Harvest Monday April 9, 2018

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related, and anything else that needs celebrating! A week ago I was happy to have a warm sunny day where I could go for a walk in shorts. This weekend, we got a rare April snow! Winter just won’t go away this year, and I know I am not the only one who is ready for spring. Thankfully all my early plantings are protected by cold frames except for alliums, which should be able to take the small amount of snow we got. It has been so wet I was even unable to get a soil sample last week. The stainless steel auger I use kept getting clogged up with mud! Hopefully it will dry out a bit soon and I can get a sample since I would like to see what sort of amendments I need to work in this year. It turned cold after the snow, and temps got down to 23°F at the garden Saturday night. I’m glad I haven’t done any more planting than I have!

snow in April

snow in April

I made a cutting of kale from one of the cold frame beds last week. I pulled two of the overwintered Darkibor plants, and got a pound of leaves from them. I want to pull the rest of the plants in that bed soon and plant some mustard greens, weather permitting. It seems like all my garden plans are tempered by the weather these days! Some of that kale went into a bean and barley soup I made yesterday and I braised some of it for a dinner side dish. Darkibor is a curly kale much like you would find in the grocery around here, except in this case it had been sweetened by cold weather and frost making it more tasty than anything we could buy.

Darkibor kale

Darkibor kale

I made another cutting of kale from the greenhouse bed, this time from one called Western Front. I only took the leaves this time, and left the plants to grow a bit longer. I won’t need that spot until it’s time to plant  cucumbers – whenever that might be! Last year I planted them on April 10th, but it will likely be at least three weeks later this year since I have yet to start the plants.

cutting from Western Front kale

cutting from Western Front kale

The greenhouse kale went into a Tuscan Bean Stew I slow cooked last week in the Instant Pot. I cooked some Marcella cannellini beans along with aromatic vegetables until done, then added the chopped kale and cooked for about an hour until the kale was just tender. That called for bread, so I baked a loaf of the Breadtopia Artisan Sourdough No Knead Bread in the clay baker. The crusty bread went well with the stew, and the bread leftovers will go in the freezer for crostini.

No-Knead Sourdough bread

No-Knead Sourdough bread

Recently my wife made a corded bowl to donate to a local charity for a fundraising raffle. She wasn’t 100% happy with how the first one turned out, but Ace has decided it makes a great bed! It’s near the window where the bird feeder is attached, so he can watch the birdies without even getting out of bed.

Ace in his new bed

Ace in his new bed

In the homemade department, I made a batch of whole grain kombucha mustard last week. I basically followed my recipe for Whole Grain Mustard, except I used 1 cup of plain homemade kombucha vinegar instead of the vinegar/water mix. Kombucha vinegar is kombucha that is allowed to ferment for a longer time than usual, and I get mine from my scoby hotel (jar where I store extra scobys). I let the mustard seeds soak in the vinegar for two days, then added salt and blended it up. Considering the kombucha vinegar was quite tart and puckery tasting, I expected the mustard to be the same way but it actually turned out quite mild. More experimenting will be necessary in the future, as our homemade mustard stores are running low.

Whole Grain Kombucha Mustard

Whole Grain Kombucha Mustard

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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13 Responses to Harvest Monday April 9, 2018

  1. The first paragraph of this post could have been written by me ad we had Italian Bean Casserole for dinner yesterday 😉

  2. Phuong says:

    Your kales look great and it sounds like they’re still going strong. Most of my greens that overwintered outside without any protection are bolting. It’s been weird with the snow in April, I’m really antsy for spring to truly arrive. I love seeing the sleepy kitty and your bread looks like it has beautiful tooth.

  3. Michelle says:

    I look at the Darkibor kale and think what a wonderful Aphid Hotel it would make here. One downside to growing in a mild climate is that the bad bugs never give you a break!

    Ace looks like a champion napper, he looks so cozy in that bowl.

    Oooh, homemade mustard!

    • Dave says:

      Yes, Darkibor would be an aphid magnet for sure! It was bug free though, no doubt the freezing weather has kept them clean.

  4. Margaret says:

    I think Google ate my comment, so I’m trying again! I can imagine how delicious that frost nipped kale is and your bread looks yummy as always. Your posts are always inspirational – homemade mustard is on my list but I’m waiting until I get around to growing some mustard seed.

    I’m not surprised the Ace loved the basket…our cats loved anything they could squeeze into, be it basket or box – it’s so incredibly cute!

  5. Denver says:

    Darkibor does well in my climate as well! It had a nice mild taste even in warm weather. I don’t have strong feelings about kale in general, but darkibor made me pretty happy.

  6. Lorraine says:

    Dave, thanks for the tip on the Scoby Hotel. I didn’t know about that and have just been putting the extras in my compost pile…always feeling like it was wasted. Now, I know I can just save em up in the hotel. Neat!
    Ace is a trooper! He’s given his approval to the basket. Love our kitties!

    • Dave says:

      The scoby hotel is a good way to save spares in case you want to experiment or something happens to the one(s) you are using. They do continue to grow in there, and I will sometimes take one out and use it to brew a batch.

  7. Always amazed at all you do. The bread looks amazing, but if I bake bread my husband gains 10 pounds! Weather here is frustrating as well, but I’ve managed to plant shallots, onion sets and peas. The snow peas are emerging, but the just-opened daffodils are taking a beating between the strong winds and the frequent snows, with a bit of hail mixed in now and then for novelty.

  8. Kathy says:

    This time last year our apple trees were in full flower, and this year nary a petal out yet….seems like the same kind of weather that you have too Dave

  9. You’ve always got some interesting things going on Dave! Our spring is also making a very slow start…cold and foggy today. I had to bring my small tomato plants in from the greenhouse, they looked very poorly with the cold, but have perked up a bit now. I haven’t written a post this week as I’ve been busy helping to set up a new community allotment site in Norwich..a surprising number of emails and meetings! But I’ve made some nice harvests of leeks, chard, kale, corn salad, rocket, winter purslane from my own allotment and at home. They’re mostly coming to an end now though. Ace looks very cute, the bowl is just the right size for him, your wife planned that well 😉

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