Monday, April 13, 2015

Harvest Monday - April 13, 2015

The garden has been super productive this winter and spring, this week it has already passed the total production through the end of April last year. Of course it helps that we took a 10 day vacation in March this year rather than most of the month of March last year, so it has been easier to keep on top of the sowing and harvesting.

There's a few new items in the harvest basket this week, including the first of the favas.

Extra Precoce Violetto fava beans
I shucked this batch and Dave peeled them last night while I prepared dinner. This is one of the few garden/kitchen chores that Dave willingly (mostly) participates in. A couple of years ago I threatened to cut way back on the fava production because I was weary of doing all the work to prepare them. Well, Dave loves favas and got a bit panicked about a possible fava shortage so he promised to help with the hard work - and I haven't let him forget that promise. So part of the haul went into a topping for bruschetta last night. I grilled some of my home baked bread, spread it with a mixture of sheep's milk ricotta that was seasoned with mint and Cilician parsley, and topped that with a mixture of chopped favas warmed in some olive oil with thin sliced spring onion greens and drizzled with some olio nuovo and of course some coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper. Big Yum!

Spadona chicory
Spadona chicory (Chichorium intybus) is a bitter sweet cutting green somewhat like dandelions. It can be used fresh in salads or cooked. This first harvest got blanched and then sauteed with a sliced spring onion and bacon with a couple of eggs folded in. The plants should continue to produce leaves for at least a few more cuttings. This is my first time growing it so I don't know how quickly it will bolt.

Round Red turnips
I loved the Mikado baby white turnips that I grew for the first time last year so I decided to branch out and add these red turnips to the lineup. They matured pretty quickly, just 2 months from sowing the seeds directly into the garden to the first harvest. The tops are tender and tasty. I had them for lunch yesterday, sauteed with a few thin strips of pork and minced garlic with some leftover Purgatory beans mixed in. I haven't used the roots yet.

Round Red Turnips
Here's the third harvest of Atlantis Brokali.  It's still producing nice big shoots with long stalks, but it looks like the next harvest will feature smaller and shorter stalks.

Atlantis Brokali
Ruby Gem romaine and Ruby Streaks mizuna - so difficult to photograph. I made a salad with the lettuce that also featured some Golden beets, bacon, blue cheese, and a spring onion. The dressing was a simple one with Viognier Honey vinegar, hazelnut oil, and olive oil.

Ruby Gem romaine and Ruby Streaks mustard
Dave really liked that salad and requested it again, but I didn't have any more beets and I really needed to harvest a head of the Sweetie Baby romaine, so I made a similar salad with the Sweetie Baby romaine and used a pear instead of beets. That salad was a hit also.

Spring onion (Candy) and Sweetie Baby romaine
The cress patch was ready for another haircut so now there's a bag of that in the fridge waiting to be used in a salad. One of my favorite lunch salads of late has been a mix of cress, arugula, and Ruby Streaks mustard with radishes, avocado, spring onion, and sunflower seeds tossed with Merlot agrodolce vinegar and olive oil. It's colorful and has a nice mix of assertive flavors. I'll probably start tossing in some favas now as well.

Dutch Broadleaf cress
The only harvest not photographed last week was the final harvest of Selzer Purple radishes.

Here's the details of the harvests last week:

Atlantis brokali - 1 lb., 6.6 oz.
Spadona chicory - 12.7 oz.
Dutch Broadleaf cress - 4.6 oz.
Extra Precoce Violetto fava beans - 8 lb., 3.5 oz.
Ruby Gem romaine lettuce - 6 oz.
Sweetie Baby romaine lettuce - 11.8 oz.
Mixed varieties spring onions - 1 lb., 3.6 oz.
Selzer Purple radishes - 12.3 oz. (trimmed)
Round Red turnips - 45.6 oz. (including leaves)

Total for the past week - 16 lb., 15 oz.
2015 YTD - 152 lb., 12.5 oz.

Harvest Monday is hosted by Daphne on her blog Daphne's Dandelions, head on over there to see what other garden bloggers have been harvesting lately.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Harvest Monday - April 6, 2015

We're having a difficult time keeping up with what the garden is producing now. There's still the last of the celery and celeriac sitting in the fridge. I did make a celeriac puree the other night, but that still leaves two big roots hogging space on the shelf. The kale is finally gone and it was great while it lasted but it's nice to move on to other greens, like the first head of cabbage.

Pixie Cabbage
I suppose I could have harvested Pixie when it lived up to its name, but I waited until it seemed like it was on the verge of exploding so Pixie came in at over 4 pounds, it turned out to be a lovely firm sweet head of cabbage. I prepared half of it by cutting it into 1/2-inch strips which got wilted with a mixture of yellow and brown mustard seeds popped in butter with a couple of sliced spring onions and a handful of dried tart cherries. The other half is waiting in the fridge - it could be time to try okonomiyaki.

Peppermint Stick chard
The chard is growing like weeds and I just had to harvest some. That bunch above looks deceptively small but weighed in at over 4 pounds. Most of the weight was in the fat juicy stems, but the leaves were large enough to be stuffable, which I did with a mixture of ground pork, rice, diced onions, and diced stems. The rolls were baked with some manchego cheese in a simple tomato sauce. I'll be posting the recipe on my recipe blog soon. I'm experimenting with lacto fermenting some of the stems, but I'm not sure how well that's going.

Saisai Leaf Radish
I so much enjoyed the flavor of the leaves from the China Rose radishes that I grew last year that I decided to try a radish that is grown primarily for its tasty leaves. Saisai Leaf radishes are a daikon type and the root is edible but it's the leaves that you grow it for. I cut a big bunch of them last week. I used some of them to make a sort of pesto with the fresh leaves, some spring onions, meyer lemon peel and juice, and olive oil. That was a really tasty topping for pan roasted Halibut and the aforementioned celeriac puree. More of the leaves went into a stirfry with pork and tofu seasoned with oyster sauce which was a big yum. The leaves are delicious raw or cooked. They have just a mild bite of radish, much tastier than the spicy leaves of the typical salad radish. I'm wondering how many times I can harvest the leaves before the plants start to bolt.

Atlantis Brokali
I cut the main heads from the 3 brokali plants in the garden. Brokali is a cross between broccoli and gai lan. You may be more familiar with it as "broccolini" which is a trademarked name for a particular variety that is available only to commercial growers.

I've been harvesting lots of young onions that are the extras from my Dixondale purchase.

Pink Punch and Helios radishes
The first sowing of Pink Punch and Helios radishes are all gone now. The Selzer purple are about half gone. One of them came out white with a few purple stripes. Seed Savers Exchange offered these as a special just one time so I've sown some seeds in a spot where I can let the plants bloom. I'll get some more seeds and feed the good bugs too.

Selzer Purple radishes
 Most of the radishes are going into salads.

Selzer Purple, Helios, Pink Punch radishes
I had meant to harvest the Ruby Gem lettuces on a leaf by leaf or cut-and-come-again basis, but all of the lettuces are growing so fast that I need to use them before they get too big, so I'm cutting all the lettuces as heads.

Ruby Gem romaine lettuce
The first strawberries ripened! I got a couple of small harvests of delicious berries.

Albion and Seascape strawberries
And then something discovered the patch. I went out to the garden one morning and discovered this.

The flimsy tulle that covered the patch was no match for whatever it was that wanted my berries. The critter just munched right through the mesh. Fortunately the booger didn't damage the plants. I purchased some hardware cloth that I'm going to use to cage the berry patch. There's always some new challenge in the garden...

Here's the harvest weights for the past week:

Atlantis brokali - 2 lb., 9.6 oz.
Pixie cabbage - 4 lb., 6 oz.
Peppermint Stick chard - 4 lb., 6.8 oz.
Ruby Gem lettuce - 3.2 oz.
Mixed varieties spring onions - 1 lb., .4 oz.
Helios radishes (trimmed) - 6.4 oz.
Pink Punch radishes (trimmed) - 6.9 oz.
Selzer Purple radishes (trimmed) - 12.2 oz.
Saisai radish leaves - 2 lb., 12 oz.

Total for the week - 16 lb., 15.5 oz.
2015 year to date - 135 lb., 13.5 oz.

Harvest Monday is hosted by Daphne on her blog Daphne's Dandelions, head on over there to see what other garden bloggers have been harvesting lately.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Harvest Monday - March 30, 2015

The garden gave up another big chunk of the overwintered vegetables last week. The remaining celery plants were putting their energy into producing big fat flower stalks so out they came. I used most of one head in a simple braise topped with cheese, the rest of the celery has for the most part ended up in salads.

Dorato D'Asti celery
 The celeriac  was pushing up petite little flower stalks.

So they got pulled as well. At least the last three specimens fattened up quite a bit before they decided to bloom. Dave has requested celeriac puree so that's on the menu for one night this coming week.

Monatch celeriac
I'm still finding volunteer Romanesco fennel to harvest. The vast majority of the fennel is going into salads.
Romanesco fennel volunteers
I've finished thinning the onions that I grew from seed and now I've moved on to harvesting the extra onions that I grew from seedlings that I purchased from Dixondale.

Red Candy Apple spring onions
Some of the spring onions are getting to be quite fat.

Superstar spring onion
The spring sown radishes have sized up in a hurry. We enjoyed some of these simply dipped in a bit of my homemade Merkén spice mix. The rest are going into salads.

Pink Punch and Helios radishes
The Golden cornsalad that I sowed between the new strawberry plants are getting to be large enough to harvest. The peas that I interplanted with the spring brassicas are producing a few nice shoots. The cornsalad and pea shoots were tossed together to accompany some of the beets that I harvested the week before.

Golden cornsalad and snow pea shoots
The patch of cutting greens are growing like crazy. They were ready for another harvest just 9 days after the initial harvest. I've been enjoying a salad of mixed greens for lunch and/or dinner most days lately.

Dutch Broadleaf Cress
Ruby Streaks mustard
Speedy arugula
The first baby heads of romaine lettuce were ready to be harvested. Salad days are here in earnest!

Sweetie Baby and Ruby Gem romaine lettuces
Here's the harvests for the past week:

Speedy arugula - 3.2 oz.
Dorato D'Asti celery - 9 lb., 12.4 oz. (I don't remember if that was before or after trimming)
Monarch celeriac - 5 lb., 1.8 oz. (after trimming)
Golden cornsalad - 1.6 oz.
Dutch Broadleaf cress - 2.7 oz.
Romanesco fennel - 3.7 oz.
Ruby Gem romaine lettuce - 3.5 oz.
Sweetie Baby lettuce - 7 oz.
Ruby Streaks mustard - 3.8 oz.
Mixed spring onions - 1 lb., 2.8 oz.
Snow Pea shoots - 1 oz.
Helios radishes - 7.6 oz. (trimmed)
Pink Punch radishes - 6.4 oz. (trimmed)

Total for the week - 18 lb., 9.5 oz.
2015 to date - 118 lb., 14 oz.

Harvest Monday is hosted by Daphne on her blog Daphne's Dandelions, head on over there to see what other garden bloggers have been harvesting lately.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Harvest Monday - March 23, 2015

I continued to clear out over-wintered vegetables last week and now the spring veggies are starting to mature also so it appears that I've avoided the hunger gap this year. It's actually turning out to be quite the opposite of a hunger gap and is looking like more of a glut. This morning I looked back at the February harvests for the past 6 years and 2015 was the most productive yet, surpassing the previous best in 2010 by nearly 10 lbs for a total of 28.7 pounds. And the March harvests are also on track to be the most productive since I started keeping harvest records.

Here's a look at how February harvests stacked up for the past 6 years.







Broccoli, Romanesco

Cabbage, Incl. Asian 


Cabbage, Portuguese




Celery Root





Corn Salad/Mache


Fava Leaves





Pea, snap and snow

Pea Shoots









Even more revealing are the year-to-date figures, the 2015 total just hit the 100 pound mark, that's a first for the garden in the month of March. Somehow I'm not so sure that my gardening skills are entirely to be credited with the bounty, once again we've had an unusally warm winter which put the garden in high gear, so I'm willing to share some of the credit with Mother Nature. But Ma, what would really be helpful would be some more rain. Please.

Now for the latest harvests. First the overwintered veggies. The celery is starting to bolt so I cut out one of the 4 heads. Much of this head went into a couple of salads, the first salad featured thin sliced celery, fennel, cress, pine nuts, dried currants (why do they call them currants, they're just x-small raisins), and a lemon-honey-mustard dressing. That was a tasty and refreshing crunch fest.

Dorato D'Asti celery

The celeriac is finally sizing up but also starting to bolt so I'm harvesting it as well. This one went into a simple braise with bacon and radicchio, more of a warm salad really.

Monarch celeriac
 I keep finding volunteer Spanish Black carrots to pull.

Spanish Black carrots
The Treviso radicchio wasn't going to wait any longer, I cut 6 of the 7 heads that were started back in late October. I used the outermost leaves from these heads in the celeriac braise and one of the heads went into a salad with thin sliced celery and fennel and chopped peanuts.

Rossa di Treviso 4 Precoce racicchio
I've got a glut of fennel. The heads shown below are volunteers and I also dug up the plants from last year that were producing again this spring. Fennel has been showing up in salads, sautes and soups. I pretty much followed the recipe for Fennel Soup with a Green Swirl from Heart of the Artichoke and Other Kitchen Journeys by David Tanis, I didn't have basil for the swirl so I used a lesser amount of tarragon and I enriched the soup with some cream. It was delicious paired with the aforementioned celery and fennel salad.

Romanesco fennel
The beets that were started at the same time as the radicchio last October couldn't wait any longer either, out they came yesterday. The Golden beets are waiting in the fridge for some inspiration. I would normally keep the beet greens, but it was all just too much, so I didn't save or weigh them.

Golden beets
The Baby Ball and Red Baron beets were all roasted and half of them went into a batch of Ottolenghi's Pureed Beets with Yogurt and Za'atar. We paired that with some local sheep milk feta instead of the recommended goat cheese. We'll be having beet salad tonight!

Baby Ball beets
Red Baron beets
The last of the bolting lacinato kale plants is gone from the garden. The lower leaves were incredibly infested with aphids and I'm not hungry enough to deal with that mess so they went to the compost bin. That still left quite a bit. I've already steamed half of the harvest, half of which went into a frittata.

Lacinato kale
Here's the final head of lettuce from the 2014 sowings. The new lettuces aren't far behind though so there won't be much of a lettuce gap.

Michelle batavian lettuce
Onto the spring veggies. The onions aren't new, I've been thinning the patch for a few weeks now.

Tonda Musona Bianca onions
But here's something that I haven't grown in years, Dutch Broadleaf Cress, the first round of cut-and-come-again harvests from the spring sowing. This was a nice mild peppery accent to the sweet fennel and salty celery in salad that I've already mentioned twice.

Dutch Broadleaf Cress
Speedy arugula is back! This is my latest favorite arugula. Speedy does produce quickly and it's not too spicy, even when it starts to bolt.

Speedy Arugula
And Ruby streaks mizuna (I guess it's actually mustard but looks like mizuna) is back also. It's a quick grower and really perks up a salad with it's color and mild mustardy bite. It's good in stirfrys as well.

But wait, there's more harvests that I didn't photograph! I pulled out the surviving chard plants from last year. Those produced enough to make a batch of soup with lentils, and celery of course, not to mention some Spanish Black carrots, tomato puree from the freezer, and some shredded duck confit. And there were more onion thinnings that I didn't photograph.

Here's the harvests for the past week:

Speedy arugula - 4.6 oz.
Baby Ball beets - 1 lb., 1.1 oz.
Golden beets - 2 lb., 6 oz.
Red Baron beets - 1 lb., 12.5 oz.
Spanish Black carrots - 2.8 oz.
Dorato D'Asti celery - 4 lb., 7.7 oz.
Monarch celeriac - 13 oz.
Golden chard - 6.4 oz.
Peppermint Stick chard - 4.6 oz.
Dutch Broadleaf cress - 2.8 oz.
Romanesco fennel - 4 lb., .5 oz.
Lacinato kale - 2 lb., 3.8 oz.
Michelle batavian lettuce - 14.7 oz.
Ruby Streaks mizuna - 5.3 oz.
Mixed spring onions - 13.6 oz.
Rossa di Treviso 4 Precoce racicchio - 1 lb., 15.3 oz.

Total for the week: 22 lb., 2.7 oz.
2015 to date - 100 lb., 4.5 oz.

Harvest Monday is hosted by Daphne on her blog Daphne's Dandelions, head on over there to see what other garden bloggers have been harvesting lately.