Monday, July 22, 2013

Big Tomato Harvest at PAR Davies!


Tomato harvest from last Saturday
There were a lot of early birds at the garden last Wednesday trying to beat the heat. Gardeners were Susan, G.A., Jamie, Martha, Ann A., Lauren, Larry Crawford (first timer), Karen, Melba, J.J., Bob and Virginia V., and myself. We had a GREAT harvest. As Susan says, "It makes all our hard work worth it." We picked cucumbers, bell peppers, squash (yellow and zucchini), eggplant, misc. peppers, green beans, speckled butter beans, tomatillos, basil, carrots, and a whopping harvest of tomatoes. Some of the tomatoes were saved for the Tomato Tasting at the MAMG meeting onThursday night, and the rest were sent to the shelter. Martha generously offered to drop off the produce.

The majority of the work was the harvest, which we all participated in. Jamie as usual was tending to the watering, and he visits the garden during the week to make sure nothing dries up. G.A. and Jamie worked on replacing the broken faucet/hose connection, which is not a small task.  G.A. bought the replacement part, and the plan is to get it fixed asap.

Larry checking out the water pipe
We discovered and squished a few squash bug eggs, the first this year. Here we are in the middle of July and we aren't inundated with squash bugs. That is some kind of miracle. I have noticed in my home garden that there are fewer, too. We will have to remember each workday to look for squash bugs and their eggs. After the Bt injections last week, the squash plants all still look healthy. We will have to wait to see how long the plants last before we declare our experiment a success or failure. I would love to be able harvest some of the 'Fall Sweet' squash. We have harvested 52 lbs. of zucchini and yellow squash so far--not bad, and they are still producing.

'Fall Sweet' squash bed. The leaves are beautifully variegated
One of the good-sized squash from the above bed
The tomatoes were tied up and suckers were pinched off. The vines are loaded with tomatoes and they are not being taken over with bugs or disease. What a blessing. I should have taken a picture of our tomatillos. We were finally able to harvest over 3 lbs this week. The bug/worm problem seems to be abating to where we are able to get a good many nice clean tomatillos. We should have many more weeks of picking on these plants.

We planted a lot of different kinds of cucumbers this year. The long Japanese and Camilla cukes were planted to grow up on tomato cages. These both get at least one foot long. One of the other varieties was 'Collier,' and you can see what it looks like on the link below. It is planted in the far end of Bed 12. Check it out, because you might think that there is something wrong with these cucumbers if you don't know what they are supposed to look like. Lauren said they were very tender and tasted really good and fresh. These were some more of Julie's treasures from Seed Savers Exchange.

Karen by one of our cucumber towers

Lauren sampling the 'Collier' cucumber
The purple hull peas that had the aphid/ant infestation last week have cleared up and the bushes are starting to put out blossoms. However, the ants and their buddies have now moved over onto the pole beans. Ugh! They just don't give up. We also spied some Japanese beetles on the pole beans. Karen and Lauren took care of that bed by thumping the beetles into a bucket of soapy water (see Karen's bucket above) and the aphid/ant infestations were sprayed with mild soapy water.

Susan saw an okra pod ready to pick, so we might start getting some next week. 

The Saturday crew of Sally, Karen, Barbara H., Peggy G., Michelle, Elizabeth B., and Rita D - led by the intrepid Mary Elizabeth - harvested, tied up tomatoes & tomatillos, picked off beetles and eggs from beans and squash and just generally did everything on the rather extensive list that I gave them!  What troopers!  

Here is a recipe from Cooking Light that I sent to the shelter which uses a lot of the produce that we sent today. Perhaps if you have an abundance of the same in your gardens, you'd like to try it. 

Tomato, Squash, and Red Pepper Gratin - yum!
'Til later,

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