Weeding the Carrot Patch

The carrots that I planted at the end of July in the planting bed where the garlic had grown are doing well, but were in need of some TLC.  Weeding the bed was overdue.  After twenty minutes of weeding, I can report that the carrot patch is “lookin’ good”.  We will begin thinning/harvesting baby carrots soon, so I really wanted to make sure that the crop didn’t have to compete with the weed population for nutrients.

CARROTS PLANTED IN LATE JULY

THE CARROT PATCH WEEDED AND ALMOST READY FOR THINNING/HARVESTING BABY CARROTS

Harvesting Butternut Squash

This week, I noticed that our one squash plant was beginning to show signs of dying back and the fruit had turned color from cream to beige.  Time to harvest.  I was amazed that there were 15 fruit on the one vine.  Believe me when I tell you that the squash plant was neglected all Summer except for watering and occasional applications of fish fertilizer.  The variety that I grow is called METRO PMRwhich I source from Johnny’s Selected Seeds.  Can’t say enough about Metro;  strong disease resistance, great production, minimal effort.

METRO PMR SQUASH HARVESTED FROM ONE PLANT

METRO PMR SQUASH HARVESTED FROM ONE PLANT

Shell Beans

After years of experimenting with different varieties of green beans and different techniques for freezing them I decided to go in a different direction.  This year, we are growing a couple of varieties of beans for drying.  In addition, one of the varieties, Vermont Cranberry, can be harvested at the shell bean stage, after the beans have swelled in the pods, but before they loose their moisture.  These beans can be used in soups, and combined with other vegetables to be used in side dishes.

Catherine and I have found that shelling beans is a perfect activity to do together while watching football games on the tube.  I am vacuum packing the beans in   one pound lots and putting them in the freezer for use in late Fall and Winter.

SHELL BEANS

A BASKET OF FRESH VERMONT CRANBERRY SHELL BEANS

SHELL BEAN

A VERMONT CRANBERRY BEAN POD AT THE FRESH “SHELL BEAN” STAGE

A Fabulous Harvest of Fall Raspberries

We are in the midst of our first season of Fall bearing raspberries.  Wow.  They are delicious and prolific.  We have just put up our second batch of raspberry jam, as well as eating them fresh daily.  We planted one twenty five foot row of “Heritage” a year and a half ago and I couldn’t be happier with the results.  Catherine is planning on freezing much of the remaining crop for use in smoothies and for topping yogurt.

SEVEN CUPS OF HERITAGE RASPBERRIES

SEVEN CUPS OF HERITAGE RASPBERRIES

A Second Season for Eggplant

My wife Catherine has been longing for some fresh eggplant for the last three weeks.  Fortunately, our plants set new flowers and we now have a late season harvest to draw on.  Eggplant was never one of my favorite crops until the last couple of years.  Our friend Patty Marsh made a killer eggplant parm. for one of our tomato tasting-potluck dinners last Summer.  This Summer, we discovered tian, a French dish featuring eggplant.  Since then, we have been discovering new ways to use this versatile crop.

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Fall Clean-up

The number of garden beds in production is beginning to dwindle which has been producing both feelings of relief at being able to lighten the load and feelings of loss over a Summer gone so quickly.  Thankfully, September has been gorgeous this year.  Two of my four root crop beds are nearly empty.  They both have a small stand of leeks to be harvested.  I plan to pull one group in the next week or two.  The other group will be left to over-winter and harvested next Spring.

Two of my legume beds have been completely harvested, processed and stored away.  One bed is still producing Haricot Vert (French fillet beans).  The last bed contains Kennearly beans for drying,  almost ready for harvest.

Over half of the tomato plants have been pulled,  all of the plum tomatoes and some of the heirlooms.  My Nebraska Wedding tomatoes, the Green Zebra’s, two of the Black Ethiopian’s and the Matt’s Wild Cherry tomatoes are still producing.  One Golden Treasure tomato plant is producing fruit for storage.

Bulb Fennel

One vegetable that I have only recently acquired a taste for is bulb fennel.  It is crunchy like celery but with an anise {licorice) flavor.  Earlier this Summer, I made a frisee and fennel salad that rocked the house.  Everyone loved it.  The anise flavor was toned down by steeping the fennel in lemon juice.http://www.thejoykitchen.com/recipe/shaved-fennel-salad-fris%C3%A9e-almonds-and-raisins

BULB FENNEL READY FOR HARVEST

BULB FENNEL READY FOR HARVEST

It also works well with fish and in sauteed dishes with other vegetables such as breakfast radishes or leeks.  Some people I’ve talked to seem to have trouble getting their fennel to bulb up.  I start my seeds in 2″ soil blocks and my fennel bulbs up every time.

That about wraps it up.

All the best,

Greg Garnache

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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