Monday, June 23, 2014

Harvest Monday - June 23, 2014

This week two new veggies were added to the harvests.

First up is scapes.  Not too many, but usually it takes a few days for all of them to come up.  Last year I had many more scapes because I had planted the garlic fairly close together.  My garlic harvest, however, was disappointing as the bulbs were rather small.  So this year I increased the spacing, which unfortunately means fewer scapes.

Garlic Scapes
 
The first year I harvested scapes, I waited too long to harvest them & they were a bit tough.  Now, I harvest them just before they make their first full curl & they are beautifully tender.  My favourite way of using scapes is in salad dressing and my go-to recipe is Daphne’s Scape Dressing.  I use rice wine vinegar in this dressing as I find it adds a slightly different flavour that really complements the scapes.  Last year, I just couldn’t get enough of it.  I think I need another bed of garlic...

The second newcomer isn’t really a newcomer but a returning visitor – rapini – although the variety (“Zamboni”) is new.  A couple of stalks were ready for picking, so they made their way into my lunch.

"Zamboni" Rapini
 
I have to start the next round of rapini - I really should have done that last week.  I need to get pencil to paper & figure out the timing on this one.  Ideally, I want to have transplants ready as soon as the current plants are pulled.

Michelle at From Seed to Table harvests rapini by cutting it at the base (leaving a couple of leaves) and new shoots will often come up.  I have a bit of time until the next round of transplants are ready, so I decided to give this a try and cut the stalks just above the lower leaves instead of pulling the plant like I normally do.  We’ll see if this method works for me – it would be really nice to get more than one harvest from each plant.

The strawberry production is stepping up a bit – we are getting a small bowlful per day at this point & the mystery June bearing variety is starting to produce.  Its berries are definitely larger than the Fort Laramie, averaging 15 grams per berry (vs. 8 grams for Fort Laramie).

Freshly Picked Strawberries
 
Then we had a few pak choi & collard harvests.  The “Joi Choi Hybrid” pak choi is a definite keeper.  Not only is it delicious, but I have harvested 3,070 grams (6.77 lbs) from 7 plants since the beginning of June & there is still no sign of bolting.

Collards on the Left; Pak Choi on the Right
 
I also harvested (and pulled up) half of the leaf lettuce.  The Simpson Elite was still doing fine, but the red lettuces were just starting to get slightly bitter.  I have started to harden off the next round of transplants which will be going into the bed next week.

"Royal Red" Lettuce
 
I also harvested one additional white icicle radish & that was it for those – out of around 15 white icicle plants, I was able to harvest two radishes.  Oh well…I think I will plant the remaining seeds in various beds throughout the summer to see if maybe a different location would suit them better.
 
And lastly, I harvested all of the tips on my basil plants (in an effort to make them bushier) & added them to a tomato salad – Yum!
 
You see the basket I used for the collards/pak choi & lettuce?  It was a recent find at a thrift shop - I LOVE thrift shops & every once in a while, I find something fabulous.  This basket is flat & about 18" across - it looks like it may have some purpose (other than simply being a basket), but I have no idea what.  When I saw this sitting there on top of a 1970's stereo stand, I quickly snapped it up.  And when I saw the price tag ($2!), I practically did a jig right there in the aisle.

My harvest totals this week were:

Scapes – 62 grams (0.14 lbs)
Rapini – 44 grams (0.10 lbs)
Strawberries – 580 grams (1.28 lbs)
Radishes – 18 grams (0.04 lbs)
Collards – 600 grams (1.32 lbs)
Chinese Cabbage – 776 grams (1.71 lbs)
Lettuce – 903 grams (1.99 lbs)
Herbs – 12 grams (0.03 lbs)

Total For Week – 2,995 grams (6.60 lbs)

Total To Date – 10,549 grams (23.26 lbs)

To see what everyone else has been harvesting over the past week, head on over to Daphne’s Dandelions, our host for Harvest Mondays.

Till next time…

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things” ~~ Robert Brault

24 comments:

  1. Beautiful harvest of greens and berries. I'm with you on spacing of garlic - they need a lot of space for roots or the bulb doesn't form well. I think in fall I'll add more hard-neck variety for scapes and less softneck :)

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    1. Thanks Jenny! And ditto that on the hardnecks - there are several varieties that I keep hearing about like Music that I think I will add to my garlic patch for next year.

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  2. I got one or two baby white icicle radishes before they bolted. I planted them for their supposed heat resistance but didn’t find that to be the case in my garden this year. I’m trying them again in the fall.

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    1. It's comforting to know that I'm not the only one that has issues with this variety. I was just going to sow the rest of the seeds throughout the garden, but now that you mention it, I may hold back a few and try a fall planting.

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  3. Lovely harvests. Your berries look wonderful. I keep drooling over all the berries I'm seeing people harvest. It just wasn't a great year for them here. I ought to start a new bed somewhere else.

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    1. Thanks Daphne! Last year was a bad strawberry year for me - I decided to start a new bed late last summer using runners from the existing plants and it was definitely worth it.

      I know what you mean about the drool - I see all the wonderful blueberry/blackberry/raspberry harvests from everyone and it just makes me want to plant some bushes NOW...but starting a garden takes time & I just have to keep reminding myself of that.

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  4. Those strawberries look delicious. And I love that basket. I've been needing a bigger basket, I think I need to go thrift store shopping!

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    1. Thanks Julie! It is amazing - it holds so much, especially when it comes to bulky & lightweight veggies like greens. Only problem is I'm still trying to find a place to put it in between harvests...I think I see new kitchen wall décor in my future ;)

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  5. Maybe your basket was the top of another basket? Either way it's great for harvesting!

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    1. Could very well be! It sure does beat having to make multiple trips when harvesting a boatload of lettuce!

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  6. That basket looks perfect! You and my wife would get along, she loves thrift shops too. She found a basket for us last week to use to hold condiments and stuff for the dinner table. I love Joi Choi too though I didn't plant any this spring. And Daphne's scape dressing is something I always look forward to eating!

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    1. Thanks Dave! I tell ya, I can't go past a thrift shop without doing a bit of browsing...And when you find something you love - well, you just can't beat that feeling!

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  7. Great harvest! I love the basket, we need to get a new one soon, I'll have to try a thrift shop! I'd love to hear more about Rapini. I've never grown it before. What is it and what does it taste like??

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    1. Thanks! Rapini sort of looks like greens that are just starting to bolt. The buds appear similar to those of broccoli. It has a very distinctive taste with a bitter edge - to tame the bitterness you generally blanch it before you add it to a dish. It is especially popular in Italy & Portugal. My mom would cook it all the time, so I have been eating it all my life & Iove it, as does my son.

      I do find, however, that it is one of those you either love it or hate it type of foods (like cilantro). One of the great things about it is that it grows so quickly - around 40 days from seed to harvest! I would say give it a try & see what you think - at best, you find a new veggie to put on the table; at worst, you only lose out on one month of growing time.

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  8. Everything looks perfect.The collards and choi are so nice with no holes in the leaves. How did you accomplish that?

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    1. Thanks David! Last year, the slugs & cabbage worms turned most of my collards into Swiss cheese. So this year, I covered the bed with insect netting to keep out the cabbage white butterfly & I sprinkled the bed with diatomaceous earth to help with the slugs. And so far so good!

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  9. Your strawberries look so good! It's funny, my Simpson Elite is beginning to bolt and it is supposed to be more heat resistant. I love your basket. I am a sucker for baskets especially when shopping thrift stores.

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    1. Thanks Rachel! We have only had a couple of very hot days so far this summer & I think the shade cloth I am using is also helping with the lettuce. When deciding on which of my current lettuce varieties I wanted to try growing over the summer, Simpson Elite was chosen (along with two others) for that very reason. I guess we will see how it goes once the weather really heats up.

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  10. Nice harvest! The strawberries look perfectly ripe. I've never grown rapini before but it looks similar to the Asian broccoli that I used to grow. You'll have to let us know how it tastes.

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    1. Thanks Thomas! I've never had Asian broccoli - another veggie to try (boy that list just keeps getting longer & longer!). Rapini has a bit of a bitter edge to it that is tamed somewhat when you blanch it for a few minutes....it can be a bit of an acquired taste - my son & I love it (it's actually one of his favourite vegetables!). As for my husband & daughter - let's just say that it usually doesn't find itself on their plate ;)

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  11. Nice harvest. I have never grown scapes. You have a nice variety of things coming on. So nice to have more things to enjoy from the garden! Love baskets and you were lucky on that one! Nancy

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    1. Thanks Nancy! I love baskets too - the problem then becomes where to put them all :)

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  12. The only scapes that I saw on my garlic showed up after I pulled it to cure, just a few weaklings that went straight to the compost. Zamboni looks like a nice tender rapini, I hope it produces a second crop for you. The second round tends to be smaller shoots than the first, but it's still tasty. Love that basket, what a steal.

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    1. Thanks Michelle! It's too bad about your scapes. Maybe all the energy that normally goes into forming scapes went into forming your bulbs - those garlic bulbs you harvested were absolutely huge - I've never seen such large (regular) garlic! I'm watching the rapini stalks intently for any signs of new shoots...it would be wonderful to get a second harvest from them.

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