Summer is coming to an end, but my garden continues to produce beautiful vegetables.
Here in Bedford, we're already looking ahead to planting our fall crops. My gardeners, Ryan and Wilmer, already started replanting the beds. Succession planting, which is the practice of following one crop with another to maximize a garden’s yield, is an efficient use of gardening space and time. We plant a crop in the spring, and then after it’s harvested, plant another in the same space to ensure fresh produce in summer and up to late-fall.
Yesterday, we collected another bounty of wonderful vegetables - trays of tomatoes and buckets filled with eggplants, okra and peppers. It's been a very productive growing season. Here are some of the latest photos…
Despite the lack of good soaking rains, my vegetable garden continues to thrive.
Our latest harvest brought lots of peppers. The poblano is a mild chili pepper originating in the state of Puebla, Mexico. Dried, it is called ancho or chile ancho, from the Mexican Spanish name ancho or chile ancho.
Grown in Thailand and neighboring countries, the Thai pepper can be classified as “very hot.” The Thai pepper is one of the smallest peppers, measuring less than an inch. Beware – the smaller the pepper, the hotter it is.
This is a serrano pepper. Just a couple of inches long, with a tapered end, this small pepper is also considered quite hot. When ripe, serranos are red or yellowish orange, but can be cooked in both their ripe and unripe states.
Small and bulbous, the habanero is one of the hottest peppers. They’re popular on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and in the Caribbean, where they’re used to make hot sauces.
The most common sweet pepper is the bell – usually seen in green, red, and yellow, but they can also be purple, brown, and orange. Bell peppers are crunchy, juicy and great for eating raw on salads, sautéing, or roasting and chopping for pizza.
Cupid peppers are blocky to slightly pointed, and are sweet when red. Large, well-branched plants protect the fruits from sun scald.
The perfect partner to Cupid is the Eros – slightly tapered fruits that are about two-inches tall with a sweet and slightly fruity flavor. The color looks so lovely on salads.
This year has been such a good one for our pepper crops.
The light colored pepper on top is a banana pepper. It’s a medium-sized member of the chili pepper family that has a mild, tangy taste and often pickled, stuffed or used as a raw ingredient in foods.
We also harvested another bounty of eggplants. ‘Nadia’ is the more traditional, dark colored Italian eggplant – firm and flavorful.
The ‘Barbarella’ eggplant is a globe shaped variety. When ripe, it forms a tender white halo under its purple calyx. The inner flesh is dense and a creamy white color, and has a mild nutty flavor.
‘Orient Charm’ is a Chinese eggplant, which is typically sweeter in flavor, with a long cylindrical shape that’s straight or curved. They do not last for long periods of time after being harvested, and tend to get more bitter tasting as they age.
This is a ‘Nubia’ eggplant. This beautifully striped variegated Italian variety has a mellow and refined flavor.
The ‘Udulmalpet’ eggplant is an Indian variety, named after a village in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. These ripen from deep purple to golden yellow, and the flesh is firm and sweet.
Here is a trug bucket filled with rich colored eggplants.
i prefer to harvest okra when they are still small, about three-inches long. Some harvest pods when they are six to eight inches long, when they have more of a woody taste.
Many of you ask what I do with all these vegetables. I share a lot with my family, friends and colleagues at the office, but we also use them for our magazine and video shoots.
And then there are the tomatoes! Look at all these beautiful fruits – about 500-tomatoes picked fresh from the garden.
Once the vegetables are harvested, they’re taken in buckets and trays to my Flower Room where they are cleaned.
Here, Laura trims the stalk and removes the thick, fibrous outer leaves of a cabbage.
These cabbages are ready to be bagged and stored in the refrigerator – nothing gets washed until we are ready to use them.
We also harvested several leeks. The edible part of the plant is a bundle of leaf sheaths that is sometimes called a stem or stalk.
Laura removes the tough, darker green leaves, and trims them down to where they turn a paler green.
Laura trims the root end and gently wipes it with a damp cloth.
Leeks are sturdy, versatile, flavorful vegetables. A traditional ingredient in French cuisine, the leek adds not only onion flavor to your food, but also a hint of garlic. Leeks are low in calories and full of nutrients – great for soups, stews, grain dishes and even omelets.
The vegetables are then stored in the refrigerator. I will take these to Maine for the weekend – I can’t wait.