Late May/Early June Harvests

As we exit May and enter into June, our harvests are starting to see a little more variety. I got a taste of several new (to me) varieties, which is always exciting. I started cutting the chard I planted in one of the greenhouse beds and discovered that Verde da Taglio is really mild and tasty, just as advertised. Finally, we have a chard that we can actually enjoy eating! And the first taste of the Rustic Arugula indicates that it is going to be full-flavored and peppery, which is not a bad thing because arugula is a favorite here. That in the below photo went on pizza.

harvest of Rustic Arugula

harvest of Rustic Arugula

Back in the mild catagory, I harvested the first of the 2013 kohlrabi. There’s one each of Kolibri and Winner in the below photo. You can see evidence of some slug damage in the skins, but it didn’t hurt the finished product. It has been a bad year for slugs, even after using Sluggo. I’m sure it would be even worse without it. I guess I need to apply it more often in rainy weather. I also have the giant Kossak variety of kohlrabi planted, but it takes a little longer to size up, probably another two or three weeks.

harvest of Winner and Kolibri kohlrabi

harvest of Winner and Kolibri kohlrabi

Joining the kohlrabi for some crudités were a few radishes and the first of the Golden Sweet snow peas. We did a taste test of the Shunkyo and French Breakfast radishes, and the Shunkyo won easily. I don’t think the French Breakfast variety likes our hot spring weather very much, and it turned pithy on me very quickly. The Shunkyo was nice and crisp, with a taste that was more sweet than hot. I also have a couple of daikon types planted that are suitable for spring planting (Alpine and April Cross), and they should be ready soon. I decided to pull the French Breakfast radishes and replant with more Shunkyo, and see how they hold up in summer.

kohlrabi, snow peas and radishes with yogurt herb dip

kohlrabi, snow peas and radishes with Yogurt Herb Dip

The Golden Sweet peas are just now setting on, with lots of blossoms promising more peas to come soon. Spring peas are always a gamble here, but this year the gamble payed off as our weather has alternated between hot/humid and cool/rainy. These peas seem to be loving it, at least the cool and rainy part. I’m going to let a few go to seed so I can save the seed for more planting this fall. I’m looking forward to cooking some of these snow peas as well.

Golden Sweet pea pod on the vine

Golden Sweet pea pod on the vine

It’s the last week for harvesting asparagus for us. And it would seem to be going out with a bang, and not a whimper! We typically cut it for 8 weeks, as long as the size of the spears holds up. This week we got some giant ones. The cutting board in the photo below is 18 inches long. Last year we hauled in 30 pounds of it.  This year we are sitting at 28 pounds, with two more days to go. I’ll miss it when it’s gone, but we have some in the freezer to enjoy later on. And yes, we eat that much asparagus.

some of the bigger asparagus

some of the bigger asparagus

I steamed the asparagus in the above photo in a bamboo steamer that is 10 inches in diameter, so I had to cut the biggest spears to get them to fit! Bigger spears aren’t necessarily tough either. In my experience it is older spears that are tough. These long ones just grew very quickly, and were still quite tender. They were delicious served with just a little melted butter.

asparagus in bamboo steamer

asparagus in bamboo steamer

Still holding on is the lettuce. It’s played in a number of kitchen roles the last week, including fajitas and chicken wraps. But my favorite lettuce treat was some wilted lettuce my wife made for us one night. That’s Red Sails and Simpson Elite in the below photo. Both of them have big and tender leaves, great for sandwiches and salads.

Red Sails and Simpson Elite lettuces

Red Sails and Simpson Elite lettuces

The Beedy’s Camden kale finally started flowering, so now we’re eating the flower stalks as well as the leaves. These plants volunteered from where I collected the seed last year near our deck. Talk about an edible bonus!

harvest of Beedy

harvest of Beedy’s Camden kale

I’ve also been experimenting lately with using herbs in infused simple syrups. My favorite so far is the mint version, which is great with fresh sliced strawberries. I have to restrain myself from using too much, since after all it is just sugar water. But the mint gives it a wonderful flavor and aroma. I plan on experimenting with infusing honey with herbs soon, once we get some of our 2013 honey crop. I harvested more mint to use in the yogurt herb dip. That’s Vietnamese Mint in the below photo, a great culinary variety I got from Nichols Garden Nursery.

Vietnamese Mint

Vietnamese Mint

To see what other gardeners are harvesting and eating, visit Daphne’s Dandelions, where Daphne hosts the Harvest Monday series. And I hope you have enjoyed this look at some of our harvests we are getting! I’ll be back soon with more adventures from Happy Acres.

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12 Responses to Late May/Early June Harvests

  1. I’m going to look in to that Verde da Taglio chard to see if it’s an option for us. Mild tasting sounds like what we need for chard… I’m so envious of your asparagus! I’m pretty disappointed in our asparagus bed – I kept waiting for a big haul, which never happened.

  2. kitsapFG says:

    Goodness! You are certainly getting a lot of variety in your harvests this week. I think your asparagus is the one item though that calls the most to me. My new asparagus patch is growing well and I am encouraged that it may do well for me.. but sadly I am a long ways away from having harvests from it and I do so love fresh asparagus.

  3. Shawn Ann says:

    Great looking harvest. I have yet to try kolrabi, but I should. I will try it before I grow it though.

  4. Jenny says:

    Looks wonderful! I miss kohlrabi and don’t have enough peas but also starting to get variation in harvest.

  5. Barbie says:

    Lovely harvests. I’m not an asparagus fan, but Rich is. If he heard 28 pound she’d insist I tried even though it’s pert near impossible here. LOL>

  6. Michelle says:

    You do have a nice variety of veggies coming from the garden now. I grew the yellow snow peas a few years ago and I may try them again next year. My biggest complaint about the snow peas I’ve grown the last couple of years is that they seem to produce all the peas nearly all at once and the last ones to develop don’t size up before they get lumpy. The yellow ones seemed to produce over a longer period of time, and they sure are pretty!

  7. We’ve had French Breakfast get pithy on us too on occasion. I do love them, but sometimes find the fall crop, once the rains return, and the cooler weather sets in, to be better at retaining moisture, and crunch. Have you tried sauteing them? The slightly pithy ones are little better with butter 😉

    I still can’t bring myself to plant Kohlrabi though, as I can’t find enough things to do with it in the kitchen. We had so much of it in our CSA box one year, I swore I’d never use it again! Do you have a favorite dish to use it in? I think I’m just lacking inspiration for preparing it!

  8. Daphne says:

    Oh for 30 lbs of asparagus. But I’m sure I won’t get that. My patch isn’t really that big. I wish the last bed I tried worked out, but it was dying more than growing. And I’ll be making a yogurt dip too very soon. I’ll start probably when my snap peas start to crop. Then my crudite platters will look just like yours except snap peas instead of snow peas. And I might have a few Japanese turnips thrown in.

  9. Liz says:

    We call a completely different plant Vietnamese mint. Here what is called Vietnamese Coriander is known as Vietnamese mint. Not sure what you call Vietnamese mint is known as here though. What does it taste like?

  10. Beautiful harvests. Those yellow peas are interesting. I can’t imagine growing that much asparagus!

    I really have to find a corner of my tiny tiny yard to devote to asparagus. And rhubarb!

  11. Jody says:

    Great harvest Dave! I wish we could harvest asparagus this year. We have a 50 foot row bed, but we planted from seed. We have to wait a couple years to let it establish itself before we can pick it. Too bad. Your stuff looks delicious.

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