Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Mid-July Harvest

 The garden is producing such bounty these days - and it's not even tomato season yet (aside from the first few cherries that have been snagged by the kids).  At times it can seem pretty overwhelming, especially when you have a drawer full of summer squash in the fridge.  What we haven't given away, I've been able to preserve.  I've dehydrated some of our zucchini for winter soups and have also shredded and frozen a lot of it as well. 

 We also have a few jars of homemade fresh dill pickles in the fridge.  I used to can my pickles but it felt like a lot of work and the end result was good but not great, simply because I personally prefer uncooked refrigerator pickles.  Now we simply try to enjoy our pickles while cucumbers are in season.  In this state, they have a shelf life of a couple months stored in the fridge, though we can easily go through a large jar a week.  And when the garden stops producing cucumbers, I start pickling the late season green tomatoes that will never ripen in time. 

 I've also started to freeze a lot of my runner beans, which I imagine will be really good cooked in hearty stews and soups. 

I picked the last of our black currants this week.  Considering that I started my plants from 12 inch cuttings two years ago, I'm really happy with how well they've produced.  Next year should be even better.

 Our French beans and Hungarian wax peppers are starting to come in as well.  I usually roast the peppers to use in salsas or make pickled hots with them.   They seem particularly spicy this year.

 My garlic is drying nicely, though I'm a bit disappointed with the harvest this year.  The bulbs are a bit smaller than what we've been accustomed to and I really have no one to blame but myself. Since I didn't mulch the bed, the weeds took over and ended up diverting a lot of the nutrients from the plants.  Next year, I'll be sure to mulch.

This year has also not been a great one for spring sown carrots.  Mine are growing particularly slow and the roots themselves are only about 4-5 inches long.  Hopefully, our winter carrots will do better.  
 Our blueberries are starting to ripen as well. 

 Despite the voracious robins in our yard, we've been able to pick a decent amount from the three bushes I planted last fall.  Next year, I'll have to invest in some netting. (Either that or plant more bushes.)

Finally, it's been a few years since I've grown chamomile.  I've even forgotten when you're supposed to pick them.  The flowers smell nice so that should be a good indicator I guess.  Hopefully they'll produce a tea that's worth drinking.

15 comments:

  1. What a nice harvest. I love the chamomile, I never thought about growing that and I love chamomile tea! I will have to try that next year (or this Fall). Do you have an easy fridge pickle recipe?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do! For the brine - I use 1 cup of white vinegar, 2 cups of water, 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 2 small garlic cloves split in half, 1/2 teaspoon of yellow mustard seeds and a good handful of dill. The recipe is easily halved or multiplied. It's my go to brine recipe for dill pickles. My son said today how much better he likes our pickles compared to store bought. Can't beat that kind of endorsement.

      Delete
  2. Lovely harvests. I wish my blueberries would produce like that. I just don't seem to be able to grow them well.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Currants via cuttings... Oh how I wish I knew someone close with them. I've been dying to try them, but they don't grow locally. I want to plant them in Alabama.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Nice harvest, I just transplanted my summer squash few days ago hoping to escape the onslaught of squash bugs, I already lost my kabocha pumpkin to them, they are now congregating on my cucumber plants, my after dinner entertainment is to find those bugs and duct tape them, yes duct tape works well in picking up those eggs and bugs.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Your carrots and garlic look great, even if they aren't up to your expectations. But I most admire your currants and blueberries, just beautiful. I used to make pickles with my gluts, but the truth is that I'm just not a big pickle fan. I've watched more jars of pickles go bad in the fridge while taking up valuable space, so no more pickles for me. In spite of that I'm always tempted to whip up a batch when I see a beautiful jar of them like yours.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Gorgeous harvests. I'd say your garlic looks wonderful. You should see some of my bulbs - you would think they were one big clove instead of a bulb. Roasting the hot peppers for salsa is such a great idea! I'll definitely be doing that this summer.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Love those blueberries and currants! I'm with you on canning pickles. I used to can lots of them, but I've come to prefer the refrigerator version better. I feel your pain on the garlic too. Mine got weedy at the very end, despite having weeded the bed three times this year. I needed more mulch.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great looking harvest. I'm with you on eschewing water bath canning on hot summer days. In other words, I prefer refrigerator pickles. I use a half sour recipe from the Victory Garden Cookbook for cucumber pickles. I'm going to try a more conventional refrigerator pickle recipe as well, since I can start with some snap peas I have and add whatever else from the garden.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hello Thomas, I am quite envious of your squash production in your garden. As I am pretty new in gardening, I am not sure if blossom end rot is normal. I have two Romanesca plants and so far only one zucchini made it into maturity without rotting. All the others were small and rotted. I am wondering if this is just a phase that the plant goes through and it will provide normal bountiful production later. Do you have any recommendation to improve the normal production of squash? Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmm....it definitely is possible to get blossom end rot on zucchini. You may have a calcium deficiency. Consider amending the soil with crushed egg shells next year. When I plant my tomatoes, I will usually add 3 crushed calcium tablets in the planting hole. Another possibility is that the female flowers were not pollinated. If you do not see bees hovering about early in the morning when the flowers are open, you should consider hand-pollinating your female flowers with pollen from the male flowers.

      Delete
    2. Thomas, thank you for your inputs. I will be adding egg shells next year. Are the calcium tablets same as regular calcium vitamin that we eat? Or is there a specific ones for vegetables?

      Delete
  10. Beautiful harvest! Those pickles look so yummy - - I'm with you on the appeal of refrigerator pickles vs. canning, they go so quickly that it's not worth the effort when the former is so delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I need to switch to refrigerator pickles, but now my family and friends expect pickles from me. Canning pickles is on my to do list today and I don't seem to have the motivation for it. Come to think of it, it was on my to do list yesterday as well! Those chamomile flowers look lovely. I'm sure they will make a nice tea when winter arrives. And I understand that overwhelmed feeling, currently my refrigerator is bursting with cucumbers.

    ReplyDelete
  12. تعتمد شركة ركن البيت على افضل الخدمات الاساسية المميزة التى تساعد فى الوصول الى افضل النتائج المميزة التى تؤدي الغرض المطلوب حيث لدينا شركة تنظيف بالرياض تساعد فى تحقيق افضل ما هو مطلوب في خدمات النظافة بعيد عن اعمال التنظيف اليدوية التي تستخدم اساليب فعليك ان تتعاون وتتصل بنا في شركتنا حيث يمكنك الاستعانة بخدمة تنظيف الفلل من خلال التواصل مع قسم شركة تنظيف فلل بالرياض التي تحقق كل ما هو جيد في اعمال التنظيف والسعى الى التنظيف من الالف الى الياء كما يوجد لدينا خدمات اخري في النظافة مثلا تنظيف الخزانات التي تحتاج الي مختص فني في تقديم اعمال نظافة الخزنات من خلال شركة تنظيف خزانات بالرياض
    التي لديها خدمة متخصصة في القضاء علي البكتريا والرواسب التي توجد في قاع الخزانات من خلال شركة تسمي المتميزة في التعقيم والتظهر للحصول علي كل ما هو صحي من خلال شراء اغلى انواع المنظفات والمساحيق والمعطرات المميزة التى تساعد فى الوصول الى اى نتيجة يرغب العميل بها فشركة ركن البيت هى افضل الشركات التى تهتم باعمال التنظيف لمنزلك التي توجد لديك مثل خدمة شركة تنظيف مسابح بالرياض مهما كانت مساحته ومهما كانت درجة الاتساخ فلاتتردد فى التعامل معنا لدينا خدمات اخري يمكنك متابعتها مثلا بعض الناس يعتمدون علي شركة مكافحة حشرات بالرياض والتي تعتبر من افضل الخدمات الاساسية داخل مدينة الرياض التي تحتاج عناية شديدة في اعمالها من خلال تعاملها مع قسم شركة رش مبيدات بالرياض والتي يستخدم مبيدات طبيعية والتي تقتل جميع الحشرات المنزلية مثل الصراصير والنمل الابض والفئران بالاضافة الى ان الشركة تهتم بتوفير افضل الخدمات الاساسية فى اعمال الرش فاذا كنت فى اى مكان وتعانى من وجود حشرات فعليك التخلص منه من خلال شركتنا المتميزة

    ReplyDelete