Uneven Harvest

One problem with having a small garden is the unevenness of ripening fruit. One day I will get five Zucchini, the next three yellow squash. Two days ago I had to harvest the last patch of arugula as it does not like hot weather. This makes me so sad since it is my favorite thing to grow and the easiest.

I overfilled my harvest basket, which was an inspired gift from my friend Mary Lloyd. The recent hot, hot days had made the arugula bolt, growing tall and flowering. When that happens there are very few tender leaves for consumption. So processing it is much harder work than my normal way of just cutting one salads worth directly from the patch.

After triple washing the basket full in the sink I pulled off any edible leaves. The resulting yield was about a fifth of the harvest basket. Still good, just a lot more work than cool season harvesting.

Today I had three nice cucumbers. Those vines have been prolific. I have already gifted cucumbers and pickled a bunch. I had one tiny cherry tomato. It is actually my third tomato. I picked my first two day before yesterday when my friend Lane was visiting and we ate them standing right in the garden. There are hundreds and hundreds of green tomatoes on my plants. I know that most will ripen all at once and I will have my hands full.

I also picked the first of my pole beans. I had a big handful’s worth with a few more still on the vine I am letting get slightly bigger to pick tomorrow. It would be enough to add to a nice Niçoise salad so I am thinking of that for tomorrow. I have plenty of tender lettuce and perhaps another couple of cherry tomatoes.

The saddest thing was my single Okra pod. I added it to the three others I have in the fridge. Four okra are not quite enough to cook into something. I hope to get a few more before these whither.

Lastly, I noticed the first of my cantaloupe. I have an unfenced garden next to my fenced one and I thought the animals would not like melons. So far so good. The animals have eaten all my overflow plants I put in the unfenced garden. I am going to have to experiment with what I might grow there next year along with the melon.

I am getting to that point in the growing year where the cool season vegetables are over, like the kale, spinach, arugula, cilantro and chives. My yellow squash aren’t faring well and I fear I will need to pull them up. That means I have some space to plant something new. With the likelihood of really hot weather to come my choices are limited until the end of August when I can add more cool weather greens and cabbage.

This first year of the new garden is certainly trial and error. For the most part I am thrilled with my raised beds and the garden soil I filled them with. Keeping that soil well amended and doing smart crop rotation is going to be a life’s work.

For now I am most looking forward to a big tomato sandwich with a warm red fruit straight from the vine. One good tomato is worth all the work of building this garden.



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