Friday, June 8, 2012

Garden haul of the day: First melon, only(?) cucumber, and more...

Things I picked in the garden today:  A foot long (at least) Japanese Heirloom cucumber, several Fairy Tale eggplants, and a Rich Sweetness 132 melon.

The melon went from green stripes to brick red and orange over the span of like two days. I didn't think it was ready yet, I expected the colors to be brighter from photos I have seen of this variety of melon. But, when I went to check on my plants today, it was on the ground, it had slipped off the vine on its own. And it smells really fragrant, so it's ripe! I was told by an experienced gardener to let it sit on the counter for a few days and then chill in the fridge a couple of days before eating it to get the best flavor. I'm going to do it becuase all their advice has worked so far. But damn, that's going to require more patience than I'm used to!  There are about ten more of these little cuties in various stages of development on the vines, and hopefully more will set after I am able to harvest a few more. I need to see if it's too late to plant seeds. Maybe not. It might not hurt to give it a try. They're heirlooms, so I can save seed from what I harvest, so no shortage of them, plenty to experiment with.

The cucumber seems to be the only one so far to make it to maturity. I don't know what the problem could be except it got so very hot so fast this Spring and I got my cucumber seeds in the ground a month later than I planned, but still at the very end of the suggested planting time. They do well in Fall, so I think I'll just give them another try in a couple of months. But, that's one huge and funky looking cucumber! I hear the flavor is mild and refreshing. I'll find out tonight because I'm making cucumber-yogurt salad to go with supper.

And then more of the Fairy Tale eggplants too. I haven't decided what to do with them yet. I know I want to try smoking some to make a spicy smoked eggplant spread. If we BBQ on Sunday, I'll give it a shot. I've got some poblano peppers that need to be picked, I was going to put them on the grill, then pop them into a closed container to sweat the skin loose, peel them, and make stuffed peppers. Probably do them at the same time as the eggplants.

Tomatoes are pretty much done. The temperature is too high for them to set fruit, so the last of the green ones will ripen and I can try again in Fall. I took the last big harvest of them and made another batch of homemade spicy marinara sauce to freeze. The peppers are all doing well, I'm about to harvest a LOT of the orange Yummy peppers in the next few days. I think I want to make sweet and hot pickled pepper rings with them. I've got a couple red jalapenos, to slice up and use in the jar, maybe add some carrot and onion too for a mixed pickle? The green beans are done, and the other eggplants are straggling along right now. I'll try fertilizing them again, but the older plants may just be worn out.

Still lots of lemons on the lemon tree, and a few oranges on the orange tree. The satsuma tree got sick (citrus leaf miners) so I picked the fruit I had left on it to take some of the stress off. It seems to have worked because it's bouncing back. The blueberries are about all done, but putting out new foilage, so that's good. Herbs are going well for the most part too.

Now, it's time to start pulling up tomato and bean plants and planning for Fall.

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