Monday, January 30, 2012

Harvest Monday - January 30, 2012

It's time to catch up on my Harvest Monday posts. The past four weeks have been about beets, broccoli, kale and spinach, with a few teasers of chard, corn salad and lettuce for spice.

Here's the final harvest of the beets that I sowed in September of last year. They would have held longer in the garden but I've got a vole that has taken up residence in the garden and it was eating the beet greens down to the soil level so I harvested everything that was left. I roasted the beets and used them in mixed salads, but they are all gone now.

However, the Golden beets that I sowed on October 21 are growing well and I recently thinned them out and got a good bunch of greens that I combined with the thinnings of the Flamingo chard that was sown at the same time. I sauteed the beet greens and chard together Spanish style with garlic, pine nuts, and raisins. That accompanied the fresh herring that I got last week from Local Catch Monterey Bay, a new Community Supported Fishery that I've joined.

The Flamingo chard is living up to its name, other that the occasional plant that has pure white stems and green leaves. I love that electric pink, this photo doesn't do it any justice.

These tomatoes were not harvested from frozen plants this year, but I get to add them to my September 2011 harvest totals because that is when I harvested them but I didn't weigh them and account for them at that time. These tomatoes (and a whole lot more) were harvested semi-ripe just before I left for vacation and I left them sitting out with instructions for my house/pet sitter to use them as she liked, give them away, or stash them in the freezer when they ripened. I got home to find bags of frozen ripe tomatoes in the freezer. I've just lately started to use them up and have been weighing them as I pull them out of the freezer. They are quite easy to use, when I take them out of the freezer I run each one under some warm water which loosens the skin so that it can be slipped off. Then I put the skinned tomatoes in a metal bowl and let them sit out for a few hours. When they have thawed out they resemble whole canned tomatoes, they will have released a lot of water but still have a surprising amount of texture left and they can be chopped like canned tomatoes. I used a half pound of them that way in a vegetable stew and a couple more pounds were used to make my favorite Winter Tarragon Tomato Soup which normally calls for canned tomatoes.

The Guntmadingen Winter spinach has been hugely productive. I've been using it in various dishes, such as a Spanish dish of stewed garbanzo beans (chickpeas) with tomatoes (frozen) and spinach seasoned with garlic and saffron. The spinach is very sweet right now so it is also delicious in salads. I've been working up a post about my spinach growing experiences so look for that in the near future.

I managed to scrounge up a couple of ounces of volunteer Golden Corn Salad which was delicious in a green salad. On the other hand, the one head of Ear of the Devil lettuce was disappointingly bitter, I guess it isn't a winter spinach. Fortunately, the chickens don't mind bitter lettuce. I'll try the Ear of the Devil as a spring lettuce, it's so pretty, I want to like it, I really do.

The Lacinato kale has been producing well and is very tasty either cooked or shredded for salads, but darn it, it's starting to bolt already, the same as last year. I guess it is very sensitive to temperature fluctuations, we've been swinging between cold weather and warm weather for weeks now and I guess the kale is just plain confused.

Broccoli, I've eaten so much broccoli lately I'm getting tired of it and I'm letting it bloom because I just can't face another plateful of it. The bees are going to love it...

Here's the harvests for the past four weeks:

Chioggia beets - 4.5 oz
Golden beets - 1.5 oz.
Red beets (Baby ball and Egyptische Platronde) - 4.7 oz.
Beet greens (Golden beets) - 14.1 oz.
Di Sarno Calabrese broccoli - 42.5 oz.
Piracicaba broccoli - 11.4 oz.
Flamingo chard - 7.8 oz.
Golden Corn Salad - 2 oz.
Lacinato kale - 19.9 oz. (not including the harvest last Friday that I forgot to weigh)
Ear of the Devil lettuce - 2 oz.
Guntmadingen Winter spinach - 37.6 oz. (weighed after trimming off the stems and aphidy bits)

The total harvests for the past four weeks were - 9 lb., 4 oz.
The harvests for the year have been - 19 lb., 7.2 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.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Harvest Monday - January 2, 2012

This is my first harvest report of the new year so I get to report the final harvests of 2011 and the first harvests of 2012.

Here's the last of 2011:

Di Sarno Calabrese broccoli and a little bit of Piracicaba broccoli

I'm still harvesting shoots off of the Di Sarno Calabrese broccoli plants that I started last spring and was complaining about in my June garden update because they weren't growing and the rats were starting to gnaw on them. Once I figured out that they weren't growing because of invading oak tree roots and dug those out then the plants started to grow and produced a tiny crop by July, a little more in August, and then started producing in earnest in September. I've harvested almost 7 pounds of broccoli shoots from those four plants, plus more that weren't weighed because they had more aphids than I wanted to deal with so they were given to the chickens.

Di Sarno Calabrese florets

Last night I made one of my versions of comfort food - chopped broccoli braised in chicken stock and seasonings with some eggs poached in the pot with the broccoli. Just what the doctor ordered to combat my first cold of the new year.

Golden and Chioggia beets

More beets! These were used in the farro pasta dish that I still haven't written up for my recipe notebook (coming soon, I promise).

Guntmadingen Winter spinach

Some rodent, either rats or voles (they're baaack, dang it), started to mow down my spinach plants so I harvested darn near every remaining leaf off of the plants and covered what was left with row cover again. All of it was used to make sauteed spinach with garlic, raisins and pine nuts - yum. Fortunately, the pests didn't completely destroy the plants and I think they will make enough of a comeback to produce another crop.

Lacinato kale, Di Sarno Calabrese and Piraciciaba broccolis

The fall/winter brassicas are producing, this is the first harvest of Di Sarno Calabrese broccoli from the new plants plus a bit more Piracicaba and enough Lacinato kale to make another caesar salad.

Di Sarno Calabrese broccoli

More destruction by marauding rodents, not sure if it was gophers or voles, prompted me to harvest all of the celery root.  I haven't used any of it yet but the trimmed roots will keep well in the refrigerator for a long time.

Diamante celery root

Diamante celery roots, trimmed

Here's some of the first harvests of 2012:

I thinned out the summer sown patch of beets. The aphids and ants didn't get to this patch of beets very much so I also got a nice bunch of greens (and reds) to use.

Di Sarno Calabrese broccoli, beet greens, Piracicaba broccoli,
Baby Ball, Egyptische Platronde, Chioggia, and Golden beets

I'm going to use the beet greens in a crustless quiche tonight and use the beet roots in a salad with mixed greens.

Not photographed yesterday was the last napa cabbage, a Hybrid One Kilo that came in at well over one kilo, but it looks like it is on the verge of bolting so I'm not sure how good it will be. It's in the count for now but will disappear if it turns out to be inedible.

So here's the harvests for the past couple of weeks:

Baby Ball beets - 14.7 oz.
Chioggia beets - 15.7 oz.
Egyptische Platronde beets - 9.2 oz.
Golden beets - 13.6 oz.
Beet greens - 1 lb., 4.7 oz.
Di Sarno Calabrese broccoli - 3 lb.
Piracicaba broccoli - 8.8 oz.
Hybrid One Kilo napa cabbage - 6 lb., 5 oz.
Diamante celery root (trimmed) - 6 lb., 9 oz.
Lacinato kale - 1 lb., 6.8 oz.
Guntmadingen Winter spinach - 1 lb., 11.5 oz.

The total for the past two weeks was - 24 lb., 3.3 oz.
The total harvests for 2011 were - 582 lb., 5.4 oz.
The total harvests for 2012 have been - 11 lb., 14.4 oz.

The harvests for 2011 were 109.4 pounds less than the 2010 harvests, and no surprise, that was mostly because the summer garden (what summer this year?) was in general far less productive in 2011 than in 2010. The only 2011 summer crops that exceeded the 2010 summer crops were green beans and cucumbers, but only because I sowed a second planting of beans (actually - 3 plantings versus 1) and the cucumbers produced well into autumn this year. On the other hand, many of the cool weather vegetables were more productive in 2011 than in 2010, beets up 15 pounds, broccoli up 12, cabbage up 22.8, Peas up 26.8 (!).  Come to think of it, the lack of summer weather wasn't the only culprit, the rats took a big bite out of the summer (and spring, and fall, and winter) crops as well. Nineteen pounds of strawberries in 2010 and ZERO in 2011 - all because of the rats. Have you noticed the gadget that I call Rat Patrol over there on my side bar? That's my record of rats trapped for a little more than 5 months. It's mind boggling...

Happy New Year everyone - here's to a productive and rodent-free (please please please, at least reduced-rodent) garden in the coming seasons.

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.