Early in the season the broccoli performed well yielding 8 large heads. This summer’s best producer was the cantaloupe melon! The dozen fruit over about 4 weeks were some of the sweetest melons I have ever tasted!…and the first 4 were quite large and heavy. 12 sweet, juicy melons was a good harvest. It was my mistake to plant leeks from starts instead of seed this year. Seed leeks work well in my climate and allow me to have a late harvest in November. The leek starters went to seed in the extreme hot weather we had in July/August.
Beans were good though I should have cut them a few days sooner when they were just a little more tender.
Spicy red peppers came in abundance as did the zucchini and yellow squash.
Unfortunately, I think I crowded the eggplant and they were the big loser for this summer. Not a single eggplant did I harvest. Cherry tomatoes put out a good crop, but the beefsteak variety did not do well — only a few small tomatoes.
There is a second crop of beans to harvest along with Brussels Sprouts, and a late crop of broccoli should be ready in October as well as a half dozen butternut squash.
One of my favorite ways to cook zucchini and yellow squash is to slice them lengthwise and layer in a dish to marinate for a few hours.
The marinade can be a simple tangy Italian style vinaigrette dressing or you can make something of your own. After marinating for 2 + hours, the squash slices can be grilled on the open fire. The squash can be eaten warm from the grill or let to chill over night and served as a cold antipasti or added to a meat and cheese type sandwich.
Time to start thinking about next year’s crops and where to place them. It is important to rotate crops to minimize disease. Melons are worth trying again. I plan to extend the fence to a higher more stable barrier. This will help keep out hungry deer.
I’ve already planted some annual rye as the green manure / cover crop for over-winter. Rye is quite aggressive as it grows, breaking up even the heaviest soils as it adds nitrogen back. This is the best time of year to add the winter cover crops so they may establish a healthy root system before the heavy freeze arrives. The trick is to till it under in spring before it gets too unruly.
So ends the 8th summer in this garden.