Today’s Harvest Basket 7/13/14

July 7, 2014

Eggplant, zucchini, onion, bell peppers, tomatoes, carrots and, onions

This is my Ratatouille harvest basket. The harvest basket filled with everything needed to make ratattouille. These vegetables, along with the onions and garlic that are curing on the covered porch, make ratattouille.

Julia Child’s Ratatouille is online in a gazillion places. The recipe is from her book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking

The Ratatouille harvest basket.

The Ratatouille harvest basket. photo PBH

The cucumbers and summer carrots will go into salads and antipasta. These are the “test carrots”, pulled to see how they are growing and coloring up. The big carrot crop will be planted in the carrot boxes shortly after all the summer carrots are harvested.

This time of year, all I can say, is “What in the world was I thinking when I planted those few “extra” cucumber seeds?” If I made pickles with all these cucumbers,  there would be a shortage of canning jars in Southeast MO.

Basket ingredients and the ingredients for ratatouille are: eggplant, zucchini, onion, bell peppers, tomatoes, garlic, parsley.

As a herb gardener, you know I’ll make a few additions. There’s fresh thyme, basil and parsley added to my version of this classic French vegetable dish.

Eggplantseggplants

This is the perfect eggplant for me. They weigh about four ounces each. One patio plant is plenty for me. Eggplant does not freeze well, so fresh eating is best.

These are ccontainer eggplant, “Little Prince” from Renee’s Garden. I grow eggplants especially for ratattouille, and eggplant parmesan.

Stealth garden strategy – In my garden, eggplant is planted in a couple of undisclosed locations. The location changes every year and the plant ideally starts out under ccamouflage ( a bucket or top hat, for example.)

The goal is to slow down the flea beetles that turn the beautiful velvety leaves into what looks like a screen door.

The other thing you can do is stagger planting times, just like the planting locations. Tell no one. This has worked for me. I’ll get a good harvest of small, container grown eggplants growing on the deck.

The one eggplant in the garden was sacrificed to save the other eggplants in undisclosed locations.  By the time the flea beetles discovered the plant on the patio, um, I mean on the deck, the Little Prince eggplant was in full production.

These 3 and 4 ounce eggplants are all grownup and ready to fledge by the time the flea beetles arrived.

Carrots

Usually, fall harvested  carrots are even sweeter than summer carrots.

Usually, fall harvested carrots are even sweeter than summer carrots.

If you ever wanted to grow carrots, fall carrots are planted in August or early September in this neck of the woods. (Zone 6A, Southern Missouri, USA.) This is news you can use: I get carrot seed at Nichols Garden Nursery.

Nichols has a big selection of affordable carrot seed. Check out their online catalog,  there is time to order seed and get carrots growing for a fall harvest. If stored properly, carrot seed can be used for up to three years.

There are a few selections that are under $2. Carrot seed under two bucks and it’s enough seed for at least two years. It only takes 70 to 85 days from planting to eating.

Remember to plant extra for carrot cake and muffins. Plan on about a 10 foot row of carrots per person.

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