Monday, August 15, 2016

Harvest Monday 15 August 2016

The garden benefited a bit from a few thunderstorms that dropped a little rain. These were mostly small storm cells that produced a quick shower that just evaporated immediately. We had one downpour on Friday that resulted in 1-2 inches, but a lot of that ran off the dry ground and prompted flash flood alerts. So the drought continues and daytime temperatures remain mid-90s to 100+ (35-40°C). The garden is still producing a little while  I still wait (apparently with everyone else) for peppers and tomatoes.

 

The Revolution bell peppers are starting to produce fruit. The peppers in general are doing the best in these conditions but are taking their time. The plants are stocky with lots of healthy foliage. However, they do not have a lot of time because that first killing frost is maybe 6-8 weeks away. A few of the tomatoes are starting to color, but unfortunately that is causing attacks by the birds. I doubt they are finding many wild berries in these dry conditions,. I picked a green tomato with a bird peck since it will just rot if left on the vine. I also picked the one next to it which was showing some coloring to see if I could ripen it on the counter.



This is a Pink Berkeley Tie-dye starting to show its green stripes. I am really looking forward to trying one of these so I need to try deploying some bird netting. The marketing hype on these says that 10 out of 10 customers at a farmers market taste-off preferred the flavor of these to Cherokee Purple. And so far other than the bird pecks, the fruits are perfect, no cracks or cat-facing or BER.





The Black Beauty tomatoes continue to size up but I still have no idea when one is ripe. I have tried squeezing them gently but so far they are all rock hard. The birds did attack these as well, eating half a mid-size tomato. That tomato's insides were green at the stem end and slightly pink at the blossom end, so no where near ripe.

 

These are the first two of my flea-bitten Golden Acre cabbages.  This is an heirloom compact cabbage that can be grown in a square foot, which makes it perfect for raised bed gardens. The cabbage on the right was my target since it had formed a dense head. Then I noticed the cabbage on the left had developed an elongated head and I was worried that was a sign of bolting, so it was harvested as well. They weighed a pound and a quarter and a pound and a half (.57 and .68 kg.), which is a nice size for home use. Initially the flea beetles were not a problem because they don't like the waxy surface of the leaves. But once their preferred targets were harvested or killed by the drought, they developed a new fondness for cabbage leaves, but damage was mostly to the edges of the outer leaves.

 

I declared the Red Wing onions to be done. They have not flopped but the foliage was looking sad and thrip-damaged, so I pulled them and laid them out to cure a few days in the sun. This happened last year with the Red Zeppelin onions. The red onions always take much longer than yellow to mature. Dixondale Farms says 100-120 days for Red Wing, 110 days for Copra. Both are long-day varieties which require long daylight hours to develop bulbs, which starts when the days shorten. They also warn that Red Wing requires a minimum of 15-hour days to bulb, which is no problem here. We get 15+ hour days in June and now in August that has dropped to 14 hours.

 

The Copra onions harvested a few weeks ago were cleaned and trimmed and put away in the basement. They were not particularly big, which is not surprising given the dry conditions, but they were very health. Thirty-one onions from 6 squares weighed in at 5.44 pounds (2.5 kg). I am thinking I will plant more onions next year so I produce more of my onion needs. I wasted a lot of garden space and my time trying to grow crops like beans, peas and turnips that failed in these dry conditions. Onions have been more reliable.

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

10 comments:

  1. Looking at your lovely onions makes me think we should harvest ours. Normally we would have by now, but since I grew them from seed rather than the usual sets, I'm not sure of the timing. All your other crops look really good, especially considering the challenging year we've had.

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  2. I've made a note of the cabbages - that's one veg I haven't tried yet, but I'm really intrigued by the small size as whenever I purchase a regular sized cabbage, a good chunk of it inevitably ends up languishing in the refrigerator.

    And your onions are looking great - I'm likely going to harvest a few of the Ailsa Craigs today, before the rain that is expected tonight/tomorrow. And about those rains - they are predicting a LOT of rain...Mother Nature apparently doesn't believe in moderation this year.

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    1. The 10-day forecast here says zip chance of rain. Best chance is Tuesday for a quick thundershower.

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  3. Your summer weather sounds just awful. It's a little hard for me to grasp that you can go from scorching heat to the first frost in 6 to 8 weeks, your seasons change so quickly compared to what happens here. I might have to try Golden Acre cabbage, I've been growing a hybrid small cabbage, it would be nice to have an heirloom in the lineup too. Interesting that the red onions take longer for you, it's the opposite for me, the red ones were generally first to be ready to lift but perhaps the problem with the yellow ones here is that most of them bolt.

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    1. Doesn't matter what the average temperature is. All it takes is one overnight freeze to kill everything. This happens a lot here. We had a mild winter with February temps in the 70s, but one night it got to -15 and the entire New England peach crop was eliminated. I like the Golden Acre cabbage, it did very well considering this lousy summer and I will grow it again.

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  4. I've heard about the Pink Berkeley tomatoes but never seen one other than online or in a catalog. I hope you get some to ripen on the vine. I grew Indigo Rose one year and had a hard time telling when they were ripe. It's too bad the birds are after them, but it's not surprising given the drought. It's raining again here today, I'd send some your way if I could.

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    1. I needed another large tomato to plant and PBTD was an impulse buy. Now I'm anxious to get one to taste. Ditto for Black Beauty, which are supposed to have great taste unlike Indigo Rose.

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  5. I'm also intrigued by the Pink Berkeley and look forward to hearing a taste report. Hopefully the birds with let some of them ripen. It sounds as hot and miserable up there as it is here in SC, but we should have at least 12 weeks until a frost. Perhaps you at least have a little less humidity.

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    1. Not really, humidity was 90% overnight but has dried out to about 71% now. The high humidity keeps it from cooling off at night, makes for poor sleeping weather.

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  6. Catfacing! I had to look that up as I didn't know what it was but have certainly had it before. Yes, I guess the wildlife will be after most people's goodies with the dry conditions.

    I love your tomato varieties, especially the look of the Black Beauty. They would look wonderful in a tomato salad.

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