2017 Harvest

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Harvesting and hiding from the sun

June and the first half of July have been extremely dry and hot. So dry that we didn't get any rain in almost two months. Of course, that means that our plants are suffering from heat stress and giving less fruit than in normal condition. Besides the extremely dry weather temperatures have also been a real problem. Over the past 30 days, we had 20 days with temperatures over 30°C, most of those days were even over 35°C which means that the temperature in the garden is much higher than that. Of course, we try to water our plants but there is also a water restriction so we are careful not to use too much water. That means we only water our cucumbers, peppers, and zucchinis but even to them, the water we give them is not enough. In Croatia we have a saying which translates roughly to "giving water to overheated plants is like throwing water at a thirsty man's face"
It helps a bit but it doesn't give them the water they need.

With this conditions and deer party in my garden(I'll write about it in another post) I'm happy with any fruits I manage to harvest.

It has been almost a full month since we started harvesting blackberries. They have started with juicy, big fruits but over the weeks they are also starting to show heat issues and the fruits are starting to turn dry even before they are ready for harvest. Harvests started with 1kg a day, then climbed to 2kg a day and now we collect 0.5kg a day. There are around 5kg of blackberries left on the net and with that 5kg we'll have a total of 25kg of blackberries this year. This is a pretty decent harvest. bigger than the last year when deer ate my berries, but much smaller than the harvest in 2015. The biggest issue is the fact we'll get a lot less juice from this year's blackberries than the past years because of the heat.

Tomatoes and peppers have just started giving first fruits past week.

This year I had a huge issue with my pepper seedlings, to be exact I had a problem with my seed germination. The lack of warmth stopped my seedlings from germinating so this year I have a very small amount of pepper plants. Also, the lack of warmth in May kept my chili peppers very small so they are just started to grow. It seems they don't mind the heat too much, with a regular watering and full sun all day they are slowly growing and giving healthy fruits. So far we've made two jars of pickled chili peppers.

Tomatoes, on the other hand, are struggling with this heat. Although they love the heat and the sun right now they are having too much sun here and basically, they get cooked before turning red.
The biggest issue is with my black tomato varieties that get the sun burns even before they start turning black. I have to harvest them as soon as they show a bit of color or they turn into a cooked mix of skin and juice without any meat.  The ones that give best fruits, for now, are yellow varieties. The less time they need to be ready for harvest, the healthier their fruits are.

We've also started to harvest our potatoes.

This year we decided against buying potato seeds and used leftover small potatoes we collected during the winter. They turned up to be an excellent choice. Perfectly healthy, with a few bug bites and decent sized they are a much better choice than the preselected and packed potatoes used as seeds. Mainly because of the price which is very high here.
We still have 2/3 of the bed to harvest.

Most of the other plants haven't yet started to give fruits or they have been ruined by the dry and warm weather. After a wonderful bean year last year when we harvested beans from June till October this year we have almost nothing. Plants are drying even with watering they still don't produce any beans or the beans they produce are small and dry.

When it comes to herbs we've been collecting mint and lavender.
The story with mint surprising me every single day of the past two years. After years and years of trying to sow the mint and failing last year, it started growing by itself on my potato bed. I suspect it came from one of the other beds but clearly, it likes it here. Last year I've harvested 2 huge jars of mint and this year it is growing even better. Again I've been harvesting it and drying to use as tea.
Lavender has been excellent like every year, although this year I will have to trim it a bit because it's taking over my tomato bed, I feel bad to cut it because it has such a beautiful flower and shape.

I'm hoping for at least a days or two of rain because with this heat our gardening year will end by the end of August and we haven't even started to harvest like we should.


  1. We have just started harvesting blackberries

  2. It might have been farmer who wouldn't share his harvest when times were tight. http://collectmypet.ie/index.php?page=search&sCategory=37


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