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Summer harvest

I'm hanging in there. We are in survival mode around here, trying to survive the heat.

It's still hot and dry around here, although we have gotten a couple VERY small rain showers in the last week. Any little bit helps.

My "old" apple tree isn't looking good at all. I was so excited that it was full of apples this year, but with the drought, the apples have not grown and they are small and hard. I am wondering what to do with them. The dwarf apple tree has received at least a once a week watering and the apples, though not abundant, are growing nicely.

The okra is doing ok. Nothing outstanding. The heat makes the pods "woody" even when picked young. We have enjoyed a few dinners with okra. I'm thinking it is also the type of okra I grew.

The cucumbers are slowly growing but very bitter right now due to the heat even though I have been watering the garden.

The jalapeno peppers and garden salsa peppers are doing great as well as the tomatoes. Oh the tomatoes could be doing better, but I'm still getting a good harvest. Sunday I harvested another approximately 20lbs. I need to get them weighed today when I process them. There were several that had BER and had to be thrown away.

The new strawberry plants and grape vines are doing good. We do water them since they are new plants this year.

The three new fruit trees also get watered and are hanging in there.

The heat this year has really affected my husband and I. One of the medications they have me on makes it hard for me to handle the high temps. I have to get out early in the morning to get anything accomplished which isn't for very long before I have to come in. Between working the long hours and keeping up with the things that must be done inside, it leaves me drained!

I was able to get the tomatoes weeded and some much needed staking done this weekend. I'm just trying to hold on for cooler weather and a vacation!

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25lbs of Tomatoes

My Monday Harvest was 25lbs of roma type tomatoes. Last night I spent the evening washing and pureeing them into sauce.

25lbs made 3 one gallon bags of puree that now sits in my refridge waiting to be cooked down and canned into tomato sauce and salsa.

I used my KitchenAide mixer with the food grinder and strainer attachments that I inherited from my aunt. It made easy work. No boiling and peeling hot tomatoes.

There are more romas that need to be picked in the garden as well! The Amish Paste are big and meaty. Definitely my favorite roma. We got off to a rocky start. I bought several plants and only two made it, but each plant has produced more than I expected already. Some weighed 7 and 8 ounces each. There is very little waste on those tomatoes. I am looking forward to growing a bunch of them next year from seeds I save this year. They are hard to find in my area as seedlings. If you have a chance to grow the Amish Paste I highly recommend it. I did have to throw away a few first tomatoes that were hit by blossom rot, and I was thinking to myself this tomatoe just wasnt going to make it for me, but they really pulled through. I'm hoping all the blooms set and I don't have any problems next week since our temps will be over 100 again all week.

How is everyone's tomatoes doing? What's your favorite this year?

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How To Save Tomato Seeds

It's that time of year to begin saving your tomato seeds for next year.  It's very simple.  For me it's harder to actually get my seedlings growing than saving the seeds!

Homegrown has this awesome "How To" printable card for saving tomato seeds.  Visit their site to print you one off.

Also linked on the card is this seed packet template:

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One of the Coolest Beetles!

It looks like a little turtle in a bubble!

It is called The Golden Tortoise Beetle.

It can be found mainly on morning glory vines. It eats holes in the leaves.

How cool is that?

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Monday Harvest- Tomato Edition

This past week was over 100 degrees everyday. I really hope the watering I did will help see my tomatoes through. Here is the ones that I harvested this week. I'm keeping my fingers crossed the romas will continue to bloom and set.

The above tomatoe and the one below I'm sure came off our Better Boy plant. If I'm wrong then it came off the Big Beef plant. The Big Beef plant has really sprawled and it made it hard to tell for sure which plant they were picked off of.

Parks Whopper and what a WHOPPER it is! This is the first year we have ever grown the Parks Whopper and we will be growing it again.

Parks Whopper

Parks Whopper

The romas are ripening. Although I did have to through away just as many as I picked that were effected with blossom end rot. I checked all the green ones and culled those that were effected as well.

The 4th of July plants are still doing quite well. The grape tomato is called Sugar Daddy. It is very prolific, but the tomatoes fall off the vines when they are yellow. I'm not sure if it is a characteristic of this plant or due to our 105 degree days.

The above picture and below picture are more from the big beef or better boy.

Over 11 pounds of tomatoes for the week. I finally got my harvest totals on my sidebar. It's hard to believe that we have harvested over 100 pounds from our small garden this year. And that is just what has been weighed. Hubby likes to pick and eat without weighing and we have given some away that wasn't weighed.

With the heat, we only harvested one cucumber this week. The okra is still coming on and the peppers should start picking up some.

With the heat being so bad and no rain for weeks, I'm wondering if I'm going to be able to do any fall planting.

I hope everyone else's gardens are producing by the bushels full!

Be sure to check out everyone's harvest over at Daphne's Dandelions

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A Garden Harvest Surprise

I went out to the garden to harvest tomatoes and found this:

2 1/2 pounds of Okra! I hadn't been paying much attention to the okra because the plants are only about knee high and I've only seen a couple blooms. This is a new type of okra that I've never grown before. The feed store closed where I've always bought "Dwarf Okra" seed in bulk. This okra was a pre-packaged seed that said organic dwarf okra seed. The plants are definetly dward but the pods are not. I hope we like the taste of them!

I'm out of here, back to the garden to pick those tomatoes! It is supposed to get up to 106 degrees today. The upcoming week is supposed to be much much cooler, down in the 80's with 60's at night. I'm praying my garden will hold on till some much needed cooler weather. We even have a great chance of rain in the next couple of days. Keep your fingers crossed!


How To Harvest Onions

I'm sure everyone can figure out how to pull onions. The best time to do this is when
the leaves have flopped over. This is when the plants stop growing and start preparing for winter.

You can lay the plants on top of the soil where you pulled them up if the weather is going to be dry. The necks will begin to tighten and the foliage yellows. Let them dry for a week or two. If your weather is wet or frost is possible, harvest your onions and move them where they will stay dry.

Spread the onions out in a single layer and let them “cure” for two weeks. During this time the necks will wither and turn brown, and the papery skins will tighten around the bulbs. Once the necks have dried and there’s no more moisture in the stem or leaves, you can bring your onions indoors and store them in mesh bags or bushel baskets. Keep them cool (35 to 45 degrees F.) and away from light.

I pulled mine and hung them on a piece of fencing to cure.

Now I have to figure out what to do with all my potatoes. My basement stays cool but not 50-60 degrees cool.

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Fermenting Cucumbers In Your Crockpot

I'm trying out fermenting cucumbers. There are many ways to ferment cucumbers when you want sour pickles. Everyone does it differently. But everyone has to start with a vessel. A pickling crock can be VERY expensive. Not an expense I wanted to invest in at this time. So I decided to use my crockpot liner and it has worked out wonderfully!

I even used the lid. I cover the top with a kitchen towel to keep it dark.

Inside, I placed a heavy plate on top of the cucumbers, then a heavy bowl. When the lid is on, the lid pushes the bowl down keeping everything submerged. You do not want anything, including your spices to be floating.

For more great lacto fermenting ideas be sure to listen to the Survival Podcast!

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Monday Harvest

I've harvested all my bunching onions, sweet candy onions, yukon gold and red potatoes. The potatoes were a decent harvest but not as good as it should have been. It just got too hot & dry way to early this year.

The sweet candy onions grew to a wonderful size!

This is a 5 gallon bucket full of red potatoes.

The yukon golds are in a banana box. This is the third harvest from them. The first harvest was a 5 gallon bucket full. Although the yield could have been a lot better, I'm still pleased we got as many as we did.

The tomatoes, mainly 4th of July's are needing picked daily. We did pick two romas. The plants are full and just need to ripen!

I didn't have time to weigh any thing this morning. But it was a great harvest day!

Check out other's Monday Harvest over at Daphnes Dandelions.

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