Monday, August 29, 2016

Harvest Monday 29 August 2016


 

I had a few random pickings from the garden last week, including the first Jimmy Nardello pepper. I continue to bring in the tomatoes as soon as they color a bit to save them from the birds. My mother-in-law had a suggestion for the birds. She used to hang red Christmas ornaments in the vines. The birds peck on the hard red ball and get frustrated. They eventually leave the tomatoes alone. Haven't tried it yet.



The Black Beauty tomatoes are starting to ripen on the counter and we have had a few. They are indeed like the Indigo series of tomatoes, where they turn black on areas of the skin exposed to sunlight and are green elsewhere. The green sections ripen to a red color. The tomatoes are tasty but not up to the hyperbole of the Baker Creek catalog. I am hoping to get one riper than this to taste but a lot of them are rotting from bird pecks so they have to be eaten sooner.



I cleaned up and weighed the Red Wing onions that were drying on the back porch. It was a good crop and I got 27 storable onions weighing 5 pounds (2.3 kg.). Largest was a half pound.These store quite well, for at least 10 months or longer.

















Unfortunately, a significant number of onions (10 onions weighing 2 pounds, about a kilo) had what looked like soft, flat spots on them. If you press on the spot it seems hard, but I kept these separate from the storage onions and will use them first.

In the garden I did get peas and spinach planted for the fall. The beds were bone dry down to the bottom so I had to re-hydrate the soil. It took 12 gallons of water to moisten 6 square feet of one bed where I put the snap peas and spinach. Unfortunately the drought continues and no rain is forecast for this week, so continuous watering of the seed beds is going to be necessary to get anything to germinate. At least the temperatures are more moderate, in the mid 80s F.

Sunday we went to the (third annual) Boston Fermentation Festival held at the Boston Public Market. I was surprised fermentation was popular enough that there was such an event. There is even a Berkshire Festival in Great Barrington in September but we will be at the MDI Garlic Festival. If you find one in your area and are interested in fermentation, they are worth attending. They have presentations and workshops. Interesting were the "mobs", where at various times and places they would set up a table with bowls and chopped vegetables and invite people to make their own jar of kraut or kimchi. And really nice, they had a starter sharing table where people would freely share their extra starters, like kombucha starter or sourdough starter. If you search for "fermentation festival" you will find events all over the country, and maybe one near you.

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











15 comments:

  1. That's a lovely basket of late-summer crops. The Red Wing onions look great; I did not know they stored that long. The Fermentation Festival sounds like fun; I did not hear about it despite being so close to Boston. We are going to the Vermont Garlic Festival next weekend. I think it would be amusing to fool the birds into pecking Christmas ornaments! Tink! Tink!

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    1. I had the Vermont festival on the calendar, but given we are going to Maine the next weekend,it's too much driving. Hope you enjoy it. But the Christmas Shop is on the agenda for some red plastic ornaments.

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  2. What a handsome harvest and I am absolutely loving the Black Beauty tomatoes, shame though not as flavourful as others that you've tried. I've only managed to harvest a few cherry tomatoes, but our fault really we have only two plants and they went in very late.

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    1. I planted late, as well, plus the weather. The Black Beauty is an OK tasting tomato, just does not match the "greatest tasting" hyperbole lof the catalog.

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  3. Those Red Wing onions look great...miles about what I ended up harvesting. I'm chalking it up to a bad onion year...I guess I was due for one.

    Great info about fermentation festivals - I had no idea that such a thing existed. I'm hoping to dabble with fermentation at some point so that would definitely be something I would be interested in. So far, doesn't look like there are any local ones, but I now know to keep an eye out.

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    1. Just do it, doesn't require any special equipment and it is easy. Dill pickles is just put some cucumbers in a jar with dill weed, garlic and pickling spice, cover with a brine (water and sea salt) and let sit for a day or two. You have pickles, better than any you can buy.

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  4. The Fermentation Festival sounds like it would be right up my alley. I Googled it and all I can find in Indiana is a beer and wine tasting kinda thing. I had somebody ask me about teaching a class to a small group, which I am considering if they can wait until later in the year. I'm no expert for sure, but it would be fun to get more people comfortable doing it.

    I've heard the ornament trick used to keep birds out of cherries too. We use old CD's tied up to spin and reflect the sun. That and aluminum pie pans seem to help keep birds away, but then I don't know how bad a problem we have here. The Redwing onions look nice. I like having them in different sizes, since you don't always need a lot of onion at one time.

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    1. I Googled the festivals and most were on the coasts, with some in New Mexico. You have to have some hippies around, but fermentation is going on everywhere. Maybe start one in your area. You could definitely teach a few classes with your experience.

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  5. Your tomatoes and peppers are just lovely. And the onion harvest looks great. With your extra dry summer, makes me wonder if the birds are pecking for moisture.

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    1. I have not had this big a problem before so I think you are right, they are after the moisture.

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  6. The Black Beauty tomatoes are pretty. I haven't tried an indigo colored tomato yet because I keep hearing that they are not really very flavorful. Wow, it is a dry year for you. I know what you are going through, the soil in the parts of my landscape where there is no irrigation gets to be rock hard also and there's no way I could maintain my vegetable garden without my drip system.

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    1. I heard the same about the Indigo tomatoes, but this tomato is not in that series and was hyped as great tasting. It's OK, but I have not had a vine ripened one because of the bird attacks. This is a historic drought for this area, normally we have a lot of rain. Drove by the Cambridge Reservoir on the way to the fermentation festival and you could walk down the northern end of it.

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  7. The ornament technique for the birds sounds like a good idea and easy to do. Getting fall seeds planted and keeping them hydrated is so hard when it is hot and dry. I'm having the same problem here. Your onions look lovely, it's a shame about the squishy ones, but it sounds like you still got a good amount.

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  8. I've never heard of a Fermentation Festival before! Fermentation seems to be catching on everywhere - I have seen lots of mentions of it on the blogs I read. The problem with the onions sounds very strange. I hope it does not affect their flavour or keeping-qualities for you.

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  9. Your onions look great, and I love the idea of a fermentation festival!

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