Monday, July 18, 2016

Harvest Monday 18 July 2016

It has been pretty hot and dry, enough to cause this brown bat to move out of its apartment and hang out on the cool concrete wall of the garage in the shade under the deck. It is hanging upside down, you can see its ears at the bottom. I wonder what it is eating? It is so dry I don't remember seeing a mosquito this year, nor a single black fly or deer fly. But I have already had two deer tick bites, ouch, and this is prime Lyme disease territory.

How dry is it? We are in one of the worst droughts we have had in awhile. I can not find the rainfall amounts for Bolton, seems they are a secret. I did find one article that said Worcester (city or county not specified) had 6.5 inches (17 cm) of rain since January 1st. Consider that includes snow fall and that number is astounding. We get an average of 4+ inches (10 cm) of rain per month (48-53 inches/1.2-1.35 m per year). For the first half of the year we have received 1/4 our normal rainfall, and a lot of that was snow during the winter.

 I really need to water the garden every day but can not always get there. It takes me two hours to water the two plots, but that does not do as thorough a job as a day long soaking rain. Most plants are getting stressed. The peas look poorly and all of the greens and brassicas are hating this weather. The harvest this week reflects the need to get things out of the garden before they are ruined. So lots of root vegetables and greens.

 This is the total turnip harvest so far this year. With the dry weather, I had poor germination, so initially these were the only seeds that germinated. I re-seeded and got a few more to germinate but they are hating their life. You would not call these "salad" turnips, so they were boiled and mashed with some of the Purpelette onions browned in butter.

Lots of beets: Touchstone Gold, Paonazza D'Egitto, and a single Shiraz in the middle.

Kohlrabi and some small Korean radishes.

I was late in harvesting the second two Blue Wind broccoli, so they looked like this. I just chopped them up with the scallions and some snow peas and a gifted zucchini and made a Thai red curry. This bolting Romaine lettuce was used with a Webbs Wonderful crisphead lettuce to make a Rich and Charlie's Famous Salad that we had for dinner. Just piled our plates sky high and made a meal of it, with no cooking involved. I had a chance to try the salad at the restaurant in St. Louis this May and have to modestly say, my version is much better.

More beets.

I harvested two of the Minuet Napa cabbages and the last Winter Density Romaine, which was bolting. After cleaning, each Minuet weighed a pound and a half  (0.7 kg). I plan to use these two to make sauerkraut.

Here is a Minuet from the top. You can see it headed and blanched nicely without my having to tie it up.

More kohlrabi. I am getting enough this year that I need to find some more recipes for kohlrabi besides eating it raw with a dip. I may try a variant of Bratkartoffeln, basically diced bacon, onions and kohlrabi fried until all is nicely browned and crisp.

The little radish here was bolting so that lead me to harvesting this batch of Alpine Korean radishes. These radishes are a type of daikon but they grow fatter and shorter than Japanese daikon and are juicier and crunchier. The larger two radishes weighed 1.25 pounds (0.6 kg) each, but that is petite by Korean radish standards. The "real" ones get over a foot long and 6 inches in diameter. I may try making kkakdugi with them, a type of kimchi made from diced radish instead of cabbage.

The Black Beauty tomatoes from Baker Creek are starting to set fruits. The very young fruits are green but they turn black very quickly. I am looking forward to trying these, but I have to figure out how to tell when they are ripe.

The Black Beauty tomatoes sucker a lot but this one is crazy. After cleaning out all the suckers from the base, I found this. It is three or four flower trusses growing out from the base of the plant, with the stems all fused together. I left it just to see what it is going to do. There are over a dozen flowers on this thing and the fruits are supposed to get quite large.

That's what happened in my garden last week. To see what other gardeners around the world are doing, visit Dave at Our Happy Acres, our host for Harvest Monday


  1. Two tick bites, ouch is right, hope you are OK. We are in tick country also. Like you we are experiencing the worst drought not to mention the relentless heat, good for sweet potatoes so I am hoping for a good harvest.

    1. The ticks came off easily and were not embedded so hopefully I am OK. No sweet potatoes but the peppers like the weather. Fortunately it is not hot enough to cause blossom drop.

  2. Beautiful harvests Dave. The Black Beauty really looks nice; but you're right--when is it ripe? Love the bat photo. Few mosquitoes here, but the deer flies are rampant. So far no tick bites for me this year, because I've caught them in time, but every venture outdoors to the non-mowed areas runs the risk. Drought here too of course.

  3. Well, you seem to have got some pretty decent veg, despite the challenging weather. We have the opposite problems over here. Today it is over 30C for the first time this year. We have had a fair bit of rain too, but it has fallen in torrential bursts, so a lot of it just runs away and is wasted. I guess with the Black Beauty tomato you are going to have to judge ripeness by feel rather than colour.

  4. Dry I can deal with, that's the norm here, but not the heat, ugh. That poor bat must have been desperate to come out during the day. There's ticks here too but fortunately Lyme is less of a problem because of our Western Fence Lizards, Lyme is killed in any tick that feeds on one of those lizards, but I'm always cautious about the ticks anyway. Have you tried using bug repellent? I rarely spend any significant time in my garden without applying some Picaridin (much better than Deet in my opinion, it doesn't stink or stain your clothes). The Black Beauty tomato is beautiful, I'm sure the color will change to some degree when it ripens, it will be interesting to see how it turns out.

  5. I lost count of how many tick bites I've had this summer. It seems Lyme is rather common around here. My husband had what looked like the rash and bad headaches a few years ago and the doctors didn't even bother to test for it. They just gave him antibiotics. My niece had it when she was young and then a co-workers wife that is older was having what the doctors thought was early signs of dementia. Luckily a doctor finally thought to test and she had Lyme for no telling how many years. Scary!
    I hope some rain comes your way. We had our worst drought in (I can't remember how many they said) years in 2015. Then it of course had to end with historical flooding. Luckily this year has been more normal with rainfall. Is there anyway you can get some drip irrigation set-up? It makes watering much easier.

  6. It will be interesting to see how those Black Beauty tomatoes taste. That's one I never heard of before. We have ticks here too, though Lyme disease is not a big problem. Still, I don't want them on me. We use the Picaridin repellent too (Sawyers) and it seems to work well for mosquitoes and ticks, as long as I remember to use it.

    6.5 inches is not much precip at all. I would gladly share some of our excess, since much of it runs off to the river! You should be able to get info from Weather Underground, if you can find a station close to you. If so you can go into history and choose a custom period from 1/1/16 to today and see the total rainfall. We have had 30.5 inches in 2016, more than average for sure.

  7. Your beets, cabbages, and radishes look so good. And you're getting lots of kohlrabi. Our kohlrabi our just starting to swell after being in the ground forever.

    I hope your drought breaks soon, watering a garden in the heat is such a huge chore. I have to say, that's a great picture of the bat. Hopefully he/she is able to find enough food.

  8. What a shame about the drought, hope you get rain soon. I agree, "hand" watering is never as good as a day long rain. We had a very dry spring but have welcomed rainy days at least once a week recently.

    Lyme disease freaks me out ... it's not as bad here as where I used to live but that wasn't that far away and it moves further east every year.

    I love the beets and glad you are still getting lots of variety with all the heat and dry weather.

  9. Please keep us updated on the black tomatoes. My son gave us a Blackest Cherry plant and I picked the first tomato way too soon, awful taste but a beautiful blue-black color. I'll go by feel from now on.
    Sarah in smokey California


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