Harvest Monday July 17, 2017

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. We’re heading into summer veggie season here, and the weather is all summer all the time here, with temps in the high 90°F range last week. Cool for us this time of year is a high in the 80’s, and any morning temp below 70°F is a cause for celebration! The summer crops love it though, and we have been rewarded with a nice supply of squash and beans. I have to say the zucchini plants are mostly done for though, with a squash bug explosion that attacked them worse than the other types. I plan on starting a few zucchini plants for a fall crop, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. I do have one Astia plant growing in a Smart Pot that promises to crank out a few more zukes, and so far the squash bugs haven’t found it.

squash and beans

squash and beans

Even as the zucchini plants are going away, a zucchini substitute is just now coming on. I got the first Tromba d’Albenga last week, a big one that weighed two and a half pounds. I usually harvest them a bit smaller but this one surprised me! The vines are quite vigorous, and more squash are setting on already so I am hoping for a good crop on this one. In years past it has produced abundantly, and I imagine those who have grown a tromboncino squash know exactly what I mean. We spiralized this one and roasted it in a cast iron skillet. Since the flesh is much drier than a zucchini, it browned up a bit and turned out quite well. I can see us cooking it up that way again, seasoned with just olive oil and a bit of salt.

Tromba d'Albenga squash

Tromba d’Albenga squash

The Derby bush beans are also winding down just as the pole beans are starting to set on. That was my strategy, to plant a small amount of bush beans to give us an early taste and then lots of pole beans to supply us throughout the summer. The Derby beans produced quite well, and I have gotten right at 5 pounds of beans from a 10 foot row. The first pole beans to set were Early Riser and Trionfo Violetto. It’s my first time growing Early Riser and this flat podded bean from Adaptive Seeds seems to be living up to its name.

first pole beans

first pole beans

The Gold Marie and Musica beans weren’t far behind, and a few of the Rattlesnake beans should be ready today. Fortex is just starting to bloom. The pole beans have turned into a ‘speed dating’ site for the Japanese beetles, which is unfortunately an annual event. So I visit the beans daily with a cup of soapy water and invite them for a swim.

Musica and Gold Marie beans

Musica and Gold Marie beans

Another summer veggie starting to come on is eggplant. I have a couple of plants in containers, and the Patio Baby plant was the first to set fruit. This 2014 Regional AAS Winner is a true mini eggplant, making perfectly proportioned little fruits that are about 2 to 3 inches long. We used these in a mixed veggie stir fry, and the eggplant was mild tasting with tender skin. It’s my first time growing this one, and based on early results I need to grow more of them next year! I also want to try a few grilled. It will be awhile before the large fruited ones are ready, but the smaller Fairy Tale should give us a few before long.

Patio Baby eggplant

Patio Baby eggplant

The spring crops aren’t completely done though. I cut a big head of Late Flat Dutch cabbage last week. It’s hard to judge the size in the photo but it weighed a bit over six pounds. I have two more heads of cabbage in the garden, and the broccoli is still trying to make side shoots.

Late Flat Dutch cabbage

Late Flat Dutch cabbage

I have really been enjoying eating the radish kimchi (kkakdugi) I made with our daikon radishes. The Sweet Baby daikons have a pinkish purple streaked flesh that turns a solid shade of color after fermenting. The kimchi radishes are crisp, tart and mildly hot, and I eat them fairly often as a side dish. The spring radishes are all gone now but I will be planting a fall crop soon, and Sweet Baby is on my grow list for sure.

Sweet Baby kimchi

Sweet Baby kimchi

My wife and I slipped away last week for a quick trip to Berea, Kentucky. We each attended a couple of classes in their annual Festival of Learnshops. I took one class on Making Natural Artisanal Sodas and one on Shiitake and Oyster Mushroom Log Inoculation. Both were quite informative, and I came home with two logs (one each Shiitake and Oyster) plus a kombucha scoby. I drink kombucha occasionally, but I had resisted making it myself since it would be something else to feed and keep alive. I already have water and dairy kefir grains, a ginger beer ‘plant’, plus my sourdough starter to keep going. But I couldn’t resist, and now I have my first batch of kombucha brewing. Grow little scoby! It may take a couple of batches to get the hang of making it to suit my tastes. The instructor brought a batch of blueberry booch to the class to sample which was quite tasty, and that helped convince me to make my own. His tasted way better than any commercial ones I have bought.

kombucha scoby

kombucha scoby

While we were in Berea we also visited their annual Craft Festival. There were lots of artists there selling and displaying their works, as well as live demos. In the below photo I’m standing by one of the 12 hand sculptures scattered around town. They are part of the 2003 Show of Hands public art project, featuring the designs of twelve artists with ties to the Berea area. They moved this one in for the craft festival. To me the six foot hands are also symbolic of Berea reaching out to visitors as well as the artistic community. I wore one of my wife’s custom dyed tee shirts for the occasion, since she is my favorite artist. And let me also say how happy I am to have a wife who doesn’t mind when I load two big logs in the trunk along with our luggage for the trip home!

me by one of the hand sculptures

me by one of the hand sculptures

And I can’t resist sharing a pic my wife got of our cat Puddin. She has taken to lying on the floor on her back lately, but this latest pose makes us think she is practicing cat yoga. It’s not like the cat-cow pose though!

Puddin in a yoga pose

Puddin in a yoga pose

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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16 Responses to Harvest Monday July 17, 2017

  1. Susie says:

    A shame about those darn squash bugs, but it sounds like you’ve had a good harvest before they took over. I haven’t grown summer squash in a couple of years due to my own bug issues but I do have a tromboncino plant of my own which should be vigorous enough to outlast them for a while. I’ve been using diatomaceous earth in the hopes of keeping the bugs off that and the winter squash plants but it is raining so much that I can’t seem to keep enough on or around the plants. Hoping this will help keep them away for a bit though (never tried it before).

    We have a local kombucha supplier that has refill stations in different shops and I love it although I might try a go at making my own sometime (definitely not this year). Not sure what a scoby is, I assume some sort of “starter”?
    Susie recently posted…Harvest Monday: July 17, 2017My Profile

    • Dave says:

      We did have a good summer squash harvest before the squash bugs came, enough to eat and to freeze for later. The scoby is the starter, and it stands for ‘symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts.’

  2. Norma Chang says:

    When I saw the photo of the Sweet Baby kimchi and before reading the caption I thought it was a bowl of watermelon. I am looking forward to reading about your experience with growing Shiitake and Oyster Mushroom.

  3. Norma Chang says:

    Is the Patio Baby eggplant seedy?
    Norma Chang recently posted…Harvest Monday, July 17, 2017 – Containers HarvestMy Profile

  4. We are still at the anticipation stage as far as beans are concerned.
    Susan Garrett recently posted…Guess who likes jostaberries?My Profile

  5. Matt says:

    The tromboncino squash sound very interesting, I’ve grown a fair number of different types of squash before but I’ve never tried tromboncino. Can they be stored over Winter or are they more of a Summer squash?

    • Dave says:

      The tromboncino can be harvested young or left to mature. It’s a butternut type, though I really prefer it as a summer squash.

  6. Michelle says:

    Yikes, squash bugs, Japanese beetles, and infernal heat – there’s always something to plague a gardener. I would never guess it from all the goodies that you harvest. That cabbage is awesome! Puddin is so cute. Looks like you had a great getaway.
    Michelle recently posted…The Garden on July 14, 2017My Profile

  7. Mike R says:

    Those really are ‘mini’ eggplants. I wonder how many it would take to equal the weight of the head of cabbage. My lone summer squash was a goner, too, although I saw no sign of squash bugs.

    • Dave says:

      The eggplants weighed about an ounce each, so if my math is correct it would take 96 of them to equal the cabbage! They have early going for them, but I will rely on the larger ones to keep us supplied.

  8. Margaret says:

    Some wonderful harvests! My bush beans are just flowering now – I’m pretty sure we are way behind this year, but I need to check my past records. My memory isn’t exactly the best when it comes to these things.

    What an awesome trip – sounds like so much fun! And love the tromboncino – I find that they are still delicious and tender, even when they get to be quite large which is a huge bonus for those that have summer squash growing issues like myself :)
    Margaret recently posted…Harvest Monday – July 10, 2017My Profile

    • Dave says:

      The tromboncino was tender at that size for sure. And big enough for a couple of meals! We’re having the rest of it tonight, spiralized and roasted again.

  9. The aubergines are so cute, as is puddin, aw. Her facial markings look very similar to our Minxie (who is now a very old lady, 17 later this summer).

    Cool sculpture and cool t shirt too, sounds like a great time away.

    I have a few bean pods set but not big enough to harvest yet…well done on your successional planning :)
    Lou@rainbowchard recently posted…Harvest Monday – summer harvestsMy Profile

  10. Phuong says:

    Your eggplants are so cute and that is a wonderfully huge head of cabbage. It looks like your onions and garlic did really well this year as well. I’ve been doing lots of canning the last few weeks, but it’s definitely time to pull up the bush beans and zucchini for us as well. Squash bugs are such a menace but I’ve noticed there’s just lots of stink bugs around in general this year.
    Phuong recently posted…An Epic Year in the Vegetable GardenMy Profile

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