Monday, September 14, 2009

Late Summer Harvest 2009

With our events starting up this month, school, baseball, and piano lessons underway, and the spring catalog copy deadline looming, it's a safe bet that I won't be spending as much time in the garden or in blogland. Still, we can't let the season pass without a harvest update. My last veggie garden update was way back in July when everything was still green.

I can't say that I really had an abundance of anything but cucumber and zucchini (I was even able to share a few with friends), but I doubt I spent more than $20 on non-fruit produce these past few months.

When I returned from vacation, the Kentucky Wonder pole beans had grown up, and the tomatoes continue to ripen steadily.You can see the pole bean teepee on the right in this photo.

The Purple Rain carrots ( or should I call them Purple RainBOW) were small, but gorgeous.
Look at them sliced. They retain their purple color when cooked, too, unlike some of the other purple veggies.The purple peppers are "Lilac" and the red/green ones are "Carmen." Neither produced as well as I'd hoped - maybe the location was too shady. Check out the canteloupe - this variety is Minnesota Midget. I got three of them about the size of a grapefruit.

My theory about why the carrots are stubby: The bed was very shallow and the soil underneath was dense and clay-like. Next year the beds will be deeper and hopefully that will encourage the carrots to be a little longer!
The zucchini varieties included "Cashflow" and "Jackpot". A couple of them petered out in late August, but two of the vines may have a few more fruits coming! The cucumbers seem to be getting a second wind, too.

Here are my first figs. There are about 8 more still to ripen.

In this photo, from mid-August, I was still harvesting lettuce. It got pretty bitter toward the end of the summer. I tried different methods and discovered that by soaking the lettuce in cold water in the fridge overnight, some of the bitterness could be reduced. I should have sowed continuously throughout the summer, to keep the plants young.

Other things I'll do differently next year: plant the broccoli and tomatoes in a sunnier place, put the lettuce in part shade and sow continuously, find another staking system for my tomatoes (everything keeled over!), stick with the standard (not burpless) cucumbers, grow Swiss Chard, start arugula earlier, order kale and collard seeds, put in more onions, keep the dog away from the snap peas, no more morning glory teepees. I plan to get me some San Marzano tomatoes, Brandywine and Sungold. I won't be growing Jet Star, Ponderosa, or large red cherry - they didn't have good yields here.

Purple Cherokee and Celebrity here, my two star producers.

To be honest, I don't find the Purples as appetizing looking. There's something about a deep red color in midsummer..... these didn't quite cut it.

Some things I'll repeat: red lettuce, surrounding beds to prevent slugs, Midget varieties of pumpkins and melon, herbs in the bottle bed, more edamame, For tomatoes, repeat Vintage Wine, Italian Tree, Super 100, Celebrity and Purple Cherokee, all good varieties.

A Purple Hyacinth Bean pod.

Tricolor beans and edamame.

In the raised bottle herb bed, clockwise from noon: Italian oregano, Vietnames cilantro, Anise Hyssop, Purple Opal Basil, Genovese Basil, Giant Leaf Parsley, Lovage, Sage (purple and green), Lemon thyme, lemon verbena, Catmint, and in the center chocolate mint and spearmint in a container. Since this photo was taken I've added marjoram and garlic chives.

A long shot of the yard. In the foreground you can see the raised bed with the red lettuce, the raised bottle herb bed and then the cuke trellis.

Here's my deck at the end of August, waiting for the sunflowers to bloom.

Time to hang the birdfeeders back up!


Lzyjo said...

WOW! Your herb garden looks fantastic! Those are the prettiest carrots I've ever seen!

Bangchik and Kakdah said...

I would agree with your theory on stubby carrots. But they look handsome in their own way... ~bangchik

Joanne said...

Hey JGH, Love the new blog template, the postcard feel really transports!

Given the inadequate growing conditions this summer, your gardens look amazing. I grow Jet Stars each year, and this year they did terrible too, but I would have to say this was the first time they did so. I'm guessing it was the July month of constant rain that did them in. :( We've already taken down the plants and packed up the stakes.

Gail said...

Hey there~~You do have a fantastic herb garden and I am totally intrigued with the purple carrots. I want to know if eating a purple carrot makes it taste different! I had mashed purple sweet potatoes the other day. They tasted just like the orange ones;-) gail

Catskill Snap said...

spectacular garden! lots of cool details.

Pam at HMG said...

That's a pretty decent harvest. And yum, figs! I am also looking forward to next year, to correct all the mistakes I made and to experiment with different varieties and ditch those that didn't work. We'll have to compare notes in person!

Pam J. said...

Everything looks great! I have another tomato to suggest for next year's garden: Kellogg Breakfast heirloom tomatoes. I planted seeds last year and got a nice crop. The tomatoes are yellow-orange, quite large, and oh-so-delicious. This year I didn't plant that type but many plants came up anyway---from seeds in my compost? Re-seeds from last year? I dunno. I just know that my volunteer Kelloggs were better than any tomatoes grown from new seeds planted this year.

Anonymous said...

Goodness what a beautiful harvest of vegetables and your gardens are sweet as can be. I am really impressed with your presentation style even if it's the simplest of subjects. Like the picture of you holding the carrots in your hand--well I just love that. It all looks yummy.

Talon said...

Everything looks so lovely, JGH!

Our garden was a complete and utter washout this year. And last year wasn't any better. I have high hopes for next year.

Love the stubby carrots - their color is so unusual.

k said...

Minnesota Midgets! Where did you find the seeds?
Isn't it fun? What to do next year? My big goal is to find more 5 gallon white buckets for tomatoes - they worked really well this year. I want to put in perennials in front. I'd like bee balm, but I don't know how well it would do there. A bean trellis sounds like a good plan too.

JGH said...

Thanks Liz - the carrot were so varied - a fun variety to grow.

Bangchik - I really hope my theory is right. I guess stubby carrots aren't a tragedy, but it would be nice to have longer ones.

Joanne, sorry to hear about your tomato harvest. I'm about to give up on my green ones and pull them all out, too.

Gail, funny you should ask. A purple carrot tastes just like....a carrot!! How fun to eat purple sweet potatoes.

Thanks, Catskill Snap! Hey you must have some photos of your garden up there to post.

Pam, I was thinking I should make an excel chart or something detailing all varieties. Or would that be too geeky?

Pam J - sign me up for the Kellogg Breakfast heirlooms. They sound great. Where do you get the seeds?

Anna, thanks for the nice words. Especially considering all the great tips and ideas I get from your blog! I hope to be hopping over there this weekend.

Talon, I don't think washouts were uncommon this year - just remember that we all have "garden amnesia" (look in the sidebar of my blog if you don't know what that is)

Thanks K, I LOVE bee balm. We have some growing in our school courtyard.

I think of them as firework flowers cause they're open around fourth of July. The Midget melons came from Baker Creek, I believe. Or possibly Johnnys. One of the two for sure.

Frances said...

Hi Jen, your veggie shots are as beautiful as any flower arrangement! Love those carrots, the colors are stunning. We like the pole beans much better too. And like you, we are making notes for next year for improvements and successes and failures to avoid. Yummy! :-)