Hmm, it's already March 21 and I haven't posted for Harvest Monday yet this month. It's not that there haven't been any harvests, I've just been distracted from blogging and I confess that I've been a bit uninspired as well, one of my occasional funks about the frustrations of gardening. The garden is demanding a lot of attention after being rather neglected for a while and around here it's not good to neglect the garden in winter, there's huge weeds everywhere. I've also been busy trying to thwart an invasion of gophers and moles, and the rats are up to their usual antics. I had to start setting mouse traps around the garden to catch the baby rats that were destroying the young lettuce and pea plants. And just when I started getting back into the swing of things in the garden along comes a big ol' end of winter storm to get things good and wet and unworkable, and then another wild and wet storm, and then another, and there's still more on the way. Sheesh, I feel that funk coming on again...
Anyway, I'm still reaping the benefits of previous efforts in the garden. Here's one of the more interesting harvests of late, a basket of Guntmadingen Winter Spinach.
It's a very pretty spinach with a distinctive oak leaf shape. This spinach isn't just a pretty leaf, it's also delicious and seems to have less of an oxalic tang than the typical store bought varieties.
I haven't been very successful at growing spinach in the past so it's been a nice surprise to have this variety do fairly well. That's in spite of pushing the limits by starting the plants very late last fall and leaving the baby plants totally unprotected out in the garden through the winter. This variety is best for overwintering but it should be started early enough in the fall to develop some good growth before cold weather and short days slow growth down to a crawl. The plants are supposed to keep well through the winter and then put on a good burst of growth as the days warm up and start to lengthen. Winter spinaches are cold hardy but supposedly bolt more quickly than varieties that are suitable for starting in the spring. I think I got lucky this winter because we had a very warm stretch of weather through January and the first half of February. That warm weather produced a nice growth spurt but the days weren't long enough yet to trigger bolting so the plants are still putting out good leafy growth. Spinach is triggered to bolt when daylight reaches 12.5 to 15 hours per day. Now that we're getting 12+ hours from sunrise to sunset I expect the plants to bolt soon. I'm looking forward to giving this variety a proper start next fall.
The rest of the harvests over the last few weeks have also been quite leafy. I harvested nearly 2 pounds of Olive Leaf Rapini. That got blanched and then sauteed with garlic and pine nuts. I paired that with some mashed Petaluma Gold Rush beans and crispy bacon on some bruschetta. The Couve Tronchuda (Portuguese cabbage) produced a couple more pickings that I used in a couple of different soups - a batch of the traditional Portuguese soup Caldo Verde and a batch of Celery Root and Farro soup. And there's been lettuce, lettuce, and more lettuce. I've been playing around with my favorite Lemon-Honey-Mustard salad dressing. The latest version uses the juice of half a Meyer lemon, about a teaspoon of honey, about a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, salt and pepper, a dash of truffle oil, chopped fresh tarragon and chives, and olive oil. Butterhead lettuce with that dressing, toasted sliced almonds, and perhaps some crumbled bacon has been delicious.
Here's the harvests for the last three weeks:
Cilantro - 1 lb., 6 oz.
Couve Tronchuda (Portuguese cabbage) - 1 lb., 4 oz.
Golden Corn Salad - 5 oz.
Butterhead lettuce - 1 lb., 10 oz.
Ear of the Devil lettuce - 1 ounce
Sweetie Baby Romaine lettuce - 2 lb., 15 oz.
Olive Leaf Rapini - 1 lb., 15 oz.
Snow Pea Shoots - 1 oz.
Guntmadingen Winter spinach - 13 oz.
Yu Choy - 5 oz.
The total for the month was - 10 lb., 8 oz.
The total for the year is - 26 lb., 6 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.