Harvest Monday May 20, 2019

It’s time for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related! The weather has improved considerably here, drying out and warming up. That has let me get on with planting and getting beds ready to plant. The heat has also made the asparagus take off, and we cut around four pounds of it last week. This time I got some to pose for a pic, before it was eaten and enjoyed.

asparagus harvest

The greenhouse lettuce is holding up despite hot conditions in there. I made several cuttings this week since cool salads were on the menu a lot. Varieties I cut included Pele, Tango, Panisse and Brentwood.

Tango lettuce

Panisse & Pele lettuce

Brentwood lettuce

In the future harvests department, the Natchez blackberry vines are absolutely covered in blooms! This has become my favorite of the thornless blackberries we grow, with the flavor a bit sweeter than Apache and fruit almost as big. It looks like it should make a bumper crop of blackberries based on the number of blooms. The blackberries are mostly trouble-free here as long as we keep the deer out of them, and bird netting will take care of that.

Natchez blackberries

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 13, 2019

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. After getting over three inches of rain early in the week, working outside in the garden will have to wait until things dry out a bit. That gave me an opportunity to catch up on other chores, like cleaning out the rest of the overwintered crops in the greenhouse. I pulled the remaining kale plants and harvested the young and tender leaves. There was well over a pound of them, and they fed us for several meals. I have more kale planted outside but it will be a couple of weeks before it’s ready for cutting.

last of the overwintered kale

I also pulled the rest of the overwintered parsley plants too. I cut the usable leaves off them, which was enough for several different dishes. I made a batch of tabouli salad using cracked freekeh as the grain, and my wife and I both enjoyed it. I also used some of it to make a dressing for a crispy tofu and roasted veggie bowl my wife cooked up last week. I combined parsley and a few chives with yogurt, avocado, lemon juice, cider vinegar, olive oil and garlic and blended it all up together. Thinned with water it also makes a tasty salad dressing.

flat leaf parsley

The spring plantings of lettuce in the greenhouse are now ready for cutting. This first batch was Tango and Garrison, both oakleaf types. I’m cutting it as needed and I can see a lot of salads coming up in the next few weeks since I planted quite a bit.

Tango and Garrison lettuce

Tango and Garrison lettuce

Some of that lettuce went into a salad we had for lunch one day, along with fresh fruit, carrots, sugared pecans and feta cheese. I whipped up a strawberry balsamic vinaigrette dressing to go over it. I made the dressing with balsamic and white wine vinegars, olive oil, mustard, and a couple of strawberries added for color and flavor.

lettuce salad with fruit and nuts

lettuce salad with fruit and nuts

I made several cuttings of microgreens for use in salads and other dishes, including these tendrils from the Petite Snap Greens peas I have growing in a container. Another cutting featured some lettuce ‘sprouts’ along with Tokyo Bekana and collard green sprouts.

Petite Snap Greens

Petite Snap Greens

mixed microgreens with lettuce sprouts

mixed microgreens with lettuce sprouts

I also made a couple of cuttings of cilantro we needed last week. I have this growing in a small planter, and it does quite well grown that way. We don’t usually need a lot of cilantro at any one time, and this tends to keep us supplied. It’s already starting to bolt though, so I need to reseed. And we made daily cuttings of asparagus – four pounds in all, which were apparently too shy for the camera this time!

vilantro

cilantro

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 6, 2019

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. The harvests here last week were very similar to the one before. Asparagus is the star at the moment, and we’ve cut over five pounds so far. That’s the pre-trimmed weight, so some is lost when the ends are cleaned up. Lately we’ve been getting around a half pound a day of it now that the weather has warmed a bit.

fresh cut asparagus

fresh cut asparagus

We certainly had enough to make the first asparagus mimosa of the season. It’s a simple treatment that highlights the fresh asparagus. I steamed about a pound of asparagus and topped with kosher salt, capers and grated hard boiled egg, then drizzled with some Greek Koroneiki olive oil. We made a meal off this one day for lunch, along with a piece of crusty sourdough bread.

Asparagus Mimosa

Asparagus Mimosa

I cut the last of the overwintered Simpson Elite lettuce from the greenhouse. Simpson Elite is an improved selection of the heirloom Black Seeded Simpson lettuce, and it is much more bolt resistant than the parent. The plants got quite big, and the one in the photo weighed almost a pound. The outer leaves are huge, and would serve nicely as wraps for a savory filling.

Simpson Elite lettuce

Simpson Elite lettuce

We had other plans for this one though. Much of it wound up in a Classic Wilted Lettuce Salad my wife made using her old family recipe. I have a spring planting of Simpson Elite growing in a cold frame bed that should give us another taste of it next month.

Classic Wilted Lettuce salad

Classic Wilted Lettuce salad

I cut a few of the microgreens I have growing inside under the lights. It’s my own mix of baby collard greens,  red mizuna and Tokyo Bekana. These went in a Mediterranean style salad we had for lunch one day that included some of the Simpson Elite lettuce plus Gigante beans, artichoke hearts and olives.

microgreens

microgreens

And I made another cutting of the overwintered Splendid parsley from the greenhouse. This flat leaf parsley from Wild Garden Seed has a great flavor, and is one of my favorites. It survives our winters quite easily under cover and I can always count on it to give us lots of leaves before it eventually bolts, which it is doing right about now.

Splendid parsley

Splendid parsley

I used most of the parsley to make a tabouli salad, along with a few spring of mint from the garden. For the bulgur I used Bob’s Red Mill Red Bulgur, which had a more hearty texture to it than some I’ve bought which tended to mush up too much after soaking. That worked quite well for this salad.  The tomatoes were store bought though. I have more overwintered parsley hanging on in the greenhouse so we may see this dish again in the near future. It made for a cool treat on a warm day.

Tabouli salad

Tabouli salad

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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May Planting and Mulching

I’ve managed to get in some time this week working in the garden, between rain showers. Yesterday morning I got one bed of tomatoes planted. These are small fruited ones like Jasper and Midnight Snack plus slicing tomatoes like long time favorite Better Boy and newcomer Damsel. I’m really looking forward to trying Chef’s Choice Black this year, the latest addition to the Chef’s Choice series and a 2019 AAS Winner. I sometimes mulch these with newspaper at planting time but it was too windy for that yesterday so I’ll come back later with the paper and cover with straw around the base of the plants. I also need to plant processing/paste tomatoes in another bed, along with a few ‘trial’ varieties I hope to squeeze in somewhere.

Jasper tomato plants

Jasper tomato plants

On Tuesday I planted several cucumber plants on one side of the greenhouse beds. I was waiting for soil temperatures in there to warm up over 60°F, which finally happened. I have more cucumbers to plant on the other side when I finish removing the overwintered kale plants. I have had great success with growing cucumbers in the summer greenhouse the last few years. I plant parthenocarpic varieties that don’t need pollination, and they are usually free of cucumber beetle and other insect damage. I’m using concrete remesh cages to give them support, and after the plants get a bit more size I will mulch around them. I have found that mulching early cools the soil temp down too much and it also encourages sow bugs which can munch on the small seedlings.

greenhouse cucumbers

greenhouse cucumbers

I weeded the garlic in the main garden, and it is generally looking good. I lost a few plants over the winter, which is not unusual. I mulched with straw last fall after planting but I need to add a bit more to the bed this spring. I have already given them a shot of fertilizer last month to give them a boost of nitrogen. The leaves have greened up nicely since then. I’ll water with liquid fish and seaweed fertilizer once or twice more before they start drying down later in June.

garlic bed

garlic bed

Some of the early cultivars are starting to size up already. The one in the photo is Early Portuguese. I will probably pull a few of those early ones soon, though our stores of garlic from last year are still holding up well. There’s nothing quite like fresh, juicy garlic though, and I look forward to it every year.

Early Portuguese garlic

Early Portuguese garlic

The brassicas in the main garden are also getting some size to them. I planted quite a few of the sprouting/broccolini types this spring since I seem to have better luck with them than I do with the larger heading types. The one in the photo is Aspabroc, which I’m growing for the first time. I’m using shredded paper and cardboard around the plants in this bed, which I will cover with straw soon. The ‘rabbit ears’ from a nearby maple tree are also providing some unwanted mulch, and a few of them will likely sprout and need to be pulled out before they turn into a forest!

Aspabroc broccoli

Aspabroc broccoli

My early planted container eggplants are also coming along, though some of the older leaves have a bit of wind damage. I have Patio Baby and Fairy Tale planted, and I can always rely on them to fruit early and give us our first taste of eggplant. There’s no sign of the flea beetles yet but they will be here eventually. If you plant it, they will come! I get good control spraying with a pyrethrin/neem oil mix.

container eggplant

container eggplant

Inside the greenhouse, the salad boxes I planted with leaf lettuce back in late March are almost ready to begin cutting. I planted Tango, Brentwood and Garrison in these two. The salad boxes are a great way to grow shallow rooted greens, and the ones I made several years ago are holding up quite well. I have something planted in them almost year round. I did a tutorial on how I made them back in 2011, so most of them are 8 years old now. that’s pretty amazing since I used inexpensive, untreated dimensional lumber to make them.

lettuce growing in salad boxes

lettuce growing in salad boxes

I also planted a window box planter with Panisse lettuce. It’s my first time growing this one, and it has made lush growth of light green rounded leaves. Based on these results, I think I need to sow more seed of this one in the future. Inexpensive flower planters are another of my favorite ways to grow salad greens. I think I set about five of the Panisse seedlings in this one, and they have grown together to make a solid mass of leaves. With selective cutting I can thin a couple of them out and leave the others to grow for another week or so to maximize the harvests.

Panisse lettuce

Panisse lettuce

I hope you have enjoyed this quick tour of what’s growing around here in early May. I’ll be back soon with more happenings from Happy Acres!

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Harvest Monday April 29, 2019

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. The harvests are picking up a bit here as warm days have spurred the asparagus to start popping up. We’ve gotten two pounds of it since we started cutting it a couple of weeks ago. We have roasted it and stir-fried it so far, and that in the photo got roasted in a cast iron skillet until charred on the outside but still crisp inside.

daily asparagus

daily asparagus

The kale rapini is coming to an end. I’ve pulled half the overwintered kale plants, with the rest likely coming up this week to make room for planting cucumbers in the greenhouse.

kale rapini

kale rapini

I cut a couple of big heads of lettuce last week. One was Simpson Elite, which is my favorite lettuce for wilting. That’s where this batch wound up, and it was tender and tasty.

Simpson Elite lettuce

Simpson Elite lettuce

Another was the butterhead Mirlo, which I have growing in a window box sized planter. It doesn’t form a real big head like some butterhead types, but it has large green tender leaves that are great for salads. I used some of this for a Mediterranean salad we had for lunch one day. I also plan to use a few of the outer leaves to make Korean-style beef lettuce wraps we’re having for dinner tonight.

Mirlo lettuce

Mirlo lettuce

I also made the first cutting of arugula from a planting I made in another window box planter. This is Esmee, and the leaves are mild flavored and tender. It wound up on a pizza I cooked up on Friday night. I love arugula on pizza, and this one also had some of our slow-roasted tomatoes from last year.

Esmee arugula

Esmee arugula

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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