Monday, September 7, 2015

Harvest Monday 7 September 2015



The week started off hot but fortunately moderated later in the week. The drought continues with no significant rain the last month. Thursday I watched the Pats pre-season game in Foxborough, about 40 miles south and east of here. It started raining during the game, a nice soaking rain, but here we got a couple of rumbles of thunder but not a drop of rain. All of the shrubs and plants around here are showing signs of stress. My lawn is a dustbowl and the crab grass needs mowing, but it is too dusty to mow.




I picked an assortment of cucumbers and peppers. The white cukes are the first Crystal Apple cukes, which always seem to start late but then are pretty productive. Those vines are looking very good despite the dry weather. And a plus is their simple oval shape is hard to distort, unlike the other cucumbers. The brown cuke is a Poona Kheera.


The lack of pickling cucumbers has been frustrating, so I bought some nice, crisp picklers from the organic farm stand up the road and made two quarts of fermented dill pickles. I used grape leaves from the wild grapes that have invaded my herb garden. First time I made this type of pickle and I am amazed at how good they taste. I may buy some more and see if I can make some half-sours by letting them ferment for a shorter time. I will not have grape leaves to use because the vines are now dead from the drought, so I may substitute an oak leaf or use a tea bag.




I cleaned out one of the beds that had the now-dead pickling cucumbers and the beets. These are the last of the beets that were too small to harvest earlier. I also found a few small cucumbers among the weeds, shown above.




Picked some more paste tomatoes and a bag of cherry tomatoes I did not photograph. The counter was getting crowded so I finally made a batch of blender tomato sauce. I used my Ninja Ultima (I’m too cheap to buy a Vitamix) and it made quick work of it. It takes just a few seconds to turn the tomatoes, skin and all, into a puree. After cooking it down to thicken it a bit, I put it into containers and froze it. Had to clear out some tomato sauce from two years ago to make room for it. Hopefully this sauce will not have the same fate, but things tend to go into my freezer to die.




I was planning on saving the leeks for the fall, but it has been so dry the leeks are not happy. I harvested these leeks from the onion bed. They were supposed to be Super Star onions, so they did not get planted deeply, just the 1 inch depth I used for onion seedlings.




After being cleaned up they looked like this. Lots of green, not a lot of white, but I think they will be OK.




I mentioned to Daphne I have a neighbor who trellises his melons (I think these are melons, could be some kind of squash). Here are a couple photos of his vines. Above you can see one melon near the ground, supported by a stack of rocks. On the left is another one supported in a plastic grocery bag tied to the trellis. You can also see his vines drooping from the heat and drought.




Here is another melon/squash sitting on an inverted plastic flower pot. The white on the leaves is not PM, just lighting from the strong midday sun. It was 90+ that day.


That is what happened in my garden last week. To see what other gardeners around the world are doing, visit Daphne’s Dandelions, our host for Harvest Monday. I will not have a post next Monday because we will be camping in Maine on Mount Desert Island and attending the MDI Garlic Festival. One of the farm exhibitors will be Four Seasons Farm, the farm owned by Barbara Damrosch and Elliot Coleman.


  1. Interesting melon supports. I used to set mine on pieces of styrofoam to keep them from rotting. I should have done that this year since I lost a lot of them.

    Blender tomato sauce is all I make anymore. It is so much quicker to just plop them in there and not have to skin, seed, etc.

  2. It has been really dry. I keep thinking that I might have to water the apple trees that aren't on irrigation.

  3. You still had some lovely harvests this week, despite the lack of rain. I have been horrible about watering this year - I'm beginning to suspect that my BER problems may be related to that. This past week, I spent a good chunk of time coming up with a drip plan for the beds - something I had been meaning to do all summer. Too late for this year, but at least I'll be prepared come spring. I wish my wild grape vines would keel over - they are so invasive around here - but no such luck.

  4. Haha, stuff does die in the freezer! We made a vow last night to really work through ours (we have two dedicated freezers to garden produce--insane). This drought is turning us into a dustbowl too. Your produce looks really great despite that. Hope you have a great time at MDI, and the weather cooperates for camping. Sounds like fun. I think Four Seasons Farm was one of the vendors at the VT festival. And sorry you had to suffer thru that Pats game--one quarter was all I could stand.

  5. Those leeks look pretty nice to me! And your beets that were "too small to harvest" are bigger than most I've ever grown. Geez, I really need to weed better as I'm guessing that's my problem with the pathetically small beetroots I end up with.

  6. I know about that freezer stop on the way to the compost bin... The one thing that does reliably get used from my freezer is tomato products - sauces, purees, and paste. Those I stock up on, other stuff ends up in there out of desperation. I grew leeks this year for the first time and even though many of them bolted, they tasted so good that I have to try them again next year


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