Thursday, August 29, 2013

Summer Harvest

Here are the Roost we are busy harvesting from our summer of 2013 garden. A few things didn't pan out as much as we had hoped, and the constant overload of rain we received caused some mildew and mold problems. But, overall we did pretty well with trying to improve our harvest from last year.

The spring season was perhaps our best yet with a constant supply of lettuce and TONS of kale and collards. We also harvested onions and radishes for the first time this spring and our garlic crop turned out rather well too.

Below are some highlights from our gardening efforts:

Cucumbers: We had a great harvest in the beginning with tons of fruit coming in, but eventually from all the rain the leaves succumbed to mildew and the plants died back. We planted more cucumbers so hopefully we'll get another big late summer harvest. I made refrigerator pickles and canned relish with our cucumbers this year.

Green Beans ("lazy wife greasy bean," half-runners, and rattlesnake beans)
The beans have grown wonderfully this year! We have been blessed with basketfuls every couple of days or so during the growing season. In addition to eating them fresh, we plan to dry a bunch for shuck beans and also preserve some in jars.

Note to self: do NOT place basket on porch railing while harvesting green beans or the turkeys WILL try to eat them!

Our Squash plants were pretty much our only major failure this year. They were all growing beautifully with leaves and flowers, but no fruit was being produced except for some zucchini. We figured out it was probably squash borers that go through the stems of the plants that caused this. Surprisingly, we do have some pumpkins actually producing a couple of fruits as well as a mystery squash.

We were pleasantly surprised with how well our Potatoes did and wish we had planted more. In a very small space, we planted yukon gold slips and reaped a very good harvest! They are so yummy. We also planted sweet potatoes along the edge of the screened in porch

Tomatoes (Romas for canning and heirlooms for eating)
Several of the tomato plants didn't make it and died to disease, but of the ones that did we are got only one decent harvest from. It has been disappointing because as soon as they started producing they all began dying. I think the heavy rains for so long really affected them followed by the short heat wave. I always wish we had planted more tomatoes when it gets to be the middle of the summer, and the same is true this year. You can never have enough! To satiate our tomato fix, we bought a big flat of home-grown romas and some slicing tomatoes from a local farm.

the tomatoes pictured here are from our garden

This is the first year we have been able to harvest Carrots. Although a small, one-time harvest, we enjoyed them!

carrots and some potatoes just pulled from the ground earlier in the summer

Peppers (bell peppers, banana peppers, and hot peppers)
Our peppers are doing pretty decent considering everything. We've harvested mostly banana and hot peppers thus far, with a couple of bell peppers. The bell peppers on the vines will hopefully get a little bigger soon, but we aren't getting a ton simply because we didn't plant many pepper plants.

Herbs (basil, rosemary, chives, oregano, parsley, mint)
The herbs are fairing pretty well! The basil is looking great, and everything else seems to come back year after year.

The okra is starting to come in, and soon we should have a fair amount. So far I've gotten a couple of ziploc sandwich bags full of okra waiting to be pickled! You have to watch okra almost daily when a new pod starts, because it will get huge and tough very quickly. You want to pick it while it is still small to medium sized and tender.

Still growing in our garden are peppersokrasweet potatoes, beans, winter squash, zucchini and pumpkins. We plan to plant a late summer/early fall crop of lettuces and other greens as well. Some of our plants don't look too great simply because we (mostly me, especially being tired and pregnant) haven't had time to tend to the garden as much as we've wanted. The squash plants look like they are starting to get a fungus on the leaves, I've spotted squash bugs on some things, and the garden needs a good weeding.

This year we actually succeeded at succession planting, and will definitely keep it going next year. Replanting crops as they ran their full cycle supplied us with a fairly steady stream of produce to where something was ready for harvest most of the time. Even when our cucumber plants, which had already given us tons of fruit, were stunted from a powdery mildew due to all the rain, we replanted and the new growth is doing okay.

Hopefully we can keep several things going this fall if we have warm enough weather. Even if the temperature gets chilly, we can still grow a few things in the cold frame!

Happy Harvesting,

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  1. Everything looks beautiful. There's nothing better than fresh veggies and my favorite are potatoes right out of the ground and into boiling water. They're so sweet.

  2. Looks like a great harvest! I'd love to see your relish recipe!

  3. How awesome! Love the sneaky turkey trying to grab some beans :) We tried snow peas (or sugar snap, can't remember exactly which they were) and they didn't do too well, but we did get a few pods and they were delicious! Next year I want to plan better for them because they were so good and I want them to do well. Our tomatoes are really coming in now and we've gotten tons of cucumbers! I was surprised at how well the cukes did because it is our first year of growing them. Each year we learn something new!

  4. It seems that you have a great harvest in this summer. And if you want to have better harvest, you can try energy efficient grow lights. Because I have used them for a week in my garden and surprised to find that the plants were magically bigger and flourish.