Dog Days of Summer Harvest

 

Ripe vegetables were magic to me.  Unharvested, the garden bristled with possibility.   I would quicken at the sight of a ripe tomato, sounding its redness from deep amidst the undifferentiated green.  To lift a bean plant’s hood of heart shaped leaves and discover a clutch of long slender pods hanging  underneath could make me catch my breath.

Michael Pollan

Sometime this week will will have our 20th day of 90 degree weather.   As a matter of fact they have predicted 90s all week here with very little rain.  We average seven 90 degree days a summer, but even this is high as the years have shown our average temp creeping up.  And the rain, well let’s just say I am living in a strange vortex at the SW end of the lake.  As lines of storms approach and look like they will cross our path, they break apart right before us and go North and South, but not over.  See the dark clouds.  They just rolled right around us as they approached.  So we continue to be 7 inches behind in rainfall this summer.  Now we have had 2 inches of rain in July so yes a few strange storms have made their way here, but these freak storms are barely making a dent in my parched cracked soil.

Despite the heat and drought, we are still having a fairly good season in the veg garden.  The fruits though are a mess.  Blueberries dried up and I may lose some bushes.  Raspberries need moisture and are just not producing much fruit.  A few blackberries here and there.  But the veggies, they are doing well for the most part especially because they are the warm weather worshipping kind.  They beg for those 90 degree days and I accept the heat for their sake.  Me, I melt at 75 degrees.

I thought I would once again highlight the veggies in their own post since there is too much to include in my Journal posts the first Monday of the month (which is coming up this Monday).  I will be linking in with Christine and Barbie@The Gardening Blog for their Garden Blogger’s Harvest Day on the 5th.

Harvested:

So let’s start with what we harvested recently.

This is the last of the lettuces we harvested in mid July.  Not bad for such hot weather.  I planted more lettuce, spinach, swiss chard and arugula.  The radishes are finally done and I let some go to seed.

 

 

We also harvested some of the radish scapes, from earlier radishes we let go to seed.  The rest I left in the bed so perhaps they will seed themselves and grow into nice crunchy radishes for fall. Usually my late planting of radishes never works out (although I did plant more radishes in late July–fingers crossed).

 

 

All the garlic was pulled so much earlier this year.  These came from a left over plant from 2 years ago.  I planted a clove and forgot to harvest it.  It went to seed and grew a huge clump or head of garlic.  Very interesting phenomenon, and more garlic for us.  I just cannot get enough garlic and will be rearranging the garden again to accommodate more.  More on that in a later post.

 

 

Here are some of the many carrots we planted.  I really love the purple ones both in color and flavor.  The orange and white carrots are from Renee’s Gardens, Tricolor “Circus Circus”.  I like the look and flavor of these carrots and they do well so I plan to plant many more next year.  I still have a few left to harvest and I already planted more carrots.  Carrots fresh from the garden is another one of those ‘got to be believed ‘ tastes.  I planted many rows where the garlic was and a few tomatoes are currently growing.

 

 

Our first potatoes were unearthed from the grow bag Monday.  These are blue potatoes.  Once we cure them, we hope to make many colorful dishes.  I’ll let you know how they taste.  We still have another bag that we are going to let grow a bit more.  In growing potatoes, I have had to learn quite a bit about harvesting them.  I’ll let you in on some of the interesting info I learned when I harvest the second bag later in August.

 

 

Here’s a close up so you can get a better idea of what they look like.   I bought the seed potatoes from Burpee.  They are variety, “All Blue”.  They are supposed to reach maturity in 90 days, but we got these in 60 days.   Next month we’ll see what they look like in 90 days when I also hope to harvest the sweet potatoes.

 

 

Boy do we have beans despite the Japanese beetles constant attack on the pole beans.  And yes that is an okra in the middle of the beans in the top picture.  I planted “Tricolor Bush” beans from Renee’s Garden, and “Kentucky Wonder Brown” pole beans from Mike the Gardener.  Both are just as tasty as can be.  I planted peas in this bed again for fall, and they are about 6 inches tall already.

 

 

Another new veggie for me this year has been okra.  It is one of the benefits of the heat we are having.  As many of you may know, okra has an insatiable appetite for hot weather.  This is “Clemson Spineless” from Mike the Gardener.  Mike has a Seeds of the Month Club that I joined last year  on the recommendation of some gardening friends.  I have not been disappointed.  He sends you 8 packets to start and then 4 more every month.  No shipping charges and he ships to other countries.  I love the variety of seeds Mike sends, and it is how I have tried so many new veggies.  Oh and the seeds are non-GMO, heirloom and of high quality.  His seeds have not failed me.

 

 

Here is the first okra we harvested albeit a bit late maybe.  Another lesson in, ‘you better learn how to harvest what you grow’.  Okra likes to be harvested a few days after it flowers or it gets a bit tough.  We plan to pickle the first batch and hope for more to eat in soups, fried and in new and interesting ways.  I only planted a handful of plants this year and will definitely need to plant more next year.  Don’t you just love how they grow up and have that fuzzy sheen.

 

 

To say I am disappointed in the zukes in the containers is putting it mildly.  The male and female flowers have not been blooming together.  This is the “Asiatic” from Renee that has powdery mildew now.  I have fertilized, used Epsom salts, sprayed with a safe copper spray.  Not sure what is happening, but I planted some seeds from Mike in the round garden bed on a lark to see if they would bloom and grow for a later harvest.  We shall see.

The few I have harvested are absolutely delicious and very few seeds.  I haven’t given up on trying them again.

 

 

Herbs:

 

The herbs are bolting even those in some shade.  I am continually replanting cilantro and clipping the flowers off the basil.  Dill will need to be replanted too as you can see it is in full flower in the picture above.   I did get a surprise on my dill, but I’ll save that for Monday’s post.  I had to replant the borage too as it did not grow even with watering.  I put it in pots this time since they get watered regularly.

Oregano, sage, mint and thyme are all doing fine even in the heat although they are flowering now.  I will bring some in come late fall.  As i did last year, I will cut them back, pot them up and keep them under the grow lights for winter fresh herbs.

 

 

What’s To Come:

Here’s a peek at what is growing and will soon be harvested this month.

 

Isn’t this a great tomato.  It is Renee’s “Italian Pompeii”, a plum tomato.  I also have Romas which are doing well and  some San Marzano which are still slow to grow.  No big red tomatoes but hundreds of red, yellow and orange cherry tomatoes from Renee’s  “Garden Candy” mix.  They are just ripening.  The picture below is an heirloom from Renee’s “Summer Feast” mix.  This one is a Costoluto.

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s my first pumpkin.  These are for carving and I have 3 fruits.  The eating variety has been slow to produce and the one pumpkin that was growing was eaten by those rotten voles.  I have dozens of male flowers daily (pictured at the top of the post), but very few females will flower.  After doing lots of research and eliminating all the other causes for this, I found that pumpkins can be fussy if the evenings are too warm.  When we get a cool night, I will find a female that has flowered and fertilized.  If the nights are warm the flowers will not open, but instead will die and drop off.     Well at least I hope to have a few home grown pumpkins for fall.

 

 

The only peppers that are doing anything are my Hatch green chiles and am I happy about that as they are my favorite.  I have so many chiles, I cannot wait to harvest the first few and roast them.  Even the 3 plants that had all their leaves eaten are growing like crazy.  Not sure why the others are not liking the hot sun.

 

 

And those crazy eggplant that had the thorns on their leaves and stems are producing like crazy.  I should have the first eggplant by the weekend.  Dozens on each plant.  A much faster and prolific plant than my Italian varieties so far which have just begun to flower.  These long eggplant were seed from Mike.  I was hoping to show you my Brussel sprouts, but a brazen bunny got under the netting and ate all the tops off.  They are growing back so I am keeping my fingers crossed.  They were another new veggie I am trying from Mike’s seeds.

 

 

 

Planted More Of:

Well here are 2 of the beds that I already replanted some for fall.

This is the part shade bed that usually has lettuces, radishes and other salad greens.  There are the Brussel sprouts bottom right.  They don’t look like that now, and neither does the endive to the left.  Good thing he is a cute little bunny.  The bed also has ants that keep messing up my seeds.  I will be taking care of them organically with Diatomaceous earth.  I’ll post more on it later and let you now how it worked.  I hope to see lots of yummy salad fixings in a month.

 

 

This is the main tomato bed after the garlic was pulled.  I added fresh soil and planted lots of carrots and some radishes.  I plan to freshen up the soil in the potato grow bags and grow beets, carrots, scallions and kale.  That will be planted this weekend.  It is non-stop in the veg garden, but I am loving learning about, growing and eating veggies this summer.

I have lots of plans already for changes in the vegetable garden, and I have even ordered my garlic.  Lots more garlic so I will need a bigger space.  Tune in to September to hear about those plans and to see how the garden did in this crazy heat and drought.

 

I believe that the energy of humans who touched those beans goes into the beans as well.  They become vibrant because of the handling.  This vibrancy is something that a machine or harvester doesn’t have.  From my standpoint … I believe that if food is grown and prepared with love … infused with love  … well, it can be the humblest of food, but because it’s prepared with love, it’s special. ~Valerie Phipps

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Next up on the blog:  This Monday is the first Monday in August and time for another Gardens Eye Journal.  What will August hold in terms of blooms, veggies, critters and weather?  I am trying to be optimistic.

Don’t forget that in one month it will be time for another Seasonal Celebrations/Garden Lessons Learned meme on September 1st.  I hope you will join in.  More info on Monday or click the link.

I will be linking in with Michelle@Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Wednesday.

As always, I’ll be joining Tootsie Time’s Fertilizer Friday.

I hope you will join me for my posts, every other Tuesday, at Beautiful Wildlife Garden.

Please remember, to comment click on the title of the post and the page will reload with the comments section.

All content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

46 comments

  1. Cathy says:

    Lots of lovely veg! I’m looking forward to your post on how to deal with ants, and that’s interesting stuff about pumpkin flowers – mine never open in the evenings. Have you ever tried eating the dill flowers? We’ve had a lot of dry hot weather too… not so much to harvest I’m afraid.
    Thanks for sharing Donna! I learn so much when I read your posts!

    • Donna says:

      I have not tried the dill flowers but will do that. Cathy the pumpkin flowers open just before or at dawn and then close as the sun heats up. Sorry to hear about the hot weather. It means a lot Cathy that you enjoy the posts!

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Leora. I will tell you that the swallowtails love my dill and even left me a surprise I am showing next week…besides fresh dill is so good on fish, veggies and so much.

  2. Donna says:

    What a great harvest you got so far this summer, Donna. Vegetable gardening in this mild drought and heat is a challenge. Can you show the whole garden sometime. You get so much from it, I want to see how you arranged it.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Donna. I usually showed the beds in my Journal posts the first Monday of the month, but the harvest got so big that I had to break the post out. I have kept it to 3 raised beds and some pots and grow bags so it is manageable to water. I will show them again as a wrap up as they have changed throughout the season from cool to warm vegetables. It has been quite a challenge with the crazy spring we had too.

  3. Janet, The Queen of Seaford says:

    Great veggies!! And love the herbs as well. I have mostly herbs now — a couple tomato plants and one pepper plant…all in containers. I am impressed that you were still able to harvest lettuces in July, thought it would have bolted long before. I am not a fan of okra, younger is always better though.
    If you don’t grow parsley you ought to….so much different fresh!! I am on a campaign to encourage all to grow winter savory too. What a great herb!!
    For drought conditions you are having a great growing season.

    • Donna says:

      Thx Janet I forgot to mention my parsely since it is an annual for me in pots…I did not have luck with savory but will try again…lettuces were in part shade which helped them from bolting. I have a summer lettuce variety going now and hope to harvest soon.

  4. http://ramblingwoods.com/ says:

    What a beautiful harvest Donna and under really awful conditions. We too are at a 9 inches below but have only had a 1/4 of an inch. The storms keep passing north and south of us. I am so worried about the pond. My days are spent watering or I know we would be losing things. So many trees are dropping their leaves..this is terrible..Michelle

    • Donna says:

      It has become discouraging at times, but I have decided to accept it as there is nothing more I can do at this point. And patiently waiting for rain is futile. I wonder what the fall and winter will hold? At least there are some bright spots in the garden–the veg garden I have some control over 🙂

  5. HolleyGarden says:

    Your veggies look fabulous! And I know they tastes SOOO good!!! We are suffering 100+degree heat here, so most everything in my garden has gone dormant. I am very interested in hearing about your success (or failure) in using diatomaceous earth for the ants.

    • Donna says:

      Sorry to hear you are having nasty heat and the veggies are dormant. We are in for several days of 90 plus so we are on the cusp of it being too hot. Thank goodness it is not any hotter. I will let you know how I do with the ants.

  6. Pam's English Garden says:

    Like you, Donna, I love this time of year for the kitchen garden harvest. Yours is amazing! Thank you for the link about the Seed of the Month Club. I am really interested in learning more about it. P. x

    • Donna says:

      Pam glad I could provide the link with some first hand feedback. I just got my first 8 seed packs again in July and what a surprise of so many different seeds. Get’s my creative gardening juices flowing. Enjoy your harvest!

    • Donna says:

      Thx Beth…while it is a small harvest to eat during summer for my husband and myself, it has been a fun time expanding my skills…I enjoy harvest days as we just eat right in the garden!

  7. Loredana Donovan says:

    Beautiful and delicious vegetables you are growing. I love zucchini, eggplants, tomatoes, basil … add some pasta and you have a great summer salad! Have a great weekend! 🙂

    • Donna says:

      Loredana that sounds yummy adding pasta. We will be harvesting again this weekend and every weekend through early September. Thank you for stopping by the garden.

  8. Beth says:

    Hi Donna, Your vegetables are doing great! My vine plants (cukes, mini pumpkins, zucchini) were decimated by squash bugs. The tomatoes, however, are full to overflowing and I am so pleased.

    • Donna says:

      Oh Beth I am so sorry to hear that. The Japanese beetles almost destroyed my pole beans. But tomatoes are what we want the most and they are just green still except for cherries which are finally ripening. So glad you will have a good tomato harvest. I have to hope we harvest before the inevitable blight that always hits.

  9. Yael from Home Garden Diggers says:

    Donna,

    Thanks for coming by my site. What a wonderful harvest you have from your garden. The carrots and potatoes look wonderful. And I am envious that you can plant okra. It is just a little too cool here, but I might try it protected next year after I build my veggie bed. Hope you have a great weekend.

    Yael from Home Garden Diggers

    • Donna says:

      I had been meaning to visit more and so glad I did… what a wonderful blog you have…I was surprised the okra worked and next year I plan to use the planting plastic mulch to keep the ground warm as the start of planting in early June was dicey and cold. Our weekend will be hot, hot, hot and humid. Have a great weekend Yael!

  10. Indie says:

    A great harvest! We have also seen such hot weather, which is affecting the veggies. Like in your garden, my zucchini are doing nothing while my okra are going crazy! Our okra was an impulse purchase, as I’ve barely even eaten okra before. I didn’t know when to harvest it – let’s just say we had some extremely fibrous and inedible roasted okra for supper one night!
    Also longing for autumn…

    • Donna says:

      Indie we pickled our okra and hope to get more to fry. I planted more zukes and they are growing already. Maybe I will get some later. Tomato blooms also dropping off from heat and now some blight…sigh! Well maybe the heat will en soon…

  11. catmint says:

    Fantastic veggie harvest – definitely worth putting up with hot weather for those vegetable gems. And great quotes by Pollan and Phipps. cm x

    • Donna says:

      Indeed they were a yummy harvest that we had tonight. It makes all the work worthwhile. So glad to have you visit Nadezda!

  12. Stewart M says:

    Hi there – I love the flow and change a garden and its vegetables over the year.

    We had some raised beds built last spring and had huge crops in the summer – more basil than we could use! – so we are just getting ready to plant the spring plants.

    Stewart M – Australia

  13. b-a-g says:

    I’m glad I read this post – I’ve never heard of curing potatoes before. Sorry to hear about the brussel sprouts, the rest looks fantastic.

    • Donna says:

      Marigolds and tomato blight in Monday’s post…curing makes sure the potatoes are firm. We had some tonight and they were so firm and delicious.

  14. Foxglove Lane says:

    Honey I am as usual boggled by your energy and your passion for plants. Your garden is wonderful and your green fingers have been sooooo busy. I hope you get a lift soon be it in the form a cool breeze or whatever else your heart is needing. You are a special friend of the earth and of all of us who feel your warmth, love and care. A big hug from Ireland. X

    • Donna says:

      I did reply once to your lovely comment but the blog has had a few problems so I am not sure if my reply ever made it to you. I cannot thank you for your wonderful words…they certainly lifted my clouds and we have had a bit of rain. 🙂

  15. Celeste says:

    Wow! What a wonderful harvest, you must be delighted. I don’t think there is anything more satisfying than growing your own food. I am so impressed.

    • Donna says:

      Cheryl what a lovely comment. I am so happy you have found my blog. I am just getting to know yours. Yes it is hard to believe it…I prefer temps in the 70s any day. 😉

  16. Christine@The Gardening Blog says:

    Wow Donna! You have an insane amount of produce in your garden – and it all looks beautiful. You and Barbie are both so good at this! I’m quite envious of both your gardens 🙂

    That Okra looks very interesting, I might try that. I like to grow things I can’t always find in the shops – Okra is one of those. My garlic will be ready for harvesting in November/December. So far the plants are looking pretty pathetic. Not sure what I am doing wrong or if this is normal. Your potatoes look amazing. I love the colour! Look forward to reading more about them.

    • Donna says:

      Christine I replied once to your wonderful comment but a few glitches with the blog may have lost my reply…so I wanted to be sure to say thank you. I hope you have success trying okra. It likes it hot especially the ground with lots of sun and good organic fertilizer.

      I would suspect as the weather heats up your garlic will start to perk up and grow. And those blue potatoes are delicious!

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