Monday, August 4, 2014

Harvest Monday - August 4, 2014

It's August already and yet my harvests still don't look typically summery since they are notably lacking in tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. But the broccoli is happily pushing out side shoots.

Di Ciccio broccoli
I'm really happy that I returned to my old favorite Di Ciccio broccoli. It doesn't produce big main heads but it has always been a good producer of numerous good sized side shoots. These ones had nice long stems that were perfectly tender after peeling off the tough outer skin.

And I got to harvest another head of cauliflower, this one even prettier than the first one the week before. The aphids didn't colonize this head so as it started to peer out from amongst the leaves I loosely tied the leaves together over the head to keep it from turning yellow. This one was roasted whole using a recipe from Michael Ruhlman, it is a very simple process, the cauliflower is rubbed with some cooking oil, roasted in a hot (425ºF) oven for 45 minutes, then softened butter is rubbed over the cauliflower and roasted for another 30 to 45 minutes, basting often with the butter that collects in the pan and turns a nutty brown. The outside of the cauliflower turns dark and crisp but the rest of the head becomes meltingly tender. It was well worth the time and I used the hot oven to also roast some Padron peppers and a few sardines on a bed of fennel fronds. The sardines were accompanied by a quick pickle of red onions and fennel.

Amazing Taste cauliflower
Here's something that looks more like summer - snap beans. The Royal Burgundy beans on the left have been surprisingly prolific, they are just finishing a second flush of beans and it looks like they are trying to bloom again. It will be a race with the spider mites though, they are attacking the leaves on the plants and I'm not going to try to control them so if they overwhelm the plants that will be the end. I can't complain, I've harvested nearly 4 pounds from about 9 plants. The Slenderette beans on the right seem to be less inclined to produce a second flush of beans, but I can't complain too much, they gave me over 5 pounds of beans from as many plants as the Royal Burgundy but in quicker succession, they started producing later than the Royal Burgundy and finished sooner. Both varieties are bush beans.

Royal Burgundy, Golden Gate, Slenderette beans

Both the Musica and Golden Gate beans shown below are pole beans. They produce pretty quickly also, but I'm hoping for a second flush of beans, it looks like they are trying to pop out new flowers up and down the vines even as the first round of beans are sizing up. This week I made a variation of a dish that I originally came up with to use fresh asparagus from the farmer's market. I grilled some of the Golden Gate beans on my ridged stove top griddle, then topped them with some rings of sweet onion that were grilled on the griddle as well, then over all that I mounded some sauteed spiced (I think it was garam masala) ground lamb seasoned with chopped onion, garlic, and pomegranate molasses. I would have added some cilantro if there had been any in the garden. This is turning out to be one of Dave's favorite concoctions - he loved the asparagus version and equally approves of the bean version.

Musica and Golden Gate beans
The Padron pepper harvests are picking up now, that's one harvest shown below and there were three more like that through the rest of the week. Yikes, the zucchini just keeps producing, and producing, and producing....

I finally figured out a way to slow them down without taking out the plant or cutting out branches. One day I went out and harvested everything that had bloomed that day and then I went through and harvested everything that was going to bloom for the next couple of days. I cut the zucchini harvest from 10.5 pounds the week before to only 6.6 pounds this past week. Only...

So I lied, I did harvest one tomato this week. Or rather, Dave harvested one tomato this week and I had to shame him into not just popping it in his mouth right there in the garden. You have to let me weigh that first! And once weighed I cut it in half and I got the bigger half. It didn't have the faintest chance of getting photographed. Oh, and I did harvest the first eggplant, no chance of a photo of that either, it was promptly cut in chunks and went into the grill basket with some broccoli, beans, and sweet onion slices.

Earlier in the week I had another visit from my garden angel Jamaica, she helped with some garden chores and then did the weekly nit picky harvesting of the cutting greens. None of those harvests were photographed. I'm still not up to full speed post surgery and I just didn't have the energy to do a photo shoot post harvest. The chard had grown back again so I had Jamaica cut that back and take it home. Oh, we also harvested some beets that had gotten quite big and needed to be pulled. I kept the roots and Jamaica's chickens got the greens.

Oh, and let me not forget about the one Superstar onion that I left in the ground because its top just would not flop, which I finally just pushed over, but it refused to die back, but it finally got attacked by something so I pulled it. It grew to over 2 1/2 pounds, weighed after trimming off the top and spoiled spots. It was tasty, at least 1/4 of it was, in that grill basket full of veggies.

It turned out to be quite a productive week of harvests, here they are:

Speedy Arugula - 7.2 oz.
Golden Gate beans - 1 lb., 8.6 oz.
Musica beans - 1 lb., 4.1 oz.
Royal Burgundy beans - 13.7 oz.
Slenderette beans - 9 oz.
Chioggia beets (exc. tops) - 3 lb., 5.6 oz.
Golden beets (exc. tops) - 12.5 oz.
Di Ciccio broccoli - 3 lb., 8.4 oz.
Tokyo Bekana napa cabbage - 7.8 oz.
Amazing Taste cauliflower - 2 lb., 6.4 oz.
Flamingo chard - 6.2 oz.
Golden Chard - 15.1 oz.
Italian Silver Rib chard - 8.3 oz.
Peppermint Stick chard - 1 lb., 3.9 oz.
Garden Oasis cucumbers - 7.9 oz.
Tasty Treat cucumbers - 1 lb.,
Salangana eggplant - 6.6 oz.
Green Lance gai lan - 2.8 oz.
Baby Portuguese kale - 2.7 oz.
Ruby Streaks mizuna - 1.3 oz.
Superstar onion (yes only 1 onion) - 2 lb., 10.6 oz.
Purple pack choi - 3.1 oz.
Padron peppers - 11.5 oz.
Jaune Flamme tomato - 1.3 oz.
Romanesco zucchinis - 6 lb., 9.6 oz.

The total harvests for the past week were - 33 lb., 5.9 oz. (15.1 kg.)
Which brings the total harvests for 2014 up to - 427 lb., 13 oz. (194.1 kg.)

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. That was a very productive week. I didn't get any really big onions this year like I have in the past. But I'm happy that my main storage onion was larger this year. So I won some and lost some in that harvest.

  2. Awesome cauliflower. They take too much room for me to grow here, and are a bit pricey at the store. Two standard uses for me are diced and steamed and used in place of potatoes in un-potato salad, and steamed with garlic and pureed in a food processor with cream and Parmesan as a substitute for mashed potatoes.

    1. Great idea to use them as a potato substitute! They're better than potatoes anyway.

  3. You always have the nicest broccoli harvest and your meals sounds delicious, I don't have cauliflower now, but I'm tempted to go buy one and try your recipe.
    I let my Padron peppers turn red this year because I have to deal with the green Shishito peppers, I cut one red Padron yesterday, it was hot, but not all red Padrons are spicy hot, I tried couple other red ones no heat at all (unless I got them mix up with Piquillo peppers.

  4. Wow - 4 lbs. of beans from 9 plants is amazing! I'll have to see how much I get, but I'm pretty sure it will be nowhere near that much. The cauliflower is gorgeous. I'll probably attempt growing one at some point, even though I keep hearing how tricky they are.

    And I just shake my head at the thought of you having to slow down your zucchini harvest while I'm out there every morning with a paintbrush looking for flowers to pollinate (even though there are finally bees around, I'm not taking any chances).

  5. I need to remember to not 'visit' here near mealtime. My mouth is watering at your meal descriptions, especially the roasted cauliflower! I've had chunks of it roasted but never the whole head. And that big Superstar onion must have been a monster! I dehydrated some of ours, along with some of the Candy onions and I can snack on them both dried like just like candy.

    1. Great idea, I never thought of drying the onions for snacks and I bet they would make great garnishes or crunchy additions to salads.

  6. Your broccoli side shoots look bigger than some of my broccoli heads! And a 2 lb onion, that's huge! That cauliflower recipe sounds delicious. Also, I love all your bean varieties. I need to explore and branch out on the varieties of beans I grow.

  7. Our aubergine/eggplanty are just not setting fruit

  8. Very impressed with the broccoli and cauliflower! My Tenderstem broccoli was a complete washout this year - but the I did use very old seeds, and the plants never looked strong right from the beginning.

  9. Your sure had a productive week of harvest. That's one beautiful heal of cauliflower, love the way you prepared it.

  10. Nice harvest, Michelle. That meal you prepared sounds awesome! I will have to try that roasted cauliflower recipe.

    So I'm guessing you stopped from piracicaba broccoli? I recalled you grew it years ago. It tried it once but it was bitter for me.

  11. Love, love the broccoli and the picture perfect cauliflower! I am seeing a lot of Musica and Golden Gate bean pairings on several blogs and I love how similar they look in appearance with their contrasting colors.


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