Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The July Round Up

I would be lying if I said that I haven't been a little disappointed with this years crops so far. Although my zucchini are looking really healthy, many of the baby fruits are shriveling before they become more than 1/2 inch wide (there are 8 ball zuccs, so they are round), the raspberries did produce well for the number of plants I think, but I was expecting enough to do something other than a syrup with, and the garlic was really tiny, much smaller than the bulb the cloves came from. Also, every time I plant lettuce, chard or spinach, something comes in and decides to flutter about in it, so all of my carefully placed seeds end up in piles, meaning any seeds that sprout are so close together that I lose more through thinning than I should. I try to transplant them back where they started, but they haven't been sturdy as of yet.

On the up side, and there is definitely an up side, I have harvested and eaten quite a lot. Oddly, despite the old French ways of cooking vegetables (braising a delicate lettuce like Boston Bibb for two hours? Really?), re watching old "The French Chef" tapes helped me to see how to circumvent some of the waste. For example, my family just won't make salad. It only gets made if I can stand up long enough to make it myself, and even then there are moans of sadness when it is presented on the plate. My husband seems most hostile to it.

So, when several pounds of it bolted in the garden, I despaired, until I saw Julia Child braise that unsuspecting lettuce. What if I peeled the thick stem that was bolting? I experimented and found that it tastes a lot like asparagus! Some of the leaves were also saved, but more was wasted than eaten because the tough ones and the ones with even a little of the red that happens once bolting starts was simply way too bitter for my family's taste buds. What was left though was excellent. If I have more in the future I will try to make something more interesting than a short braise with butter, salt, and pepper on it. One step at a time.

As stated before, the Mouse Melons are really happy where they are growing with my last remaining cabbage. I allowed a couple to get very big, but found that, like their cousins, they start to get more seedy and bitter as they get bigger. I will be saving some seeds from these plants though, because I am definitely growing more next year.

Even though the zucchini have been slow to produce viable fruit, I did get two lovely ones that were put together with some of the tomatoes into a gratin of sorts, with buttered bread crumbs and a tiny amount of Swiss cheese (told you, Julia...)

Harvest from today and some of yesterday's harvest too (at least the part that wasn't eaten)
Yes, the picture is from August. July was a tough month to even manage the basics of the garden, so no pictures. Okay, that is partly because my kitchen was a mess and I generally didn't have enough spoons to clean AND snap photos. Below are the totals for July only. I haven't posted amounts for June other than the 20 pounds of strawberries which still amazes me.

Rhubarb: 1 pound 9 oz
Garlic: six really small heads. Tasty, but small
Lettuce: 2 pounds 3 oz of Salad type leaves and over 3 pounds of bolting stems and leaves. This was supposed to be a head type lettuce, but that never happened.
Raspberries: 11.5 oz
Swiss Chard: 1 pound 8 oz
Mouse Melons:  1 pound 7 oz
Carrots: a few spindly bits, not enough to weigh really.
Snow Peas: not even a full handful over the course of the month.
Cabbages:  3 pounds 8 oz I planted three heads, one is still in the ground, the other two are making sauerkraut. :)
Patio Princess: 6 oz (large cherry tomatoes or small regular ones)
Snow White: 3.25 oz (cherry tomatoes)
Plum: 4 oz
And many bunches of basil, cinnamon basil, mint, flat leaf parsley, chives and snippets of other herbs like rosemary and French tarragon.

The tomatoes are heavy on the vines though, I expect a lot of ripening in the next couple of weeks.

For the record, here was the June harvest:

Strawberries: 20 pounds (can you tell how happy I am about that? LOL)
Rhubarb: 2 pounds (maybe a bit more, I let some sit outside and get ruined after harvesting)
Broccoli Rabe: 14.75 oz (test crop)
Bok Choy: 2 pounds
Spinach: 6 oz
Lettuce 1 pound 6 oz
Radishes: 6 oz
Kale: 1 pound
Swiss Chard: 1.5 oz
Assorted herbs

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