Friday, July 18, 2014

Harvest underway

The last of the garlic was harvested today. Haven't counted it up yet. Lots. I do know that I harvested more Red Russian than we planted, with two of the cloves splitting to form two heads each, one larger and one smaller. So we started with 6 cloves and ended up with 8 heads! Originally, I thought one of the cloves hadn't survived the winter, but all 6 did survive and thrive.

The 400 onions are going to be on the small side, thanks to a two-week drought right as they were maturing, plus the too-tight planting and some lapses in weeding toward the end. Also, just in the last couple days, it appears that bunnies have been nibbling on the onion greens. I harvested about 40 onions today (mostly to get them out of the way of the encroaching squash vines), and about 15 were medium-sized, and 25 were small. The ratio will improve with more medium-sized ones overall, but there won't be more than one or two large ones. Still: 400 onions!

The green beans are peaking now, and I just harvested a colander full of them. The plan is to blanch and freeze them, since I won't  have time to eat them all before I leave town for a week. I like this variety. Plants are just the right size and reasonably e asy to harvest, not too close to the ground. I have them supported slightly by abandoned political signs' stakes. The metal kind, sort of H shaped.

The butternut and kabocha squashes are going berserk, thanks to the drenching rain we had a couple days ago. At least a couple kabocha fruits have set, while the butternuts are still intent on growing the vines. The timing for the plants in the garlic bed was perfect, with the last of the garlic coming out today, but perhaps a week or two too soon for the onions, which could use another week or two in the ground or drying on top of the ground, without being covered by the vines. Yellow squash is slow this year, so we're just now seeing some flowers and no set fruit. Two yellow zucchini, though, to be made into zucchini bread on Monday. I want to make bread & butter pickles with later-season zucchini.

The cucumber vines are also doing nicely. Some small fruits are set. They're growing up tomato cages. I'm hoping that will help them avoid the wilting virus that usually ends the season too soon.

Cherry tomatoes are starting to ripen. Good number of green tomatoes on the JetStar plants. Unless we have a late first frost, the pepper harvest may not be particularly good. I've had some small peppers, mostly to encourage additional fruits to set, but the drought set them back too. A couple plants died, although it appeared to be for reasons other than the drought. Not sure what, but they were just sickly. The banana peppers are producing nicely, though. Probably have quite a few when I return from vacation.

Swiss chard is still small, but promising much bigger harvests in the fall. I've had about half a dozen leaves so far. Someone suggested eating the stalks raw, sort of like celery. I tried it, and was not enthusiastic about it. I'll stick to the leaves. It's not like I'm wasting the stems. They get composted.