Monday, July 12, 2010

7/12/10 Harvest Monday

Welcome to another episode of  Daphne's Harvest Monday!

I finally have over ONE pound of harvest in a week.  And I will freely admit that the squash blossoms pushed me over that 1 lb mark.

It's my first home-grown zucchini!  I know most people have "problems" with their zucchini plants being too prolific, but I was excited to get my first full-sized zucchini this week.  I actually hand-pollinated this one with a small brush last weekend, because I wanted to make extra certain that this female flower got pollinated, after seeing another female flower, along with its embryo zucchini, just wither away and die two weekends ago.  I'm guessing that's what happens to female squash flowers that don't get pollinated.

Squash Blossoms:
I've been reading about fried squash blossoms.  Edible, cookable flowers?  Heck yeah, I had to test this out for myself.  Unfortunately, I only saw two blossoms that seemed fit for harvesting on Sunday, so I ended up with just two.  I prepared a beer batter according to one of the recipes I found online, and fried up the two blossoms.  The verdict? Well, let's just say that there's room for improvement.  There was nothing really wrong with them, but I just wasn't overly impressed as I had hoped.  Maybe my expectations were too high.  Or maybe my frying technique needs more practice, as I hardly ever fry anything. I will try this again before I give up completely.  Does anyone here have a good recipe for squash blossoms that they would recommend?  I also sliced up my one zucchini into coins and sticks and fried them up using the same beer batter.  But I discovered that the batter was just too thick/heavy for the zucchini.  I really need to work on my frying skills and recipes.

Green Beans: 
There was another handful of green beans this week. We are loving growing (and eating) our own green beans.  We made a note to plant many more beans next year.  We may even try multiple varieties.  The one we planted this year is Burpee's Blue Lake 274.  Do you have any favorites that you would suggest we try next year?  These beans got sauteed in a little bit of olive oil with some garlic for Sunday dinner.

Oh, I also harvested another female flower/baby zucchini after watching it closely for a few days and not seeing it grow any bigger compared to my hand-pollinated zucchini (above) that grew about 1-2 inches every day.  There wasn't much to eat on this baby zucchini (it was about a finger length), but I suspected that it didn't get pollinated, so if I had left it on the plant, it would have just met the same shriveling death as its sister did two weeks ago. I just sliced it and ate it raw in two bites, while Keith watched and wrinkled his nose in anti-zucchini disgust.  It tasted just like a regular zucchini.

In other garden news, I'm slowly getting over my squeamishness over all things buggy, and have been bravely picking off any creepy crawlies of pest persuasion from my vegetable plants.  Just this weekend alone, I removed a yellowstriped armyworm and an unidentified bright green caterpillar from my bean plants, and four Japanese beetles from my basil.  All of them were quickly smooshed dead by the bottom of my unforgiving shoes. 

Yellowstriped Armyworm eating its last meal


kitsapFG said...

Good job with the hand pollination! I always do that at the start of the season because the bees are not super active until the weather warms up more. You are correct that the shriveling up of the small fruit is the result of lack of pollination.

Allison at Novice Life said...

I keep meaning to try the same with the squash blossoms....I must admit, I am a tad hesitant.

Emily said...

I used squash blossoms to top my salad. The taste mildly squashy and add great color to salads.

I also hand pollinated my first zucchini, but now I'm seeing lots of bees so I'm not worrying about it.

Annie's Granny said...

I planted Fortex pole beans for the first time, and we are loving them! It doesn't look like I'm going to be overwhelmed by a huge harvest, but the flavor, not to mention the ease of picking them, have me sold on them so far.

You might try a lighter batter for frying those blossoms. The one I use for onion rings is on my blog at

villager said...

I'm with Granny, I like the Fortex pole beans, but I also like the Derby bush ones. Purple Queen is a good bean that can be planted a bit earlier than others.

If you don't like squishing the bugs you can do like I do and take a little pan of soapy water with you when you go to the garden. We've got zillions of Japanese beetles and I get tired of squashing them.

Daphne said...

My favorite bean is Kentucky Wonder pole bean. I love the taste. Fortex are prettier, but I still don't love the taste quite as much.

I put squash blossoms in my salads for color. I just rip them up. I throw them in quesadillas sometimes too. I've done the fried squash blossoms too, but there is a reason I don't eat fried food either. I liked them, but just couldn't eat much of them. Fried food is too rich for me and makes me sick if I eat too much. What I'd like to do is make a baked stuffed squash blossom recipe with cheese and cornbread.

Jeana said...

Your beans look so good. My romano pole beans are just sitting there doing nothing and the new puppy my husband found on his mail route dug up my zucchini plants.

michelle said...

I've found that if you put the fresh zucchini blossoms in a large covered bowl in the fridge they will keep a couple of days. That allows you to accumulate a few so that you can do more with them. I keep meaning to post my recipe for stuffed squash blossoms, soon . . .

One of my favorite beans is Kwintus, it's a really large flat green bean that stays tender even when it gets to 10 inches or so. They are great grilled or used as any other green bean.

Dirt Lover said...

Oh, now you need some chickens to feed your bugs to! Nice job on the zucchini. I'm sure there will be lots and lots more, and who knows, maybe you will even have friends running the other way soon!

debiclegg said...

Congratulations on your first zucchini!!! I am still waiting for the first female blossom after the death of my first round of plants. I have never sautéed green beans before. I think I will give it a try.

GrafixMuse said...

I too try to self pollinate the first blooms. I have my first female zucchini blossom that is just about to bloom any day now.

I envy your beans. We had too many beans last year, so I didn't plant any bush beans. Now I regret it as I am impatiently waiting for the pole beans to start producing.

thyme2garden said...

kitsapFG - thank you for the confirmation!

* * * * *
Allison - hesitant because of the frying method, or just about eating blossoms in general?

* * * * *
Emily - I'll have to try your method as a salad topping. It would definitely be a more hassle-free way of eating the blossoms.

* * * * *
Granny - thanks for the info about Fortex beans and the batter recipe. Actually, it seems pretty similar to the recipe I used, except mine did not have baking soda and I used beer instead of water (recipe said beer, water, or milk). I thought my recipe was too thick, so I kept adding more beer - I may have ended up with almost 1 1/2 cups of beer in my batter.

* * * * *
Villager - thanks for more bean names, and the soapy water suggestion. I will have to do that next time. I did not enjoy stepping on four Japanese beetles. That also left a squishy mess on the patio!

* * * * *
Daphne - yes, a baked recipe would be more agreeable than a fried recipe!

* * * * *
Jeana - I've read that pole beans take a bit longer than bush beans (what I have), so I'm sure you'll have beans very soon! Sorry about your dug-up zucchini plant. I'm also very paranoid about our dogs digging up vegetables, but so far, they've only been sniffing.

* * * * *
Michelle - That's a good idea about keeping blossoms for a few days. They just looked so fragile when I harvest them, I was afraid to not cook them right away. Kwintus is going on my bean list!

* * * * *
Dirt Lover - Keith and I actually have discussed chickens, mainly because I read that their poop is good as compost. I don't think our homeowner's association allows them, so we'd have to wait until our next home somewhere else. I'm also worried that our dog Sienna would go nuts and try to eat them, as she tries to attack pretty much anything that moves.

* * * * *
debiclegg - thank you! My blossoms are still mostly male. I think I just lucked out with this one female blossom that I was able to hand-pollinate. I'll keep my fingers crossed for some female blossoms for you, too. And definitely try sautéed green beans, it's my favorite way of eating them!

* * * * *
GrafixMuse - hopefully you'll get a nice zucchini out of your first blossom soon! I only planted bush beans, so I'm a bit curious about pole beans. Maybe next year.

foodgardenkitchen said...

Our favorite green bean are any style of french filet beans (they're thin beans). We also grow Blue Lake Bush Beans and Old Dutch Half Runners. The Half Runners are my least favorite but they're tasty enough and they're quite prolific so we put lots of them away to eat during the winter.

I'm with you on the bugs. We've had a huge problem with various bugs this year. Two months ago, I was hesitant to squish any; now I'll squish a cucumber beetle with my bare hands if I have to. Squash bugs and stink bugs still require a gloved hand though because of the exoskeletal sensation you get when you sqiush them plus they're larger and sometimes pop out innards (what a nice thought). So I prefer gloves for obvious reasons :)

Mac said...

Congrats on your first zuc and green beans harvest.

I second Michelle's suggestion of Kwintus romano beans, I grew it last year and love it, I also like French filet beans Rolande, but I'm not having a lot of success with the green beans this year, hopefully the long beans grow better for me.

thyme2garden said...

foodgardenkitchen - bug innards exploding between my finger is NOT something I want to visualize, but too late, I already did!

* * * * *
Mac - thank you for checking out my zuc and beans, and adding your thumbs up for Michell's Kwintus romano beans. I will look it up for the next growing season.

Christine B. said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. I do grow veggies. Actually, Alaska grows some world record giant veggies but I seem to have a brown thumb in that area. Right now I have a small patch with lettuce, beans, peas, onions, and a few zuchinis that haven't done anything thus far. My harvest thus far: lettuce...maybe half a pound.

I hope to post on giant veggies in late August after I attend our state fair and check out all the big whoppers that won ribbons.

Christine in Alaska

The Idiot Gardener said...

I didn't know you had to pollinate courgettes. Maybe that's why there are many flowers, but few fruit. We are having a bee shortage here at Idiot Towers.

Anonymous said...

I have never eaten squash flower, I know that they are edible, but the idea is not appealing to me. Perhaps you should try another recipe and you like it better.
On the topic of green beans, I like to try new varieties. Still don’t know which one I like the best.
I wish you many, many more zucchinis this year!

thyme2garden said...

Christine B - thanks right back to you for visiting my blog! I'm really interested in how various veggies grow in different climates, and am looking forward to following the progress of your vegetable garden on your blog. Please come back and visit any time!

* * * * *
TIG - ah ha, so courgettes are specifically zucchini, or all squash in general? I wondered about that word when I saw it, but I forgot to google it to find out. If bees and other pollinating insects are slacking in their pollinating duties, I think hand-pollination is the only way to ensure that you'll end up with zucchinis/courgettes.

* * * * *
vrtlarica, thank you for the wonderful wish! I will also definitely try new varieties of green beans next year.

* * * * *

Thomas said...

You'll be swimming in zucchini in no time. I love beer battered squash blossoms too.

Dan said...

Hi! You do eat the Dragon Tongue beans pod and all. Just pick'em before the beans develop much inside. When cooked they loss the purple color as well, turning a yellow color. Very good either way, they keep a nice meaty texture when cooked. You can also let them mature and use them for dry beans, I have yet to try though.

thyme2garden said...

Thomas - I'm hoping to get more zukes and blossoms so I can try out more recipes.

* * * * *
Dan - thank you for the detailed info about the Dragon Tongue. I will have to look for some seeds for next season. I can't wait to try out these intriguing beans!

meemsnyc said...

I'm still squeamish about bugs too! Our zucchini plants are having a hard time pollinating also.

thyme2garden said...

meemsnyc - I hope I eventually get over my bug squeamishness as I garden more. Are your zucchini plants doing any better with pollination now? I think sometimes it just takes a while for some pollinating insects to "find" your garden if yours is new like mine.

RandomGardener said...

Has anyone mentioned Contender bush beans? That's what I plant every year. It is a high yielder and a reliable bean plant for us!

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