Posts Tagged first summer vegetable harvest

If it’s June, there must be zucchini…

Today's harvest

Today’s harvest

I did it again, gardening friends. I planted too many zucchini plants. The seedlings all looked so gosh darn healthy, I just couldn’t compost the extras. Thus, I planted six plants: 3 Spineless Perfection Zucchinis and 3 Dinja Zucchinis. Spineless Perfection has been a reliable variety in my garden for a number of years. Dinja is a newcomer. Both look fabulous — and alarmingly productive — at the moment.

Healthy zucchini plant -- for now

Healthy zucchini plant — for now

The wire you see is a support for the woven fabric covering I use to protect seedlings until they start blooming. This prevents varmints from attacking small plants. Of course, when blooms appear, the bees need access, so I remove the coverings. Unless they’re in the way, I often leave the supports to give the plants something to lean on when gusty thunderstorms blow through.

Today when I watered, I captured the first squash bugs of the season.

Today when I watered, I captured the first squash bugs of the season.

All six plants are currently growing much more upright than they have in past years. Usually they revert to a more vine-like growth pattern. The upright growth form makes harvesting vastly easier.

I only picked two zucchinis today, but the refrigerator is growing alarmingly full of them. Despite the absence of measurable rain for the last two weeks, the plants are remaining productive, due to our attentive watering. We’ll keep watering as long as the shallow well we use for the veggies holds out.

Watering around the base of a squash plant with a hose in the early morning is a great way to flush out lurking squash bugs. They start climbing the stems, making it easy for me to pick them off and deposit them in the jar of soapy water I keep in the garden for unwelcome insect pests.

The zucchinis may be the current vegetable in abundance, but much more is going on.

Sweet Treats Tomatoes are now taller than I can reach.

Sweet Treats tomatoes are now taller than I can reach.

All the tomato plants are weighted down by swelling green globes of future goodness. Waiting for the first ones to ripen is always torture.

Caged potato

Caged potato

The potatoes have grown so tall in their bags that Wonder Spouse erected wire cages around them to prevent flopping. Last year — his first year trying the bag method — a gusty thunderstorm knocked over the tall potato plants, damaging them in the process. This year, Wonder Spouse was determined there would be no repeats of that issue.

Potato cage close-up

Potato cage close-up

The last of the other spring-planted veggies are nearly ready for harvest.

Peppermint Stick Chard

Peppermint Stick Chard

A freebie from Renee’s Garden Seeds, the Peppermint Stick Chard is gorgeous and tasty.

Dill plants have grown large enough to contribute to many tasty dishes.

Dill plants have grown large enough to contribute to many delicious dishes.

Beets and carrots

Beets and carrots

The beets and carrots have surprised me by growing larger than I expected. They got a late start, but we’ve been diligent about watering them, plus I actually remembered to side dress them with fertilizer about a month ago. They’ve responded well.

Black-eyed Susan

Black-eyed Susan

June also brings what I think of as the first round of summer flowers, including the Black-eyed Susans, which are just starting to strut their stuff.

All look great now, but if we don’t get some significant rain soon, I’ll be in a race to see how much food I can coax from the veggies before drought, heat, bugs, and diseases damage them beyond salvation. Fingers crossed…

 

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First Fruits

Today's harvest

Today’s harvest

As the last hours of astronomical Spring wind down, the first summer fruits of the season were ready for harvesting in my garden today. In the basket are a Y-Star patty-pan squash, 2 Noche zucchinis, and 1 Spineless Perfection zucchini. The Noches are the darker fruits on the left. I predict that an equal number (or more!) will be ready tomorrow. Yup, it’s squash-for-breakfast-lunch-and-dinner time!

Of course, we’ve been eating Spring crops for a couple of months. The below-normal temperatures allowed us to harvest truly wonderful lettuces and spinaches until two weeks ago. The beet crop is coming in. We’ve conducted an initial taste test between the two varieties we grew, which I’ll report on later. The carrots are still trying, but, as is usual in my garden, carrots are a bit of an uphill battle. Wonder Spouse harvested almost all the onions two weeks ago. They are stored in the basement until he needs them for another of his culinary masterpieces  — oh yes, ladies, he cooks too. 🙂

We got about a half inch from a passing thunderstorm yesterday, so the veggies all looked shiny and fresh this morning. Here’s what one of the zucchini plants looked like before I picked:

Zucchini manufacturing in progress.

Zucchini manufacturing in progress.

This Y-Star patty pan plant looked equally busy:

I see squash bread baking in my near future.

I see squash bread baking in my near future.

It’s easy to tell by the exuberant growth of the squashes, the zillions of skinny beanlets dangling from the Fortex pole bean vines, the clusters of green globes beneath wide tomato leaves, and the tiny peppers pushing out from sturdy Italian pepper plants that the Summer Solstice is nearly here. In my garden, it will arrive at 1:04 a.m. EDT this Friday morning, June 21.

I didn’t really need a calendar to tell me Summer was knocking at the door. The plants and animals that share my five acres of green chaos have been reminding me for weeks now. As more evidence, I offer two more participants in the ongoing daylily parade.

Daylily 'Lady Inara' reminds me of warm summer sunsets at the beach.

Daylily ‘Lady Inara’ reminds me of warm summer sunsets at the beach.

Daylily "Prairie Blue Eyes' isn't really blue, but she's a looker for sure.

Daylily “Prairie Blue Eyes’ isn’t really blue, but she’s a looker for sure.

Happy Almost Summer, ya’ll!

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