Last updated on September 2nd, 2012
HOW ARE YOUR VEGGIES COMING ALONG? Any troubles to report? My own kitchen garden, above, is at the “better pick me now” stage. Here’s what I’m pulling, picking, or snipping as the summer of 2012 draws to a close:
In case you’re wondering, I grow all of my onions from seed, not “sets.” Sets have never produced decent harvests for me.
On Sunday, I pulled 67 red onions. Reds are delicious for raw eating on hamburgers and in salads. They are great for winter-storage, too. How I harvest, cure, and store onions.
…or from green to yellow, depending on variety. When your peppers achieve the color you want, by all means harvest them immediately. Otherwise they can quickly rot on the plant. I saute and then freeze my peppers as a colorful, nutritious condiment called “Piperade.”
Strictly for your benefit, I reached into a bed and retrieved 3 ‘Blue’ potatoes. Other varieties in the same bed are ‘Red Norland,’ ‘Kenebec,’ and ‘Yukon Gold.’ Although potatoes can be harvested anytime after the foliage withers away, my own policy is to keep them in-ground until October. That’s when my cellar is cool enough to accommodate the tubers. How I plant, grow, harvest and store potatoes.
I harvested ‘Nutri-Bud’ broccoli back in mid-July. The heads of this heirloom variety were enormous. Now, as you can see, the side-shoots are producing a second crop. These smaller heads are still quite large.
On other tall, wooden trellises are tomatoes. They seem to enjoy these structures far better than cages. My policy is to pick the fruit while it is still green and blemish-free, and let it ripen indoors. One tri-pod trellis accommodates red, yellow, and white cherry tomatoes; another supports 3 heirloom varieties — ‘Cherokee Purple,’ ‘San Marzano’ (marvelous for sauce), and ‘Rose.’ I hope you’ll talk about your own tomatoes in the comments field below.
Sandwiched between ‘Ace’ bell peppers and the cucumber vines are 3 plants of ‘Red Russian’ kale. These have grown almost too well. I harvest the leaves weekly, and then either freeze them or saute them in vermouth (vermouth removes the bitterness from the leaves).
Here in zone 5-b, kale can produce well into December. The plants are not bothered by the occasional hard frost. It is only after temperatures remain consistently below 40 degrees for several weeks that the plants finally give up.
When you are in my Kitchen Garden, you can look down and see the small Herb Garden that grows between the Music Room wing and North Wing of my house. There are more veggies in that garden, too. But let’s save these for another time, okay?
Meanwhile, tell me about your own veggie patch. What are you harvesting these last days of summer? Or has high-heat and drought put the kibosh on your crops?
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