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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.