Here is our first decent summer harvest, from up at the Big Garden (my parent's garden). Our tomatoes are a couple of weeks behind theirs and just starting to change colour. We have been getting a few salad greens, zucchinis, and some strawberries and raspberries before now, but this is the first time it feels like I have really done a proper harvest. This is proving to be a nasty summer in the Bay of Plenty for growing things. Firstly, it has been rather damp and humid. The strawberry plants at my parents look sick. Not much fruit off them this year and hardly a flower in sight now. The 20 runners planted here have been producing, but some days they go to the blackbirds and slugs as they are rotting so quickly in the damp conditions. The Christmas raspberries have also succumbed somewhat to the wet weather. They seem to have little tiny bugs or caterpillars in residence inside many of the ripe berries. I am beginning to understand why store-bought raspberries are always so under-ripe. The more ripe the berry, the more likely there will be added protein. This, I imagine, is not a very desirable characteristic when you are trying to sell your raspberries. I am not so keen on it when I've grown them myself.
The tomato plants are looking more healthy overall than last year, when they had some weird viral disease. Some plants are still exhibiting the funny leaf curling seen last year, but overall they look better. It is interesting seeing the difference in growth habits between the different varieties. The cherry tomatoes go straight up, in long gangly branches. Everywhere. They require a fair bit of tip pruning just to keep them from taking over the whole garden. The San Marzano romas are a much more compact plant. Uncle Roald's Super Tomatoes have very, very long and bushy leaves.
Now I just have to work out what to do with all those cucumbers! We ate the beans tonight. There haven't been many this year (unlike last year where they were coming out our ears because the first lot I planted looked like they would keel over and die but didn't so we had several lots - this year we have only one short row of dwarf beans, and a row of climbing ones just starting to flower). The zucchini will disappear into a stir-fry or something without any hassles. The raspberries are mostly eaten already - the sooner you eat them, the less time they have to go mouldy or squishy. And here are some of our first tomatoes.
Have you been harvesting anything this week?
Thursday, 6th January, 2011