2014 Veggies – August

Harvest, early August

By August, the garden is typically in high gear. Here we had a nice variety of good stuff– Purple Pole Beans, Cucumbers, Green Zebra tomatoes, Fox Cherry tomatoes, basil and thyme.

I started keeping a log book about the harvest. Basically chicken scratchings, but it has already helped me in future season planning. Here we are in early August.

In 2015 I would step up my logging game. One thing it’s good for is totalling your harvest by weight over the year. Mostly for this I sample random weights, take averages, then multiply by my total counts in this log, rather than weigh every green bean. I find it useful… here’s an example.

3 Brandywines = 2 lbs, so each is 1.5 lbs. One tally per tomato picked. Too easy?
22 Beans = 14 ounces, so each dozen is about half a pound. One tally per dozen.

Harvest log

At this point in the season, vegetable flowers have been attracting pollinators for a while, like this bumblebee pollinating one of our eggplants. There are also plenty of wildflowers and bulbs in bloom to help with bringing these pollinators into the garden.

Bumblebee on eggplant blossom, mid-August

Here we have a number of cherry tomatoes, likely our Fox Cherry heirlooms, which produce cherry tomatoes on the larger side, almost the size of a small plum in cases, and in prodigious numbers.

Cherry tomatoes ripening in mid-August, probably Fox Cherry

I don’t know if you can make it out in this photo, but note the little green clip in the center. It’s these clips that I have been trying them out over the last two or three years. They clip around the outside of a stem and grab onto a stake, while leaving a bit of wiggle room for the stem to move and get fatter. I like them better than tying twine since they are quicker, but they don’t last more than a couple of seasons due to their somewhat cheap design. If you have a lot of staking or re-staking to do, there’s nothing faster. (See my little review here.)

Dino kale (left) and rainbow chard (right) in containers

By this time in 2014, we decided to transplant most of our greens into pots with new soil. I’m still getting the feel for how many plants is the right number for a single pot. Too many and they don’t size up… only one plant and it will size up but you’ll have the nagging feeling that you could have maximized the space a little better. I find these kind of plastic pots to be ugly, and suprisingly they will start to crack and snap after wintering outdoors for a couple of years. In a space as small as ours, their hard circular forms mean that they take up a little more space than they need to. Now we are trying soft pots to see how they compare.

Eggplant (Listada?), mid-August

By mid-August, we had a couple of varieties of eggplant cranking out fruit. This one looks like a Listada, with its varying white and purple stripes.

At some point we got so sick of eating the pole beans that we started pickling them for the off-season. Here’s a typical handful. We ended up with about 9 pounds of beans in 2014, working out to about 900 beans.

Harvest, mid-August

So far I would say that for looks, taste, yield and ease of preparation, the Japanese long (or Ping Tung) are the winners, below.

Japanese long eggplant, late August

In 2014 I was a bit overeager and ended up crowding our tomatoes and tomatillos a bit too much. The tomatillos ended up a solid nine feet tall, shading most of their neighboring tomatoes. This meant that some of our plants got huge as they fought for sun with their peers, but produced little.

Heirloom Brandywines, late August

Here I was happy to get a couple of large Brandywines out of this plant. I don’t think much more came out of it that year. The following year would validate that they do much better with more space and more sun. Most vegetable gardeners seem to measure their self-worth in the form of their heirloom tomatoes. I’m no exception. Hard to grow, fussy, and susceptible to disease… but beautiful, and delicious. This is what I wait for 10 months of every year. Off to pick some basil for a nice summer caprese.

Here they are along with Green Zebras, Green Pole Beans, Shishito Peppers, Dinosaur (Tuscan) Kale, Rainbow Chard, Japanese Eggplant, and a Cascade Hops cone thrown in for good measure. This was a nice harvest in late August.

Harvest, late August

After our Picklepalooza party wiped out our bigger and medium-sized cukes in early August, we still had a few more small ones come in for a week or two, but we were done with cucumbers and their tangly viney ways. Every time I went to tend to the tomatoes, the cucumber vines would scratch me up. We picked the remains and threw them in the brine. Gherkins!

Homemade fridge gherkins

Green pole beans were now happily taking over the south fence in the rear of the garden. The scene had pretty much exploded in greenery of all sorts by that point in the season. I felt like our plants were actually growing faster than I could keep up with them.

Garden, late August