Sunday, February 28, 2016

Harvest Monday - February 29, 2015

Time and I have flown in the past month. My husband and I took a few weeks off to go hiking in Tasmania (I posted a very few photos on Instagram). We did a 6 day hike to Frenchman's Cap, day hikes in Freycinet, and day hikes and an overnighter at the Three Capes (Raoul, Hauy, Pillar), then a few days in Hobart, oh and a few days at the start in Sydney too. It's a long way to travel to enjoy some time on the trail but well worth the journey. It's a beautiful  relaxed place with exotic (to me) flora and fauna. The residents are incredibly friendly, the food and wine and whiskey(!) delicious, and the weather is amazingly changeable. I'd go back in a flash if it weren't so far away.

My last harvest before we left was a couple of baskets of spinach.

Summer Perfection Spinach

Verdil Spinach

I combined both varieties in a quick saute with bacon and almonds.

I cut the spinach down to just a few small leaves on each plant and removed the cloches and then covered the patch with some tulle to keep the birds from feasting. Now there's a thicket of new leaves waiting for me to harvest.

Golden Corn Salad

The first thing I harvested when I returned, the very afternoon of my return, was some Golden Corn Salad. It was a relief to find that the plants which were just nearly large enough to harvest when I left had not bolted. They were a bit too large to simply toss the entire plants in the salad bowl, but I harvested entire plants by cutting them at soil level and then cut the bases off of the plants to produce loose leaves. We enjoyed the corn salad tossed with a light dressing and served atop some of my preserved sweet peppers, green olives, and some good quality Spanish olive oil packed tuna.

Three Heart Butterhead lettuce

Winter Density lettuce
It was a relief to find that the lettuce hadn't bolted either. The weather turned dry and warm the minute we left and it rained only one day in the three weeks that we were gone. I kept an eye on the weather at home and after a couple of weeks of no rain and unseasonably warm temperatures I texted my house sitter to turn on the drip system in the garden but she seemed to have misunderstood my instructions and when I got home I found the system to be off and the soil drying out. Fortunately the beds had received a good soaking from the regular rains that fell in December and January so the plants were just starting to show signs of stress. You can see that the outer leaves of the lettuces are starting to yellow but the hearts are in good shape and still taste sweet.

Gustus Brussels Sprouts

I was really quite surprised to find that the Brussels Sprouts had grown quite a bit larger but are still firm and good tasting. Only one of the plants has sprouts that are showing the first sign of bolting. I think I'll be cutting that stalk this week and I'll hold it in the fridge while I continue to harvest the rest of the sprouts on an as desired basis. That basket above was nearly a pound and a half of sprouts after trimming off the outer leaves. There were are still good parsnips in the fridge so I roasted the sprouts and some chunks of peeled parsnips together with some butter and sage.

One other harvest in the tally is some rather loose shoots of Batavia Broccoli. I did take photos of them but lost the photos when I had trouble importing them. I had to delete a number of my latest photos because there was something wrong with the files and the computer totally froze up every time it tried to read them - what a colossal waste of time it was dealing with that, it took me a while to figure out that it was the files that were problematic and not a program. The broccoli is just about finished now. The remainder of the shoots on the plants are in full bloom or nearly so, it's time to send them to the compost and get something new started.

And yet another harvest which isn't in the tally was a good sized bunch of Bac Liu cilantro (coriander) that was starting to bolt. I used it to make a pesto with roasted pistachios, garden fresh Meyer lemon peel & juice, shallots (from my stores), and olive oil. That was delicious with the very first asparagus of the season (from the farmer's market) and some artichokes (from Pezzini's). I grilled the asparagus and chokes in the Big Green Egg and served them with the pesto on the side. Big Yum.

So here's the details of the harvests for the past 4 weeks:

Batavia broccoli - 11.3 oz.
Gustus Brussels Sprouts - 1 lb., 6.1 oz.
Golden Corn Salad - 3 oz.
Three Heart butterhead lettuce - 6 oz.
Winter Density lettuce - 14.4 oz.
Summer Perfection spinach - 9.4 oz.
Verdil spinach - 12.7 oz.

Total harvests for the past 4 weeks - 4 lb., 14.9 oz. (2.2 kg.)
2016 YTD - 38 lb., 1.9 oz. (17.3 kg.)

Harvest Monday is hosted by Dave on his blog Our Happy Acres, head on over there to see what other garden bloggers have been harvesting and cooking up lately.

I've got a lot of catching up to do in the garden and on the blog. I hope I can find the time to do a state of the garden post and another post about my plans for 2016. But the garden is also demanding a lot of attention with overmature veggies that I need to remove, spring sowing to get started, and LOTS of weeds.


  1. Sounds like a wonderful trip and always good to return home and find the garden continued to produce during ones absent. Love you simple treatment of the spinach and happy to see you used the spinach stems also.

  2. Lovely spinach and corn salad. My spinach is ready to start cutting here soon too. The cilantro pesto sounds yummy. I usually make it with almonds but I'll have to give pistachios a try. Sounds like you had a good time on your trip. I looked at some of your photos and some of the views were truly amazing!

  3. Beautiful harvests, and your trip to Tasmania sounds wonderful. The spinach sauté looks delicious! I doubt I'd ever have enough cilantro to make pesto, but your use of pistachios is a great idea for "normal" pesto. I often find pine nuts slightly distasteful, but I sure love pistachios.

  4. Sounds like you had a wonderful time on your trip - I would love to go to Australian at some point, even in light of my spider issues ;)

    Your meals always sound so delicious! I've made a note to try the sautéed spinach - I think my kids would go nuts for it.

  5. Tasmania sounds like an amazing place! That must be a a beautiful place to go for a hike. I've never made pesto with cilantro. What kind of recipes do you use your cilantro pesto in?

    1. I haven't used it with very many things yet, so far with grilled veggies and I stirred some into a dish of eggs poached in stock with veggies. It should be good stirred into soup or in a sandwich (hmm, grilled cheese...) and I'm thinking of trying it in a white bean salad.

  6. Hmm, the last time I made cilantro pesto, I used pecans - seems like most nuts will work based on the comments here! Your lettuce and other greens look mouth-watering to me now as I am far away from any myself. Welcome back, sounds like a wonderful trip.

  7. Tasmania sounds like a great place to visit. I think that is where Steve Solomon is now living. Nice to come back and find the garden has survived your absence. I have a couple of trips to plan for this summer and have to ponder when I can afford to be away.

  8. Leaving your garden when you go away on holiday is always scary! I'm glad to hear that not much damage was done. Your Brussels Sprouts look a lot better (and bigger) than mine. I'm not sure I'm going to grow them again this year.


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