Harvest Monday July 26, 2010

One day's tomato harvest

One day’s harvest from my thornless blackberry vines.

How can another whole week have gone by so fast? I don’t seem to be able to make a post more often than once a week these days. I swear, the older you get, the faster time goes.

My two-year-old thornless blackberries are more productive this year than last, but I’m still underwhelmed with the number of berries that they produce. Still, having some berries is better than having none. I ate all of this batch in a bowl of cereal with some homegrown blueberries.

Cereal with homegrown blueberries and blackberries

I harvested a couple of Tendergreen cucumbers grown in pots this week. I made dill pickles from the first harvest, but made my first cucumber granita from this smaller harvest. I looked at several recipes and came up with my own version.

Cucumber granita makes a fine close to a light summer meal.

My husband was skeptical, but ate it all. I was surprised by how nicely it turned out. Here’s my recipe.

Chile-Lime-Cucumber Granita


2 C      cucumber, peeled, seeded and cubed

¼ C     lime juice

2/3 C   sour cream

½ tsp   chili powder

1/3 C   honey

4          sprigs of mint


Put all ingredients except mint in a blender and pulse until smooth. Pour into a 9” x 13” baking pan and freeze for about an hour. Break up the partially frozen granita and put back into the freezer for another hour. Break up the granita, and stir until fairly smooth but not melted. Serve in small bowls with sprigs of mint. Serves 4-6.

And I suppose that this is a good time to mention that I’m working on a book. The working title is “Grow It, Cook It, Eat It.” I was inspired by fellow newspaper columnist Chris Epting at the Huntington Beach Independent to finally get going on a book about green living, which I had been planning for some time. It’s turning into a cookbook, but that’s OK. Bottom line is that I’m having fun with it.

This has been a good summer for tomatoes so far. I was so discouraged by the lack of tomatoes from our garden last year that I planted 18 tomatoes this year. What was I thinking?

This is my first year with square foot gardening, so I planted some of them a bit close by mistake (live and learn), but most of them are doing fine. I have:

1 Better Boy

4 Black Krim

4 Brandywine

1 Celebrity

2 Early Girl

2 Mortgage Lifter

2 Roma

1 Yellow Pear

and 1 volunteer that sprouted from compost. I have no idea what variety it is, but it’s making nice tomatoes.

I just harvested the first Roma and a tiny Yellow Pear, and one Black Krim. The Mortgage Lifters and Brandywines aren’t ripe yet. I grew them and the Black Krims from seed, so I’m exceptionally proud of them. Most of the harvest so far is Better Boy and Celebrity, which I planted earliest, back in February, from nursery transplants. I used all of the tomatoes in the photo above to make spaghetti sauce with an eye of round from bison. Boy, that was good.

 Here’s my harvest for the week ending July 25, 2010.


 1 oz. blackberries

2 oz. blueberries, Sunshine

1 lb 1 oz nectarines, Panamint (last of crop)

Subtotal 1 lb 4 oz. fruit


11 oz. chard

9 oz. cucumber, Tendergreen

1 oz. onions, green

6 oz. onions, red

 3 oz. peppers, bell

6 lbs 4 oz. tomatoes

Subtotal 8 lbs 6 oz. vegetables

TOTAL 9 lbs 10 oz. produce plus 14 eggs

Wow, that’s almost 10 lbs of produce this week, a record high for the year. Not bad for my tiny yard.

If you had a harvest this week, link to Daphne’s Dandelions so we can all enjoy it vicariously. Happy gardening!

About Lou Murray, Ph.D.

I'm a retired medical researcher, retired professional writer/photographer, avid gardener, and active environmentalist living in southern California. I wrote a weekly newspaper column on environmental topics in the Huntington Beach Independent for many years. I also supervised environmental restoration projects and taught at the Orange County Conservation Corps before retiring in the summer of 2016. This blog chronicles my efforts to live a green life growing as much food as possible for my husband and myself on a 4,500 sq ft yard that is covered mainly by house, garage, driveway, and sidewalks. I am also dedicated to combatting global climate change.
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14 Responses to Harvest Monday July 26, 2010

  1. Robin says:

    That cucumber granita sounds good. I’ve never heard of that before. I think that we will have to try it.


    • Hi Robin. A lot of granita recipes call for no sugar, but I decided to try one with sugar on my first time out. I don’t know of any recipes other than mine that use sour cream. It was really pretty darn good.


  2. Kathy says:

    So glad you’re writing a book! Have you tried the recipe for kale crisps that Mambo Sprouts featured? And congratulations on almost 10 pounds of fruits and vegetables. This does seem to be a bumper year for tomatoes. I, too, was very disappointed last year – we hardly got two a week. Now the “cherry” tomato is just loaded.


  3. I grew a thornless blackberry bush when I still lived in England. I was convinced that when they bred out the thorns, they bred out that plants ability to set fruit. I was underwhelmed too. That was years ago, but it seems that your experience is much like mine was then. Perhaps it might be worth a few thorns for the sake of a larger harvest.

    Your granita sounds fabulous, and I’m very jealous of your tomatoes…I have tons and tons of them…all still green. Darned coastal fog 😛


  4. thyme2garden says:

    That’s a very impressive tomato harvest. And I agree with you, having some berries is definitely better than having none!


  5. Daphne says:

    I would never have thought about putting cucumber, lime, and chili powder together. Now I want to know what it tastes like.


    • Hi Daphne. I’m thinking about trying some tequila in the recipe one of these days, probably a version without sugar. Or maybe I should leave out the cucumbers all together and just drink the tequila.


  6. I’ve not heard of that cucumber recipe but it sounds nice. I’ll have to try it. Any blackberry harvest is wonderful to me. My new blackberry vines seem hit with some sort of issue so we aren’t getting them but the raspberries are trying to take away the pain of no blackberries.


    • Hi Ottawa. I made up the recipe for cucumber granita, combining what I hoped was the best of two recipes. Ah, raspberries. Yes, that would indeed take the sting out of no blackberries. And then some.


  7. Lori says:

    Nice berries. Congrats on your best harvest yet. Thanks for the recipes!


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