Harvest Monday May 11, 2020

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. We’re still in the hungry gap here, but staying well fed with garden goodies all the same thanks to indoor crops and the greenhouse. I cut more microgreens again last week. These usually go on sandwiches or salads, and are an easy and quick indoor crop when grown under lights. After cutting this batch, I started another which should be ready in 10-12 days or so. It doesn’t make for a big harvest, but it’s a tasty and nutritious one.

microgreens ready for harvest

I’ve been starting sprouts regularly too, since they are another easy and quick growing indoor crop. I sprouted a batch of mung beans that went into a cabbage bowl I cooked for dinner last week. And I sprouted another batch of alfalfa seeds, which are one of my favorite sprouts for sandwiches.

mung bean sprouts

Asparagus is the big garden attraction right now. It accompanies many of our meals, including a lunch that included a portobello sandwich using a few of our alfalfa sprouts. I roasted the asparagus that day, one of my favorite treatments. Another meal featured stir fried asparagus with mushrooms. We’ve harvested just shy of 5 pounds of it so far, and hopefully it will make as much as the 20 pounds we got last year.

roasted asparagus

I used napa cabbage for that bowl I mentioned. I’ve got it growing in a container in the greenhouse, using plants left over after I planted the main garden crop. This one wasn’t fully headed up, but the big green leaves were tender and cooked in no time. I believe this variety is Soloist, which I planted along with Wa Wa Tsai.

napa cabbage

I’m cutting smaller greens as needed for dishes, like the kale, arugula and mizspoona I got to go in a frittata I made for lunch one day. I love frittatas because around here we never make them the same way twice so they never get boring. In addition to the greens, this one also had dried peppers and tomatoes from last year, a bit of green garlic plus the usual eggs and cheese. The kale is Tuscan Baby Leaf from Renee’s Garden and I am loving it! The leaves stay small and tender, and it’s a hit for salads too. I’m growing it in a container out in one of the cold frame beds.

kale, arugula and mizspoona

I found some old Jacob’s Cattle beans that had been hiding out in a glass jar in our basement pantry. According to my records, I grew these in 2014 and it was a bumper crop that year. Since I hate to waste food I decided to cook half of them up. I wasn’t sure how they would do given their age, but I pressure cooked them for 30 minutes (without soaking) and they turned out perfectly tender and tasty. I used some of them in a pot of vegetable soup I cooked up last week, and the rest went into the freezer for later use. They should work well in salads too. They lose the really vivid markings when cooked, but you can still make out the patterns of you look closely.

Jacob’s Cattle beans

cooked Jacob’s Cattle beans

In the future harvests department, the Astia zucchini I am growing in a Smart Pot is setting fruit. I’m amazed, because the first bloom was female and there are no male squash blooming anywhere. It must be parthenocarpic and not need pollinating. Several more blossoms are ready to open so hopefully we will have a few more squash soon. In a couple of months a squash will likely not be as exciting when they’re coming on strong, but for now it’s a welcome sight.

first zucchini fruit

In non-harvest news, the Encore azaleas are in full bloom now. These are repeat bloomers that put on another show in early fall, though I think the spring bloom is the heavier of the two. Our other azaleas have been done for several weeks now, so it’s a welcome sight at the front of our house.

Encore azaleas

And the bluebirds wasted no time in building a new nest after the first babies fledged last week. There were three eggs on Sunday, with more likely to come. I haven’t seen the young ones, but the parents are likely busy keeping them fed somewhere close by.

bluebird eggs

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 4, 2020

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. The harvests are small this time of year but we’re still getting them. I got a small harvest of microgreens last week to go on salads. I’m growing them in small containers and replanting every week so I have a small but steady supply. If you are interested in growing microgreens yourself here is more information on how I do it: Experiments with Growing Shoots and Micro Greens. This is a mix I got from Johnny’s Selected Seeds that includes mizuna, cabbage, kale and kohlrabi.

harvest of microgreens

I made a cutting of arugula to go on a pizza we made for dinner one night. This is a mix of Adagio and Purple Stemmed Arugula. I’m planning to let the Adagio go to seed to replenish my supply, since my original source doesn’t list it any more. It’s a fast-growing and slow-bolting variety that was developed by Purdue University.

arugula for pizza

The asparagus harvests are picking up now that the weather has warmed. We’ve gotten two pounds of it so far, and a typical daily harvest looks like the one below. We used some of it to make Asparagus Mimosa that we enjoyed for lunch one day. We’ve also been enjoy it roasted.

harvest of asparagus

Asparagus Mimosa

In other news, I baked a batch of Multi-grain Seeded Dinner Rolls last week to go with a meal. I try and keep a few of these in the freezer at all times as they are handy to have and go well with soups or salads.

Multi-Grain Seeded Dinner Rolls

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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Saving Collard Seed

Last year I did a trial of collard varieties, planting eight varieties I had never grown before, plus five more that I had grown in the past. They all did quite well in the fall garden, and my wife and I enjoyed many a meal that included collard greens. Amazingly to me, several of the plants out in the garden actually survived our winter. I did nothing to protect them either. Our winter wasn’t particularly cold, but we did have lots of rain and a bit of snow and ice.

collard plants blooming

Since these proved to be tough and hardy plants, I decided to let them go to seed. I’ve saved seeds from kale before but never collards, so this is a first for me. It does take quite a while for the seed pods to set on and mature, but I decided I would idle the bed they are growing in and just let them go. It may well be June or July before the seeds mature. The varieties that survived are Alabama Blue, Green Glaze and Georgia Southern.

collard blooms

The plants have gotten quite tall, with the flower stalks reaching almost five feet tall. The plants are all covered in blooms, and honeybees and bumblebees are out there working them daily. The Alabama Blue plants are setting pods already. It’s amazing that the pods themselves are purple like the leaves. You can see them in the below photo in my hand.

collard plant setting seed pods

I decided to let all the varieties bloom and set seed, which will surely mean they will cross pollinate. The seeds I save will make a mix of plants, perhaps some with purple leaves and some with green ones. At the very least, they all should be hardy since they come from plants that survived the winter.

Alabama Blue collard plant blooming

If this seed saving project is successful, I plan to share some of the saved seeds later this year. I want to try some myself of course, since I love to experiment. I don’t know if the seeds will be ready in time to plant in 2020 though, since last year I started my seed in late May and set out the plants in mid July. I hope you have enjoyed this update, and I’ll be back soon with more happenings from Happy Acres!

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Harvest Monday April 27, 2020

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. Another month has flown by, which is pretty amazing considering my only trips outside the house are for weekly trips to the grocery and almost daily walks around our neighborhood! I have kept busy with gardening activities, and that includes planting and weeding as well as harvesting. The asparagus is finally taking off, and we had enough last week to roast a batch one day for lunch. A little olive oil and a sprinkle of salt is all the seasoning it needed.

roasted asparagus

I pulled all the broccoli from the greenhouse, and quite a bit of the kale. I froze some of the kale for later use.  The Groninger Collard Kale plants got huge and made lots of leaves over the winter.

Groninger Blue Collard Kale

The kale rapini are still coming on and we’re still eating them.

kale rapini

The Flashy Trout Back lettuce was ready for harvest. This version of the heirloom Forellenschluse has buttery soft green leaves with bright red splashes on them. It’s colorful as well as tasty.

Flashy Trout Back lettuce

I’ve also been picking other greens for salads as needed. These include the Mizspoona, Sorrel and arugula. All three add a bit of extra flavor to the mix.

salad greens

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 tour of the greenhouse to show what’s happening there in late April. Quite a bit has changed since I last did a tour back three weeks ago. It’s always a busy place this time of year, and 2020 is no exception.

view inside the greenhouse

For one thing, I now have a lot of seedlings out there. I have planted the brassicas that were there, and moved some of the warm season veggies like cucumbers, tomatoes and a few of the peppers to the greenhouse shelves. The cucumbers will get planted in the greenhouse beds here in a week or so.

cucumbers

The petunias have started putting on blossoms, and I have begun potting them up for planting outside. I started these back in mid-February, and they have grown into good sized plants now. They are all Wave varieties, which do extremely well for me in containers and provide lots of color all summer long. They are also popular with the swallowtail butterflies. The dark red bloom you see is Easy Wave Burgundy Velour.

Wave petunias

The tomatoes were started back in mid-March, and they should be ready for planting in early May once the soil is warm enough. The danger of frost should be past here now, but I generally rely on soil temps to guide my spring plantings. If you plant the tomatoes and other warm-loving veggies in cold soil, they will just sit there and sulk. These these tomatoes are in a 50 cell plug flat, which is where they will stay until I set them out.

tomato seedlings

The lettuce I planted in the salad boxes a few weeks ago has grown quite a bit from the last tour. It should be ready to start cutting in about two weeks or so. The ones in the below photo are mostly Salanova varieties.

lettuce in salad boxes

And the zucchini I set out in grow bags a few weeks ago has also grown a lot. I started these a full month earlier than I did last year, and that means I could be harvesting the first fruits a month earlier too. That would be mid-May, which would be exciting if it happens. I am sure by mid summer we will be less excited about any of the summer squashes, but the first few are always a big hit for sure.

Astia zucchini

It’s my first time growing the Tuscan Baby Leaf kale from Renee’s Garden. The leaves stay small and tender, and we’ve been enjoying them in salads mixed with other greens. I’ve got the plants growing in a planter where they seem happy for the time being. This one appears to be a keeper, and I look forward to growing it again.

Tuscan Baby Leaf kale

Another green I have growing in a planter is Mizspoona Salad Select. As the name suggests, it is a tender green suitable for adding to salads and other dishes like stir fries and soups.

Mizspoona Salad Select

I have most of the planters sitting at one end of the greenhouse. That spot was previously occupied by the purple sprouting broccoli, which I pulled and put on the compost pile. I put down cardboard under the planters to keep the weeds from sprouting, and they can stay there until I need the space for cucumbers.

planters with greens

I have more lettuce ready to plant in the greenhouse, and it will likely go in containers. I do have bed space available, so it’s possible I may plant some both ways.

lettuce seedlings

I also want to show the lemongrass plants I rooted in water and planted in a pot about a month ago. They are ready to be set out in the garden once it gets a bit warmer, and they will grow into a large clump by fall and keep us well supplied of the lemony leaves and stalks.

lemongrass

I made a video for Earth Day giving a quick tour of the greenhouse. If you’re getting this post via email, please visit the blog to see it, or click this link: https://videopress.com/v/hyy9s8vm

I hope you have enjoyed this tour of the greenhouse here in late April. I’ll be back soon with more happenings from Happy Acres!

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