1 Here in the northeast, we've had a lot of very warm days, and very little rainfall. This combination can sometimes be a detriment to growing crops, but some of the plants continue to do well. It was time for another hefty harvest in the vegetable garden.
2 Tomatoes are heat loving plants - all the tomato vines were laden with fruit.
3 All this season's tomatoes were thriving. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that helps in the prevention of heart disease.
4 Tomatoes are also an excellent source of vitamin-A in the form of beta-carotene, vitamins C and K, calcium, potassium and folate.
5 There are thousands of tomato varieties. Most are red, but other colors are possible, including green, yellow, orange, pink, black, brown, white and purple.
6 The tomato is scientifically known as Lycopersicon lycopersicum, which means "wolf peach". They are native to the western side of South America. The first type of tomato grown is believed to have resembled the cherry tomato more than the larger varieties.
7 About 93-percent of gardeners in the United States grow tomatoes in their yards, but China continues to be the largest producer of tomatoes around the world. The US is second.
8 This tomato variety is called 'Indigo rose'. It develops its beautiful dusky pigment when exposed to the light. They are ready when the top sides are a dull purple-brown, and the bottoms turn from green to red.
9 Our leafy greens and brassicas were growing nicely. Brassicas are known as those cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbages.
10 To get the best health benefits from cabbage, it is good to include all three varieties into the diet - green, red and Savoy. And, don't forget, cabbage can be eaten cooked and raw.
11 Red, or purple, cabbage is often used raw for salads and coleslaw. It contains 10-times more vitamin-A and twice as much iron as green cabbage.
12 Savoy cabbages are very distinctive in appearance - they are the ones with the crinkled texture. And, although they don't look it, the leaves are very tender.
13 These mini orange bell peppers are very cute - only about two-inches tall and wide. They have a sweet flavor and are great for salads, and for stuffing.
14 These are red sweet peppers - one is ready to be harvested. They have a mild, sweet flavor and crisp, juicy flesh.
15 The poblano pepper, Capsicum annuum, is a mild chili pepper that originated in the state of Puebla, Mexico. Most poblanos are mild in flavor, but the ripened red poblano is significantly hotter and more flavorful than the less ripe green poblano.
16 This season, we decided to try growing melons, and we were quite successful. Here is a watermelon nearly ready to be harvested. To tell if it is ripe for the picking, tap on the side - if you hear a hollow sound, it's a good sign it's ready. What is your best tip for picking ripe melons?
17 There were a lot of melons growing in the garden. Botanically, watermelons are known as Citrullus lanatus, a plant species in the family Cucurbitaceae.
18 After tapping on a few of the melons, my gardeners, Ryan and Wilmer, wanted to give them a try, so they harvested two for a taste test. This green watermelon was one of them.
19 Wilmer and Ryan were so pleased to see the productive melon crop. Wilmer chose to try the orange-flesh watermelon, while Ryan tried the green.
20 The globe artichoke, Cynara scolymus, is popular in both Europe and the United States. Artichokes are actually flower buds, which are eaten when they are tender.
21 When harvesting, use a sharp knife, and carefully cut them from the plant leaving an inch or two of stem. Artichokes have very good keeping qualities and can remain fresh for at least a week.
22 Globe artichokes are rich in vitamins C, K, folic acid and various minerals and antioxidants. Choose those that feel heavy for their size, with compact leaves, and avoid those that seem too large.
23 These artichokes went past the picking stage and have started to turn purple, meaning they are getting ready to flower.
24 The onions looked wonderful and so big - we planted many yellow, white and red onions. These were ready to harvest.
25 These were the remaining red onions - nearly all of them were already picked.
26 These tiny chile peppers are very, very hot. Thai chiles are either green or red, but both are very spicy.
27 The most common sweet pepper is the bell. They are usually seen in red, green and yellow, but this purple pepper is also a sweet bell. It is crunchy, juicy and great for eating raw or cooked.
28 This is an okra flower. It looks like the bloom of a hibiscus - in fact, okra is in the same family as hibiscus, and both have edible flowers.
29 When growing okra, be sure to harvest them when they are still small, about three-inches long. A common mistake is harvesting the pods too late, when they are six to eight inches long, or longer - doing this causes the pods to become tough and to have a woody taste.
30 This okra, Abelmoschus esculents, is a good size and ready to be harvested.
31 'Sun Gold' tomatoes have great flavor - they're one of the garden's sweetest. They ripen in long clusters of 10-15 fruits each.
32 As the tomatoes were picked, they were placed on trays and laid gently in the Kawasaki. Look at all those beautiful tomatoes!
33 Here were more - fresh off the vines.
34 Here were some onions and garlic on my kitchen counter - just waiting to go into my next salad.
35 These garlic heads look so beautiful.
37 The dark ones are black cherry tomatoes. These dark, round fruits are rich, sweet and dynamic in flavor.
38 These huge tomatoes each weighed two pounds or more!