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.


  1. Wow the baskets look great and if the pink isn't done justice, I can't imagine!

  2. Nice harvest, I tried to grow spring spinach every year, but fail. Only fall grown overwinter spinach works for me, I'll be very interested to read about your spinach growing experience.

  3. Lovely baskets of harvest. I should look for flamingo chard such a beautiful color.

  4. Great harvest. You warm weather people make me soooo jealous. All we can harvest this time of year is carrots and corn salad!! Thanks for the great photos!

  5. Michelle,
    I'm growing Lacinato kale and we have been eating a little of it, pretty tasty. Not growing very big, is yours? Why no lettuce, well hardly any lettuce on your list?

    1. Randy, my fall sown Lacinato kale never gets really big. If I sow it in the spring or early summer it can get to 3 or 4 feet tall by winter, but I don't get around to eating it when the summer vegetables are producing so I just grow it for late fall and winter harvests these days. So far as the lettuce goes, I just didn't get my timing down very well this fall, plus a vole did a fair amount of munching on what I did manage to get going.

  6. The chard is beautiful. I will have to keep my eye out for seeds. I love beet greens but never remember to keep them when thinning. I always just throw them in for my girls (chickens) as a treat.

  7. I do like the sound of that chickpea dish - I think I will make it later this week. Your beat greens look absolutely perfect and ever so shiny - just lovely.

  8. Beautiful harvests as always. I am going to try freezing some tomatoes this year. My MIL does it and it works out well. Hopefully this year will be a better year for tomatoes!

  9. Beautiful and varied harvest as always Michelle! I freeze whole tomatoes too and it is a very convenient method and allows me to pull out as much (or as little) as I need to add to soups and or make a chunky tomato sauce with. I only have golden beets left in the garden and they are not very large yet, but hopefully as the days get longer they will finish sizing up before they decide to bolt to seed.

  10. I never heard of freezing whole tomatoes like that; I'll have to remember to try that this summer! You might try seeding a new crop of kale; many plants will bolt when they've gone from warm to cold and back to warm again.

  11. Your harvest looks great! I can't wait until spring to get to gardening.


  12. i always freeze tomatoes like that, but i never thaw them before using them. i just skin them the way you do it, wait for a few minutes and chop them in smaller pieces and use them where in need: soups, stews, sauces. where ever a recipe call for tomato paste or tomato sauce, you can replace that with frozen tomatoes. the taste of the food is fresher, exactly like in the summer, when you cook with fresh tomatoes.


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