Sunday, July 10, 2011

Harvest Monday July 11th

This will be a summer of tomatoes. They were the only species not squished by falling grow lights, slurped by slugs, nibbled by bunnies, or attacked significantly by any of the other insect pests I had this year (notably stink bugs and aphids, which I treat by wishing I had chickens). I am hoping for a bumper crop eventually to can and dry. In the mean time, the main producers are two unnamed, smallish-fruited tomatoes that I will probably save seed from and grow next year. I've been grazing off of them for a couple weeks now. Mostly I just quarter or halve them and toss them in a skillet with whatever else I'm cooking.

I also make my family and coworkers eat them raw and report back. I am not a fan of plain, raw tomatoes. Yuck. But I'd like to know what's tasty for seedsaving or sharing.

I decided that the haul above (about 8 oz) qualified as enough to dry. They are in the dehydrator now. I love dried tomatoes. Most of them are the funny, bell-pepper shaped, cherry-size tomatoes that I got from a seed mix. They are very meaty little guys, with few seeds and little gel. That's great for me, since I love tomato sauces, salsas, and dried, all of which favor a dryish tomato. I will definitely save seed. The trouble is there are so few seeds inside. Still, I am determined and will name them and offer them next season.

(As an aside, I am willing to trade seed for any plant I list on this blog, so long as I am able to save them.)

Friday night I realized I didn't have anything to make for my box lunch Saturday. Unfortunately, I had cleaned out the ripe tomatoes in the afternoon and gave them away. I did have some chard and a young onion. I thinly sliced the stems and the onion and sauteed them with a couple of peppers we had left from our last farmers' market trip, as well as some pickled daikon and kohlrabi (also from the market), finished off with a little soy sauce. The greens were roughly chopped and stirred into some rice and quinoa along with the last of the sweet pickled kumquats from Mom's tree.

It was an odd meal. Swiss chard is not my favorite, although it's beautiful. I will grow it again (I have a lovely strain of purple-leaved chard that didn't get planted this year). I may try just eating it in soups and the like in winter, then feeding it to the bunnies over summer. I don't like it well enough for the light sautes of summer fare.

Finally a few more tomatoes and some 8-ball squash went into a pan with some sliced chicken breast and a splash of red wine vinegar. That's summer food at its best.

I do really love this squash. It doesn't seem to have the pithy texture that even young crookneck or zucchini have. Even at the size of a softball, this squash keeps a firm, smooth texture and the seeds are barely noticeable. The bad news is, it's a hybrid. I will try to keep some seeds in hopes of breaking it into an open pollinated variety, but it is growing in my front yard, where large squash tend to get stolen.

If I can't save seed, I may break down and buy it from a company. It's that good. Maybe someone's already dehybridized it in Seed Savers Exchange.

This week, I harvested:
14 oz tomatoes
1 lb 8 oz summer squash
5 oz chard
2 oz onions
3.5 oz garlic

which brings my totals for the year to:
2 lb 14 oz greens
60 lbs oranges (the wine is looking fabulous, by the way)
13.5 oz kumquats
13 lb cherries
14.5 oz radish pods
8 oz peas
1 lb 1 oz tomatoes
3 lb summer squash
14 oz garlic
3 lb 4 oz new potatoes
2 oz herbs
2.5 oz onions

Not bad for only my second year of gardening.

1 comment:

  1. Our tastes are so different. I love cherry tomatoes because I can just keep a bowl at my desk and pop it fresh into my mouth. And yesterday I had a pile of chard for lunch with just a touch of balsamic vinegar. To me that is wonderful.