Harvest Monday April 19, 2021

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. It was a light harvest week here for me. Cold weather turned salad season into soup season, though I did harvest a bit of Slobolt leaf lettuce for salads.

Slobolt lettuce

I made a big cutting of parsley to make a batch of tabouli salad one day for lunch. The overwintered parsley in the greenhouse is beginning to flower, so it will soon be time to pull it up and plant a fresh batch. The tomatoes from the grocery were a bit blah, but the parsley had more than enough flavor to make up for it. I also love the red bulgur wheat I use, which is a bit more substantial than some I’ve used in the past.

flatleaf parsley

tabouli salad

I also cut what will be the last of the collard rapini. Any new ones coming on now are tiny and not really worth harvesting. We’ve surely enjoyed this seasonal treat though.

collard rapini

And speaking of seasonal treats, my wife found the first spear of asparagus poking up. It won’t be long before we are enjoying them on a regular basis now. We usually cut the asparagus for 6-8 weeks beginning in April, so we are pretty much right on schedule.

first asparagus of 2021

Since harvests were slim last week, I’ll close with photos from the shade garden where many things are currently blooming and budding out. The azaleas are putting on a great show.

azaleas blooming

One of the red ones is especially full of blooms this year.

red azalea

The hellebores are about done for, but we’ve enjoyed them for some time now.

hellebores

The tiarella is usually thought of as a foliage plant, but I like the delicate flowers too. The deer and rabbits leave this plant alone, which is a big bonus since we have problems with both.

tiarella flowers

And finally, the first iris is blooming. This is a shade tolerant iris that is native to the Eastern U.S. Like the tiarella, the deer and rabbits generally leave it alone. The plants are quite tiny, but our plants has taken off and is doing quite well in the shade garden.

iris cristata

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 April 12, 2021

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. It’s still salad season here, and we are getting our fill of leafy greens. We are enjoying them on sandwiches as well as for salads and occasionally tostadas.

oakleaf lettuce

Salanova Green Butter lettuce

leaf lettuce

I’ve got French Sorrel and Tokyo Bekana growing in containers in the greenhouse, and both make a tasty addition to our salad bowls. The Tokyo Bekana is a non-heading type of napa cabbage, and I like the mild-flavored light green leaves best when used raw.

French Sorrel and Tokyo Bekana greens

And I’ve got microgreens growing indoors which we add to salads and other dishes.

microgreens

The overwintered collard  greens are flowering now and I’ve harvested quite a bit of the shoots for cooking. Some call these raab, but I like to call them rapini.

harvest of collard rapini

collard rapini

I sautéed  a batch in olive oil and they were done in 5 minutes. They were quite tender, and I think the flavor is much like the kale rapini. This will be a new seasonal treat for us whenever the collards survive the winter like they did this year. I’ve gotten a pound of them so far, and they have made a great contribution to our April meals.

cooking rapini

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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April Planting Update

I took advantage of our recent dry weather and did a little planting outside this week. First off, I got one of the beds behind the greenhouse worked up and planted 25 kohlrabi seedlings. I added compost and organic fertilizer and forked it all in before I set out the seedlings. This spring I am growing Kolibri, Beas and Terek which have all done well for me in the past. I will set out plants for the large Kossak kohlrabi in the main vegetable garden. That may seem like a lot of kohlrabi, but my wife and I both love it! We will use some fresh and I will ferment the rest for later use.

plug tray with kohlrabi seedlings

I started these in a 72 cell plug tray, which is what I have been using the last few years to start all my brassicas in. The plants get a good root system, and as long as planting isn’t delayed by the weather they don’t need to be transplanted to larger pots.

kohlrabi seedling

I set them out about 9 inches apart in the bed. I could plant the kohlrabi a bit closer together, but I tend to let them get a little size to them before harvesting and this spacing seems to work out well.

bed with kohlrabi planted

I also got the container eggplants potted up. I started these earlier than the main crop eggplants, and this year I’m growing three All-America Selections Winners: Fairy Tale, Gretel and Patio Baby. All three do great in containers, and should give us an early taste of eggplant before the main crop is ready. These smaller fruited varieties are especially tasty when grilled or oven roasted, which is my favorite way to prepare them.

Fairy Tale eggplant

 

After potting up the eggplant, I potted up another All-America Selections Winner: Red Racer tomato. I’m growing this one in a 15 gallon Smart Pot, and I will also set out a plant or two in the main garden later on. Red Racer has compact determinate vines, and is always loaded with red cocktail/cluster tomatoes. I’ll add support for the plant later as it gets bigger.

Red Racer tomato

I hope you have enjoyed this update on my planting activities. Next week I hope to get the rest of the brassicas planted in the main veggie garden. For more detailed timing information please see my Seed Starting and Planting Schedule.

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Harvest Monday April 5, 2021

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. The greenhouse lettuce is growing vigorously now, and it is keeping us well supplied for salads and other uses. The red and green leaves of oakleaf, butterhead and leaf lettuces are tender and sweet tasting now before the hot weather arrives to turn them bitter, so we enjoy salad season while it lasts.

greenhouse lettuce

I have microgreens growing under lights indoors and they add a bit of extra flavor to salads, soups and bowl creations. This mix includes cabbage, kale, mizuna and kohlrabi seeds harvested about two weeks after sowing.

microgreens

The greenhouse kale is beginning to bolt to flower, but there are still lots of leaves to eat. The Dazzling Blue is a lacinato kale with sturdy dark green leaves that hold up well in soups and stews. Some of these wound up in a pot of Pasta Fagioli we cooked up last week.

Dazzling Blue kale

And even as the kale begins to flower, the rapini make a tasty treat. I like to cook them briefly, either roasted or lightly steamed. They can also be chopped and added to stir fries.

kale rapini

The collards in the outside garden are beginning to bolt too but like the kale there are still plenty of leaves for us to eat. This batch came from the hybrid Top Bunch and the heirloom Jernigan’s Yellow Cabbage collards.

Top Bunch and Jernigan’s Yellow Cabbage collard greens

I used some of the collards to try the dish I saw on the PBS Somewhere South series. I rolled the collard leaves up then sliced thinly. I fried a couple of slices of bacon, then used a bit of the drippings to sauté the collards. It took less than 5 minutes for them to be tender, and both my wife and I loved the treatment. Next time I plan to cook them in olive oil and add a bit of garlic, which is the same treatment I use for shredded Brussels Sprouts or cabbage. Fortunately I have plenty of collards to experiment with at present!

sautéed collards

I found one lone Summer Purple broccoli plant that had somehow managed to make it through the winter out in the main vegetable garden. It was a runty plant, but still managed to make a decent amount of purple shoots. The greenhouse PSB is pretty well done for the season.

Summer Purple broccoli

My bread baking this week was a sourdough loaf made with 100% semola rimacinata (finely ground durum wheat) flour. Durum wheat is traditionally used to make pasta, and this bread has a wonderfully chewy texture and crispy crust as I expected. It also has a golden color due to the durum wheat. This recipe is a keeper, and I look forward to more baking with the durum wheat flour.

durum wheat sourdough bread

durum wheat sourdough bread

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 March 29, 2021

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. We are getting plenty of lettuce now for salads. I have a mix of red and green leaf lettuces plus oakleaf and butterhead types growing now in the greenhouse. I also have sorrel, mizuna, pac choi and arugula to add to salads. Sometimes a bit of cilantro even makes its way into the salad bowl, as do chives when I have them.

red lettuce for salad

One of our salads last week featured our greens along with flageolet beans and feta cheese for protein. Blueberries and dried tangerines went on top along with some shaved carrots. We use our own fresh fruit when we have it, though we’re still a month or more away from blueberry season here. I made a strawberry vinaigrette dressing for this salad.

lettuce salad with fruit

My winter planting of pac choi has bolted, so I pulled all the plants. I have more planted in containers, which is where this batch had been growing. I may set out a few plants in beds if I have room for it.

bolting pac choi

The greenhouse kale is in its prime now, though some plants are starting to flower. True Siberian is one I’ve been growing for some years now. The big green leaves are tender and sweet, and the plants themselves usually get quite big.

True Siberian kale

I made a cutting of the over-wintered collards last week. A few are starting to bolt to flower, but the White Mountain Cabbage and Alabama Blue I harvested weren’t showing any signs of flower buds yet. I usually chop up the leaves and braise them in liquid. But after watching an episode of the PBS series Somewhere South, I want to try cooking them the way the Lumbee Indians do: sauteing thinly sliced greens in oil. You can get a quick idea of how they do it in this video clip: Somewhere South – It’s A Greens Thing. I may use olive oil, but a bit of bacon probably wouldn’t hurt the flavor any.

White Mountain Cabbage and Alabama Blue collards

In non-harvest news, with gardening season starting up it was time to get a haircut. I had not cut my hair in over a year, and since I am hot-natured I couldn’t stand the thought of working outside in the heat with the long hair.  I am still leery of going to my usual barber in the middle of a pandemic, so I bought some hair trimmers so we could do the job at home. My wife was apprehensive at first, but I assured her she was up for the task. I think she did a great job, and now I have a new hair stylist! She really did a better job than my barber used to do, and the next time should be easier since I won’t have a year’s worth of growth.

after haircut

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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