21 July Weekly Update

Thievery of second ripe tomato

Thievery of second ripe tomato

Another round of thieving (and wastefulness)

Another round of thieving (and wastefulness)

More thievery happened this week.  The second ripe paste tomato also went to the squirrels who left the half-eaten evidence sitting in the garden aisle this time.  I decided to pick the three almost-ripe tomatoes and let them ripen inside as a preventative to more thieving.  But, alas, they stole a large green one the next day and left it mostly uneaten on the lawn.  I decided to wrap the ripening Early Girl in mesh to try to protect it!  I’m sure that the squirrels always steal a fair number of tomatoes each year but this year it’s particularly noticeable since tomato season isn’t so great in our region this year.

Summer squash refrigerator pickles

Summer squash refrigerator pickles

Harvest One

Harvest One

Picked early to save from thieves

Picked early to save from thieves

Salad lettuces

Salad lettuces

Cukes

Cukes

Canel russet yield

Canela russet yield

Blueberries

Blueberries

Another day

Another day

And more

And more

Just for a sandwich - lettuce

Just for a sandwich – lettuce

This week we picked:  three types of green beans, lots of cucumbers, plenty of patty pan summer squash, tomatillos, lettuce, the first butter beans, a small red banana pepper, three almost-ripe tomatoes, and a handful of blueberries.  We also dug the Canela russet potatoes which were the last of the potatoes still in the ground.  The Canela russet harvest was pretty disappointing.  I’m pretty sure we got fewer potatoes than the number of seed potatoes we planted!  I think voles got some of the seed potatoes early on and then left that box alone because there was no evidence of recent vole activity when I was digging.  But each plant tended to make one decent sized potato and one small potato – not great production but we know that russets aren’t very prolific in our area.  Hopefully the ones we did get will be uber-tasty.

As you can see from the harvest list, our front porch lettuce experiment has had a bit of success.  The “Slobolt” variety is growing OK and we cut some this week.  The other two varieties (Buttercrunch and a Salad Blend) aren’t doing as well, despite being labeled as heat resistent.  On Sunday, we decided to move one of the empty porch boxes into the basement to cool down the soil temperature for a week and next weekend we’ll seed more Slotbolt lettuce to germinate in the cooler temps of the basement before putting it out on the mostly-shaded front porch (it gets some indirect early morning and late afternoon sun, depending on which side of the porch we put the box).

We decided to seed Hakurei Turnips in one of the empty porch boxes early in the week and by the weekend, they were all germinated.  These are salad-type turnips with a milder flavor and different texture than the regular purple top turnips you see in most grocery stores.  We finally tried this type of turnip earlier this year (in a roasted vegetable medley, which is something we make fairly often) and decided we liked it.  So, of course we’re going to try to grow it.  I’m not expecting much from them in the porch box but decided to try it anyhow.  I’m expecting more from them in the Fall garden in the regular garden boxes!

We lost two of the summer squash plants – one patty pan and one zucchini – to SVBs this week.  The remaining plants all show signs of them so it’s just a matter of time now.  We’re not trying to intervene (by cutting out the borer) because the plants have slowed down at this point in the season and we have gotten plenty of squash this year.  The only exception to “plenty” being zucchini; we’ve gotten only two fruits from the three plants.  There was a small fruit on the plant that was removed but it wasn’t worth cutting.  It was the first viable fruit of that particular plant though.  For whatever reason, zucchini is not a big producer in our garden.

Butternut - trying to mature

Butternut – will *this* one make it to maturity?

The first round of cucumber plants are starting to be overtaken with the various diseases cucumber plants get in the South.  They’ll probably be around for just another week or two.  But as one type of “crop” stops producing, another starts.  Butter beans will soon be plentiful (we picked the first pods this week) and the earliest seeded field peas (Purple Hull) have started flowering so we’ll be getting field peas soon.

Apples wrapped in cheesecloth

Apples wrapped in cheesecloth

We started our Fall mustard and kales in the basement on Sunday.  We also wrapped the 13 apples on one of the apples trees in cheesecloth as a hopeful pilfering deterrent.  The last time we had apples (2 years ago due to a late freeze last year), deer ate every last one of them the day before we were going to pick them.  We’ve only ever gotten three apples from our four trees (one of which died last year) and it’s only been the one tree that has ever even produced an apple.  But we keep trying and will replace the dead tree in the Fall.

Eggplants maturing

Eggplants  – finally!!

We’d like to report that the one of us that has tried the summer squash refrigerator pickles we made last weekend (see picture above in harvest section) thinks they taste very similar to cucumber refrigerator pickles and deemed them edible, although the bread and butter style of summer squash pickle we canned last month are much better.  So we’ll be making more bread and butter style summer squash pickles very soon with all of those patty pan squash in the pictures.

Lastly, we had a wren make a nest again this year in one of our porch boxes and she successfully raised four young-uns (the same number as a couple of years ago) who flew the coop early in this week.  It’s weird how one day they’re just suddenly not there anymore.  When it happened two years ago, I thought something had eaten them but my internet searches showed that this is how wren fledglings go off into the big world – one day they’re just suddenly gone, all of them, regardless of whether one or two might be a day or two younger than the others.  No test flights, no “getting their feet wet”, just suddenly off and away.

Sweet potato vines

Sweet potato vines making their way down the aisle

Slobolt lettuce on the front (north side) porch

Slobolt lettuce on the front (north side) porch

El chaco peppers

El Chaco peppers

Early girl ripening

Early girl ripening

Cucumber on volunteer plant

Cucumber on volunteer plant

Cantaloupe melon

Cantaloupe melon

Running butternut vines

Running butternut vines

Bumper basil crop

Bumper basil crop

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14 Responses to “21 July Weekly Update”

  1. The Novice Gardener Says:

    Love all the running vines, don’t love the thievery!

  2. jenny Says:

    Love the pictures of growing veggies and truly too bad about animal damage. we have the same problem with bunnies 😦

  3. Shawn Ann Says:

    Very nice harvest. I would be harvesting those tomatoes at the first sign of ripening to keep them away from the squirrels! They have been getting my corn. Hopefully they won’t get all of it.

  4. kitsapfg Says:

    Your butternuts are running in such a straight line! My squash patch is starting to take over the garden ( as it always does ) and it is kind of fun to see the jungle emerge. Your garden is producing amazingly (as always). Such an inspiration. I hope the squirrels are thwarted by the netting and leave you tomatoes alone from here on out.

  5. Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl Says:

    Love seeing all your goodies! And who doesn’t like a good jar of pickled goodies in the fridge?

  6. Stoney Acres Says:

    A great looking week!! I love your garden. I’d love to see the recipe for those summer squash frig pickles. We are just moving into our “glut” of zucchini and I will need to do something with all the fruit I’m soon destined to have!! If you posted the recipe some where could you send me a link?

    • foodgardenkitchen Says:

      We did the refrigerator pickles (both squash and cucumbers) with a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water, purchased pickling spice (our local co-op sells a mix in bulk), and some dill from the garden.

  7. Mike R Says:

    A few days ago I watched a squirrel eat a large woody fungus. I think they will eat about anything and when they eat out of the garden it can be more than annoying. Great looking harvests.

  8. Patsy Says:

    What an amazing variety of produce you have harvested! It’s a real bummer that squirrels are eating the tomatoes. We have a ton of squirrels and if they start that I don’t know what I’ll do! So far they’ve left the garden alone.

  9. Daves's SFG Says:

    Things are looking good despite the thievery. I was wondering if your squash pickles were a bread and butter type or just the standard recipe. The dill weed in the jar should have tipped me off. Glad to hear nobody died eating them, I will have to try them when I get some zukes. And my experience with Buttercrunch, which I love, is it’s the first to bolt. I have better luck with Red Sails and Green Ice. Anyway, it is amazing you still have lettuce, great job.

    • foodgardenkitchen Says:

      We have made both refrigerator pickles and pressure canned bread and butter pickles with summer squash. The bread and butter type (we’re light on the sugar) are better than the refrigerator pickles but the refrigerator pickles are quick and easy and I thought “edible” – not something I’d write home about but something I’m willing to eat because we grew it and it needed to be preserved 🙂 The bread and butter type I’d actually serve to company…

      Thanks for the info on the lettuce!

  10. Norma Chang Says:

    Nice varied harvest. I lost all my sweet potatoes and Asian pears to thieves last year. Need to figure out a way to protest the pears this year. Love how your vines are growing in straight lines.

  11. Budding and Blooming Says:

    Those annoying squirrels! I never understand why they take green tomatoes, take a bite, and abandon them. Why don’t they learn to wait and give us a chance? I’m sad to hear that you’ve had SVBs. I got my squash planted late this year and was hoping that the vine borers were going to skip this year.

  12. Daphne Says:

    Beautiful harvests. I’m still waiting for my first cukes to make pickles. I so love pickles.

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