Mid July Harvest

It is over a month since I last wrote about the vegetable garden and there is much more to harvest now.

Some of you commented that you were surprised I grew so many courgette plants (4).  As I explained in my replies I always loose some plants and that has been the case this year – one has just stopped producing; interestingly its foliage is slightly different to the others so a rogue seed maybe.  I always grow Romanesco courgettes or zucchini as they’re called here and in the States.  I pick when they are very small, about finger size.  I will grow another plant to replace the one that I’ll be removing as the plants sometimes stop fruiting in mid-September because they have produced so many, a new plant may keep going into November, if we’re not fed up with eating them by then.  One dish I like is Spaghetti with zucchini and their flowers in a creamy truffle sauce, worth trying if you need new ideas.  How do you cook your courgettes?

When I wrote last (June 10th) I was eagerly waiting for the tomatoes to ripen.

Marmande and others from seed given by a friend which look similar!

Marmande and others from seed given by a friend which look similar!

Roma for sauce

Roma for sauce

Yellow and red pear, Chocolate, Tigarella, and Daterini

Yellow and red pear, Chocolate, Tigarella, and Daterini

Currant sized orange tomatoes,

Currant sized orange tomatoes

I would recommend trying these if you like to add tomatoes to rice or Quinoa salads as you add them whole and they don’t make the mix wet, plus as you bite into them you get a burst of fresh flavour  in your mouth.  Downside is they are bush rather than climber so a pain to harvest; I think they would be worth trying in a hanging basket, I might try it next year although giving them enough water might be difficult in a basket here.  I don’t have flowering baskets either for that reason.

More Marmande with Golden sunrise, and a green shouldered variety I grew from saved seed from a mixed pack last year so no name

More Marmande with Golden sunrise, and a green shouldered variety I grew from saved seed from a mixed pack last year so no name

The first tomato salad with a mix of tomatoes (July 3)

The first tomato salad with a mix of tomatoes (July 3)

Small yellow plums from the lane and my favourite figs

Small yellow plums from the lane and my favourite figs!

The figs have produced a good crop of perfect figs this year, we eat them with Prosciutto, or squashed onto my homemade focaccia. I love them just as they are too.  This year because there have been a lot I’ve also served them cooked – cut in half and laid in a grill pan with a little honey and vinegar poured over them and a dob of Gorgonzola.

Other than just eating these tiny sweet plums I pickled some in a couple of jars to eat with cheese or cold cuts.

The plum I planted in the garden 2 years ago produced a decent crop of golden yellow plums; some I cooked with spices and Marsala, some I made into chutney, some were juiced and the rest eaten as they were.

Yesterday I picked the first red peppers and aubergines which I made into Caponata along with some of the tomatoes.

We started eating sweetcorn about 10 days ago and this week I harvested the rest of the crop as they were all ripe and don’t improve if left, so I cut the kernels from the cobs and froze them.  Frozen sweetcorn isn’t available here in the shops as corn is perceived  as animal food and it is true that maize is grown all around us (the biggest crop be far) to be made into silage. In the north of Italy it is dried and made into flour for polenta.

Dwarf beans are flowering and yaed-long beans are beginning to climb their canes.

What are you eating from your garden or allotment this week?



43 thoughts on “Mid July Harvest

  1. Oh my goodness what a gorgeous variety of tomatoes-I can almost taste and smell those sweet little ones. Courgettes! Yes to catching them when small but miss three days and they will have grown huge. A friend says she peels them with a spiralizer and uses them instead of pasta. I have grated mine, then sprinkled them in salt to reduce the moisture content. I leave them to drain and then dry with kitchen paper then substituted them for broad beans in the Ottolenghi recipe for broad bean burgers. It’s very good if a bit time consuming.

    • I don’t have a spiraliza, I have too many gadgets as it is! If we have the barbecue on I like grilling slices of larger zucchini and then dressing them with oil and lemon juice.

  2. A great harvest of tomatoes already Christina! I used to grow zucchini in large pots, but they got mildew so I am waiting a year or two before trying again in a different spot. I like the sound of your zucchini and truffle sauce. With slugs a problem I am limited to container growing, but I have had some spinach and radishes and lots of salad leaves since June. And herbs such as basil of course too. Waiting for the spring onions now… 🙂

    • My zucchini always got mildew in England but it didn’t really stop them producing a good crop. Did you try just cutting off the infected leaves? My cucumbers, which I forgot to mention already show signs of rust, I think they are lacking something in the soil; but as they are not the intended variety and are bitter I’m going to but another module (6 plants – which is too many really) and hope they are what they say they are. If you could protect the plants while they’re small I’m sure you could grow some in the ground.

  3. What a lovely variety of tomatoes you have, amazing! We have just picked all our fruit, black and red currants and gooseberries, they are now sitting in the freezer.

  4. Luscious! I adore tomatoes, and I understand the selection among different varieties amounts to a fine art in Italy? I am still struggling to decide how to go about creating a vegetable growing area here — and how to keep it from being entirely destroyed by wildlife. Meantime, my one enormous tomato plant has pretty much stopped bearing for the present; I am leaving it in place, curious to see whether it will begin again when temperatures moderate…

    • Wow, it must be hot; the sun doesn’t stop my tomatoes producing although sometimes they run out of steam because I don’t feed them enough. This year I have comfrey growing to make comfrey tea to feed them. You could also take a cutting from the parent plant (one of the side shoots) and grow it on in a pot and plant it out when you think the weather will be better.

  5. Mmmmmm – my mouth is watering as I read this post Christina. I always grow at least four courgette plants too 🙂 ‘Romanesco’ is an old favourite and as well as these I’m growing rugosa friulana this year. I picked some ‘Romanesco’ yesterday but the other variety has not produced any mature fruit yet. Your tomatoes look most attractive and must taste full of sunshine. Mine are still all green so I’m watching them avidly to detect the very first blush. What I have been indulging in this week are ‘Polka’ autumn fruiting raspberries – yes I know it’s still summer but these start early and go on until the first frosts.

    • I always found the autumn raspberries the best and they always started early. In good years here the plants also start early and fruit for quite a while, I’m very much hoping this is a good year!

    • Everything was late this year after the cold (ish) spring, I also picked lots of tomatillos last evening, many are large as they were when Scott made that great salsa here, do you remember.

  6. Oh, fresh figs! I love them, but they are rarely seen here, and when you do see them they are usually past their prime. Your tomatoes look fabulous! As for courgettes/zucchini, I like them grilled with olive oil and a little salt.

  7. I am very envious of your tomatoes. It is one of the vegetables I really enjoy from the garden but this year it looks as if ours are not going to produce. June was wet and I believe tomatoes have problems with the high and low temperatures we have been experiencing. Amelia

  8. Your tomatoes look wonderful! I do miss fresh tomatoes and may have to reconsider my “no veg” policy next summer. We actually did get to eat some of the red seedless grapes from our vine this summer even though the critters took at least half and what we picked was a little tarter than we’d have liked.

    • Fruit seems to be much more difficult than vegetables I find! I’ve just planted a vine so hope we might have some grapes next year or maybe the year after.

  9. Christina qué cosecha tan grande y variada¡¡¡¡ Me comería todos sus tomates: deben oler….. y su sabor debe ser una maravilla. Los calabacines, el maíz dulce….. Te habre el apetito y todo de huerta, buenísimo. Que aproveche¡¡ Saludos de Margarita.

  10. I am envious of your green figs and all those tomatoes. Yum. At work I have been picking strawberries, rhubarb, cucumbers and carrots. I grow courgettes at home and like them in ratatouille or simply stir fried in a little olive oil with lots of garlic , served with grated Parmesan.

  11. The plate showcasing your various tomatoes is beautiful! We have been eating sweet and hot peppers and also tomatoes from our garden. I made hot pepper sauce for the first time, and it was a success with my husband and son, though I personally don’t care for hot peppers and only plant them for others.

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