Tomatoes

It has been a stellar year for tomatoes so far. I am having friends over tonight to help me eat them, and we are having a neighborhood block party tomorrow, for which I plan to bring a fattoush that will feature some of the cherry tomatoes (plus the parsley and mint) I harvested today. In addition to the tomatoes, I have four or five zucchinis that need to be eaten, so on the menu tonight is an antipasti board (including Caprese skewers and sauteed zucchini), a zucchini/(home-made) basil pesto/goat cheese pizza and a tomato salad with peaches, pesto and whipped feta.

Preserving

Over the past few days I have been preserving some of this summer’s harvest. I oven-dried tomatoes, and pickled cucumbers and peppers. My cucumber harvest this year was pathetic. I got about six cucumbers from as many plans. The tomatoes are very strong though. I guess it is the heat. The peppers are “Pickling Peppers”, a gift from Sand Hill Preservation Center, and I followed the instructions and pickled them. Looking forward to trying them in a few days.

Garlic 2022

Today, I processed this year’s garlic harvest. I cleaned all of the garlic, saved the three biggest heads of each soft necks and hard necks (in the very left of the picture), braided the soft necks into two braids (the smaller one to give as a gift) and placed the hard necks into a crock in the pantry to be used up before the soft necks. Seven heads are damaged and will be used up first (small bowl in the top right). Overall, I harvested 58 heads, 27 hard necks and 31 soft necks. The hard necks are Red Russian, and the soft necks are Transylvania.

Summer Sowing for Fall Harvest

Kentucky Wonder pole beans

I cleaned up the area where the garlic had been and sowed beets (Chiogga and Burpee Golden), two rows of fall greens and carrots (Coreless Amsterdam, Dragon Purple and Mokum). Coreless Amsterdam and Mokum are early carrots with 55 days to maturity, Dragon Purple is 70 days. I also sowed basil (among the tomatoes), a row of cilantro (between the leeks and the flowers) and Black Seeded Simpson leaf lettuce (between the eggplant and the timber border). I top-dressed the tomatoes, squash and eggplant with cow manure and gave everything a good watering.

Today’s harvest: the (likely) last cucumbers, one zucchini, kale and tomatoes. (Zucchini and tiny cherry tomatoes from another gardener’s plot that I have been harvesting and watering while they are away.)

Early August Cleanup

Black Strawberry tomato

We are starting our next heat wave here in Boston, but I still went to the garden this morning to weed for two and a half hours. Long overdue. I had bought field hay to mulch two years ago, and the hay had seed heads. Now I have grass everywhere.

The summer garden has been somewhat disappointing this year so far. Other than tomatoes, not much is thriving. Zucchini died. Eggplants are a now-show. Cucumbers are a total fail; I got three “globes” and one decent-size one from six plants. I do think the heat is to blame, at least for the cucumbers. The kale and chard are very short for some reason. The winter squash is looking okay, I see many flowers but no fruit yet. But then again, I started the garden very late this year.

Yesterday, we had our first real rain in weeks. There was a big and beautiful thunderstorm moving through the area and everyone was celebrating. It is really scary how dry it has been.

My first Black Strawberry tomatoes are ripening. They are so beautiful. And very tasty.

Late July Update

I harvested some more tomatoes and some forgotten beets and baby carrots. I need to replant the spot in the garden where I pulled the garlic a couple of weeks ago. I will direct-sow lettuces, carrots and beets and some basil. I also need to stake the beans and do a thorough weeding. There is so much grass in my plot. I think it came from the field hay that I used to mulch last year or the year before.

The cucumbers do not look great. The plants are not thriving, and the fruit is small and round. I know they suffered from the heat. Cucumbers do not like temperatures above 90, and we just had a 8 day-heat wave with temperatures in the mid- to upper 90s. The zucchini is dying. Not sure what is happening. It is just shriveling up, including the one single fruit, which stopped growing and is deformed and starting to yellow. The eggplant plants are tiny. The three winter squash plants have very few flowers. I am hoping things will improve.

Tomatoes are looking great. Tons of fruit, but the plants themselves are not very tall this year. I need to amend the soil this fall. Beans, corn and flowers are looking great.

Thai Basil Pesto

Thai basil harvest, 2 cups of leaves total

I harvested much of the two Thai basil plants on my back porch and made pesto. I used it for dinner to make Thai pesto noodle bowls with crispy ground pork. I followed this tried and true recipe for the pesto though. So good!

Crispy pork with Thai pesto over rice noodles. Yum!
Mise en place (with last year’s home-grown garlic)
To be blitzed
Done. So flavorful and fresh. I absolutely love this recipe.