Thursday, August 11, 2011

2011 August 9-10 harvests and work

On Tuesday, 2011 August 9, Bruce, Judy, and Lance (alphabetical)
harvested 21 medium-size red tomatoes, 1-2 quarts of tiny tomatoes
("sungold" cherry tomatoes and "yellow pear" tomatoes), 15 cucumbers,
15 summer squash, less than a tub of kale, and 22 onions.

We performed an enlightening "taste test" with summer squash.
Four squash were tasted by the three gardeners present and some kitchen
workers: a 3.25 pound squash suspected to be a "Costata Romanesco"
from another garden, and these three from our garden: a Raven
zucchini considerably larger than the suspected Costata, a
warty yellow-crookneck-appearing squash grown from a seed packet
with label "Golden Hubbard" which has been a strange plant, and
a rather large green pattypan squash.  All seemed tasty to me.
I think several people liked the "Costata" the best, I think I
liked the "hubbard" best, and I lost track of some people's
favorites.  The reader who suspects that we don't actually know
what three of the tested squash were is correct.  (We got the
green pattypan from a friend who is vague on exactly which variety
it is; and we're unsure of the "hubbard" and "Costata".)

The most important result of the test is that kitchen staff now
know that, at least for Raven and the alleged Costata, big is
acceptable.  They have experienced many oversized undesirable
summer squashes and don't use them in the kitchen.  Without this
test, they would probably have discarded the Raven and Costata.

The big Raven had grown in less than a week.  We harvest on
Tuesday and Wednesday mornings for the kitchen, so the squash
have 6 days from Wednesday to next Tuesday to grow, and we
deliver quite a few that are bigger than we would prefer.  What
is important about Raven is that it does not lose flavor or
texture, nor develop big seeds and hard skin, until it's larger
than what we've been growing.  Costata probably has this same
good attribute though to a lesser degree than Raven.  (Three pounds
may be bigger than we want Costata to get, assuming we grow it
in the future.)

One more taste-test remark: on July 19 a taste test putting a
suspected Costata (about 9 ounces) against a Raven (size probably
not recorded) resulted in a unanimous vote: Costata tasted better
than Raven.  For now, though, Raven seems to be the most valuable
summer squash grown in our garden.

Two more rows of carrots were seeded in bed A2, south of carrots
planted in A2 about three weeks ago.  The new carrots are Touchon
Deluxe and Royal Chantenay.  The carrots planted a few days
earlier in bed A4 are about equivalent to one full-length row,
so we have about 3 rows planted within the past few days.

Some Raven zucchini in bed B3 have suffered serious powdery mildew
for a few weeks.  The mildew has spread to most other squash in
that bed.  We sprayed with "Serenade", a biological fungicide
comprised of some bacteria commonly in the environment that are
presumed to be harmless.  We also trimmed the most-infected leaves
of many of the squash plants.

Other work included transplanting two donated basil plants into bed
E2, and weeding.

On Wednesday, 2011 August 10, Bruce and Lance harvested
and delivered to Open Heart Kitchen 26 summer squash (none from
the sprayed bed B3), 10 medium size red tomatoes, again 1-2
quarts of tiny tomatoes, about 3/4 tub of swiss chard leaves,
26 cucumbers, 155 sweet yellow banana peppers, two peppers
that were hot and similar in appearance to the sweet yellow peppers,
and a few quarts of basil greens.

Similar to last week, kitchen workers raved about the basil.  One
of them has been donating basil plants to the garden regularly.
That might be a hint.  They also thanked the garden for the tiny
sungold and yellow pear tomatoes.

Other work included watering newly seeded carrots and parsnips,
putting up cylindrical supports for some determinate tomatoes
in bed AB8, finding more bindweed in tomato beds (but not finding
time to get rid of them), and transplanting two more basil plants
and a thyme/oregano pot of plants.

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