Monday, March 7, 2016

Harvest Monday - March 7, 2016

After a disappointingly dry February the rain has returned! The combination of the moisture, longer days, and more mild temperatures is putting the garden into high gear. I managed to get the overgrown cauliflower and Romanesco broccoli out of the garden and into the compost before the wet weather set in. Both the cauliflower and Romanesco were just developing heads when I left for vacation and in the three weeks that I was gone they pretty much exploded into massive open heads. I did cull a few shoots of Romanesco that weren't too loose or too full of aphids and they tasted good, too bad I didn't get to enjoy the entire heads. If we ever plan a trip for February again I'll be sure to skip planting these for winter harvests.

Romanesco Broccoli shoots
The Brussels sprouts behaved during my absence though and I harvested another basketful last week, this time prepared by shredding them on a mandolin and quickly wilting them with shallots, bacon, and dried currants. I've also started pulling baby onions. I set my onion seedlings out spaced 2 inches apart so that I could harvest half of them as scallions and spring onions so that the remaining onions will end up with a final spacing of 4 inches apart.

Gustus Brussels Sprouts and onion thinnings.
I had to put on a rain jacket to harvest half of the spinach that grew in the last month. The plants are just starting to show signs of bolting and one had an 8-inch shoot already. I'm really happy with the way my experiment with starting them late under cloches worked out, I've harvested far more than I expected.

Verdil Spinach
There was so much spinach ready to harvest that I had to fill up my veggie washing tub in addition to the basket shown above. I wilted the entire harvest right away and used half of it in a dish of Greek Gigante beans baked in tomato sauce with Andouille sausage. That was a great meal for a blustery wet evening.

Verdil Spinach
I sowed a patch of various greens and radishes on January 21 in hopes of having something to harvest when I got home from vacation and my timing worked perfectly! Last week I cut a nice big bunch of Speedy arugula and pulled the first radishes.

Speedy Arugula and mixed radishes

Helios, Malaga, and Pink Punch radishes
 Then I pulled even more radishes a few days later.

Petit Dejeuner, Malaga, Helios, and Pink Punch radishes
The Rishad Cress sown on the 21st of January was also ready to harvest.

Rishad Cress

As was the Ethiopian Highland Kale (actually a mild mustard).

Ethiopian Highland Kale

The celery is still quite small but it has been tasty, I've been using it more like a cutting celery rather than a normal sized head of celery.

Dorato D'Asti celery and onion thinnings
Most of the Winter Density lettuce is producing good compact crisp heads. We enjoyed this one with some homemade blue cheese dressing, sliced radishes, sliced green onions and crispy bits of baked prosciutto.

Winter Density Romaine lettuce
This head of Red Iceberg lettuce was intended to join the Winter Density in the salad but I only needed the one head of lettuce when our dinner group went from 6 to 4 diners. Now I think I'll use the head for lettuce cups with chopped leftover roasted chicken and other veggies.

Red Iceberg lettuce
I cut the rest of the bolting Bac Lieu cilantro. This variety has very pretty frilly tops when it bolts. I used most of it as a basis for a Salsa Verde using the method described in the Zuni Cafe Cookbook. The cilantro provided the bulk of the herbs along with some flat leaf parsley, fennel tops, and mint. I also added minced salt packed capers (homegrown), anchovy filets, Meyer lemon peel, shallots, and dried Mareko Fana pepper flakes. The mixture was well lubricated with extra virgin olive oil. We enjoyed the salsa with roasted chicken and roasted slices of Delicata squash.

Bac Lieu cilantro
One harvest not photographed was a handful of sugar snap peas that I found when I uncovered the pea trellis, it was just a few since there was only one plant that was still alive. The Golden Sweet snow peas were still going strong but all the peas are too large and tough to harvest to eat, but I think I can let the peas mature to save the seeds.

Here's the details of the harvests for the past week:

Speedy arugula - 10.1 oz.
Romanesco broccoli - 2 lb., .1 oz.
Gustus Brussels Sprouts - 1 lb., 2.6 oz.
Dorato D'Asti celery - 14.8 oz.
Rishad Cress - 4.6 oz.
Ethiopian Highland Kale - 1 lb., 4.7 oz.
Red Iceberg lettuce - 9.3 oz.
Winter Density lettuce - 2 lb., 2.8 oz.
Spring onions - 3.6 oz.
Super Sugar Snap peas - 2.7 oz.
Helios radishes - 4.1 oz
Malaga radishes - 2.2 oz.
Petit Dejeuner radishes - 1.8 oz.
Pink Punch radishes - 4 oz.
Verdil spinach - 3 lb., 13.7 oz.

Total for the week - 14 lb., 1.1 oz. (6.4 kg.)
2016 YTD - 52 lb., 3 oz. (23.7 kg.)

Harvest Monday is hosted by Dave on his blog Our Happy Acres, head on over there to see what has been springing forth from other garden bloggers gardens lately.


  1. Wow - what a harvest week you've had! I see a couple of varieties that I plan to have in the garden this spring including the Speedy arugula...your post makes me all the more impatient! And that elongated Brussels sprout is so odd - never seen one quite like that before.

    1. The elongated sprout was the very top of one of the stalks which was just starting to bolt. I can't wait to see how Speedy grows for you, it is my favorite arugula of all the many varieties that I've grown over the years.

  2. That's such a lovely mix of colors this week. It's always tricky handling the harvests when you're away. Too bad about the broccoli and cauliflower but it sure looks like there were lots of other goodies to eat. It's interesting to see your Verdil spinach, since I just ordered some seeds. I will likely wait until fall to plant it though. I need to try your spinach and bean combo since we have quite a bit coming ready right about now. It sounds like a quick and easy meal treatment, and for some reason I don't think of using spinach that way.

    1. It's a great way to use up a BIG bunch of spinach since wilting it and squeezing out the excess water reduces the volume so much. The radishes certainly added a nice pop of color to what would have been a pretty green week.

  3. I won't be able to match a harvest like that for several months! My garden is still mostly bare. The Red Iceberg lettuce is very attractive - I think a bit of colour other than green does a lot to enhance a salad. Mind you, your radishes are pretty colourful too! I'd be interested to see what sort of cloches you use. Good ones are hard to find. Most of the ones available here are either very poor (flimsy) or very expensive (beyond my budget!).

    1. My cloches are very flimsy, they are simply plastic gallon water bottle jugs with the bottoms cut off.

  4. You have a really lovely harvest this week!

  5. Easter eggs! You have little radish egg baskets for Easter (well, a bit early I guess). Ooh, it's so hard to get holidays without ruining a few things. Work hasn't exactly helped my plans, but I've been wanting to get away to Europe some time in the next year or two and can never pick a good time (who wants to be there in winter and I can't seem to get away during the season!).

    As you suggested, I guess you just don't plant certain crops ...

  6. You would think February would be a good time to be away from the garden (here it would be). At least the wintery green things did really well. Nice selection of radishes and the Pink Punch radishes sure suit their name.


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