Harvest Monday August 15, 2016

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. I had a mixed bag of harvests last week. One of the smaller ones volume-wise was big on flavor though. I cut enough of the Corsican basil to make a batch of pesto. I have been using this basil for other things, and I really like the flavor, so I decided to see how it would do for pesto. My wife and I both liked it and it got the HA four thumbs up rating! Michelle (From Seed to Table) did a Spotlight on it earlier this year, which is where I first heard about it. I planted it over in the Wild Garden with intentions of letting it bloom for pollinators, but I have been using it so much it has not had a chance to bloom yet! I think it has a better flavor than other purple leaf basils I have grown in the past, less ‘spicy’ than Dark Opal or Amethyst, and the plants are vigorous as well.

Corsican basil

Corsican basil

Tomatoes are coming on strong finally, though I am still losing quite a few to rot. Juliet is doing quite well though, as it usually does here. I harvested almost two gallons of them on Friday, along with some of the paste types and slicers.

Juliet tomatoes

Juliet tomatoes

One of the standout newcomers in the tomato patch this year is one from Artisan Seeds called Marzano Fire. This was developed from the classic San Marzano paste tomatoes grown in Italy, and likely has some Speckled Roman in its lineage as well. It’s great for sauces, with thick flesh and relatively few seeds. I also haven’t seen any blossom-end rot on these tomatoes. I used these and Juliets to cook up a batch of Homemade Tomato Paste yesterday. It took about three hours to cook the sauce down and another three hours in the dehydrator to make the paste. It sure shrunk down ten pounds of tomatoes!

Marzano Fire tomatoes

Marzano Fire tomatoes

The hybrid slicers have been doing reasonably well this summer. My old standbys like Better Boy, Celebrity and Jetsetter have been joined by Chef’s Choice Orange for many sandwiches and side dishes. The newcomer Garden Treasure has been a prolific producer, and the large tomatoes have a nice balance of acid and sweet flavors. Garden Treasure was developed by University of Florida tomato breeding program, and was derived from the heirloom beefsteak German Queen tomato. Currently, the seeds are only available through a $10 donation to the UF Tomato Research Fund, which gets you seeds to both Garden Treasure and Garden Gem. I’ve gotten my money’s worth from both these tomatoes, and I have enough seeds left to plant them again next year.

Garden Treasure tomatoes

Garden Treasure tomatoes

I’m bringing in more winter squash as they mature in the garden. In the below photo we have the first Honeyboat Delicata squash I harvested. Unlike most delicata squash, this one has tan skin with green stripes instead of the usual cream colored skin. This squash weighed a bit over one pound. I cut it into slices, tossed it with a little olive oil and salt, then roasted it in the oven until browned and tender. The flesh is sweet and flavorful, and even the skins are edible. We love our delicata here for sure, and this is our favorite (and simple) treatment.

Honeyboat Delicata squash

Honeyboat Delicata squash

roasted Honeyboat Delicata

roasted Honeyboat Delicata

I grew Honeyboat last year and it was one of the sweetest delicata squash I have ever tasted. This year I have several others I am trialing, including Hessel’s Sugar Loaf. In the below photo there’s another Honeyboat on the left and Sugar Loaf on the right. These are the two squash that were crossed by author and plant breeder Carol Deppe to create Candystick Dessert Delicata, which I am also growing this year. According to Deppe, the normal curing time for delicata types before eating is seven to fourteen days, so I will wait at least another week before sampling the Sugar Loaf.

Honeyboat (L) and Sugar Loaf(R) Delicata squash

Honeyboat (L) and Sugar Loaf(R) Delicata squash

Besides tomatoes, it has also been a good year so far for eggplants. That’s the oval Galine and long Millionaire in the below photo. I’ve gotten a lot of these two lately, along with the striped Fairy Tale.

Galine and Millionaire eggplant

Galine and Millionaire eggplant

As pretty as the eggplants are to me, the bowl they are sitting in is even prettier. My wife made more of her clothesline cord bowls recently, using some cord she dyed using a familiar Happy Acres fruit: blackberries. You can read about the process she used here on her blog Dyeing with Blackberries. I love the color, and it’s especially precious since I knew every blackberry personally! I also got a handkerchief/bandana in the process, which wound up with a more muted color.

clothesline cord bowl

clothesline cord bowl

blackberry dyed bowls

blackberry dyed bowls

I’ve been using the eggplant in quite a few dishes, including stir fries and in a Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with Roasted Summer Vegetables I made last week. I roasted eggplant, sweet red peppers, zucchini and yellow squash and combined with cooked quinoa, olives and halved cherry tomatoes, adding crumbled feta cheese right before serving. I used the Corsican basil in this dish also, skipping the mint and pine nuts called for in the recipe and letting the basil have a prominent role. I served it up with some fresh baked whole wheat Lavash bread, and my wife and I made a meal of it. Actually it was two meals, and the leftovers were even tastier!

quinoa salad with lavash

quinoa salad with lavash

It also promises to be a good year here for peppers. The plants have grown large and lush with our ample rainfall. I got my wife to get a pic of me out in the pepper patch the other day, standing next to one of the overwintered baccatum peppers. I am close to six feet tall and you can see the plant is almost as tall as I am. This is the Malawi Piccante pepper, used to make ‘peppadew’ style pickled peppers, and it is loaded with green ones. You can see the little round peppers on the plants, as well as lots more blossoms. The overwintered Aji Angelo plant is just as tall, and just as loaded with peppers. I have to call my overwintering experiment a success, and I think I will try digging these plants up again in fall and potting them up for the winter. I will surely have to prune them back quite hard to get them in the house!

me hiding in the pepper patch

me hiding in the pepper patch

The other peppers are gradually starting to ripen. In the below photo you can see (from top to bottom) Boldog Paprika, Topepo Rosso and Celia Dulce. I dried the Boldog peppers to see what kind of paprika they would make. It’s dark red and has the slightest amount of heat. I think they would make nice smoked paprika, which I will do later in the season. I like to pickle the Topepo Rosso peppers, though they are also a nice shape for stuffing, like a pimento. The Celia Dulce is a Mexican heirloom pepper I’m growing for the first time, shaped much like an elongated mini bell, and they too have just a slight touch of heat.

Boldog Paprika, Topepo Rosso and Celia Dulce peppers

Boldog Paprika, Topepo Rosso and Celia Dulce peppers

I’ll close with an update on our bluebird babies. It would appear they have fledged the nest. My first clue came when I went into the yard yesterday and both parents starting swooping me in a protective manner. Then I looked over at the nest box, and one young bluebird was half in, half out. It looked like it was channeling The Clash singing Should I Stay or Should I Go! I haven’t got any photos of them out and about yet, but if I do you can bet I will share them here.

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting!

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18 Responses to Harvest Monday August 15, 2016

  1. Mark Willis says:

    Very jealous of the 6-foot peppers! The clothesline cord bowls are very impressive too – stitching them must be a real labour of love.

  2. Susie says:

    Those bowls are gorgeous, both the design and the colour! And “wow” to everything else including that big bowl of tomatoes and those huge pepper plants!!
    Susie recently posted…Harvest Monday: August 15, 2016My Profile

  3. Norma Chang says:

    I cook my Delicata squash the same way you cook your Honeyboat. My neighbors trees are getting larger and shading a good portion of my garden so I am no longer able to grow squash but will be looking for and stocking up on Honeyboat and other Delicata squashes at the local farmers market.
    Love your wife’s blackberry dyed bowls, does she use beets as well?
    Norma Chang recently posted…Harvest Monday, August 15, 2016 – Chinese Long Beans + Containers HarvestMy Profile

    • Dave says:

      She has not tried beets for dyeing. I don’t know if they would give a red color or not. You would think they would, but natural materials don’t always work out like you might think. Even the blackberries did better on silk than they did on cotton.

  4. Will - Eight Gate Farm - NH says:

    Beautiful basil, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and delicate. Those really are some tall pepper plants; mine wouldn’t get that big even if there was no winter. But as lovely as all that is, the clothesline cord bowls are really something! Congrats to Mrs. Our Happy Acres!

  5. That’s another great selection of veggies, Dave. Very envious of your tomato harvest, ours have been very poor and the few fruits we do have don’t seem to want to ripen up at all. Ah well, so it goes.
    Darren @nftallotment recently posted…Harvest Monday for August 15th 2016My Profile

  6. Dave Velten says:

    Wow, the bowls are beautiful and I love that color. A lot of people seem to be waiting for their tomatoes and peppers while you are hauling them in. Your overwintered baccatams are impressive. I’m going to try potting a few this year to see if I can keep them alive in the house this winter.
    Dave Velten recently posted…Harvest Monday 15 August 2016My Profile

    • Dave says:

      The overwintered peppers were not that impressive looking when I set them out, but they really took off when I got them in the ground. I didn’t set them out early either. It was late May, same time I set out the pepper seedlings.

  7. Margaret says:

    Can’t believe those pepper plants – that’s incredible! The tallest of mine, albeit not overwintered, are barely 2′ tall and I thought that was pretty good.

    I’ve been putting some thought into my borders, I’m really liking the idea of a “wild garden” – or flower bed, in my case. I’ll be looking back at your posts on that as I’m sure I’ll get some wonderful inspiration. And those bowls are amazing! Boy, wish I had the time to be crafty like that…one day soon, hopefully.
    Margaret recently posted…Early August Update – Main Garden AreasMy Profile

    • Dave says:

      Our Wild Garden is sort of a mixed bag of plants. It started out with a lot of annuals, but it has shifted to mostly perennials along with some annual herbs. Most all the plants are attractive to butterflies, hummingbirds, and pollinators. But then, most blooming plants are attractive to some sort of bee, when you think about it. I wound up putting herbs like parsley, basil and oregano in there as well.

  8. Michelle says:

    I’m so glad you like the Corsican basil, it is definitely a favorite of mine now. It’s interesting to me that it is not more widely known and available. I only tried it because I got to choose some some freebie seed packets with an order from Peaceful Valley, otherwise I might never have tried it.

    Oh wow, the baccatum peppers love your climate! That’s amazing. I was thinking that you could try rooting some cuttings this fall to overwinter as a backup to digging the plants.

    Tomatoes and peppers and eggplant! Someday soon here…

    Beautiful baskets. The colors are gorgeous.
    Michelle recently posted…Harvest Monday – August 15, 2016My Profile

  9. Melissa says:

    As much as I’m continually in awe of your bounty, I have to say that your wife’s lovely bowls have won me over this week! What a fun project!
    Melissa recently posted…In the Kitchen – Peaches!My Profile

  10. A.J. says:

    Those pepper plants give me greenhouse envy. Nice!
    A.J. recently posted…Container Garden Update — August 14, 2016My Profile

  11. Julie says:

    Wow, I’ve never seen pepper plants that tall! I might have to try potting up some peppers for the winter. Those baskets are beautiful! What an awesome way to use extra blackberries. I may have to save that to my “When I Retire” notebook on Evernote- sadly it is a very, very long time from now, but it never hurts to plan early 😉 That roasted vegetable salad looks delicious and a great way to use eggplant and other summer veggies.
    Julie recently posted…Harvest Monday 8/15/16My Profile

  12. Shaheen says:

    I am joining in again, though I don’t have much to share. Loving those blackberry dyed cord bowls and Yum – proper flavourful tomatoes.
    Shaheen recently posted…Courgettes, Blueberries, Nasturtium and Leafy GreensMy Profile

  13. Lots of mouth-watering harvests there Dave, yummy. Mmm, can’t wait for more winter squashes.

    The bowls are amazing, I didn’t know you could use blackberries for dying, the colour is beautiful. What a talented lady your wife is.

    The photo of you with the peppers is brilliant, you look so happy too 😀
    Lou@rainbowchard recently posted…Harvest Monday – hello summer veggiesMy Profile

  14. K says:

    Your tomatoes are beautiful. I have a volunteer plant that kind of looks like a Juliette, but all of the fruits are splitting before I can get to them. Those bowls are gorgeous – the blackberries made a beautiful color. I cannot believe those pepper plants. Wow!
    K recently posted…Harvest Monday 8.15.16My Profile

  15. waw, I’m happy when my peppers grow to my knees and believe me, my legs aren’t that long!!
    well done, great harvests!

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