We harvested the last of the beets today.  They had been sitting in the ground for a long time and one of them had gone to flower.  For a variety of reasons—the holiday, birthday celebrations, etc.—we have temporarily stopped eating them.  Unlike a refrigerator, a vegetable garden will not preserve the produce stored in it indefinitely.  We do not want the beets to get woody or, worse, to rot so we pulled them out.

Most are the same size as the first beets we harvested—about 1 1/2” in diameter—and one is an albino.  A few of them have grown to what I consider normal size (about 2” in diameter) while one or two never developed a root at all.  Regardless of their size or color, all are beautiful.  We will grill the roots later and use the greens tonight in an Asian-style slaw.

We also picked the large squash growing on the struggling zucchini vine.  Despite its apparent affliction, it is setting fruit which seem to be developing normally.  Admirable perseverance in the face of adversity!  We had another largish squash in the refrigerator and to make use of the slightly oversized fruit we decided to bake zucchini bread.  Stereotypically, this is what gardeners do at the end of the season, when they have more squash than they can use but Rachel found a recipe she liked the looks of.  So, why wait?

The ingredient list includes chocolate chips and orange zest, flavors which compliment the squash—and each other—nicely.  We baked two loaves and the results were delicious.  Now, when we do have too many squash, we can leave loaves of zucchini bread on people’s doorsteps rather than bags of the squash itself.

Elsewhere in the garden, the first of the lemon cucumbers is just about ready for picking.  It is curious that many of our vegetable plants have produced a single fruit well in advance of the bulk of the crop.  These early vegetables are like scouts that are testing the conditions.  Do they send reports back to the other vegetables which then adjust their growth accordingly?  Probably not.  Anyway, the lemon cucumber advance team is doing quite well and I hope that it has laid the ground work for the legion of cucumbers that are following it.

It is ironic that after several weeks of hot, dry weather, the remaining rows of lettuces are actually starting to grow into usable size.  They have gotten so large, in fact, that we will have to thin them out soon.  We will start pulling the plants with the largest leaves (to use in salads or on burgers) and continue to fertilize and water the smaller plants that remain.  As long as we remain patient—and do not let them fry in the sun—we should be able to eat the entire crop.

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