Monday, July 26, 2010

Late July Harvest

July Harvest 3
I can't believe we are approaching the end of July. Is this summer flying by or what? But then again, having started many of my seeds at the beginning of February, you could say that it has been a rather long journey getting to this point. The garden is producing so many veggies these days, much more than we could possibly eat as a family. When we're not giving them away, I'm trying to find ways to preserve the bounty. Many, like the zucchini and Tuscan kale, are ending up in our new chest freezer. I'm sure we'll be grateful once winter rolls around.

calabash gourd
In addition to harvesting our first bell and jalapeno peppers, I picked the first Calabash gourd of summer. As I'd mentioned before, this is an edible Asian variety that is mostly used in soups. It has a very tender and a mild taste. I probably picked this one on the larger side. It weighs a hefty 3.02 lb and will provide for several meals. Most of it will end up in the freezer I'm sure.

Chioggia Beet
I never get tired of photographing beets, especially when they're fat and sweet like these Chioggias. This variety is definitely a keeper.

Harvesting Tomatoes
When I'm strolling through the garden, sometimes I start picking veggies and then suddenly realize that I have nowhere to put them. Sometimes you just have to improvise. Lucky for us, the Sungold cherry tomatoes are really producing these days! They are probably the sweetest tomatoes I have ever eaten. If you're looking for a guilt-free snack for your kids, these are it!

July Harvest 4
I broke down and bought a harvesting basket today. It sure comes in handy this time of year. We're picking a lot of Black Krim, Red Siberian and Cherokee Purple tomatoes now and are just starting to get the first Green Zebras and Amish Paste. All are unbelievably delicious, except for maybe the Red Siberian, which is good but not great. I don't know if I'll grow this variety again next year. It did not produce as early as I thought it would and while the packet advertised them as being indeterminate, they have stockier growing habit makes their low-lying fruit particularly accessible to rodents. In place of them, I think I'll try a variety like Bloody Butcher next year.

I was most surprised by the Black Krim, which tastes richly sweet. Marc's favorite so far has been the Amish Paste, which he describes as perfectly meaty and sweet. The Cherokee Purple has a very mild and well-balanced tomato flavor that would surely appeal to the masses, while the Green Zebra has a perky (almost spicy) zing to it. If I had to choose a favorite at this point, I probably wouldn't be able to. I love them all and will surely grow them again next year.

This week's harvest numbers:

Tomatoes - 15.97 lb
Beets - 2.27 lb
Zucchini - 7.69 lb
Calabash Gourd - 3.02 lb
Peppers - 0.67 lb
Cucumbers - 9.75 lb
Ground Cherries - 0.13 lb
Beans - 0.36 lb
Carrots - 0.34 lb
Celery - 0.70 lb

Total this week - 40.90 lb


  1. That is quite the harvest. That beet looks tasty! So big! I can't wait to dig ours up.

  2. I like your harvest basket. Your tomatoes are really starting to come in. We just love all the many different flavors. I see that you planted ground cherries. We just tasted them for the first time yesterday at the local growers market. They are wonerful! What variety did you plant?

  3. That gourd is very pretty. One of my favorite parts of growing tomatoes is trying as many varieties as I can and noting all the differences. Good job on taking notes - I am starting to get better at that! It makes choosing for next year so much easier when you can refer back to your notes. I love the hat-basket! That looks like something hubs would do. I always end up using my t-shirt if I don't have my basket with me, and never fails on those days I lose my intelligence and put split tomatoes or berries in there and ruin my shirt!

  4. We also have the Siberians and they are very tasty for us. BUT the leaves are quickly yellowing and the whole plant looks like it's dying, yet the tomatoes are holding on! We don't plan to plant it again either, though it's an unbelievable producer.
    Anna in MD

  5. Hi Robin - I purchased the seeks from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. I don't think they listed name. They are prolific though!

  6. Thank you for the fresh veggies. I made salsa and it's delicious. Can't wait to eat the cucumbers and celery. :)

  7. Triet - You're welcome! It was good to see you guys.

  8. I noticed the first Cherokee Purple starting to change in my garden. I can't wait. My Amish Paste are all still green. I keep trying to cheer them on, but they are being stubborn. Maybe in a couple weeks I'll be getting a good tomato harvest.

  9. That's a very stylish harvesting basket you picked out there. Thanks for describing the taste and flavors of different tomato varieties. I only have Early Girl this year, so the best I can do is "it's slightly sweet, better than the average store-bought tomato." But I'm taking notes when I read blogs like yours and will definitely try to grow a several different varieties next year.

  10. Awesome and colorful harvest!

    Black Krim is my all time favorite, but I don't have space for it this year, so many varieties to try so little space.

  11. I like your new basket, elegant and practical at the same time.

    I agree that Sun Gold are the sweetest tomato ever. I am curious about the role climate plays in tomato flavor. I stopped growing black krim because they were always bland for me. In contrast, cherokee purple have always been intensely flavored for me. Well balanced, as you say, but definitely not mild.

    I guess choosing the right variety for your area should include flavor in addition to performance.

  12. You really do have a superabundance of produce now. Funny how so many gardeners become freezer owners... I'm actually stuffing mine less since I've been learning to take full advantage of being able to garden year round. It's not easy to devote less garden space to luscious summer veggies though.

    It is really interesting how tomatoes vary from region to region, or even year to year, or even rotating them around various spots in the garden. I think that the Sungolds taste good grown anywhere though. The only complaint I have about them is that they are too productive, I get tired of picking them!

  13. You deserve that harvest basket for that beautiful bounty. Wow! That beet is bee-yoooo-tee-ful. Love them!

  14. Nice and may I say that I like your beet picture very much. I usually end up tucking shirts into my folded shirt but really a harvesting basket (or baseball cap) is a better idea.

  15. That's an impressive harvest for the week. Nice variety of veggies...

  16. Nice harvest! Love the picture of the beet. Nice to know that variety is a keeper for you. I tried to grow them last year, but my beet growing skills aren't the greatest, so they pretty much croaked. Will keep trying. I see your monthly total is almost 100 lbs. Nice gardening!