cooking them down. Then I use the immersion blender to puree the sauce before I put it in containers and it heads to the freezer.

harvest of Juliet tomatoes

harvest of Juliet tomatoes

In my last post I mentioned I had harvested a couple of the heirloom Tatume squash. I didn’t grow them last year, and I missed them so they are back in the garden this year. They are a good size and shape for grilling, and I imagine they would work well for stuffing too. The ones in the below photo weighed a total of 38 ounces, and got grilled shortly after they posed for the camera. At that size the seeds are still small and tender, and nothing is wasted except the stem.

pair of Tatume squash

pair of Tatume squash

Also starting to make an appearance now is eggplant. The first to come on here were from Fairy Tale, another AAS winner from 2005. The tender white flesh has very few seeds and almost melts after it meets up with a hot grill. In the below photo they are hanging out with a few Trionfo Violetto pole beans.

Fairy Tale eggplant and Trionfo Violetto beans

Fairy Tale eggplant and Trionfo Violetto beans

The first melon came in a few days ago, and it was Diplomat. This is a Galia type melon with green flesh, and it’s usually the first one to ripen of the ones I grow. The melon in the below photo weighed a tad less than three pounds, and as you can see has a fairly small seed cavity. The Sensation melons are also ripening, and I suspect we will have one or two of them in a few days.

sliced Diplomat melon

sliced Diplomat melon

Over the last two weeks I dug all of the potatoes. It wasn’t what I would call a great year for them, but we will have plenty to eat. The best yield came from the German Butterball variety. It also made a heart shaped tuber that would have been perfect for Valentine’s Day!

German Butterball potato

German Butterball potato

It looks to be a terrible year for the pole beans. I’m always amazed at how something can do so well one year, and so badly the next. The same varieties (Fortex, Musica and Gold Marie) that kept us well-supplied last year are shy producers this time. I’m thinking the waterlogged soil followed by early hot weather did not help them any. We are enjoying what we get though, and I am hopeful they will perk up production eventually. I also planted Trionfo Violetto and it is doing no better than the others so far, though it is a colorful addition to the mix.

harvest of pole beans

harvest of pole beans

The greenhouse cucumbers are having a banner year however. Of course they are spared having too much rain, since the only water they get is what I supply them by hand watering. That’s Tasty Jade in the below photo, which I turned into some refrigerator pickles.

Tasty Jade cucumber

Tasty Jade cucumber

I mentioned a while back that I had made a batch of cabbage sauerkraut with some caraway seeds added. We tried it out last week, adding it to some Canadian bacon and Muenster cheese on homemade rye bread. I only added a teaspoon of caraway seeds to a quart of kraut, but it gave the fermented cabbage a lovely flavor and I can see me doing this again. Caraway has carminative properties that aid in the digestion of the cabbage, so it’s got that going for it too. I also made a sandwich the other day with the kohlrabi kraut, and I wonder if the caraway would be good with that too? Perhaps I’ll try that this fall.

Reuben sandwich with caraway sauerkraut

Reuben sandwich with caraway sauerkraut

Speaking of homemade rye bread, I tried a recipe from Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day. I made a batch of his Soft Rye Sandwich Bread last week, baking some of it into a loaf and some into buns. The bread is tasty but I didn’t think it was really an improvement over the recipe I usually make (Light Rye Sandwich Loaf). It does use a rye sourdough starter, and I may try and incorporate that in the new version of my recipe. My tastes in bread are leaning towards heartier ones with more whole grains, and I have added whole wheat to my recipe for the rye sandwich loaf. Surely I am not the only one who doesn’t follow their own recipes!

Soft Rye Buns

Soft Rye Buns

My new header photo of sunflowers is a result of a trip my wife and I made recently to Bluegrass Fish & Wildlife Area. The Indiana DNR plants acres of sunflowers for the wildlife, and we went to see them and get a few photos. As is our custom, I sat my camera on the trunk of the car and used the timer to get a pic of the two of us. The fields of sunflowers are an amazing sight to see, and the photos don’t really do them justice.

me and Lynda and acres of sunflowers

me and Lynda and acres of sunflowers

I hope you have enjoyed a look at what’s happening here in late July. 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: Transition Time

  1. Cori says:

    Great read, I will be trying the rye bread recipe. Also, I will be making sauerkraut for the first time this year.

  2. Norma Chang says:

    Great tomato harvest, mine are finally starting to ripen. Very cute heart shaped German Butterball potato love your basket too.
    Norma Chang recently posted…Harvest Monday, July 27, 2015 – Garlic + Tomato + Seniors & Kids Friendly PlantersMy Profile

  3. Will - Eight Gate Farm - NH says:

    Beautiful harvests Dave! Those tomatoes are making my mouth water. I’m just going to have to grow Juliet next year and join the party. The eggplant is a work of art.

  4. Dave's SFG says:

    The squash and eggplant are really attractive and I envy the melons. We’re growing the same beans this year and I am having the same problem with low yield. I think some of my problems are due to disease (not seed borne). I love Reubens and think that’s what I will have for lunch.
    Dave’s SFG recently posted…Harvest Monday 27 July 2015My Profile

  5. Jenny says:

    Such a beautiful harvest, love the tomatoes and eggplant. Jealous of the melons – ours are still blooming and just starting to form. Took your advise on Gold Marie from last year and couldn’t be happier with them – so tasty and prolific!
    Jenny recently posted…End of July updateMy Profile

  6. Margaret says:

    Such gorgeous harvests – I keep going out to check on the Juliet & Bloody Butcher tomatoes to see if any are ripening yet, but it looks it will be a while longer. And my eggplants have only just started to flower – the summer seems to be flying by so I hope I actually get an eggplant or two from them. I have several of Peter Reinhart’s books and they are favourites. I just wish I had more time to bake, but this year has been a wash on that front.

    You know, I am equally surprised at the ups and downs of growing vegetables. I tend to assume that once you figure out how to grow something well, it will always do well in the garden…and I’m quickly finding out that this is definitely NOT the case. And what a great photo of you and your wife!
    Margaret recently posted…Harvest Monday – July 27, 2015My Profile

  7. Michelle says:

    I have been admiring your new header photo since you put it up, it’s beautiful. That field of sunflowers must have been amazing. And those tomatoes are beautiful too. I’m still anxiously awaiting my tomato harvests, the cherries have barely begun to ripen and the rest still have a long way to go.
    Michelle recently posted…Harvest Monday – July 27, 2015My Profile

  8. Susie says:

    Beautiful veggies, beautiful pics and also that beautiful basket! I used to have a dehydrator but never used it. I should reconsider getting one as I love having dried tomatoes around. Just last year I started to blend the tomatoes before making sauce instead of removing the skins – so much easier!
    Susie recently posted…Harvest Monday: July 27, 2016My Profile

  9. Sherrie S. says:

    I always love reading about your garden — I found your blog through Lynda’s blog. That sandwich has me salivating!

  10. Daphne says:

    No I don’t follow my own recipes either. I constantly update them. You would think once I have a good one I’d stick with it. I’m jealous of that melon. I think my first Diplomat may have set over the last couple of days. I’ll be watching to make sure it doesn’t fall off, but I’ve got my fingers crossed.
    Daphne recently posted…Harvest Monday, 27 July 2015My Profile

  11. Mike R says:

    The Juliet tomatoes look perfect, I’ve got to try them next year. My Fortex beans have not been producing so well this season, but the Marengo Romano beans seem to like this weather and are making many more beans than the Fortex. Reuben’s are my favorite sandwich and using Canadian bacon in place of corned beef sounds delicious.
    Mike R recently posted…Monday July 27My Profile

  12. DDd says:

    Two handsome people and beautiful sun flowers!!!

  13. I love the photo of you and your wife with the sunflowers in the background. You both look so happy. How could you not be happy with fields of sunflowers. I love your tomatoes and I am not surprised that one is Juliet. My plants are filled with lots of green fruit and I have no doubt that it will be the first to ripen in my garden too.
    Rachel at Grow a Good Life recently posted…Weekly Harvest: July 27, 2015My Profile

  14. What a wonderful variety you are able to grow there. Love it! The tomatoes look delicious, as does the melon – yum!
    Michelle @ Homesteaders Cache recently posted…This Week’s Harvest – July 26, 2015My Profile

  15. Dave, I haven’t been able to post comments from my iPad lately. The Captcha code has switched to pictures of street signs, steak or soup, and it just isn’t working for me. I am hoping that posting from my iMac computer will work. Love, love, love the photo of you and Lynda with the sunflowers.
    Lou Murray’s Green World recently posted…Growing a garden for the soul, 28 July 2015My Profile

  16. shaheen says:

    I tried to post a comment yesterday, but my computer internet kept crashing, so here goes I am really loving those Fairy Tale aubergines and Trionfo Violetto beans, a little bit of purple on your plate can only make you smile. Lovely post all together. I’d love to grow melons here, just don’t have the climate and the greenhouse is small, that my husband will only grow tomatoes (and the sneaky chilli plant)
    shaheen recently posted…Fresh Strawberry Scones of SortsMy Profile

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