Sunday, June 26, 2016

A Garden Harvest During A Crap Year

This is what the Oklahoma sun does to tomatoes when it gets close to 100ºF.  I had these covered with sheets, but the Oklahoma wind blew the sheets off.  

So all these tomatoes were picked several days ago, whether they're anywhere near ripe or not.
 Sorry about the poor lighting.

The garlic was ready to pull, but everything's small.

Onions just didn't bulb up, because it got hot too soon.  Some of these were Candy Onions.  What a waste, after growing these onions from seed.  The onions from the "sets" that I bought did even worse.  Most of them hardened from the root up and made a seed head.  The ones that didn't go to seed were not any better.  At least the Candy onions got all floppy-necked and gave me a little something of an onion for all my effort.

When their necks flop over, they're done growing.  Anyway, that's what I was told.  So what do you do when the crop doesn't turn out like you expected?    Well, you process the parts that are edible, that's what you do.  And the rest, you give a decent burial somewhere in one of the garden beds.  Earth to Earth, Onion to Onion.  Or something like that.

These are the safety glasses that I wear while I'm processing onions or garlic.  I can stink up the whole house and still not cry.  I think they came from Lowe's, and they were not expensive.

When I chop vegetables, I usually put my smallest cutting board in the middle of a big cookie sheet.  I guess some people call these "jelly roll pans".  But I use them for all kinds of things.  This particular one measures 12" X 18".  I have some of those old cafeteria trays that are 18" X 24" and when I have a lot of chopping to do, I clear off a bigger work area and use one of those and a bigger cutting board.  The pan catches all the drippy stuff and the pieces that fall off the edge of the cutting board don't go rolling off the counter onto the floor.

I always chop the onion greens, too.  I use them in soups and casseroles.  These have gone into the freezer, and I will add to them because there are more in the garden ready to be pulled.

This is my second summer trying to grow Pineapple Tomatillos.  Last spring, this variety all died after the transplant.  Better luck this time, got my first taste.  Meh.......  Sweet, with tart notes.  I wouldn't say it tasted like pineapple, though....  The nice thing about tomatillo is that it will tolerate quite a bit of heat and dry.

Gotta love those Crunchy Muncher Cucumbers, AKA WI-5207.  And I do.  I'm bringing them in at about 8", about two a day now, because I'm trying to keep the stress off the vines.  So far the vines are doing fine with a good watering every-other day.

This variety will fruit without pollination, which is why often there will be no seeds inside the cucumber at all.  And that's one of the reasons why they are so good.  They never get bitter and at this size, I don't even remove the outer skin.  If you're going to juice them, however, you might want to as there is a slight aftertaste in the juice.  If you're going to try to save seed, you want to let the cucumber hang on the vine till it is quite large, after you have either pollinated the flower yourself, or waited till the vines are going gangbusters and you are seeing pollinators flying around.  When allowed to get bigger, the green color fades out into white and there is a yellow-gold "blush".  There will be seeds at this size, regardless, but if it hasn't been pollinated, the seeds will dry flat like a little teardrop-shaped envelope and they will not germinate.  When I bring these big cukes into the house, I can never resist holding one up to show Hubs and announcing, "Happy Housewife!".  I know Hubs probably gets tired of me doing this but he always laughs, anyway.

Cushaw pumpkin.  S'posed to be squash bug resistant.  I dunno, I saw a couple on these plants a little over a week ago.  Applied Sevin, on the ground where they walk around under the canopy, hopefully to allow the lives of the pollinators that come to the flowers to be spared.  But I've lost two of these plants since then and so far none of the other varieties (Shhhhh....  Don't say that out loud.) 

Lazy Housewife pole bean, the few that germinated, being grown for seed.  So far, I'm not happy with what has set on.  Might not be very good seed, even if I end up with some.

That's Black Futsu pumpkin to the left of the cucumber hoop (top of the picture).  I have Glenda's Long Island Cheese in another part of the garden.  Both these varieties have not yet set on any fruit.

Doyle thornless blackberries.  They ripen later than native blackberries.  Seems like by the time they're at this stage, it's hot and dry, and hard to keep them wet enough to go ahead and fill out.

Sweet potatoes - mostly Beauregards - in the square bed.  They're wilted from the heat of the day, should be ok when it's cooler.  I didn't water it today.  If you don't want to be depressed, don't come out here and go through the garden at high noon, that's all I'm sayin'.....  No, there's nothing in the trap.  We're not dealing with any rats right now so I just sprung the trap to keep the birds away.  Ought to put it away but I don't want to jinx it. 

Bush beans.  I had my potatoes between the two bean rows.  Might plant my fava beans there.  I've started some in newspaper pots, they've started germinating but haven't got cotyledons yet.  Maybe if I time it right I might be able to pop each little pot into the ground right after a good rain, whatever THAT is.

Fennel, starting to put on umbels now.  I think that big root (below) could be pulled and eaten, but I need to find out for sure....

 Tendergreen Bush beans.

 Red Noodle bean.  They haven't put anything on yet.

 This is the tomatillo.  And a Hopi Red Dye amaranth.  That's a sunflower in the back center.

Moon and Stars leaves, among the grass.  I haven't had time to get to this, and kind of scared that, at this point, I might uproot the plant with the weeds.  Been there, done that.

 Cowhorn okra, the plants are still very small, but trying to bloom. 

Rhubarb, still alive in the herb garden.  It's about to get into the afternoon shade and not a moment too soon, either.  Showing the stress already of too much sun, but I've seen it looking much worse.

Ginger.  Those bitty leaves are Garden Huckleberry seeds that I put in the pot to germinate where I can keep an eye on it, as I didn't get them planted till late.  When they get some size, I'll dig them out, separate, and transplant into their "Forever Home".  Well, barring July or August Death, that is.

I have some more onions pulled, so I'd better get them cleaned and packed away in the freezer.  Tonight we're having pork tenderloin slices, grilled.  Fried green tomatoes and I'll slice, dredge in flour, and fry that one immature Cushaw that was on one of the vines that died, as well.  I've been making my whole-wheat bread into hamburger-style buns, they slice better for sandwiches and toast than a loaf of bread does.  Maybe we'll just put everything inside a bun.  Wha-la.  I oughta make a potato salad or a cold macaroni-tomato-chopped green pepper-onion-mayo salad but I'm not in the mood.  Oh, what the hell, I'll do it.....  Cold macaroni salad sounds sooooo good.  If I make it now, there's time for it to cool......

And I'm probably inside for the rest of the day, anyway.  We are under a Heat Advisory AGAIN.  30% chance of rain after 4pm.  60% chance of rain tonight after 1am.  50% chance of rain Monday, might get as much as half an inch, they say.  Each day's forecast seems to change at the drop of a hat, so we "never know what we goan git", actually. 

I saw a girl wearing a T-shirt that said, "I'm a freaking ray of sunshine" the other day.  I told her I liked her shirt.  I know just how she feels. 

Rock on, anyway.....  xoxoxo


  1. The plants your are calling tomatillos are actually ground cherries, also called cape gooseberries. Tomatillos are much larger. I don't care for ground cherries raw, but they are excellent in a pie.

  2. It does look hot and dry there, but things are still giving you produce anyway.

    Keep cool dear Ilene ~ FlowerLady

  3. I was hoping this rain pattern we are in was catching you all. I think Joplin got rain.

    It makes you want to throw in the towel......I know. The Japanese Beetles are so bad here that I have to spray almost daily. They are on everything. Not the tomatoes..........yet. Max hit a elm limb mowing and they dropped down on him from the leaves....may be the worst year yet for them. Hang in there. No produce here yet...except a few peppers.


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