First Harvest

It was a shame that James had to miss it, but — while he was away at his conference — Nicole and I brought in the first official harvest from the garden. Honestly, it was a little earlier than I’d expected!

First Harvest Silvery Fir Tomatoes & Cocozelle Zucchini

The first surprise was the Cocozelle Zucchini that came seemingly out of nowhere. You might remember seeing the picture of it from the “Gardening While the Cat’s Away” entry. Did you notice that little squash baby with the blossom still on its end — about 5 inches from start to finish? THREE DAYS LATER it had grown so much that it was unrecognizable as the same, humble squash. In fact, it was almost too big to eat! (I said almost…)

First Harvest CabbageThe cabbage bed is filling up with ever-widening cabbage plants. I’ve never grown cabbage, before, so I’m anxious to see this process unfold — or wad up, as the case may turn out to be. I’ve not had a tremendous amount of pest issues with the cabbages, thus far. There has been evidence of some leaf munching, but I can’t find the culprit, so I assume they’ve moved on to tastier foods elsewhere. I discovered a little aphid colony on two of the plants, but — after blasting them with my trusty water squirt bottle — they’ve not been back. (Too bad the same couldn’t be said for those pesky aphids on our balcony, this year… sigh.)

First Harvest Giant Zinnia 1First Harvest Giant Zinnia 2

I was also delighted to see the Giant Zinnias beginning to bloom. I’m glad that we got at least some variety from the seed mix I’d purchased. Most of them are in the red-to-reddish category, but at least one white one is in there for variety’s sake.

Honestly, I’m glad to have some flowers other than the marigolds in the garden, period. The bed I’d devoted to a mix called “Grandmother’s Cut Flower Garden” did not survive the onslaught of weeds. I guess that’s the trouble of working with a seed mix in soil that’s also full of weed seeds — you never know what’s going to come up first and you never know what you’ve got until it’s nearly fully grown. In our case, we got a first-class WEED BED. I suppose, if we’d had access to the garden plot early enough, we could have tilled the soil a couple of times and given the weeds a chance to sprout and then gotten rid of them. Oh well, lesson learned: no more broadcasted seed mixes in this garden unless the sprouts are very distinctive from weed and grass sprouts.

First Harvest Cucumbers

The cucumbers are putting out lots of little cucumbers. I’m beginning to wonder when the right moment to pick a cucumber is! I definitely don’t want them to go the way of the zucchini!

First Harvest Sugar Pie PumpkinsFirst Harvest Jarrahdale Pumpkin

The Sugar Pie pumpkins have several wee pumpkins to boast about. So far the vines seem to be in good shape and are still on the march for full garden conquest. The Jarrahdale pumpkins are beginning to have a few pumpkin babies on their vines, too. They’re the pumpkins that are much more rounded — almost tomato-like.

Finally, we got our first few ripe tomatoes to sample. All of them were from the Silvery Fir bushes. The fruits that are becoming ripe first on the bushes are the smaller ones, so far — most of them only about 2-4 inches in diameter. They’re very tender tomatoes — they almost feel fragile when you pick them. There are larger ones still on the bushes, but they seem to be taking their sweet time getting ripe — which is fine with me! It’ll give me time to think of the myriad ways we’ll be putting them to use!

The Silvery Fir tomatoes have a definite sweet taste and a hint of spicy tartness that’s hard to really describe. Of course, the taste is far beyond any tomatoes that could be found in a grocery store! These tomatoes would be too puny for the typical supermarket goer to consider, most likely, and they’re far too tender to tolerate the cross-country road trip! But, for me — the one who saw them sprout from their little dot pots, the one who kept them watered and gave them light in the dead of winter — they’re a sublime reward.

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~ by Jason on July 15, 2010.

4 Responses to “First Harvest”

  1. What type of cucumbers did you plant this year? The type we planted only produced fruit no longer than 5 inches. They are really sweet but I would have preferred a longer variety. These may have been pickling cucumbers…not sure!

    • This was a variety from Botanical Interests called, simply, “Homemade Pickles”. I dashed home after this trip to the garden and read the back of the seed packet (for, honestly, about the eightieth time) and remembered that the fruits on this variety are pretty much ripe at 5″. So, I had a few that were closer to 8 or 9 inches by the time I got back, two days later, but they were fine.

  2. I think sooner rather than later is the time to pick cucumbers, and I say that from personal experience. The bigger they get, the more seedy they are, which is not my fav. Also I have harvested a baseball bat-sized cucumber when I left it for two days too long! We ate on that cuke for nearly two weeks!

    • They do grow up fast, don’t they?! 😉 I ended up picking a ton of them on my next trip out. Some of them were seedier than others, for sure. I made a buncha pickles and some homemade tzatziki sauce (all to come in future blog posts).

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