Monday, May 29, 2017

Harvest Monday - May 29, 2017

It's funny, the things that may make you really appreciate having a garden. Getting a nasty cold really made me appreciate the bounty of healthy veggies that I have easily to hand. And when I'm sick and not up to the task of cooking, as I have been much of the past week, I'm even more appreciative of all the work that I've put into preserving those veggies in various forms. One day I craved a bowl of soup and being home by myself and not wanting to have to drive somewhere to satisfy the craving I turned to my freezer and pantry. It didn't take long to thaw a quart of homemade chicken stock, saute some shallots, stir in some frozen tomato paste, and drop in a load of dried veggies and within 30 minutes I was slurping hot vegetable soup. Ahhh, on the road to recovery.

Anyway, I did manage to get out to the garden with a pocketful of Kleenex a few times to bring in some harvests. The garden is really demanding my attention right now and I can't just lay around while the veggies bolt.

Radishes, Carrots, and Turnips
The spring crop of root vegetables is/has been a colorful one. The radishes are done for now, they were almost all starting to bolt. The carrots are sizing up, those 2 varieties shown are Short Stuff and Starica, you can probably guess which is which. And at the bottom of the picture are Round Red and Mikado turnips. One easy dish I made with some of the turnips and carrots was to quickly roast them in a hot cast iron skillet (I'm really in love with my cast iron lately).

Yellow Granex Onions
The big disappointment this year has been the onions. Downy mildew hit hard this spring and I nearly pulled out the entire crop. I relented though when the weather warmed up and the mildew slowed down. But the DM (damn mildew?) took its toll, the plants didn't keep enough green growth to produce good roots. Every green leaf blade is connected to a layer in the bulb and when the green leaf blades are killed then the bulbs will come out small, like those Yellow Granex bulbs in the photo. Those three onions don't equal even one bulb that I would typically harvest.

Fioretto Stick Cauliflower
I tried a sprouting cauliflower this spring and it doesn't seem to have behaved properly. The heads buttoned on 3 of the 4 plants. I think this is a small taste of what they might be able to do. I noticed that one of the plants has side shoots forming so perhaps there will be a few more shoots to come. I'll try it again in the fall.

I'm still getting a few side shoots of broccoli from the overwintered plants and there's a glut of lettuce. Last night I used up that bunch of lettuce (I forget if it's Joker or Rosencrantz) in a dish that is guaranteed to tame a big pile of lettuce. I used more of the carrot harvest, some broccoli, one of those Yellow granex onions, freshly peeled favas (thanks to my Dave) and some haricot vert (from the farmers market, yes I do buy some veggies). I braised all of those with some browned butter in chicken stock and at the end tossed in all that lettuce which I had cut up a bit. The lettuce just wilts and retains a hint of crunch in its sturdier parts. It's a nice warming and healthy dish for a cool foggy breezy evening (May Gray has set in in a big way).

Three Heart Butterhead Lettuce
All of the lettuce that I've harvested so far this spring has been baby heads that I interplanted with the brassicas, including that basketful shown above. My method this year was to clump 3 or 4 plants together rather than interspersing them through the bed. It makes it easier to harvest the heads - just cut a whole clump, and it crowds the growing brassicas a bit less. We've been enjoying a lot of salads with dinner lately, sometimes it is pretty much dinner accompanied by some bread and cheese.

Ruby Streaks Mizuna
My Dave doesn't like what he calls "funny greens" - stronger flavored things like mustards and arugula. But I love them so I grow them and use them to make salads for my lunch. The spring planting of mizuna and arugula was starting to bolt so I cut them all down.

Apollo Arugula
The veggie most demanding of attention last week was the favas. They hit their peak of production - 37 pounds of pods to deal with.

Aquadulce Favas
The deal that I have with my Dave who loves his favas is that I grow them, harvest them, pop them out of the pods and blanch them, but then he has to peel them because that's the way he likes them.

Robin Hood Favas
Dave is not crazy for the Robin Hood favas, they are small beans with tight skins so they are more tedious to peel. Sorry dear.

Robin Hood and Extra Precoce Violetto Favas
He loves the Extra Precoce Violetto and Aquadulce beans. They are big and fat and easy to peel. I don't find any real difference in them post harvest. There are a couple of differences in the garden. Extra Precoce Violetto, which translates as Extra Early Purple, are earlier but not by a lot, about a week or 10 days. The EPVs are shorter plants by a couple of feet. Both varieties seem to be about equal in terms of productivity.

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 lately.


  1. Two posts in two days? And you're sick? Lady, you must have a lot of energy to spare on regular, non-sick days!

    Very positive, happy post. Lots of good things to eat. Oh, soup! Yum!

    1. That other post took me 4 days to write!

  2. Yes, all the onions look awful, garlic chives, society garlic, etc.

    It's a funny world -- I don't live that far away from you, maybe 300 miles, but my vegetable braise a couple of days ago had a variety of small squashes, chili peppers with soft skins (Hatch) and green beans and herbs.

    1. It is amazing the difference 300 miles and one climate zone makes. But then all I would have to do is go another 10 miles inland from here and that would make a huge difference also. Microclimates rule!

  3. That's a lot of fava beans and you're getting a great variety of vegetables from your garden. We're actually having a longish spring, I think I'll try a quick crop of turnips.

    1. The little white Japanese turnips are especially quick. The ramen soup you mentioned in your post today inspired the lunch I'm slurping even now. Rice ramen with mizunarubasoi and shrimp. Quick and delicious! Thanks for the idea.

  4. It is nice to have a well-stocked pantry and freezer, and when I am sick I almost always crave soup. Too bad about the onions. I don't think I have seen mildew in them. I do have bolting shallots though, which is something new for me since I haven't grown shallots in years.

  5. That is a bean harvest for sure. As far as sickness, I act like I am on my deathbed every time. I'm such a baby.

  6. Seems like everybody is having some sort of problem with onions this year. That's a lot of favas. Your garden is very impressive. I'm still trying to wrap my head around how different it is, growing wise, where you are at. Hope you feel better.

  7. Our blog is always such an inspiration.

    I hope you're feeling better, soon.

  8. I hope that you have managed to put the Kleenex away now. You have displayed everything that we have still to come. Our Robin Hood beans are very very slow to germinate and we are wondering whether something has maybe eaten them or the seeds have rotted off.

  9. You are swimming in favas! I love vegetable soup - it is my go-to lunch when I want something delicious, but relatively quick. That sprouting cauliflower is so interesting, esp. as I normally break it up anyhow before using it.

    And I'm with you on cast iron - couldn't be without it.

  10. Wow! Great harvest this week! I love the colorful basket of root veggies! Yummy!


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