7 July Weekly Update

Yield from 5 Kennebec Plants

Yield from 5 Kennebec Plants

Wow, we definitely got enough rain in the past week!  More than 6 inches; and that’s on top of the plentiful amount the previous week.  Everything is very wet and we had to deal with some erosion in the center aisles and rake mulch back up the slope.

Potatoes unearthed by heavy rains

Potatoes unearthed by heavy rains

This week’s pickings were very similar to the past couple of weeks…  four potatoes on Monday that were unearthed in the torrential downpours we had on Sunday afternoon, plenty of summer squash, cucumbers, green beans and haricot vert, tomatillos, a few celery stalks, three small red cabbages, and some Kennebec new potatoes.

One day of harvests

One day of harvests

Haricot verts

Haricot verts

Another day's worth

Another day’s worth

Yup, another day

Yup, another day

Celery, squash, and a few beans

Celery, squash, and a few beans

She is going to make rouladen and “rotkohl” (braised red cabbage) along with boiled new potatoes and gravy from the rouladen for supper tonight plus some lunches during the week.  She’s planning on writing/taking pictures for tutorial-type recipe posts for both of these German dishes so, if you’re interested, check back later in the week to see if they’re up.

Early in the week, we sprayed copper fungicide on all of the various cucurbits (summer and winter squash, cucumbers, and various melons) because some of the squash in particular are showing signs of powdery mildew.  We also went ahead and did the tomatoes again as a preventative measure – they’re actually doing pretty well in the disease department at this point, maybe because we’ve been pretty diligent about spraying them regularly…

We removed one tomato plant “that was not like the others.”  It was supposed to be an Amish Paste (came out of the AP seed packet) but after it got past the transplant stage, it became pretty apparent that it wasn’t an Amish Paste.  It was obviously a determinate and it didn’t do well in our climate – a lot of disease problems.  I didn’t think it was worth trying to keep it with the potential of spreading its diseases to the other tomato plants.  There is another plant that I’m doubtful is an Amish Paste as well but so far I’m letting it stay put since it seems to be an indeterminate.  It’s like the workers at the seed factory dropped the seeds one day and just swept them up into the Amish Paste pile…

On Wednesday after work, she donned long sleeves (never fun in the NC heat but sometimes necessary to avoid irritation from the prickly stalks/vines) and cut back dead, dying, and diseased squash leaves/stalks.  We learned about three years ago that this is fairly necessary to keep pests at bay since squash bugs and stink bugs like to hide/live under the dead leaves.

We spent *a lot* on time on Friday preserving the harvests.  We canned 7 pints of diced carrots and made salsa verde (which we refrigerated until we canned it on Sunday).  We also trimmed all of the small and medium onions we pulled two weeks ago, diced them, and froze them (see here for the Onion Preservation post).  We left the larger onions on the curing “rack” for now – they’ll be used fresh in the coming months and there are about 25 or so onions that we pulled just a week ago that are still drying/curing.  PLUS we made 9-1/2 quarts of chicken stock (7 of which we froze and 2-1/2 went into a vegetable soup we made for eatin’ this week).  We save our chicken carcasses/bones in freezer bags and periodically make stock.  We do the same with duck carcasses and seafood (such as shrimp shells or any lobster/crab shells we may periodically have).  Our annual Thanksgiving turkey carcass also is made into stock.  I feel like Little House on the Prairie around here sometimes!  We use the Ball quart sized freezer containers to freeze stock and we’ve been very satisfied with them.  We used to use gallon sized zip lock bags but they have a tendency to spring leaks (which you don’t discover until you’re defrosting) and they’re messier to load up plus they don’t store as efficiently space-wise.

Carrots ready for canning

Carrots ready for canning

7 Pints of canned carrots

7 Pints of canned carrots

On Saturday we got around to making a mesh “cage” for the blueberry bush that is laden with berries, some of which have started to turn blue.  Last year we got very few berries because the birds beat us to them.  We’re trying to rectify that this year…

We sprayed everything with fish emulsion on Sunday morning and started some of the Fall crops in the basement – broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage (red and green).  Kale and mustard will be started inside in a couple of weeks and things like lettuce, carrots and beets get direct sown next month.  We have to show a bit of restraint since our Fall/winter garden will be a smaller this year since we plan to replace the large majority of our beds shortly after the first frost this Fall, so we have fewer beds available for a Fall/winter garden.

Lastly, we want to report that we put two pints of the summer squash we canned last week into the vegetable soup we made on Friday.  We wanted to make sure canning was going to result in something we’re willing to eat before we potentially can more…  We deemed the squash to be perfectly fine to add to things like soup, pasta sauces, or casseroles.  We added it in the last 10 minutes of simmering to heat it through.  You probably don’t want to cook canned squash for very long or it will break apart too much.  We’re glad to have discovered that we can pressure can plain summer squash for acceptable uses later in the year since our abundant squash season usually ends very abruptly once the squash vine borers become active.  For anyone interested in attempting to can summer squash:  we packed uncooked diced summer squash into pint jars, added a tablespoon of white vinegar per jar, and boiling water to top off.  We then processed the jars in a pressure canner at 15 psi for 12 minutes.  Our internet research tended to indicate that if you cook the squash at all before putting it in the jars you’re likely to end up with mush.  We can see how this can happen since the canned squash we opened is plenty soft after 12 minutes at 15 psi.

Canned haricot vert & summer squash

Canned haricot vert & summer squash

Watermelon plants

Watermelon plants

Tomatoes waiting to be painted red

Tomatoes waiting to be painted red

Sweet potatoes vining out

Sweet potatoes vining out

Patty pans

Patty pans on the vine

Paste tomatoes waiting for the red fairies

Paste tomatoes waiting for the red fairies

Netting cage for blueberries

Netting cage for blueberries

Close up of blueberries

Close up of blueberries

Lettuce experiment on the mostly shaded (north facing) front porch

Lettuce experiment on the mostly shaded (north facing) front porch

Jalapeno pepper

Jalapeno pepper

Serrano Peppers

Serrano Peppers

Green bell peppers

Green bell pepper

Garden 1

Garden 1

First coneflowers

First coneflowers

Fig Trees

Fig Trees have gotten quite large!

A fig

A fig

Eggplant flower

Eggplant flower and buds

Day lilies!

Day lilies!

Day Lily!

Day Lily!

Cilantro experiment - wilted in the Heat

Cilantro experiment – wilted in the Heat

Butter beans - 7 days old

Butter beans – seeded 7 days ago

Apples

Apples

Enjoy!

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12 Responses to “7 July Weekly Update”

  1. Jenny Says:

    Your garden looks beautiful and you’re getting really nice harvest! Too bad about so much rain though.

  2. kitsapFG Says:

    You guys sure got a lot of rain. We are in our dry season and I am actually having to water regularly at the moment. I won’t complain though as we only get about two months a year of “dry” and the rest is rather wet in comparison to most other regions. The patty pan squash seems to be doing you proud – lots and lots of that in your daily harvests! It sounds like your preservation efforts are in overdrive already. So much coming from your garden and it all has to be dealt with – feels a bit overwhelming during the height of the summer harvest season.

    • foodgardenkitchen Says:

      It *can* feel overwhelming sometimes – wait until we’re shelling butter beans and field peas every evening – but always satisfying at the end of the year…

      We’re glad we discovered that canning summer squash for use in soups and pasta sauces is going to work for us. Even so, we’ve begun foisting some off on unsuspecting family members and co-workers 🙂 We’re having a really good summer squash year though, in past years the SVB had sometimes already done them in.

  3. Stoney Acres Says:

    Great looking harvest for the week. Wow 6 inches of rain! We got about 1 1/2 this week and feel like we are drowning I can’t imagine 6!

  4. Kentucky Fried Garden Says:

    Wow, your patty pan and cucumbers are going strong!

    Usually my summer squash are only able to produce a few fruits before the vine borers get them, but this year I haven’t seen a single vine borer yet. Cross my fingers. I do like the flesh of patty pan’s compared to yellow squash, they seem firmer with almost a nutty flavor.

    • foodgardenkitchen Says:

      I haven’t seen a SVB yet either and some years the summer squash have already succumbed to them by now. Of course, we always have tomatoes by now too and have no red ones yet. Probably because of the long, cool spring (which meant we were able to grow decent cauliflower and broccoli this year; it’s always a trade-off…)

      I agree that the patty pans have a good texture and are more “forgiving” if you don’t harvest them one day (so they get bigger than you’d normally like), but taste-wise, the summer squash are all pretty similar to me.

  5. Patsy Says:

    Beautiful garden and I enjoyed seeing all that you do with it! Rotkohl and Rouladen are favorites in our family, because I grew up with a German mom. They are my sons’ favorites when they ask for a special meal! I just wish I had better success growing red cabbage. Regular cabbage is a cinch, but I’ve yet to grow a decent sized head of the red, though I try every year!

  6. Barbie Says:

    APPLES! HipHIpHORRAY! I hope next year to finally get some sort of crop of apples. Even if only a few. *sigh* My fav! Lovely harvests.

  7. Dave Says:

    Wow, you do have a lot going on! I know what you mean about the “Little House” thing. Sometimes I feel like I know the Ball Blue Book by heart!

  8. Shawn Ann Says:

    Your harvest and garden are looking beautiful. Lots of stuff going on. I would love to have a fig tree. One of these days I am going to break down and get one!

  9. mac Says:

    Bountiful harvest and beautiful garden you have there, I’ll have to give the white patty pan squash a go next year, I don’t care much for the regular zucchini.

  10. Hannah Says:

    Your harvest looks great. I admire all your industry canning squash and carrots. I depend on some of the hardier greens like turnips for late fall crops, the Italian violet necked oval ones were sometimes 3 lbs. last year. Turnips also can live through the winter here and give me late winter greens and sprouts as well.

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