Harvest Monday_July26, 2010

Okay, I’m a day late for Harvest Monday hosted by Daphne at Daphne’s Dandelions, but better late than never.  Right? 

Here’s my harvest from June 20 to the 24th.    No weight tally today.  I’ll have to enter the numbers into the database for next week.

Pictured below:  Kale, mustard greens, yard long beans, cherry tomatoes, a few sorry looking blackberries and my first okra pod.

One Armenian cucumber.  Lots of leaves on the plant, lots of flowers, only a few cukes.  They taste good, but the plants aren’t producing a whole lot of cucumbers.

This was a good day for me.  Collard greens, Russian kale, dwarf kale (which I cooked that night, and they were um-um-good).  My first mass picking of peppers.  Quantity over quality.  All the peppers (except the two Big Berthas) were all on the small/medium side.  Also I picked more cherry tomatoes, squash, celery, sage and flat parsley.

Getting down to the last of the yard long beans.  The plants were dieing/dying(?-still not sure how to spell that word) from the bottom, so I ended up pulling the plants.  A couple more Big Berthas, more cherry tomatoes, a few more blackberries and, oh, Joy, another squash.

 What does one do with an over-abundance of squash?

Undercover squash
 Hide it in a delicious frozen fruit smoothie. 

While I was making a smoothie I remembered that Toni at My Square Foot Garden Adventure put vegetables in her breakfast drink.  (If I’m misquoting you, Toni, let me know).  I was also thinking how squash, to me, doesn’t really have a taste, that it takes on the flavor of what it’s cooked with.  Then I was wondering how’d it work out if I used some of the frozen squash as a base for a smoothie.  

I put yogurt, frozen squash, frozen fruit (bananas, cantaloupe and, you guessed it, blueberries) along with enough water for the blender to rotate.  I would have used milk if I had any instead of the water.  It tasted pretty good to me.  My daughter was my unwitting test taster.  I haven’t told her yet that there was squash in the smoothie, but I know she liked it because of the loud slurps she was making getting the last few drops out of the cup with the straw.

Happy Gardening!

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Armenian Cucumber_from seed to table

It’s not usual that a plant does better in a pot than it does in the earth with so much room for the roots to spread, but this Jalapeno pepper (seeds compliments of Granny)… 

…outperformed his in-soil counterpart.  (The peppers were harvested and included with the 7-19 Harvest Day post).

In the lower right corner is the in-ground pepper.  It’s actually perked up a little over the past week and has a couple peppers growing and a few flowers.  Maybe it got a little jealous of the other pepper and decided to work a little harder.  And please excuse my mess.  I started thinning out the strawberry plants last night.

The tomato I’m holding is a clone (“EG style”) from one of the cherry tomato suckers I stuck in the ground.  This plant is about four weeks old and is putting on flowers already.

But on to the subject of today’s post.

Armenian Cucumber

  • a/k/a Yard Long Cucumber   
  • a/k/a Serpent Cucumber  
  • a/k/a Snake Melon  

 The Armenian cucumber is not actually a cucumber.  Botanically it belongs in the melon family.  The cucumber can grow up to three feet long and three inches wide, but they are most flavorful if harvested at 12 to 15 inches.  If grown on a trellis, the fruit will grow straight.  If grown on the ground, however, the fruit can grow curled and/or coiled, sometimes resembling a snake.  The plant produces both male and female flowers, but the plant is self-fertile.  As the fruit matures the skin turns yellow and has a muskmelon aroma. 

The taste is quite pleasant and there is a nice crunch with each bite, even with very thin slices.  My Armenian cukes were grown from seed started on May 1, transplanted into a pot on May 23rd.  The pot is situated behind a large Brussels sprout plant growing in the planting area on one side of the base of the stairs (if that wasn’t clear, you’ll see what I’m talking about in the pictures that follow).   I attached some netting that my daughter found last year at either a yard sale or marked down onto the stair railing for the cukes to grow up the trellis.  Around the corner from the cukes, still in that same planting area, are a few yard long bean plants. 

The first pollinated fruit appeared on June 1.  Between June 6 and June 15, the fruit grew from approximately 2 inches to over a foot long and about 2 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter. 

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Armenian Cucumbers, a definite do again for next year.

Happy Gardening!!

My (itty-bitty in the city) Bramble Orchard

Who says you have to have a lot of real estate to have a bramble orchard?  Even in a small city lot you can enjoy fresh picked berries.  Berries such as…

Blueberries

Gooseberries

Strawberries (although not a bramble)

You can anticipate picking Raspberries

And blackberries

Did I say bramble “orchard”?  That might be a little misleading.  In a small back yard it would be more accurate to say bramble “corner of the yard.”  Here’s my little micro mini bramble orchard.Four raspberry plants, two blackberry plants (gave one to my mother-in-law),  three blueberry bushes (although twigs might be more appropriate for two of them), and two gooseberry plants.

I fancy myself being a little bit of a plant propagator, so whenever I see the opportunity to get a two-fer out of a plant I go for it.  Here’s Mother (on the left) and Daughter (on the right).Last year I pulled one of the suckers from the mother plant and potted it up.  This year there are a few berries on the daughter plant.

All of the raspberry plants were FreeCycled to me.  Because the plant sends out so many suckers and it’s necessary to keep the number of suckers to a limit for the health of the plant it’s easy to find yourself with extra plants.  The choice becomes whether to throw them away or try to save them.  Since my plants are relatively young, I’m not faced with that situation yet, but I did start some plants last year with some of the raspberry suckers.  I gave all of them away, but I know one of the plants will be producing some raspberries this year.  Easy, inexpensive garden gifts.

Happy Gardening!!!

Time to play catch-up.

Sorry I haven’t been posting lately, but I’ll try to catch up a little.  If I tried to catch up on everything that’s happened over the past three weeks I’d be writing a novel, so here’s a few highlights.

I missed Kate’s Garden Blogger’s Death Day even though I had some sorry looking cucumber plants that have been euthanized.   Most of the lemon cucumber plants were full of mold or fungus or whatever it was, so they got pulled.  They were really cute and made nice crunchy pickles, so I’ll be growing them next year.

And I missed Daphne’s Harvest Monday even though I had a few things I harvested.

Cherry tomatoes and cucumbers (I got so excited about making pickles that I forgot to take a picture before I used the cucumbers).  Very tasty pickles indeed.  Lemon cucumbers on the left and pickling cucumbers on the right.   (8-12-09)08-12-09

2 lemon cukes, 4 pickling cukes, and lots of cherry tomatoes. (8-16-09)08-16-09

3 lemon cukes, 2 beefsteak tomatoes, 4 Aztec tomatoes, and lots of cherry tomatoes (8-18-09)08-18-09

One lemon cucumber, one pickling cucumber and cherry tomatoes.  (8-20-09).08-20-~1

A few kale leaves (top), a few broccoli raab leaves (bottom), three bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, Egyptian Walking Onions…that didn’t do any walking. (9-3-09)   *I missed taking pictures of a couple harvests of tomatoes and cukes.*09-03-09 (2)I have been waiting all summer for these onions to make the tops with the little onions on them.  I only had a couple that made the tops, which I re-planted the little baby onion bulbs.  They’re still alive, just not growing much.  Looks like another trip to my aunts house to beg up on some of her bulbs.  This year I’ll actually plant them in the fall instead of leaving them in a plastic bag outside all winter and then planting them in the summer.  I should be happy they grew at all with the abuse they went through living in a plastic bag all winter.

And here are a few radishes, one carrot, four cukes, a few string beans, green Aztec tomatoes, a few habanero peppers and my total harvest of bell peppers.  (9-4-09).09-04-09 (4)

Just look at that carrot.  That’s the best carrot I grew this year.  This was a second planting of carrots in one of the empty squares.  The others are still in the ground, but they don’t look like they’re growing too big.09-04-09 (6)

Between the squirrels rediscovering my garden and inviting their friends over for the smorgasbord, I made a decision to pick the few bell peppers that grew.  Other than the cherry tomatoes and the lettuce at the beginning of the season, I haven’t been too happy with the garden production this year.  After seeing some of the gardens in the Garden tour I went on last Sunday (more on that tomorrow), I have come to the conclusion that it’s the trees.  By 1:00 or 2:00 the vegetable garden is completely shaded out.   Getting those trees gone is on my to-do list.

Providing a playground for the squirrels is another reason to get rid of the trees.  Squirrels…the bane of my existence.  I grew my egg plants from seeds.  I only kept two of them.  One went into a pot, one into the ground.  I’ve been nursing these babies along since April waiting all summer for the first egg plant.  Finally, a beautiful bloom…06-15-09

A couple weeks later, the egg plant cometh….Forgot to set the date on the camera (3)

And the next morning the egg plant goeth…The Next Day

I thought it was something exotic like the possum that got the egg plant, then I realized it was the @%&#ing squirrels when I found little nibblets of cucumbers and tomato peels on the ground.  Not only did they take the developing egg plant, but they decided they like the egg plant blooms too.   The little #%$%*#s got my one watermelon that set.  It was only the size of a gumball and it probably wouldn’t have matured, but, dang it, it was my watermelon. 

Then they really crossed the line.   Take a look at this.Ripening Raspberries Pre-SquirrelsRound 2 of ripening raspberries growing in containers.  I stuck the bamboo canes in the four corners of the containers and tied the canes with string to keep everything nice and neat looking, and two days after this one of those little @&^$#^s  had eaten the raspberries and I’m seeing raspberry leaves on the ground.

THOU SHALT NOT MESS WITH MY RASPBERRIES!!!  They just don’t know.  Their days are numbered.

Happy Gardening!!

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