Monday, February 15, 2010

Harvest Monday - February 15, 2010

My harvests have been picking up, mainly because I've been harvesting the overwintered vegetables as they mature or before they start to bolt.

Pictured above is Romanesco broccoli and Olive Leaf Rapini. That's the largest head of Romanesco, coming in at about 15 ounces. In the past I've harvested heads that weighed up to 5 pounds. For me to get such large heads I have to start seeds in June or early July so that the plants can grow like crazy through the rest of summer and our long autumn. The larger the plants grow the bigger the heads will be. But the plants pretty much stop growing by December so an early start is critical. Last summer I lost my first round of seedlings sown on June 21 to birds or some other animal just as they were getting large enough to plant out. I lost most of the second round in the same way. I was extra vigilant and protective of the third round (sown August 24), but at that point there was not enough time for the plants to size up enough to produce large heads. The large head actually came from a survivor of the second planting. I harvested another head from the third planting that was only the size of a floret, less than 2 ounces.

The Olive Leaf Rapini is much easier to grow. I sowed the seeds in paper pots on November 2 last year. I didn't keep track of when I  planted them out, but it was sometime near December 1. There were 3 or 4 seeds in each paper pot and I allowed all of them to grow. I started cutting entire plants out of each cluster, repeatedly thinning out plants until there was only one plant from each pot. The plants grew slowly through  December and I didn't start thinning out the plants until January 2. Since then I've harvested about 3 pounds of leaves and shoots. The plants are now sending out numerous flower shoots that I harvest much the same as sprouting broccoli, cutting a shoot when there's a loose cluster of buds but before the flowers start to open. I cut the shoots just above the lowest node where a new flower shoot is developing. Each plant sends out lots of shoots from the crown of the plant. The harvest shown above is about 13 ounces and is mostly shoots and a few mature leaves. The leaves on the flower shoots are long, thin, and smooth edged which is what gives the variety it's name.

I also harvested all of the remaining carrots. One of them was starting to bolt and I was afraid that the rest would soon follow suit.

Here's the totals for last week's harvests:

Dewing's Early Blood Turnip Beet - 13.5 oz (incl. greens)
Afghan Purple Carrots - 1 lb 5oz
Daghestan White Carrots - 1 lb 5.75 oz
Early Scarlet Horn Carrots - 11.25 oz
Piracicaba Broccoli Shoots - 4.25 oz
Olive Leaf Rapini - 13 oz
Romanesco Broccoli - 1 lb 1 oz
Garlic shoots - 2 oz
Kefe Beinwil Snow Peas - 4.5 oz
Chervil - .5oz
Claytonia - .5 oz
Arugula - 1 oz
Fava leaves - 1 oz
Lettuce - .75 oz
Golden Corn Salad - 1.25 oz
Vit Mache - .75 oz

Total for the week - 7 lbs
Total for the year - 18.5 lbs

The egg count (4 days) was 13.

If you would like to see what is springing forth from other garden bloggers' gardens head on over to Daphne's Dandelions, the home of Harvest Monday.


  1. That is a really nice harvest. I wouldn't even know what a bolting carrot looks like. I guess like Queen Annes Lace, but carrots don't overwinter here without really good protection so I've never seen it.

  2. Daphne, Queen Annes Lace is just what they look like, they're closely related and will cross. I've read that cold climate gardeners have to pull their carrots in the fall and store them to replant in the spring if they want to save seeds. Pulling and replanting is also a good way to select the best carrots for seed saving.

  3. My parsnip patch is starting to bolt to seed. The unusually warm weather we have had this late winter has sent them off in their second year of growth - way ahead of schedule. I intend to harvest up the remaining carrots in the next week or so before they too go to seed.

    The romanesco broccoli is really beautiful. I know it is not the biggest that you have produced but it certainly is a nice harvest for this time of year.

  4. Nice harvest!
    The Romanesco broccoli look interesting, will it grow side shoots after the main head is harvested?

    I'm having some trouble in growing Piracicaba broccoli seeds, I sowed the seeds in cups and set them on heat mat , they germinated find except when I move them to the lights the all die, it wasn't damping off, I did not water them, just keep the soil moist, maybe I shouldn't use heat?

  5. The Romanesco broccoli looks fantastic! I'll have to try this variety one of these days. Only nature could produce something so striking.

  6. kitsapFG, it seems that carrots (and probably parsnips) seem to send up flower stalks overnight. When I saw that first one starting to go I decided to pull them all. I'll be trying parsnips for the first time this year.

    I'm actually quite happy to have any Romanesco to harvest, small or no, it was such an ordeal getting them started last year.


    mac, Romanesco does not develop side shoots, which is why I get so disappointed about small heads.

    You'll probably have better luck with the Piracicaba starting it without heat. I got great germination from my seeds (2 or 3 years old) under lights but without heat. I had a small fan on them to help keep them from getting too leggy under the artificial lights. I put them outside during the day as soon as they had a true leaf or two. Now I've potted them up to 4-inch pots and they've been outside full time for the last week.


    Thomas, Romanesco is a fascinating looking vegetable. If you do a web search for fractals one of the images that comes up is of Romanesco, it's a natural fractal. But, most important, it's delicious.

  7. That's pretty Romanesco broccoli. Next year I'll try again.

  8. Stefaneener, I think you'll like it when you grow one that comes true to type.

  9. A 5lb Romanesco, that must have been one massive plant. Don't you hate when plants keep dieing time after time. Reminds me of my beans last season. It took me 4 sowings before they grew thanks to rot and squirrels. This year they will be start in the poly tunnel and not planted out until they are strong!

  10. Dan, it was a huge plant! I wish I could find the photograph that I took of it. It's a good thing that Romanesco keeps very well in the refrigerator, we got a lot of meals from that head.

    Last year I also had problems with my beans, the rats kept munching on the young plants. I had to enclose the trellises in remay until the plants were large enough to withstand the attacks.

  11. Sounds like a pretty good haul. I just pinched the buds off the top of my arugula in hopes I can hang onto it a bit longer. I love it with proscuitto and can only find it at the grocery store pre-bagged with a weird chemical smell.


Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I value your insights and feedback.