Harvest Monday May 25, 2020

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. As expected, more zucchini are setting on the plants I have growing in the Smart Pots. This Astia squash got spiralized and turned into Baked Parmesan Zucchini Curly Fries. The plants in the main garden are still tiny so these container squash help give us a jump on the season.

Astia zucchini

Baked Parmesan Zucchini Curly Fries

The lettuce is still plentiful too. I made several cuttings last week, along with other salad greens like Mizspoona and arugula. When the salad greens are plentiful, we eat salads!

salad greens

I’m growing Muir lettuce for the first time. It’s listed by some as a leaf lettuce, though Johnny’s calls it a Batavian/crisphead type. Whatever you call it, mine made big heads of tender green leaves. We used it to make my wife’s family recipe for Classic Wilted Lettuce Salad. It worked well for that, and there are several more heads that will be ready soon.

Muir lettuce

wilted lettuce salad

The Microgreens are usually the smallest of my harvests, but they are useful during salad season to add flavor and nutrition to our salads and sandwiches. This is a mix of cabbage, broccoli, purple kohlrabi and red radish greens.

microgreens ready to harvest

It’s still asparagus season here too, and we’ve cut around eight pounds of it so far. We used a bit of it to make Asparagus Mimosa, which made for a light lunch when served with some crispy sourdough crostini. We make it with steamed asparagus, topped with grated hard boiled egg plus salt cured capers and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. It’s quick and easy, and a good choice after we’ve been working out in the garden all morning. Which has been happening almost every day lately!

Asparagus Mimosa

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting!


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Harvest Monday May 18, 2020

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. I pulled the last of the kale plants in the greenhouse last week to make room for the summer planting of cucumbers. We had a good run on the kale, and amazingly this last bit was still tender and mild tasting despite the age of the plants. White Russian and Red Ursa are two varieties bred by Frank Morton of Wild Garden Seed and they both do well both in the greenhouse and outside in the main garden.

White Russian kale

Red Ursa kale

The latest planting of lettuce in the greenhouse is finally ready for cutting. Much of it will be ready all at once, so I can see a lot of salads in our future!

lettuce harvest

I have become a big fan of the Salanova lettuce family, which suits my growing practices in the greenhouse where I grow all my lettuce these days. These are designed to be ‘one cut” lettuces, which speeds the prep time for the busy cook. I don’t mine cutting or tearing lettuce leaves, but the compact plants seems to do well with intensive planting in containers. The red ones seem to color up fairly well in the greenhouse too.

Salanova Red Butter lettuce

Salanova Red Oakleaf lettuce

I made another cutting of arugula to go on a pizza, along with other salad ingredients like the Tuscan Baby Leaf kale and a bit of green garlic to go in salad dressing. The green garlic is so handy to have, and I use the garlic which has sprouted to get it off to a quicker start.

arugula and salad ingredients

 

The first zucchini of 2020 got big enough to eat, and we enjoyed it roasted in a veggie quesadilla as well as raw on a salad. This is Astia, and I have it growing in a Smart Pot. More fruit are setting on, so my early planting in the greenhouse is paying off since I just recently set out the plants in the main garden.

Astia zucchini

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting!

 

 


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Harvest Monday May 11, 2020

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. We’re still in the hungry gap here, but staying well fed with garden goodies all the same thanks to indoor crops and the greenhouse. I cut more microgreens again last week. These usually go on sandwiches or salads, and are an easy and quick indoor crop when grown under lights. After cutting this batch, I started another which should be ready in 10-12 days or so. It doesn’t make for a big harvest, but it’s a tasty and nutritious one.

microgreens ready for harvest

I’ve been starting sprouts regularly too, since they are another easy and quick growing indoor crop. I sprouted a batch of mung beans that went into a cabbage bowl I cooked for dinner last week. And I sprouted another batch of alfalfa seeds, which are one of my favorite sprouts for sandwiches.

mung bean sprouts

Asparagus is the big garden attraction right now. It accompanies many of our meals, including a lunch that included a portobello sandwich using a few of our alfalfa sprouts. I roasted the asparagus that day, one of my favorite treatments. Another meal featured stir fried asparagus with mushrooms. We’ve harvested just shy of 5 pounds of it so far, and hopefully it will make as much as the 20 pounds we got last year.

roasted asparagus

I used napa cabbage for that bowl I mentioned. I’ve got it growing in a container in the greenhouse, using plants left over after I planted the main garden crop. This one wasn’t fully headed up, but the big green leaves were tender and cooked in no time. I believe this variety is Soloist, which I planted along with Wa Wa Tsai.

napa cabbage

I’m cutting smaller greens as needed for dishes, like the kale, arugula and mizspoona I got to go in a frittata I made for lunch one day. I love frittatas because around here we never make them the same way twice so they never get boring. In addition to the greens, this one also had dried peppers and tomatoes from last year, a bit of green garlic plus the usual eggs and cheese. The kale is Tuscan Baby Leaf from Renee’s Garden and I am loving it! The leaves stay small and tender, and it’s a hit for salads too. I’m growing it in a container out in one of the cold frame beds.

kale, arugula and mizspoona

I found some old Jacob’s Cattle beans that had been hiding out in a glass jar in our basement pantry. According to my records, I grew these in 2014 and it was a bumper crop that year. Since I hate to waste food I decided to cook half of them up. I wasn’t sure how they would do given their age, but I pressure cooked them for 30 minutes (without soaking) and they turned out perfectly tender and tasty. I used some of them in a pot of vegetable soup I cooked up last week, and the rest went into the freezer for later use. They should work well in salads too. They lose the really vivid markings when cooked, but you can still make out the patterns of you look closely.

Jacob’s Cattle beans

cooked Jacob’s Cattle beans

In the future harvests department, the Astia zucchini I am growing in a Smart Pot is setting fruit. I’m amazed, because the first bloom was female and there are no male squash blooming anywhere. It must be parthenocarpic and not need pollinating. Several more blossoms are ready to open so hopefully we will have a few more squash soon. In a couple of months a squash will likely not be as exciting when they’re coming on strong, but for now it’s a welcome sight.

first zucchini fruit

In non-harvest news, the Encore azaleas are in full bloom now. These are repeat bloomers that put on another show in early fall, though I think the spring bloom is the heavier of the two. Our other azaleas have been done for several weeks now, so it’s a welcome sight at the front of our house.

Encore azaleas

And the bluebirds wasted no time in building a new nest after the first babies fledged last week. There were three eggs on Sunday, with more likely to come. I haven’t seen the young ones, but the parents are likely busy keeping them fed somewhere close by.

bluebird eggs

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting!


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Harvest Monday May 4, 2020

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. The harvests are small this time of year but we’re still getting them. I got a small harvest of microgreens last week to go on salads. I’m growing them in small containers and replanting every week so I have a small but steady supply. If you are interested in growing microgreens yourself here is more information on how I do it: Experiments with Growing Shoots and Micro Greens. This is a mix I got from Johnny’s Selected Seeds that includes mizuna, cabbage, kale and kohlrabi.

harvest of microgreens

I made a cutting of arugula to go on a pizza we made for dinner one night. This is a mix of Adagio and Purple Stemmed Arugula. I’m planning to let the Adagio go to seed to replenish my supply, since my original source doesn’t list it any more. It’s a fast-growing and slow-bolting variety that was developed by Purdue University.

arugula for pizza

The asparagus harvests are picking up now that the weather has warmed. We’ve gotten two pounds of it so far, and a typical daily harvest looks like the one below. We used some of it to make Asparagus Mimosa that we enjoyed for lunch one day. We’ve also been enjoy it roasted.

harvest of asparagus

Asparagus Mimosa

In other news, I baked a batch of Multi-grain Seeded Dinner Rolls last week to go with a meal. I try and keep a few of these in the freezer at all times as they are handy to have and go well with soups or salads.

Multi-Grain Seeded Dinner Rolls

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting!


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Saving Collard Seed

Last year I did a trial of collard varieties, planting eight varieties I had never grown before, plus five more that I had grown in the past. They all did quite well in the fall garden, and my wife and I enjoyed many a meal that included collard greens. Amazingly to me, several of the plants out in the garden actually survived our winter. I did nothing to protect them either. Our winter wasn’t particularly cold, but we did have lots of rain and a bit of snow and ice.

collard plants blooming

Since these proved to be tough and hardy plants, I decided to let them go to seed. I’ve saved seeds from kale before but never collards, so this is a first for me. It does take quite a while for the seed pods to set on and mature, but I decided I would idle the bed they are growing in and just let them go. It may well be June or July before the seeds mature. The varieties that survived are Alabama Blue, Green Glaze and Georgia Southern.

collard blooms

The plants have gotten quite tall, with the flower stalks reaching almost five feet tall. The plants are all covered in blooms, and honeybees and bumblebees are out there working them daily. The Alabama Blue plants are setting pods already. It’s amazing that the pods themselves are purple like the leaves. You can see them in the below photo in my hand.

collard plant setting seed pods

I decided to let all the varieties bloom and set seed, which will surely mean they will cross pollinate. The seeds I save will make a mix of plants, perhaps some with purple leaves and some with green ones. At the very least, they all should be hardy since they come from plants that survived the winter.

Alabama Blue collard plant blooming

If this seed saving project is successful, I plan to share some of the saved seeds later this year. I want to try some myself of course, since I love to experiment. I don’t know if the seeds will be ready in time to plant in 2020 though, since last year I started my seed in late May and set out the plants in mid July. I hope you have enjoyed this update, and I’ll be back soon with more happenings from Happy Acres!

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