Monday, August 13, 2012

Harvest Monday–13 August 2012

Last week’s temperatures were more moderate but the humidity was awful, with dew points in the 70s. The air was so saturated that by the end of the week we started getting thunderstorms and even a tornado warning. When it did rain it poured buckets.The rain was needed but a lot of it just ran off. I didn’t do much in the garden but try to keep the squash and cucumbers picked, but I still got the occasional baseball bat. It was a pretty productive week and included my first beets and Brussels sprouts.

The tomatoes on the left are Black Krim. I had one left but it split badly after the rains. The plants are all dying from late blight so that is it for the Black Krims this year.

Black Krim tomatoes, cukes, and assorted cherry tomatoes

The three cukes on the left below are Summer Dance, which are proving to be very prolific. The tomato on top is my last Cherokee Purple (badly catfaced), which is also dying from the blight. The tomato below it is my first Pineapple.

Harvest assortment

More squash and cukes and my first broccoli from the second planting. The cukes on the right are my first Diva (one sort of got away hiding on the ground under the foliage). Diva is lighter (and thinner) skinned than Summer Dance and is now starting to climb and produce,

Assortment of cukes, squash and broccoli

A neighbor in the garden asked me if I wanted some Brussels sprouts. I said no, I am growing sprouts, but usually don’t harvest any until September. I thought I better check and sure enough, the bottom of the plants were more than ready to harvest. Some were a little over the hill but still will be eaten.

Brussels sprouts and bush beans

I got my first (small) harvest of beets. The beets have just been sitting there and not doing much. I don’t know if they don’t like the weather or what. These are Red Ace. The Bulls Blood are nowhere near ready to harvest but the greens are getting large enough to cut if I decide to go that way.

Beets and chard

I found a use for some of my accumulating Juliet tomatoes. It is summer in New England and that means bluefish, which is cheap and plentiful in the fish markets right now. This is a fish that seems to be limited to the upper Atlantic coast (I think it also is called sablefish in the UK and tailor fish in Australia). It’s not available on the west coast of the US and it does not ship well. Bluefish are a game fish that people love to sport fish because they are so aggressive and fight so hard. They swim in schools and feed voraciously on menhaden, which are very oily, so bluefish themselves are oily. I remember reading a news story of boaters in a marina on the North River south of Boston being startled when the waters of the marina started boiling and turned blood red. It was just some blues chasing a school of menhaden up the river.

Foil-baked bluefish with tomatoes and herbs

Bluefish is strongly flavored and not to everyone’s taste but if prepared properly can be delicious. Above I put the fish on an oiled piece of foil and covered it (you barely see the fish, but its flesh and skin are indeed blue) with lemon slices, onion, and sliced frying peppers and Juliet tomatoes from my garden. I added some fresh herbs from the garden and drizzled white wine and lemon juice on the fish, closed the foil, and baked it at 350F for 30 minutes. Everyone liked it and there was none left. Too bad because it is great left over for breakfast.

More squash and cucumbers. The large tomato below is my first Big Rainbow, a yellow-fleshed tomato with magenta stripes. I have three more of these on the vine so I will have a few more heirloom slicers for salads. It nicely decided not to split from the rain.

Harvest assortment with a Big Rainbow tomato

Finally, on Sunday I remembered I had to cut the basil. The large pile below is a sampling of what I cut. Some is being dried in a paper bag but the rest was turned into pesto. At the bottom are some other herbs; dill weed, used in a batch of pickles; spicy globe or Greek basil; Siam Queen Thai basil, to be used in Monday’s curry; and tarragon for some chicken salad.

Three types of basil, dill and tarragon

The pesto came in handy for pasta for my daughter, who doesn't like lobster (aw, too bad). It was too nasty to cook and for some reason (weather or the economy, I don’t know), lobsters have been ridiculously cheap. The local market had selects on sale for $6.99/pound with free steaming. While my wife was at the Bolton Fair, I stopped by the store and ordered up two of them. One was 2 pounds (obviously that was my lobster) and the other was 1.5 pounds. And they were hard shells, not the usual soft shelled ones you find in the summer. They were served with corn from the local farm stand and a tomato and cucumber salad from my garden. My wife scored a raspberry chocolate tart at the Fair which we had for dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (totally blowing my low carb diet, but you only go around once). Pretty good finish to the week, I thought.

To see what other gardeners around the globe are harvesting from their gardens, head to Daphne's Dandelions, our hostess for Harvest Mondays.


  1. Sorry to hear about the blight affecting your tomatoes, Dave. I have the same problem. Isn't it soul-destroying seeing your "babies" wither and die? I have a couple of blight-resistant varieties (Ferline and Orkado) that are not immune to blight, but succumb to it a lot less easily than most other types.

    1. Yes, but why me? I have neighbors here in the community garden who hacked a hole in the ground and stuffed a plant in back in June, then never were seen again. Their tomatoes have turned into these monster plants that are collapsing to the ground under the weight of the fruit, and the plants are disease free. Meanwhile my pampered and pedicured plants are all diseased and dying. I'm doing something wrong.

  2. I do not envy your weather, but right now I would take any sort of ugly ripe tomato from my garden, tomatoes always come in late around here and I'm still waiting...

    Brussels sprouts in August, that is unusual, it must be because of the weird weather you've been experiencing.

    The fish dish sounds delicious.

  3. Nice variety in your harvests, but especially the squash with their lovely yellow color. I've never seen seeds for those over here and they certainly don't show up at the markets. Oh, and lobsters for 6.99 a pound? That is incredible!

    1. The yellow patty pan squash is Sunburst. It was an All America Selection in 1985 so it has been around almost 3 decades, it's not a new item. Highly recommended if you can find the seeds, or mail order from an American seed company. They usually don't have problems shipping seeds overseas.

    2. Italy is considered the worst country for shipping seeds to and italian customs is notorious for rejecting seed orders. Happened to me once on a huge order, but reading the italian gardening forums only confirms what I've experienced. Sheesh! We just want to grow what the americans are growing! But...I still have hope regarding the patty pans because the powers-that-be are slowly coming around to the fact that not all garderners want to grow only what their italian grandmas do.

  4. faints at the price of your lobster...... they are 3xs that much here as a matter of course....beautiful harvests all the way around.

  5. Very nice harvests! - The blue fish brings back memories of long Island and later Florida. They certainly are fun to catch! My sprouts are probably ready at the bottom as well.

  6. aww, more lobster for you! Sorry you lost your tomato plant. I have one that is being affected by something and it has hardly had a chance to get started! Looks like a good harvest for you this week!

  7. Too right that sounds like a good finish to the week! I'm interested in your thoguhts on Black Krim - was it productive for you. i grew it last year and hardly got any tomatoes but it did well for a friend so i change seed supplier and am trying again but I'm not sure how space to devote to it.

    1. The three tomatoes you see (about 2" diameter each) are my crop from one plant, except for an earlier tomato that developed BER and was removed. The second plant produced one fruit that cracked so badly after the rain it almost split in half. The taste is good, almost exotic, but the productivity was terrible (but that's true of almost all my tomatoes this year). I might try one plant again next year. Of course, one of the BK plants I gave away to a neighbor in the garden is doing great, is healthy and has set a lot of fruit. Maybe it's just me, but you have to find what works for you, not your neighbor.

  8. Wow you were really pulling the harvests in this week. Sorry to hear you have blight taking down tomato plants. That is so absolutely aggravating when that happens. Your preparation of the bluefish and the information on this variety (something not found in my region) was really interesting.

  9. Sorry to learn your tomatoes were affected by the blight. I am checking my plants daily.
    You have Brussells sprouts already, sure is early.
    Quite a harvest you had, love the color of your yellow patty pan.


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