Harvest Monday May 10, 2021

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. Salad season continues here for us, though the cool temperatures have also put soup on the menu. I made cuttings of Oscarde and Navara red oakleaf last week, along with a green oakleaf I’m growing for the first time called Kiribati. All three are doing quite well in containers in the greenhouse, and are helping keep us well supplied with leaves for salads.

Oscarde lettuce

Navara lettuce

Kiribati lettuce

leaves of Kiribati lettuce

I cut leaves of mizuna and Red Veined Sorrel last week to go along with the lettuce. Central Red and Miz America mizuna are mild tasting with purplish red leaves. I have the Miz America growing outside in a bed behind the greenhouse, and the wide burgundy leaves are stunning in salads and other raw uses.

mizuna and sorrel

Central Red, Miz America and Red Veined Sorrel leaves

Our salads generally start with a lot of fresh greens, with protein in the form of egg, cheese, nuts or beans. Fresh fruit also shows up frequently, and soon we will have our homegrown blueberries to add. By the time our cucumbers are coming on, it will likely be too hot for lettuce here so we enjoy cukes from the grocery sometimes on salads.

salad creation

It is still asparagus season here too, and I made a seasonal treat one day for lunch with almost a pound of the spears. Asparagus Mimosa is a simple dish that makes for a light but filling lunch. I steamed the asparagus then topped with grated hard boiled egg and capers and drizzled with olive oil. We paired it with sourdough crostini, which I keep in the freezer pretty much at all times.

Asparagus Mimosa

In the future harvests department, I am pleased with how the pawpaw trees are doing so far. They appear to have set numerous fruit clusters, aided somewhat by my hand pollination. This tree is native to the Eastern U.S. and makes large fruit with a flavor that is sometimes described as having a tropical mango-banana flavor with a smooth custard texture. Last year our trees had no fruit, but a friend gifted us with a bag of his. We had them in 2019, so I am hopeful I can keep the raccoons and opossums away so we can enjoy them ourselves. One of the trees is pretty much full sized, and that is where most of the fruit has set.


Another future harvest will be the pie cherries. Our little tree has a decent fruit set, and if we can keep the birds away we should enjoy a cobbler or two in about a month.

pie cherries

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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In A Holding Pattern

With our May weather here turning colder than usual, I have delayed planting any of the warm season vegetables for the time being. Tomatoes, peppers, squash and beans both prefer and need warmer temperatures than we are having. So I am playing a waiting game until the weather cooperates. Gardeners are usually at the mercy of the weather, and there’s not a whole lot we can do to change it either!

taking the soil temperature

One way to help decide when to plant certain vegetables is to take the temperature of the soil. You can get it by inserting the thermometer in the soil where you intend to plant the specific crop. You don’t need a special thermometer, and a kitchen type works well as long as it registers in the right range. I took a reading yesterday morning around 10 o’clock, and our soil temp was 55°F. Tomatoes are next in line for me to plant, and they need the soil to be at least 60°F or warmer to take off and grow. You can find a table listing the preferred soil temperatures for various veggies in my Seed Starting & Planting Schedule I worked up a few years back.

bed of kohlrabi

Of course there are a lot of veggies that do like this weather and the cool soil. I set out various brassicas back in early to mid April, and they are doing well. I have a bed of kohlrabi planted behind the greenhouse, and it is starting to size up already. This year I am growing Beas, Terek and Kolibri in the bed and the large Kossak variety in the main garden.

Beas kohlrabi

I have another small bed planted with pac choi and mizuna as well as a bit of leaf lettuce. I have netting over it to keep the deer and other critters from eating on it. I need to mulch that bed and spread some Sluggo pellets since I see signs of slug activity already. Sluggo (and Sluggo Plus) are organic controls for slugs and sow bugs that don’t harm earthworms or other insects. The active ingredient is iron phosphate, which is a naturally occurring compound in soil. It does need to be reapplied after several weeks though.

pac choi

Behind the greenhouse I do have one Red Racer tomato planted in a 15 gallon Smart Pot. This 2018 AAS Winner makes 1 to 2 inch fruit that are set in large clusters and have a great flavor. I kept it in the greenhouse for most of April, until it started to get big and need support. It is beginning to bloom now, and hopefully will set fruit even in the cold temps. One advantage to using the grow bags and other containers is that they warm up faster than garden soil does, allowing me to get a jump on the season with a few plants. I also have Fairy Tale, Gretel and Patio Baby eggplant growing in containers that are still in the greenhouse. These three are also past AAS Winners, and always do quite well for me in containers.

Red Racer tomato

blooms on Red Racer tomato

In the main vegetable garden I planted broccoli, cabbage and the Kossak kohlrabi. I set these out about three weeks ago and they have taken off and made good growth so far. I have mulched with shredded newspaper and will add straw on top of that once the plants get a bit bigger.

napa cabbage plants

broccoli plant

Though I am not planting at the moment I am still working to get the garden ready when it does finally warm up. We’ve had enough rain to make the weeds grow, and in between the rainy spells I have been digging and tilling the beds to ready them for planting. I use cardboard as mulch to help keep the weeds down in between the beds and around the perimeter garden fencing.

getting garden ready for planting

Since planting will be delayed for another couple of weeks, I will be potting up the tomatoes from the 50 cell plug flats into individual pots. That will let the root systems develop as the plants get taller, which should help them get off to a good start even if the planting is delayed. I will likely do the same for the eggplant seedlings which are starting to get a bit leggy. Last year I was able to set out the transplants directly from the plug flat, but this year the weather is just not cooperating.

tomato seedlings

I hope you have enjoyed this update on spring plantings here in early May. I’ll be back soon with more happenings from Happy Acres – including Harvest Monday!

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Harvest Monday May 3, 2021

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. It’s still salad season here for us. It’s my first time growing Navara lettuce, and this red oakleaf type is doing quite well for me. It’s making heavier heads than some, and the leaves are more substantial than most oakleaf lettuce I’ve grown in the past, and I think that is a good thing.

Navara lettuce

leaf of Navara

I’ve been growing Panisse lettuce for several years now, and the lime green leaves are lighter in weight than Navara with a buttery texture. The two varieties work quite well together in the salad bowl, and I believe both will be in my plans going forward.

Panisse lettuce

leaf of Panisse

It’s about time to pull the over-wintered parsley in the greenhouse, but I just can’t resist cutting all I can while I still can. This cutting went into a batch of Ikarian Tabouli I made for lunch one day, and I plan to make pesto with some of it this coming week to go in a pasta dish.


Ikarian Tabouli

The spring arugula is doing well now, and I cut Apollo and Speedy last week for use on a pizza. The serrated leaves of Speedy look like a wild arugula, but they are quite mild tasting. Like the name implies it is fast maturing, though Apollo is growing at about the same pace.

Speedy and Apollo arugula

We are cutting asparagus on a daily basis now. The yields are not huge, but enough to keep us well supplied for the next month or so. We love asparagus, and some of this lot was grilled for our dinner last night and served along with planked salmon. I plan to use more in the pesto pasta dish I have on the menu for later this week.


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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Late April Greenhouse Tour

It’s time for another virtual tour of our greenhouse to show what’s growing in there in late April. Spring is always a busy time as I move seedlings from inside under the grow lights to grow on in the greenhouse. I also have lots of greens growing in spring, which keep us supplied for salads and such.

looking in the greenhouse door

I grow most of the salad greens in salad boxes and containers. I have four salad boxes planted with lettuce, and as I harvest I try and fill in with a new plant. I tend to grow mostly leaf lettuce along with a few butterhead and romaine types.

salad boxes with lettuce

I also grow lettuce and other greens in planter boxes. Panisse is a French bred oakleaf type with lime green leaves that have a great texture and mild flavor.

Panisse lettuce

Oscarde is another French bred oakleaf with red leaves. Both it and Panisse do quite well for me in spring and autumn plantings. I add generous amounts of compost to the potting soil for these container plantings, along with an organic fertilizer high in nitrogen. Using the compost does make for weeds sprouting up, but it also makes good growing for the greens.

Oscarde lettuce

Navara is a red oakleaf I’m growing for the first time. The leaves on my greenhouse planting of it aren’t quite as red as Oscarde, but the heads are compact and full and it looks like a great addition to my lineup.

Navara lettuce

Something else I’m growing for the first time is Red Veined Sorrel. This relative of French Sorrel has the same tangy, lemon flavor plus leaves that add color to salads. The leaves are supposed to be best harvested young, since older ones can get tough. I think it is pretty enough to be grown as an ornamental. I’ve also got a pot of French Sorrel growing back in the corner of the greenhouse.

Red Veined Sorrel

One of my favorite greens is arugula, and I have several varieties growing in containers. Apollo and Speedy are two of my longtime favorites, and we use the leaves in salads and on pizza. I also make an arugula pesto that is quite tasty for pizza and pasta dishes.

Apollo and Speedy arugula

In the seedling department, the Wave petunias I started back in February are starting to bud up and bloom. I have six different varieties growing, and we will use these in containers and planters to give us summer color. The blooms also attract butterflies and hummingbirds, especially the red shades.

Wave petunias

The cucumbers I started earlier this month are about ready to be planted out in the greenhouse. I’ll likely let them go another week to let the soil in the greenhouse beds get good and warm, since the cucumbers love that warmth. Last year I set them out on May 10th, and we got our first cukes from Mini Munch a month later. We’ll see if I can improve on that harvest this year by getting them in a week earlier. I’m growing a mix of slicing types plus a couple of pickling cucumbers this year.

cucumber seedlings

I’ve also got tomato seedlings in the greenhouse now. These are in two 50 cell plug flats, and ready to set out whenever the weather (and soil) warm up reliably.

tomato seedlings

I have one plant of Red Racer cluster tomato planted in a 15 gallon Smart Pot. It is sizing up nicely, and I will set it and the containers of eggplant outside in the next week to make room for the cucumbers.

Red Racer tomato

Another ornamental I’ve got in the greenhouse is seed-grown canna. I started South Pacific Scarlet about two months ago, and they are ready to set out in the garden any time now. I’ve grown South Pacific Orange the last couple of years, and thought the Scarlet color would make a good addition to the garden. I dug up the cannas from last year and they are ready to set out as well.

canna seedlings

I moved the container herbs out from the greenhouse where they spent the winter. I’ve got oregano, rosemary, savory, sage and two bay laurel plants growing now. I’ve got basil seedlings indoors, and I have lemon grass and lemon verbena ready to set out in the ground soon.

herbs outside greenhouse

I hope you have enjoyed this look at what’s growing in the greenhouse in late April. I’ll be back soon with more happenings from Happy Acres – including Harvest Monday!

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Harvest Monday April 26, 2021

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. My harvests are pretty much limited to greens these days, with one exception. The greenhouse plantings of lettuce and other salad greens are in full swing now, and I harvest on an as-needed basis. Slobolt makes big heads of blistered green leaves, and the red oakleaf types add color.

Slobolt lettuce

red oakleaf lettuce

Mizspoona Salad Select is a gene pool mix from Wild Garden Seeds that resulted from a cross of mizuna and tatsoi. As the name suggests, it is useful for salads and also for cooked dishes. Some of this wound up in a frittata, and the rest went in salads.

Mizspoona Salad Select

I also made a cutting of Purple Stemmed Arugula and Red-Veined Sorrel to go in the frittata and on salads. The Purple Stemmed Arugula is from the Experimental Farm Network, and has a lovely flavor. It’s my first time growing the Red Veined Sorrel, and it is doing well so far in a container. It will add a bit of color to our salads along with the tangy flavor associated with sorrel leaves,

arugula and sorrel

We had a rare April snow here last week, which amounted to only a dusting. The temperature got down to freezing for two mornings in a row, and that had me bringing any tender plants like eggplant and tomatoes inside the greenhouse.

April snow

The greenhouse is in transition now between winter and summer. I pulled the remaining broccoli and kale plants last week, and soon it will be time to set out the cucumbers that will be there most of the summer. Meanwhile, containers of eggplant, greens, herbs and a Red Racer tomato plant are happily hanging out in there along with all the greens.

greenhouse in transition

I saved my favorite harvest for last. It’s officially asparagus season here! The beds start off slow, but should pick up steam as the weather warms up. The first spears are always much appreciated, and we usually cut the spears for 6-8 weeks before letting the ferns grow out to replenish the roots.

first asparagus harvest

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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