Monday, July 23, 2012

Harvest Monday-23 July 2012

The summer crops are coming in now: beans, squash, tomatoes and cucumbers.The summer squash are looking good so far. I have been using trap boards in the garden to catch squash bugs and then stomping them. They haven’t done a lot of visible damage yet and I have been hand-picking the egg clusters.
The Sunburst squash is still cranking out fruit. As others have commented, true to name it seems to produce a burst of fruit at the beginning and then takes a break for awhile. So far the fruit has been produced around the base of the plant near ground level. As the plant grows, it lies close to the ground and spreads outward from the center.

Sunburst patty pan squash

The Costata Romanesco, however, seems to grow skyward, Someone tried to describe its growth habit to me as enthusiastically upward, but I couldn’t quite imagine it. Now I’m seeing what they meant. The first fruit were produced at the base of the plant ground level, similar to a regular zucchini, as pictured below.

Costata Romanesco squash

Now that those fruits have been produced and picked, flowering and fruit production is growing upward, several inches off the ground. You can see that below and notice that another cluster of flower buds is forming about 6 inches further up the plant. I might have to stake this one to keep it from collapsing if it sets multiple fruit at once.

. Costata Romanesco squash

Half the bean patch is now being picked. Below is a photo of Provider, which produces about a week before Fresh Pick. I usually plant a 4x4 bed with bush beans, half Provider and half Jade (or this year, Fresh Pick, a new bean developed by Dr. Calvin Lamborn, the breeder who developed Jade). Unfortunately, I miscalculated the number of beans I would need and soaked and inoculated only enough seed to plant 4 squares of each. So I decided I would plant the second half two weeks later. That way I would have four consecutive weeks with a quarter of the bed coming into production. Seemed like a good idea at the time. What I found was the first half of the bed grew rapidly and after a few weeks started flopping over onto the younger bean plants. I think it is still a good idea but next year I need to run a low fence down the middle of the bed to keep the two halves out of each others way.

Provider bush bean

Here is a side-by-side comparison of Provider (on the left) and Fresh Pick. I wish I had also grown Jade so I could compare it to Fresh Pick. Compared to Fresh Pick, Provider is shorter, a lighter green color, thicker, easier to pick and about a week earlier. Despite its looks, it is a tender bean with good beany flavor. I like to use this one for dilly beans. Provider has dark colored seeds so it germinates better in cooler soils than Jade or Fresh Pick, which have white seeds with a greenish cast.

Provider (left) and Fresh Pick bush beans

Fresh Pick is a darker green, long and slender. It seems a little easier to pick than Jade, which had very tough stems that sometimes required a scissors. Johnny’s describes Fresh Pick as being plumper and darker than Jade, with more disease resistance. Both beans tolerate hot weather and produce over a long period. I plant once and as long as I keep them picked, they produce well into cold weather in September.
This is an early picking of Provider, just a few beans to try them out.

Sunburst squash, Provider beans, and snap peas

This is a second picking of Provider, about a pound of beans. I also picked my first Jalapenos and an Aruba sweet pepper, plus a couple of Juliet tomatoes.

More Provider beans

This is the first large picking of beans, each pile about a pound. That’s Provider on the left and Fresh Pick on the right.

Provider (left) and Fresh Pick bush beans

The Jackson Classic pickling cuke is doing well and starting to climb the trellis. I wish the slicers would be a little more enthusiastic, they were all planted at the same time.

Jackson Classic pickling cucumber

I already have two pickling cucumbers that will be eaten fresh. Tomatoes included Juliet and Sungold cherries.

Pickling cukes, tomatoes, snow peas and squash

I have also gotten a handful of tomatoes from my Black Cherry plant. They are large fruits, about an inch in diameter, with purplish shoulders, and are very tasty. I am also looking forward to sampling the Matt’s Wild Cherry, shown below. The plant is doing pretty good compared to what it looked like when I transplanted it. The clusters of fruit shown are actually smaller than they appear in the photo, maybe the size of the nail on my small finger.

Matt's Wild Cherry tomato

The other tomato I am excited to try is Big Rainbow. The plant below has four large fruit set.

Big Rainbow tomato

The tomato below is Cherokee Purple and it has two medium sized tomatoes set. The one at the top is now starting to color so I may get a tomato next week. Unfortunately, this plant is showing signs of being infected with late blight, so I may not get more than these two. Too bad because it is one of my favorites and makes a great slicer.

Cherokee Purple tomato

That’s what is happening in my garden. To see what other gardeners around the world are harvesting from their gardens, head over to Daphne’s Dandelions.


  1. A delightfully varied and colorful harvest. I should be harvesting beans this week (I hope) but my tomatoes are a long way off.

  2. We've been having trouble with our Costada vines cracking as they lurch on over the rim of the raised bed, it does seem to have self-destructive qualities.

  3. You have a very nice variety. So I have not innoculated my beans, but thinking about it next time, they are doing so terrible. Do you see a difference?
    I had 2 Matt's wild cherry tomato plants last year, now I have volunteers all over my yard, including in the front! They were very heavy producers for me. Since mine are all volunteers this year, I am not getting a lot yet, but sure I will. Dd loves them cause they are so tiny! Too bad about your cherokee purple. That one seemed to be the most disease resistant for me last year.

    1. I haven't done a side-by-side comparison to tell if there is a difference. Since my raised beds were newly filled with Mel's Mix, I figured it was a good idea to use the innoculant to introduce the bacteria to the artificial mix. I have noticed both years the bean foliage looks yellow during the cooler days of the season, then greens up considerably. I assume that's because the bacteria need warmer weather to start producing nitrogen.

      I remember your MWC harvests from last year. That's why I tried them, but I only put in one plant. Hope it's as productive as yours were.

  4. What a wonderful harvest! I love the squash - I've never planted it, but keep thinking I will try it.

  5. Your garden is looking great, again I'm jealous of your summer squash as our were all wiped out by a wilt. I've noticed that my slicing cucumbers are a lot slower this year too. I wonder if it is the heat? What variety are you growing?

    1. The two slicers are Diva and Summer Dance. Diva is supposed to be PM resistant, one of the reasons I chose it. On the other hand, the pickler, Jackson Classic, is growing well and I picked my first two last week. All were planted the same day. Too bad about your squash, maybe it was bacterial wilt which gets my cukes every year. This year I found cucumber beetles, which spread wilt, hiding inside the squash blossoms.

  6. Your squash look perfect and those tomatoes...they all look like they'll be huge! Good stuff!

  7. Interesting growth habits on the Costata Romanesco - never have grown this variety and it does indeed have an "onwards and upwards" growth habit! I love the sunny Sunburst Patty Pan squash. I have the same variety growing but it has been so cool of late that I don't think the bees have been out pollinating for me and hence not any mature fruit to harvest (yet).

  8. I wonder if we can get fresh pick here. I will do some research. I usually grow Jade but I've had quite few germination issues with them lately. I love them though once they're established. Great flavour and texture.

  9. What great harvests! I'm growing Scallopini, another variety of yellow patty pan. Has been very nice, not watery like some squash/


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