Sunday, August 22, 2010

Late August Harvest - Tomatoes and Peppers

Late August Tomato Harvest 2
Finally, we received some much needed rain today. This summer has been so hot and dry that I'm sure our plants appreciated it. I'm noticing that our nighttime temperatures have been to cool down as well. It seems that fall may be approaching faster than we think. For many reasons, I'm rather excited for it. Cooler temperatures mean indoor fires and roasted marshmallows. It also means plenty of baking and hence (my favorite) pies....Yum. Indeed, summer is beginning to wind down and the gardener inside me is looking forward to unwinding a bit.

Bowl of Cherry Tomatoes 2
At this point, the tomato picking is still going strong. Sometimes it takes me an hour or more to harvest them all. Picking 8 pounds of cherry tomatoes takes a lot longer than one might think, especially when the vines are overgrown and tangled all together like they are presently. Up until now, I've been giving most of them away but think I'll start to dehydrate much of the excess going forward. Their flavor and sweetness becomes more intense in the dried state. (My friend Tom seems to think they taste "like candy".)

Bowl of Cherry Tomatoes
While we're on the subject of cherry tomatoes, I should point out our favorites this year. I have to say that Sungold is a very good hybrid tomato even though it have a tendency to burst when picked ultra ripe. Black Cherry is richly flavored with a complexity you don't ordinarily find in a cherry tomato. Finally, I was surprised by how much I like the Isis Candy variety. Its sweetness rivals (and in some cases surpasses) that of Sungold without any tartness whatsoever.

Late August Tomato Harvest
While the cherry tomatoes are producing stronger than ever, the slicers are beginning to wind down. The plants are forming a good number of green fruit but who knows whether they'll ripen before the first frost.

Peppers and Tomatillo Harvest
I also picked a good amount of peppers this week. Most of the Poblanos ended up in a Roasted Corn and Poblano Soup that I made. (Delicious!) I also made and canned a good amount of Annie's salsa.

Purple Tomatillos
I love the look of these purple tomatilloes. I'm waiting for more of them to come in before I make a big batch of salsa verde.

Charantais Melons
The smell of these Charantais melons is filling up the kitchen at the moment. I can't wait to cut into them.

Imperial Artichoke and Rhubarb Chard
I also picked my second artichoke and gave away some Rhubarb Chard to my sister-in-law.

Thai Watermelon
Finally, I picked my remaining two Thai watermelons this week. They are oblong and each measure about 8 inches long. I didn't have much hope for the one on the right because it felt soft to the touch. Sure enough, it was WAY overripe, so much so that the inside had started to ferment. I can't believe that I had let it go unpicked for so long. So into the compost pile it went (and off of my harvest total). What a disappointment.

Ripe Thai Watermelon
To end this post on a happy note, the the last one I cut into was perfectly ripe. In fact, if I had waited another day or too, it would have been over-ripe. It was intensely sweet and absolutely delicious! The flesh was a nice salmon color and, unlike the Sugar Baby, had a sweetness like honey. I will definitely be growing this variety again! Hopefully this time next year, I won't be batting 1 for 3.

This week's numbers:

Tomatilloes - 1.7 lb
Peppers - 2.87 lb
Tomatoes - 61.05 lb
Cucumbers (10) - 4.32 lb
Watermelon - 8.26 lb
Charantais melon - 5.20 lb
Swiss chard - 0.88 lb
Artichoke - 0.32 lb
Beans - 0.31 lb

Total harvest this week - 84.91 lb


  1. That watermelon looks perfect! Actually, just about everything looks perfect! I can feel fall in the air too and normally I am thrilled and excited for it to arrive, but this year I am feeling resistant because the summer garden just never got a good run with our cool summer. I keep hoping for a warm dry fall to make up for the lousy summer weather but I am probably not going to get it. Oh well, fall has it's charms.

  2. 8 pounds of cherry tomatoes! Wow, what a harvest! That watermelon looks so delicious! Yummy! Fall is coming fast and furious!

  3. You have harvested more tomatoes then I did, I got about 200lb. And my tomato season is, unfortunately, over. We had so much rain in July and beginning of August that it killed all tomatoes. So I would be more than happy with drought you had.
    Congratulations on ripe watermelon, it looks perfect!

  4. Oh my gosh, you have a humongous harvest, beautiful pictures and great harvest! We had a horrible wind storm last night that knocked out a bunch of our vines, but we pulled through.

  5. Wow! What a harvest. You are definitely in full swing.

  6. I imagined myself eating your thai watermelon and can feel the juicy taste of it in my mouth. We are approauching the end of winter and I am still harvesting chilies grown from spring last year from only a few plant.You must have a lot of space to keep your harvested tomatoes when preserved by freezing or canned them.

  7. Glad to hear your last watermelon was better than the first. That is a TON of cherry tomatoes. How amazing.

  8. I'm very happy to hear that you did some canning. You will really enjoy the canned goods in the winter.

    Your tomatoes may be slowing down...but they still look good. Mine are not are pretty as they were earlier in the season.

  9. Your tomato harvests remind me of my first year, too much! Although this year I could have used a little more of that over-estimation of my needs, I fell way short! Melon looks great, congrats!

  10. Beautiful harvest! And I thought I had a lot of cherry tomatoes, goodness!


  11. Thomas - you are the cherry tomato king! Oh my...8 lbs. is more than I can imagine. Beautiful pictures of everything, too!

  12. Gorgeous harvest. Would convert anyone into a bit of a vegetarian. Enjoy the crop fresh and you will enjoy what ever you can preserve.

  13. Your posts always make me hungry. :)

  14. Incredible! Your harvests are beautiful. And that watermelon is to die for.

  15. What stunning photos you take! You have captured the wonderful colours of all those veggies. I agree with you about the sungold tomatoes splitting, and the black cherry are one of the best tasting tomatoes.

  16. Gorgeous crop photos, as always. And a very impressive harvest. I'm glad that you got a perfect watermelon. What a beauty!

  17. I love those peppers. I only put in a few plants of Big Chili II which is a green chili. I love when I roast them to peel. They make the whole house fragrant with chilis. Next year I must grow more peppers.

  18. What absolutely beautiful tomatoes. I have a serious case of tomato envy!

  19. Look at those beautiful tomatoes, I love the bowl of cherry toms next to the window.
    Glad the watermelon is sweet, I gotta to find some space for it next year.

  20. It has been cooling down at night here as well, a nice change! I'm ready from fall, not the garden just me. The tomatillos look very pretty.

  21. Winnie (Mac) - thanks again for the watermelon seeds. Yes you should definitely make room for them next year!

  22. Congrats on watermelon success! I always try to plant some (to prove I'm an optimist). Sugar Baby never works for me, though always the most available seed. I think I mentioned it in an earlier comment; give blacktail mountain watermelon a try. It was developed in a cool region of Idaho, available at Baker Creek and Seed Savers. It's the only watermelon I've successfully grown in the cool maritime northwest.

  23. Hi Thomas. What method did you use to determine when to harvest your watermelon? I've got lots of watermelons nice and fat in the garden, but I wanted to make sure they were ripe enough before harvest. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks!

  24. Love what you're doing! And the photos are great! Makes me want to run to the local farmers market and buy, buy, buy!
    Thanks for sharing,

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  26. You tomato photos are amazing! Next year I am planting as many plants as you did. This way if I have another bad weather year, I'll still have enough tomatoes, and if the year turns out good and I harvest too much I'll give them away, just like you did.

  27. Wow - those purple tomatillos look amazing. Never seen those before. You sure have had a great crop for all your hard work this year. Claire

  28. New to your blog- but MAN! Those tomatoes looked so good! I am purple with envy! The only tomatoes I seem to be able to grow are yellow ones. Not bad, but I would like a rainbow like yours!

    And about pies- I love pies too. We just harvested the first apples and started the season.