This week’s harvest included a few firsts: our first ripe tomato of the year, our first garlic harvest ever, and our first ripe cherries ever!
I am amazed we have any tomatoes at all. Not only because they are difficult to grow around here because of all our rain and lack of sunlight, but because I about killed all my plants by putting them out too early. I had 45 plants and I was able to salvage 8. So the 8 that made it are survivors and I should try to save seed from them! There are 4 Siletz and 4 Legend. The Siletz have many more little fruit than the Legend at this point in the year. I had to harvest these two a little early as they split or had slugs eating on them. Darn those slugs! I need to get my beer traps out there. Right now I’ve just been hand picking and tossing to the chickens, but there are a lot of them.
The 3 zucchini plants are doing well and giving us nice sized zucchini. I try to keep a close eye on them and harvest them before they get too big because I want the plants to continue to produce. If you leave the zucchini on too long and they get too big, the plant will slow down or stop producing as it thinks it has fulfilled it’s mission to set seed. This week I made Zucchini Pizza Casserole and Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread – both were good.
I pulled the last of the rhubarb I will harvest this year. I had one of the stalks that was hollow, but the rest were still great. I didn’t want to pull too many from the younger plants I moved this spring. Next year they will be bigger and I will harvest more. The older plants will need to be divided this fall or next spring.
I noticed the cherries were red now and I really wanted to pick them, but the tree is on a hill and is way taller than I am. I thought about it a little…not safe to try to set up a ladder. So I scrounged up some items and made a picking apparatus with a long handle – similar in concept to an apple picker. It worked good enough to get about a pound of cherries off the tree. Now these are pie cherries, not sweet cherries, so I made them into some Cherry Rhubarb Jam. There are more to ripen on the tree still too! I picked the few pickling cucumbers that were of a good size and made 2 pints of Bread and Butter Pickles. I hope the plants give me a few more cucumbers before they give up.
There were two bunches of tomatoes that ripened up at the same time. I cut them off and plan to make some salsa with them. I accidentally cut off a green one too – darn it. I pulled three Yukon Gold potato plants. I had discovered a couple small potatoes that we missed harvesting last year when I was planting this spring, so I tucked them in between the tomato plants. They grew tall and were starting to die off, so I pulled them and found 2 pounds of potatoes.
Yesterday the sun was out and I decided to take the cover off the onion bed that has been on all season and get the little onions harvested. I had planted nasturtium seeds in three strips between the kinds of onions in hopes they would help to repel the bugs that cause onion maggots. Well, that was a big mistake! The nasturtiums loved the fertile soil so much, they were huge and pushing over my poor onions! I had discovered this and ripped them out a few weeks ago. I was hoping the onions would bounce back and continue to grow larger bulbs. But they didn’t. So I was thinking I didn’t have any onions because I couldn’t see the bulbs. I was happy to find little bulbs on each one as I dug them up. They aren’t huge, but they will do and I have about 200 of them! I would like to set some of the smaller ones aside and make homemade onion powder with them. The rest I spread on trays and have them on a shelf to dry for a few weeks. I will then transfer them to mesh bags for storage.
With the nice weather, I also decided it was time to harvest the garlic. This is our first garlic successfully grown! Last spring I planted some cloves, not knowing that I needed to plant in the fall instead of the spring. They got greens, but didn’t bulb out. So last September I planted this current crop of garlic and covered with a layer of straw for the winter. They popped right up this spring and were happy plants that didn’t demand much time from me.
This is my largest head – not bad! I lifted out 43 heads and spread them on trays also to dry and cure for a few weeks. I will select the largest ones to replant this September. Rod wants to double the amount we grew this year. Maybe add in another variety?
Here is my shelf of curing onion and garlic heads (same shelf I used earlier this year to start all my seedlings). It is in a dark, cooler area. We have a dehumidifier running and a fan on them to help them dry out.
I debated on how to include the onion and garlic poundage. I weighed them and used half their weight. When they are cured, the greens and roots will get trimmed off and I will re-weigh and make adjustments as necessary. So this week’s total was 27 pounds, bringing our yearly total up to 114 pounds. Almost as much as last week’s. I have some processing to do…love it!
Want to see what other’s around the country are harvesting? Visit Harvest Monday at Daphne’s Dandelions.