Veggie Harvest

It could be said that we are in the midst of reaping what we have sown. The decision to grow more foodstuffs this year has proven to be a good one. Many things have happened since the first seeds were sown back in January, redwing and red marble onions. The price of produce has skyrocketed and the danger of certain edibles has made having that veggie patch out back even more than a whim. The sugar snap peas were beyond successful, giving us many meals and some leftover for freezing. After the peas were pulled, after our beach trip, the pole green beans were sown, Kentucky Blue, a cross between Kentucky Wonder and Blue Lake. We grew this variety last year and had a bountiful harvest even with the drought. It is time to start picking beans.
Seeds were sown in May outside of zuchinni Eight Ball. This is a tasty and fun shaped variety. We have harvested several of these round beauties already.
Another squash, Magda, has been bearing well also. This is a new variety, from Park seed, that was recommended in a talk that
Chuck B. wrote a post about. This inspired our dedication of the loamy space between the arborvitae hedge and the chamaecyparis ‘Gold Mop’ hedge to food growing. This is a fifty foot by seven foot stretch of land that was the site of an old Japanese privet hedge. We cut down the privet, covered it in heavy black plastic for over a year, dug out the roots and were rewarded with some very fine tilth where the privet had grown. We are in the process of building a stacked block wall to level the space and give a tired gardener a seat while planting and weeding. We have fifteen feet of wall done.
Tomatoes are not a new crop to us. This is one thing we have grown ever since we purchased our first house, back in….well a long time ago. Pennsylvania, California, Tennessee and Texas have given us home grown tomatoes. Some years were better than others. We have planted two red grape tomato plants in the new raised planter. They have done well so far, giving us reds for our salads.
This is Park’s Improved Whopper. We had good luck with it last year so are giving it another go. Also planted are Golden Gem, a small yellow, Brandywine, Black Krim, Cherokee Purple and several self sown plants, unknown variety. So far the volunteers have larger tomatoes rather than small patio types, that’s all we know for now. Some of the plants have the potato leaf look of Brandywine, that would be great for that is a tasty one. Some are even growing in the compost bin and have set fruit there.
We are growing three pepper types, but the jalapenos are giving us the most peppers, on tiny plants. The others are yellow banana and Aruba, a cuban type that made the most wonderful rellenos last year. So far the Arubas have only now begun to flower, but we started them from seed ourselves rather than buying plants, so that is to be expected. We have Black Pearl also, but just as an ornamental. The descriptions say the little dark marble sized fruit are firey hot. They would be a pain to prepare too. But they come true from seed, so there will be more for next year. Also an ornamental that is too hot to eat is the
perennial pepper. It is back and some of the volunteers have flowers already. The little orange balls look good with the fall foliage.
For the first time ever, we are growing cucumbers, on tomato cages. That really helps with the space issue. This one was left on too long, it was overlooked in the daily perusal. It will be fine in a cucumber onion salad with basalmic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Sometimes simple is best.

We haven’t gotten around to harvesting any of the swiss chard yet. It is as ornamental as it is edible, but we will begin soon to pick some and freeze some too. This year we only grew the ruby instead of Bright Lights because we had some leftover seeds. The old seeds had a good germination rate in the greenhouse, good to know.

Besides the onions from seed, which are still fairly small, the onions from sets that were planted to keep the rabbits away from the peas are ready to dig. A few of them went to flower and were pulled and used then, for that spoils the onion formation. The tops are totally dry on these, ready to pull.

Out of the ground, they could be cured and stored, but we need them for the cucumber salad so they will be used today. I don’t know if any will get stored, we use a lot of onions.

This is my harvest tote, a straw purse from Pier 1. It is perfect because I can hold it on my arm and have two hands free to pick and cut the day’s take. Tomatoes, peppers and a few green beans are out of focus inside, as the camera decided that I was trying to take a photo of the purse’s rim, silly camera. Sometimes it thinks of the strangest things to focus on.

Inside the fridge the squash collection is growing frighteningly. We need to get cooking, ratatouille coming up. Please ignore any dirt and that onion skin, housekeeping is not our forte.

This is the view above my kitchen sink. Beyond the ripening tomatoes you can see the side door to the stone facaded garage. We have a circle drive because we bought the house next door to build the garage, giving us two driveways onto the street so we made a semi circle connecting them. I love it. Beyond the driveway is a planting area lined with pink muhly grass along the driveway and beyond that are the large pine trees that mark the property boundary. The grasses are starting to show tiny bits of pink blooms, it seems too early for that now, but they bloomed early last year also. Probably stress from the drought is causing this. But the pink color lasts well into fall, are we already beginning fall at the start of July?

A still life of produce, pretty enough to be considered as a model for a master. Or just a quick pic and food for our tummies. I especially like the bristles of the vegetable brush just showing behind the cutting board. Nice artistic touch. But what is in that basket just to the left? Looks intriguing.

Why it is our pride and joy, the garlic harvest, all braided and cleaned. Last September we planted these two kinds of garlic, ordered from Seed Saver’s Exchange, Inchelium Red and Tochliavri. They got mixed up but it doesn’t matter, for the Red Toch was sold out for this year already, so we ordered lots of the Inchelium. We have been eating the smaller heads, too tiny to braid and look pretty in the basket and they have been scrumptious. We eat of a lot of garlic, so this won’t last long. We will try and save some to roast though, a good way to savor fine garlic. We are hoping to be swamped with tomatoes so sauce can be made and frozen, but we still have a few containers from last year so it may be time for some pasta, chili, and pizzas, that will use it up.
Hope you enjoyed seeing the food growing in the garden this year. It is as attractive as the flowers, even more so really. We had lettuce and spinach in addition to the snap peas earlier and a few radishes that bolted way too soon. We hardly got to eat any. There are carrots that are in the new raised bed, but hardly enough to make a meal. Leeks and eggplant are still quite small. The experiment is still playing out, we will see what works best for our climate. In the fall we will plan on more lettuce sowing. And the garlic has already been ordered, so that bed needs to be prepared. We are not very experienced in the planning and growing of the food beyond tomatoes, and even that is a gamble with the weather man rolling the dice. But the advantages are many, and we like knowing how and where the stuff we put into our bodies was grown.
Post Script : Hope everyone enjoys the Independence Day holiday here in the US. We are going to Semi’s for a cookout, and even bought a flag cake. We are taking tomatoes and cucumbers from our garden for the salad. Cake and salad, the two healthy food choices!

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40 Responses to Veggie Harvest

  1. Carol says:

    Frances, what wonderful produce you are getting from your garden. My garden is a few weeks behind yours and I am hoping to get my first ‘Eight Ball’ squash any day now, along with the lighter green skin version ‘Cue Ball’.

    You are certainly eating well these days.

    Bon appetit!
    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  2. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Your veggie garden is producing lots of yummy veggies Frances. It looks like your experiment is going well. I love the basket of garlic. Not only does it look pretty it look delicious.

    Happy 4th of July. It sounds like you will be having lots of fun.

  3. Gail says:


    First…fantastic garden bounty and the narrative is pretty nifty, too!

    Second…By we, do you mean you and The Financier are building the wall?

    Third…If yes, please send instructions on how I might convince Mr. I Don’t Blog to work for me in the garden.

    Fourth…Wow, that is a nice sized garden!


  4. Sherry at the Zoo says:

    What wonderful harvest you have! We have had a few tomatoes and peppers and peas, but that’s about all! My mouth is watering in anticipation!

    Great pictures! Happy 4th to you.

  5. Frances, says:

    Hi Carol, thanks for stopping by and happy 4th. That cue ball sounds great. I love the eight ball, they are tasty as well as cute.

    Hi Lisa, thanks and happy 4th to you too. I am pleased so far with the food thing, and will have to pay attention to not plant the same thing in the same portion next year, maybe I need a chart to remember what was where.

    Hi Gail, first, thanks. Second, yes but I am just the pointer, put it here, I say. Third, I cannot lift the blocks or dig that much since the injury with the stone in the wheelbarrow. I am needy and pitiful, I need a strong healthy cute man to help me so I can grow food for us to eat. Fourth, it is long and narrow and accessible from both sides so that makes the planting area about four feet wide, perfect really. Think of a bunch of 4 x 8 raised beds lined up end to end. There are places that I can walk through so I don’t have to go all the way around. I didn’t use the space in the most efficient way this year, but will learn with time how to do it better. Happy 4th.

    Hi Sherry, thanks for visiting. It sounds like you have the makings for some good food yourself. We did so enjoy the peas and miss them already, the the beans will take their place. I forgot to mention the purple bush beans that turn green when cooked, they are just now flowering too. Happy 4th.

  6. garden girl says:

    Frances, your harvest sounds delicious and bountiful.

    I miss having a veggie garden more every year, since moving here. I must rectify the situation, hopefully next year. Right now would be a great time to start getting rid of lawn in our narrow but sunny side yard.

  7. Jan says:

    Looks like you have already had a great little harvest. I wish that I could grow some summer vegetables, but, alas, too much shade for them here.

    Always Growing

  8. Nancy J. Bond says:

    I hope I have as good luck with our jalpenos are you did! And that chard! Yum. I love garden greens. Everything looks like it’s doing very well, Ms Green Thumb! 🙂

  9. tina says:

    It all looks great! Way ahead of mine as I was so late this year, but that is ok. Enjoy your day.

  10. Kathryn/ says:

    Hi, Frances–As always, very rich inspiring post. Love the variety. I have ONE zucchini, one spaghetti squash and one pumpkin. It was an experiment. Five tomato plants. Some old chard revisited (also an experiment). TONS of arugula, the nature of it. Basil, lots of herbs. I must get in cucumber. I wonder if it’s too late? Thanks for showing the way!

  11. Brenda Kula says:

    I too am surrounded by tall pines. Yes, I’ve been wishing I’d planned a veggie garden with all that’s going on. Yours look so good!

  12. gintoino says:

    Beautiful post Frances! Vegetables are really as beautiful as flowers. I’m begining to show a lot more interest in vegetables, as it shows in my blog, latelly. The garden activities are slowing down with the hot weather, but there is always something growing in the vegetable garden 🙂
    I like the looks of that squash, “magda”. I have to see if I can find it around here.

  13. Daphne says:

    That is a beautiful harvest. I too am growing lots of veggies and my squash cup runneth over. But thats good. More to eat, but I have to get on it.

  14. Titania says:

    Frances, you have a wonderful, tasty and healthy vegetable harvest. This really keeps you in the pink. I am a firm believer you are what you eat! When you grow your own, you are not consuming a load of chemicals from spraying as well! Have you got some fruit trees in your garden?

  15. chuck b. says:

    You could grill some of that squash too. Yumm! Happy 4th!

  16. gintoino says:

    Hi Frances, what a beautiful post. Aren’t vegetables just as beautiful as flowers? I’m more and more into vegetable growing as you can see by my last posts (also with summer comes a time where there isn’t much to do in the garden but wait for cooler wetter weather). That squash Magda looks very interesting, I’ll have to see if I can find it around here.
    (not sure what happened to my other comment, blogger must have eat it 😉 ) Happy 4th of July!

  17. Frances, says:

    Hi Linda, thanks and happy 4th. Now would be a good time to plan out the site and get rid of lawn. We all need to grow some food now if we can, and it is fun and delicious both.

    Hi Jan, thanks for visiting. We are lucky with our sunny spot with the good soil. Shade is encroaching at one end of the long bed from an ever growing silver maple. We have planted a small fig tree at that end.

    Hi Nancy J., thanks. You know we only show the successes, right? ;-> The jalapenos love the heat and don’t seem to mind the drought either, lucky for us. Hope yours give you some spicy pizzazz also.

    Hi Tina, Happy 4th and thanks for stopping by. Your veggie garden is looking good also, you are better at it than I.

    Hi Kathryn, it sounds like you have a good harvest too. Yum to arugula. We have some basil, I forgot to mention it, the little one, spicy globe. I think cukes can still go in, give it a try.

    Hi Brenda, those pines do suck up the moisture, don’t they? Like Linda (garden girl), you could start planning the site now for next year’s food crops. Thanks for visiting.

    Hi Gintoino, both of your posts made it, so I am publishing them both, they are slightly different. Blogger is very annoying sometimes. I ordered the seeds of Magda from Park seed, don’t know if they can ship to Portugal. But worth the effort if you can get them. Thanks for reading.

    Hi Daphne, good deal on your squash harvest, we love them and I try and pick them small, not quite so overwhelming that way. Happy 4th.

    Hi Titania, Thanks for those kind words. We try and eat as healthy as possible, and growing it ourselves is the healthiest. We have no fruit trees, yet, but do have blueberries, strawberries and golden raspberries. I would like to grow currants, something very romantic about that fruit.

    Hi Chuck B., Happy 4th and thanks for your input. We love the squash grilled too. But the mixture of squash, peppers, onions, tomatoes and garlic makes my mouth water and uses up so much of the harvest in a one pot meal. It is great the next day too. The grilled squash leftover could go in there too, good idea!

  18. Gina says:

    Frances – everything looks so delicious! I absolutely cannot wait for my first tomato! And I’m glad I read this because I’m definately going to try some grilled squash if by chance they are not all dead from the recently discovered squash vine borers.

  19. Karen Hall says:

    Lovely veg Francis – it all looks so healthy. The garlic harvest looks great.
    I am growing Black Pearl as an ornamental too this year. I don’t expect any chillies – but its leaves are very attractive.

  20. Zoë says:

    Delicious, nothing beats home grown does it.

    Hope you had a happy 4th July,

    Best Wishes,


  21. Ewa says:

    You need to know that Magda is very popular female name in Poland 🙂
    Your harvest is great!
    I am bit frustrated with my veggie production, but tomatoes and pepper seem to be very promising.

  22. Frances, says:

    Hi Gina, Thanks. Great about that first tomato, we had our first big one last week and made bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches, a tradition with the first large one. We have been picking the little ones for salad for a few weeks. The squash brushed with olive oil are so pretty with the grill marks too.

    Hi Karen, Thanks for stopping by. Black Pearl is a beauty, with or without the pearls.

    Hi Zoe, thanks. We did have a happy holiday, visiting offspring and doind a little daylily shopping!

    Hi Ewa, Good to see you. We had a Polish neighbor whose daughter’s name was Magda, a lovely name. Tomatoes and peppers are our easiest crop too, and so useful in the kitchen.

  23. Rose says:

    Your vegetable garden is definitely ahead of mine! Like you, I have been noticing the produce prices–and then there was the tomato scare, of coure–and thinking how glad I am I planted some vegetables. Yesterday I had to buy one small zucchini for a salad–it was over $1.00!
    Your vegetables seem to be doing quite well in spite of the drought.

  24. Dave says:

    Your crop is definitely looking good! I made some cucumber salad the other day from our cucumbers, unfortunately we didn’t have garden onions like you do!

  25. Frances, says:

    Hi Rose, thanks. I am sorry you had to buy a zuchinni, they are so prolific this year. Last year we only had one or two, constant crop failure. We are giving some water this year and waited longer to plant the seed outside. The one plant is in the old compost pile, it is massive, that is a good hint. However you throw your compost into the pile, move it and leave a mound for sowing squash seeds. I think the tomaotes and peppers would be bigger with more rain.

    Hi Dave, thanks. It does seem like a waste of space to grow your own onions, they are so cheap to buy. That is why I got seeds for red unusual ones. But it is fun to put out the sets since it is so early in the season when they appear at the stores and we are hungry for any kind of gardening activity then. Don’t you just love the crunch of those home grown cukes?

  26. Skeeter says:

    Sure looks yummy!

  27. Frances, says:

    Hi Skeeter, thanks, it has been delicious so far.

  28. DP Nguyen says:

    Finally, I get to see what your vegetable garden looks like! I’ve been waiting patiently 🙂 You’ve given me such great advice in the past months, so thank you for that!

    Your beans look delicious and ready to be picked!Your zucchini are so unique. I would have thought they were watermelon, if you hadn’t told me! Gorgeous color and lovely stripes.

    Your peppers look so healthy. Our peppers aren’t doing as well as we hoped, but we’re waiting and hoping they grow.

    Your cucumber looks delicious. I’m also growing my plants up, but using bamboo sticks to hold the plants up.

    You do have an impressive squash collection. It looks delicious. I’ve never had ratalouille, but i’ve always wanted to try it.

  29. Frances, says:

    Hi DP, thanks for such a great comment. Sorry you had to wait for so long to see the food portion of the garden. It is really a very small percentage of the total yard, we have mostly trees, shrubs and perennials, a tiny lawn and a small veggie patch. It is so much fun and more to be growing our food, we may devote more of the area to it. I can see that the strawberries are going to need a lot more room, they have sent runners everywhere. Glad I only bought six plants, I was going to buy more. We love the ratalouille, it uses up whatever we have, no real recipe and always delish. Not all of our peppers are doing as well as these. The ones in the new box planter all died! It was that bagged soil, not enough real dirt and compost. The tomatoes in it are okay, as is the chard. I have added some black Kow recently and things are perking up. Maybe you should try that.

  30. Christopher C. NC says:

    It’s really quite bountiful isn’t it.

    We’re at least a month away from ripe tomatoes and just getting a good start on the sugar snap peas. My radish bolted quick too which I thought was odd considering how cool it has remained.

    Anywho ratatouie to you.

  31. Frances, says:

    Hi Christopher, nice to see you. I envy your still having sugar snap peas, they were a terrific addition to salads and stir fry. I fear the ones that were frozen won’t live up to the taste of the fresh. And what was up with the radishes?

  32. Tejvan Pettinger says:

    Looks great, a real incentive to try and grow your own.

  33. Frances, says:

    Hi Tejvan, welcome and thanks. There seems to be lots of incentive to grow your own on the news here in the US anyway.

  34. HappyMouffetard says:

    What a wonderful harvest – so much better than ours so far this year, though we are drowning in broad beans (fava beans).

  35. Frances, says:

    Hi Happy, welcome and thanks for stopping by. My interest is piqued about the fava beans, drowning you say?

  36. Nicole says:

    Loads of lovely veggies! My tomatoes are done now because of the heat, but still getting daily arugula, mustard greens and amaranth, as well as herbs. Peppers are putting out their second crop. Oh homegrown crops taste sooo good.

  37. Frances, says:

    Hi Nicole, thanks for stopping by. So sorry about your tomatoes being done, are you having the same problem as the US with tainted fruit? I must try arugula, I have never had good luck with it, but always have sown the seed late in the fall. There is some space for a batch of that, thanks for the idea.

  38. Nicole says:

    Hi Frances, thankfully no we don’t have those problems because we don’t have the centralized produce distribution system as in the US-its all from the farmers, even the supermarkets buy from the farmers. In any case they arent even sure in the US that its the tomatoes! You must try arugula again, its so easy. Maybe try two or 3 kinds, including the rustic serrated leaf one, so you’ll find what grows best for you.

  39. Frances, says:

    Hi Nicole, you are lucky to have local produce. Our grocery has signs that let us know when stuff is local, it helps. I definitely will be getting some arugula seeds, it is too hot for lettuce and spinach now. I hate to buy it but want some salad!

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