Report from the vegetable garden

Today we harvested all this: 1/2 bushel Swiss chard, 1 small zucchini, 1 delightful tomato (Moskvich), 1 small pepper, 4 heads of cauliflower, 6 cups basil leaves, and most of the onion crop, which was being crowded out by the monster zucchini. The booty became 4 quart bags of frozen cauliflower, and 5 small bags of frozen blanched chard, which I LOVE in soups –the rainbow chard looks as good as it tastes.

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The rest of the garden is looking good, although the potatoes have all fallen into the aisle, and I’m seeing a few potato bug larvae, ugh. I’m handpicking as best I can, and hoping that will be enough. I’ll skip potatoes next year, to break the cycle.

The chickens have eaten most of the cuke plant leaves through the fence (weird I know!) and some of the zucchini and summer squash leaves. The cukes don’t look too happy, but the squashes are so mighty they don’t seem to notice the snacking. We’ll have yellow squash soon, and we are on our third or fourth zucchini. I love the Costata Romanesca variety but boy are they monster size plants! I may need to develop a spot outside the fence for them as they take up a lot of valuable real estate.

The cabbages are heading up nicely. We’ve had some cabbage worms, but I’m ruthless about squishing any eggs I find and handpicking the worms for the chooks, who know to come running when I call them from in the garden! Those rubber coated gloves make bug squishing so much more enjoyable. I know that if I’d kept the row cover on the bugs wouldn’t be a problem –next year, I promise I’ll do better.

The second batch of broccoli is securely covered, as will be the next batch, in the hoop house.

The pole beans are climbing the Himalayas and beginning to flower, as are the bush beans next door. The bush beans got off to a rocky start but the party cup slug protectors worked great, I’ll use them again.

We are getting some ripe tomatoes, although some of the plants are not looking too happy with the cool damp weather. We’ve been ruthless with trellising them and pruning and they have good air circulation. I can’t decide whether the pruning will slightly reduce the overall yield, though, especially with the Sungold, which now needs to be top pruned as it is out of fence to climb up. Actually most of them have reached the top of the fence trellis and I can’t decide whether to let them dangle over the fence or prune them. Suggestions, anyone? These are all indeterminate vining tomatoes, mostly heirlooms.

Herbs are doing ok. The thyme is gorgeous, the parsley (what survived the vicious groundhog attack) is yummy, the basil fabulous, the sage is vigorous, the rosemary in a pot in the kitchen; the only herb that is struggling is the dill. What’s up with that? Am I the only gardener on the planet who doesn’t have dill volunteers? None of the first batch of dill I seeded germinated. The dill seed I dropped accidentally under the pole beans did, natch, but now is being shaded and crowded out. I tried moving some yesterday from the pole beans to the herb bed, I hope it works. Either way, I will have to BUY dill for pickles and dilly beans, boo hoo.

There it is the status of the vegetables. In addition to the veggies we’ve picked 9.5 lbs of blackberries and 11.5 lbs. of blueberries. I made a batch of heavenly blackberry ice cream with 1 quart of the berries, I’ll post the recipe on Yankee Pantry soon.

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3 Responses to “Report from the vegetable garden”

  1. Kim Says:

    Gorgeous chard, Ali! Do you blanch the leaves and chopped stems separately, then combine them in freezer bags? I have frozen a bunch of chard that way for the first time this year and I’m hoping the stems are going to come through allright. Although, as you say, in soups, I’m sure they’ll be fine.

  2. Ali Says:

    Kim, that is exactly what I do. I blanch the stems for 6 minutes, then the leaves for 2, then portion out the stems and leaves in ziplock bags. it is is perfect when added at the end of cooking. You wrote a great couple of posts on food preserving, BTW!

  3. Robin Says:

    Everything looks awesome! I have chard to cut and get put up this week.

    Colorado Potato Beetle Beater is an organic spray that works miracles on potato bugs. We’ve sprayed only once this year. It also works on cabbage worms and flea beetles. I buy it through Fedco. Blue Seal in Bangor had it too.

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