Monday, May 27, 2019

Harvest Monday - May 27, 2019

The last couple of weeks have been weird, it's been raining, and raining, and raining. Not a deluge, but it has been persistent. The garden has been loving it, everything has been growing like crazy. It has not rained so much that it would make it difficult to work in the garden but I've not been able to keep up because I've been laid low by a very nasty respiratory bug. At least the weather has not been gloriously sunny and warm while I've been laying in bed or reclining in my comfy chair in front of a crackling fire. I did manage to get in a few harvests before I was laid low and then after I was over the worst of it. Here's a sample of the most significant harvests.

I celebrated this first harvest of favas. Last year at this time I was ripping out all the fava plants because I couldn't keep the rodents from eviscerating all of the pods. This year the plants are still standing and I'm looking forward to a few more harvests.

Extra Precoce Violetto Favas

The one Pixie cabbage that I managed to get into the garden produced a very fine head.

Pixie Cabbage

I've started harvesting the Yellow Potato onions as spring onions. But it looks like my search for an onion that will do well in my garden will be continuing.

Yellow Potato Onions
Most of the onions are doing this.

Here's one of the harvests of snow peas from the last couple of weeks. We've been enjoying various stir fry dishes featuring them, the latest was with a couple of heads of choy, Yellow Potato onions, tofu, and shrimp with a simple sauce of fish sauce and sherry.

Oregon Sugar Pod II Snow Peas

The garden also gave me more Yellow Heart Winter Choy, lettuces, and chard. The weather is supposed to become more warm and sunny as this week goes on so I hope I'll have the energy to get out to the garden and get some work done. If you would like to see what some other garden bloggers have been harvesting lately then head on over to Dave's blog Our Happy Acres, the home of Harvest Monday.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Harvest Monday - May 13, 2019

The harvests are definitely in spring mode now with no roots and plenty of greens. First up is the winter sown Tronchuda Beira (sown 1/29 and set out 2/22). I wasn't sure if the timing would just push them to bolt before they produced very many leaves but so far they don't look inclined to bolt. I used those leaves in a soup with some of the last of the parsnips and rutabagas.

Tronchuda Beira

I experimented with an early spring sowing of some winter choy. This variety is supposed to be very cold tolerant and should develop a yellow heart but the spring weather was too warm to make the center leaves turn yellow. I harvested these two heads just as they were starting to bolt. I used them in a stir fry with some snow peas and sweet onions. The spring weather did not have a detrimental effect on the flavor. Now I have a reason to look forward to winter, I want to see if it's cold enough here to make the hearts turn yellow and perhaps make them even more tasty.

Yellow Heart Winter Choy

Here's one of the last of the overwintered vegetables, the Italian Silver Rib chard was starting to bolt so I cut most of it down. This is still in the fridge awaiting some inspiration.

Italian Silver Rib Chard

The lettuces are sizing up now, especially the Three Heart Butterhead. Some of the Red Butter Romaine lettuces are getting a bit leggy so I've been cutting those small.

Three Heart Butterhead and Red Butter Romaine Lettuces

The snow peas are coming in quickly now. The disadvantage to growing a shorter variety like Oregon Sugar Pod II is that they have a shorter more intense harvest period. The tall growing Frieda Worlds snow peas that I grew last year had a nice long less intense harvest period. I would rather stretch out the harvest since I don't try to preserve the harvest and just want to eat them as they come in. But the disadvantage to growing the taller slower producing peas is that it's more difficult to protect the plants from the critters.

Oregon Sugar Pod II Snow Peas

Those are the latest harvests from my garden. 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.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Harvest Monday - May 6, 2019

There's some new things coming out of the garden now. The Oregon Sugar Pod II snow pea plants grew so fast once they finally started going that I only managed to get one harvest of pea shoots and now the plants are starting to produce pea pods. That's the larger of 2 harvests for the week.

Oregon Sugar Pod II Snow Peas

I got almost a half pound of baby kale which I used to make a Kale Caesar salad. This particular variety was bred for the baby leaf market so I've got about 2 dozen plants growing. The leaves can be harvested on a cut-and-come-again basis.

Tuscan Baby Leaf Kale

The lettuce is finally large enough that I can start to thin out the extra plants that I squeezed in to harvest as baby heads.
Queen of Crunch and Red Butter Romaine Lettuce

The last head of winter sown Three Heart Butterhead lettuce was ready to harvest also. My lone bunch of chives is blooming and I find the blossoms add a nice oniony punch to our salads.

Red Butter Romaine and Three Heart Butterhead Lettuce

The overwintered chard is showing signs of wanting to bolt so I've started to clear it out. I used this bunch in a braise with some of the last of the celery and some garbanzo beans (chickpeas), and there may have been some fennel in there too. Unfortunately I didn't write up any recipe notes but I do remember that I used some of my fermented sweet pepper paste.

Peppermint Stick Chard

It was time to clear out the end of the bed where I want to grow some sweet peppers this year and that meant that the 2-year old Orion fennel plant had to be dug out. The final harvest came to 6 pounds after trimming off the ferny tops. It's hard to believe that all of that came from one plant.

Orion Fennel
Orion Fennel

That's the latest harvests from the garden. I've been working on a garden tour post but just not been able to get around to finishing it. Things are changing fast in the garden so I'll have to finish that post and start the the next tour in quick succession.

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.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Harvest Monday - April 29, 2019

It was another week of very light harvests, but at least there was a harvest of something that wasn't planted last year. The first of the winter sown lettuces landed in the harvest basket. It was wonderful to have a very simple green salad with some tender young lettuce.

Three Heart Butterhead Lettuce

But then I went back to overwintered stuff with some very ugly carrots. These definitely spent too much time in the garden. And I know now that October is not the time to sow carrots. These were ok once I scrubbed and trimmed them and they have been fine grated into salads.

Short Stuff Carrots

That's it for this week. 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.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Harvest Monday - April 22, 2019

The first of the napa cabbage hit the harvest basket this week and the last of it also. All four heads needed to be harvested because they were starting to bolt. Sue Martin over at ediblegardens52 linked to a recipe for some Asian style stuffed red cabbage recently and that got me thinking that I could stuff some napa cabbage leaves. And so with some more inspiration from one of my many cookbooks I stuffed some of the large outer leaves from one of the heads with ground beef and bean thread noodles and poached them in seasoned chicken broth. Those came out so good that I wrote up the recipe so that I can make them or something similar again, you can find the recipe HERE. I used the rest of that head in a sauté with some fennel. Some of another head went into a slaw with chicken and Asian flavors (that had fennel too).  More cabbage will be going into some Okonomiyaki this week, I've been using a recipe from Food52. And there will be yet more cabbage on the menu in the next week or two.

Little Jade Napa Cabbage

It was time to remove the kalettes plants from the garden so I harvested nearly all the sprouts which ranged in size from little larger than a pea to shoots a few inches long. I'm going to blanch and freeze most of the harvest. Only the first harvest got photographed, the sprouts and shoots from the other 2 plants looked pretty much the same so I didn't bother to take photos of them.

Autumn Star Kalettes

The Brussels sprouts had to go too, that's all that was left on the stalks shown below.

Gustus Brussels Sprouts

The parsnips also needed to make way for spring plantings. There were some pretty good sized roots still in the ground. Fortunately these keep well in the fridge so I don't have to use them right away.

Gladiator Parsnips

So that's the latest from my garden. Harvest Monday is hosted by Dave on his blog Our Happy Acres, head on over there to see what other gardeners have been harvesting lately.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Harvest Monday - April 15, 2019

Well, it was another week of light harvests from the garden. I cleared out the fennel plants that I started in the spring of 2018 and netted a little over 3 pounds of bulbs. The fava plants are beautiful right now so I trimmed a couple of ounces of tender young leaves.

Orion Fennel and Fava Greens

I used 3 of the larger fennel bulbs, the fava greens, and some zucchini from the farmer's market to make a spring sauté to which I added some chicken & artichoke sausage.

So that's it for this Harvest Monday report. You can see more harvest reports at Our Happy Acres where Dave is our host for Harvest Monday.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Harvest Monday - April 8, 2019

It's still a bunch of the usual suspects coming out of my garden. The Snowdrop kalettes finally gave up a bunch of sprouts. I harvested these before I actually wanted to use them because some of the sprouts were on the verge of becoming kalettes raab.

Snowdrop Kalettes

And likewise for the fennel, this bulb was growing so fast that it was starting to split so I cut it.

Orion Fennel

And I'll be harvesting a lot of celery in the next week or so because it too is starting to bolt. I used some of this harvest in a salad that has become a favorite, crunchy celery with dates, parmesan, and toasted almonds with a lemony vinaigrette.

Pink Plume Celery

And I pulled the last of the rutabagas because their tops were totally infested with aphids.

Improved Helenor Rutabagas

That was it for the week. 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.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Harvest Monday - April 1, 2019

It may be spring but I'm still relying mostly on veggies that I started last year or even further back.

The lone runty Italian Silver Rib chard plant gave up a surprisingly nice harvest of small sturdy leaves on short stems.

Italian Silver Rib Chard
I cut down the volunteer Syrian Medieval chard plant because it was bolting and when I combined that with the Italian Silver Rib harvest there was enough to make a meal. I braised the chard with some sweet pepper paste and tomato paste, pine nuts, currants, onion, and stock. Some sliced sausage added some substance and made for a satisfying dinner.

Syrian Medieval Chard

I pulled a few more parsnips to see how they are doing now that their tops are growing again. There are no signs of bolting yet but I think I need to keep a close eye on them.

Gladiator Parsnips

The Short Stuff carrots that I sowed back in October are  growing again too. The roots are getting larger but haven't gotten anywhere near as large as I know they can be. I hope they don't start to bolt too soon.

Short Stuff Carrots

Most of the fennel that I've harvested this winter has come from the 2 year old plant. Those 3 bulbs weighed in at 2.4 pounds as shown. And there's still more in the garden!

Orion Fennel

The Brussels sprouts were late to size up but were impressive in the end. That's about 2 pounds of sprouts. I like to shred the big ones and do a quick sauté which was the fate of half that harvest.

Gustus Brussels Sprouts

Other than that I also harvested a few ounces of shoots from the Oregon Sugar Pod II snow pea plants and a bunch of Rishad cress that was just starting to bolt.

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.

Friday, March 29, 2019

The Garden on March 25, 2019

My garden tours aren't about pretty things, especially at this time of year. March is a time of transition, overwintered vegetables are either dying or trying to produce flowers and many of their replacements are just dots of green surrounded by a sea of soil. I like to use my blog to see how the garden changes and progresses through the year so it's not about showing pretty things. So you are forewarned that this is a long post full of not so pretty pictures.

First a couple of shots of the garden from the hillside above. The surrounding landscape is subtly more green than a month ago. We've had a steady supply of rain for the past month and more and the native vegetation has responded with lots of new growth. The garden is loving the rain too and I've not had to run the drip system for a few months.

Beds No. 1 and No. 4

Beds No. 2 and No. 3

Bed No. 1
The first overwintered sweet pea is blooming and I'm happy to say that it is fragrant. I removed the fabric that was protecting the plants from the birds and so far the birds have been leaving it alone. I suppose the native landscape is finally providing them with adequate greenery to consume.

The new Orion fennel seedlings are filling in nicely. The Rishad cress that I used as a quick filler is slow to grow in some spots and more lush in others.

A month ago the Filderkraut cabbage was an itsy bitsy baby protected by a cloche. The most lush Rishad cress is sharing half the cage with the cabbage. I harvested the cress not long after I took the photo.

Filderkraut Cabbage

Yellow Heart Winter Choy is a new addition to the garden since the last tour. It's only been in the garden for less than 2 weeks in this photo.

Yellow Heart Winter Choy

The daikon radishes were on the verge of bolting so I pulled them all and replaced them with seedlings of Baby Leaf Tuscan kale that I had started in a 50 cell seedling tray. There's only 24 plants there, the other half of the tray was sown with Special Baby Leaf Chard which is a slower grower than the kale and was not large enough to go into the garden. I managed to time this transition well. I knew a few weeks ago that the radishes were close to the point where all the remaining plants needed to be harvested so I started the kale and chard to plant in their place and just when the kale was large enough to transplant I noticed the radishes were just starting to bolt. 

Baby Leaf Tuscan Kale

The fall sown Short Stuff carrots are getting to be large enough to start harvesting. I hope they don't respond to the longer and warmer days by bolting too soon.

Short Stuff Carrots

I had my doubts about this one lone Pixie Cabbage that made it into the garden. A month ago it was looking runty but I think it's going to be ok.

Pixie Cabbage

A month ago the Little Jade napa cabbages were already trying to bust out of their protective sleeves and now they are already showing signs of starting to form heads. I am always amazed by how quickly these grow. It's time to start planning what I'll grow in their place.

Little Jade Napa Cabbage
Little Jade Napa Cabbage

The I'itoi onions have filled in a bit more and the blossoms are on the verge of opening.

I'itoi Onions

Beets are growing.

Badger Flame and Red Baron Beets

Speedy arugula is bolting before I ever got to harvest any. There's seedlings in back that are slowing disappearing.

Speedy Arugula

The Yellow Potato Onions have had a bit of a growth spurt.

Yellow Potato Onions

There's not been a lot of change in the saffron, perhaps it going into decline. I hope it hasn't been too wet, these should go dormant in the summer and then bloom in the fall.

Bed No. 2

The end is nigh for the Brussels sprouts and kalettes. You can see some big fat Brussels sprouts on the plant to the left, I've harvested those since this photo shoot.

Brussels Sprouts and Kalettes

The third variety of kalettes has finally produced some sprouts large enough to harvest. I better hurry up because I think they may be on the verge of bolting, they are growing so quickly all of a sudden.

Snowdrop Kalettes

The parsnips are putting out new top growth also. I hope this doesn't mean that they are on the verge of bolting.
Gladiator Parsnips

There's only one celeriac left in the garden.

Prinz Celeriac

This is a new planting of Queen of Crunch and Three Heart Butterhead lettuces.

Queen of Crunch and Three Heart Butterhead Lettuce

This planting of Red Butter Romaine lettuce hasn't grown a lot in the past month. I thought that the three small green lettuces in the back were Red Iceberg but it turns out I got my labels mixed up and they are Three Heart Butterhead.

Red Butter Romaine and Three Heart Butterhead

Baby Shanghai pac choi are still in infancy.

Baby Shanghai Pac Choy

I grew Syrian Medieval chard near this spot last year and let it go to seed. The rodents got most of the seeds but one survived to volunteer this winter. It started to bolt so I harvested it after this photo shoot.

Volunteer Syrian Medieval Chard and
Improved Helenor Rutabaga

This bunch of Orion fennel looks like it needs fertilizer. It's yellowing and growing very slowly. I suspect that some tree roots may be invading this end of the bed.

Orion Fennel

Calendula likes to volunteer around the garden and this volunteer seems to be particularly happy.

Volunteer Calendula

The chard never did grow well here, it may also be competing with tree roots for nutrients. The tree roots always win.

Italian Silver Rib and Peppermint Stick Chard

The celery is still looking great and giving me plenty of stalks on a cut-and-come-again basis.

Pink Plume Celery
Pink Plume Celery

The Tronchuda Beira seedlings got to be too large for their cloches. I'm not sure if my timing on these is good. Will they just bolt as the days get warmer and longer or will they stay leafy? More importantly, how hungry are the rodents...

Tronchuda Beira Cabbage

Bed No. 3

I sowed Kodiak mustard in 1/3 of the bed as a cover crop. This is where I plan to grow a much smaller than usual selection of peppers, probably all sweet. I don't have to commit until next week which is when it's time to sow the seeds. Off to the left you can see the big fluffy tuft of foliage which is the 2 year old Orion fennel plant. About 1/3 of the bed is basically empty, just a few volunteer things and weeds. I intend to sow flowers there but haven't gotten around to it yet.

Bed No. 3

I'm still harvesting bulbs from that 2 year old fennel plant. Check back this coming Monday for the latest harvest.

Orion Fennel

I made room in the patch of Golden Corn Salad for three cardoon seedlings. The corn salad is starting to bolt and if it doesn't overwhelm the young cardoon plants I'll allow it to set seeds so that I can renew my seed stock.

Golden Corn Salad and Cardoons
Argente de Geneve Inerme Cardoon

The bachelor's buttons (cornflower) are starting to bloom.

Artichoke and Bachelor's Buttons
Blue Boy Bachelor's Button

The artichoke keeps filling out and it is attracting ants and aphids again. I'm not sure how long I'll have the patience for that.

Bed No. 4

Bed No. 4

A few of the favas are just barely starting to bloom.

Extra Precoce A Grano Violetto and
Aquadulce Favas

The snow peas sat and sat and barely grew through the cold and wet weather, and then all of a sudden they started to grow and are starting to bloom. I harvested one round of pea shoots and I guess now I'll just let them bloom and produce pea pods.

Oregon Sugar Pod II Snow Peas

I sowed more Kodiak mustard last month in a spot where I want to grow bush beans this spring. I should be able to sow some seeds in paper pots in the next week or so.

Kodiak Mustard

And I've sown a small section of the bed with Lauren's Grape poppies. Still tiny tiny tiny.

Lauren's Grape Poppies

That's the latest going on in my garden. Thanks for stopping by.