Harvest Monday, April 19, 2010

The harvest this week is the biggest of the year so far, and the color of most of the foods is still green, with maybe a little red thrown in from lettuce.

We had 2.5 pounds of green asparagus, 1.4 pounds of Asian greens (mainly komatsuna and choy sum), and 1.4 pounds of spinach. We’ve been eating the asparagus grilled and stir fried, while I froze the spinach for later use.

We’ve really enjoyed the spinach this year.  About half in the greenhouse has started bolting, but notably the Space variety (which was planted first) is not bolting yet. I’ll have to plant more of that in the future. The Gigante Inverno in the greenhouse is bolting, but a second planting outside in the cold frame is still producing. It’s big tender leaves make it a keeper as well. The Spargo did well also, but the red-stemmed Bordeaux variety I tried really wasn’t worth it, except for the novelty factor. With the harvest at about 9 pounds so far, we have more than paid for the price of the seed, and there’s plenty of seed left to try for a fall crop.

For those unfamiliar with choy sum (or yu choy), it is a name given to several brassicas that are grown for the flowering shoots. I am growing the yellow flowered variety right now, though I have seed for a purple flowered variety too. The slender stalks are harvested just as the first flowers are opening.

choy sum harvest

The main stem of the plant is harvested first. Side shoots will then develop and these can also be harvested. This was the first time I got enough choy sum to fix by itself. The amount was still small, only a few ounces, but enough to make a side dish for lunch one day.

choy sum in steamer basket

I tied the stalks in a bundle and put it in the steamer basket along with some sliced mushrooms. It was ready after steaming for 3-4 minutes.

lightly steamed choy sum and mushrooms

I dressed it with a little sesame oil and a dash of soy sauce. It made for a very delicate, mild tasting side dish. (How lucky I am to have a wife who doesn’t blink an eye at a camera on a tripod perched over the stove!)

The lettuce I planted in early March is going crazy now, and we harvested enough to share with friends this week. It’s the same old cast of characters here, varieties like Radichetta, Salad Bowl, Ruby and Multy. I did take one photo of a Multy plant that had been grown in a window box. It’s a little lopsided from being crowded by the other lettuces, but it shows how easy lettuce is to grow – even in a pot!

Multy lettuce

And I used scissors to make the first harvest of the Spicy Mesclun mix from another window box. Hopefully I can get another couple of cuttings from this mix before it runs out of steam.

So all in all, a mostly green harvest this week of 7.8 lbs.

To see other gardeners’ harvests, or to add your own, visit Harvest Monday at Daphne’s Dandelions.

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12 Responses to Harvest Monday, April 19, 2010

  1. Thomas says:

    That choy sum looks really tasty. I need to sow some seeds ASAP!

    Your harvest amounts are really good for this time of year. Can you tell I’m jealous? 🙂 I have to make a mental note to utilize more of my garden this time of year.

  2. Beautiful greens! This week our garden is just starting to kick it up as well. We got 4lbs of artichokes, and many more waiting to be harvested. They just started producing last week, so I’m looking forward to a good crop of them this year.

  3. Daphne says:

    That is a really nice harvest. I can’t wait to eat asparagus from my own garden, but I know it takes 2-3 years. I’ll have to have some patience. I’m growing choy sum this year for the first time. Now I know when to pick it. I’m going to be looking up some of the best harvest times for my other Asian greens. I have so many new ones this year.

  4. Impressive harvest this week! The Choy Sum looks so beautiful in the steamer too.

  5. mac says:

    Whoa big and beautiful harvest!
    There’s nothing better than fresh greens from the garden, love steamed choy sum. That little bundle there can fetch some pretty pennies at a dim sum restaurant, and it’s not as fresh and yours.

  6. Angela says:

    I like your experimenting with different varieties of the same plant!

    Thanks for the beautiful photo of the choy sum. I am always puzzled by exactly when and how to harvest this type of brassica. A good image is helpful. I have Italian rapini right now in about the same stage as your choy sum, but I am trying to picking it before the flowers really open. No idea when an Italian would harvest it…

  7. Lynda says:

    How lucky I am to have a hubby who grows all these goodies and cooks for me.

    • Villager says:

      I’m also glad you’re not a meat and potatoes kind of person.

      She didn’t mind having the choy sum with leftover marinara sauce and pasta either, which is an eclectic meal but not unusual around here!

  8. Dan says:

    Your harvests look great! Your description of choy sum makes me want to try some. I think I will have to put in on the list for this fall.

  9. Meredith says:

    The choy sum tied in sweet little flowering bundles in the steamer basket seems almost too elegant to eat. I’m so glad your wife doesn’t blink an eye at the camera tripod on the countertop, villager. Great photos of a really lovely harvest!

  10. michelle says:

    A lovely harvest! I have a few purple flowering choy sum in the garden right now (from Kitazawa Seeds), it turns out that it is flowering choy sum with purple tinted foliage and yellow flowers. I think they should simply call it purple choy sum. I haven’t tasted it yet, the chickens like it though. I’m a bit overwhelmed with greens at the moment.

  11. thorsten says:

    Delicious looking photos, specially of the choi sum.

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