Monday, August 11, 2014

Harvest Monday - August 11, 2014


My first harvest of onions is in – well, technically they’re shallots.  ‘Camelot’ shallots grown from seed to be precise.  But does this look like a shallot to you?
 
Camelot Shallot
 
Me neither.  These have got to be the biggest “shallots” I have ever seen.

Three of the shallots were what I would consider more or less “normal” for shallots – all of the rest were huge.
 
Only three of the shallots were
a more typical shallot size
 
What will be interesting to see is how long they keep.  My regular ‘golden’ shallots stay firm & fresh for over a year – if these have similar storage abilities, then that would be incredible.  This would mean that I could potentially have homegrown onions year round, with no need to supplement from the store.  The Ailsa Craig sweet onions would be used up first, followed by the storage onions (Copra and Rossa di Milano) which are said to last up to 10 months.  The Camelot shallots would be last in the lineup.

Of course, how well onions store is not only dependent on variety, but also on storage conditions.  Since I have never stored homegrown onions before, this will be the year when I find out how long they last for me.
 
Camelot Shallots Curing in the Sun
 
I placed the shallots on the picnic table to cure in the sun for a couple of days.  Now they are in the garage on a bed of newspaper.  Hopefully I remember to turn them every once in a while so that they dry out evenly.  The onions, err shallots, will not be included in the tally until they are dry and ready to store.

I also harvested one of the Ailsa Craig onions to use in a bean salad…love these onions, they are so good!
 
Ailsa Craig Onion
 
New this week were the Golden of Bacau beans.  I am not letting them grow as large as I normally would in an effort to keep ahead of the bacterial brown spot that has infected the vines.
 

Golden of Bacau Beans
 
The cool, wet weather we had up until last week really sped up the progress of the disease.  I was able to harvest another bowlful of the Contender bush beans, but they were really hit hard.  Even the beans that were the farthest away from the Golden of Bacau were starting to get heavily infected.  I ended up pulling up all of the bush beans.  Now that the weather has dried up a bit, I'm hoping that the progress of this disease on the pole beans will slow down.

I have been picking more tomatoes each day and this week we had a few more varieties start to ripen.  The first slicing tomato to be picked was a Brandywine – and it was a biggie, weighing in at 502 grams (1.11 lbs).
 
Just Picked Brandywine Tomato
 
I had recently learned that you are supposed to pick heirlooms before they fully ripen to minimize bug damage and, in some cases, splitting.  The first Brandywine was left to ripen in the safety of my kitchen.  I also picked the first Gypsy tomato, another slicer & a gorgeous one at that.
 
Tomatoes Clockwise from the Top:
Mountain Magic, Ildi, Gypsy, Yellow Pear, and that same Brandywine after it is ripe
 
I harvested a bunch of chard and, getting an idea from Susie at Cold Hands Warm Earth, I used the chard as a substitute for spinach in a warm spinach & artichoke dip I made this past weekend.  I simply removed the stems and then blanched & chopped the leaves.  Yum yum…the dip was as delicious as always.

Fordhook Giant Swiss Chard
 
I also harvested the last of the rapini for this year, which I blanched and then froze.  Once again, I was a bit tardy in harvesting and a couple of them had started to flower.  They are such quick growers that I am having a hard time keeping up with the succession planting.   Instead of another round of rapini, I have decided to fill this spot with some broccoli transplants that were originally intended for the onion beds (which won’t be empty for at least another couple of weeks).
 
Zamboni Rapini
 
Also included in the tally is bowlful of sugar snap peas that I forgot to add to the harvest totals last week.  I never did get around to sowing that second planting of peas and I think that it may be a bit too late now.  I’m not willing to take the chance and, as the rest of my broccoli & kale transplants are still looking for a home, I’m thinking that I will be transplanting them into this bed instead of the onion bed.

The collards were harvested & pulled.  These were getting way too tall for the netting that is over that bed.  I have a replacement set of transplants all ready to go and these will hopefully be planted today.

Vates Collards

Beira Tronchuda Collards
 
During our recent wet weather the diatomaceous earth I used to deter slugs is not as effective.  I don't automatically re-apply it once the rain stops, however.  I wait until I start seeing damage that I think warrants another application.  I don't really mind the occasional hole.  The only exception is seedlings.  I will apply the diatomaceous earth on seedlings that are susceptible to slugs right when I transplant them as they are so small that one slug can easily decimate a few overnight.
 
Notice the difference in size between the two collard varieties?  It's hard to miss.  The Beira Tronchuda significantly outperformed the Vates in the same amount of space.  I had 3 plants of each - Vates produced a total of 2,050 grams (4.52 lbs), while I harvested 3,421 grams (7.54 lbs) from Beira – almost 70% more!  And not only was Beira a better performer, but it also had a slightly better flavour.  My new seeding consists solely of the Beira Tronchuda.  I just hope it has enough time to give me some good sized leaves.

Also harvested this past week were several pickings of lettuce (which is doing very well under the row cover), a bunch of cilantro (which I minced & froze), a few cucumbers and one zucchini (that is not a typo).

My harvest totals this week were:

Beans – 1,398 (3.08 lbs)
Collards – 2,450 grams (5.40 lbs)
Cucumbers – 960 grams (2.12 lbs)
Lettuce – 692 grams (1.53 lbs)
Onions – 186 grams (0.41 lbs)
Peas – 674 grams (1.49 lbs)
Rapini – 488 grams (1.08 lbs)
Summer Squash - 546 grams (1.20 lbs)
Swiss Chard – 580 grams (1.28 lbs)
Tomatoes – 2,072 grams (4.57 lbs)
Herbs – 130 grams (0.29 lbs)

Total for Week – 10,176 grams (22.43 lbs)

Total to Date – 54.20 kg (119.49 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

29 comments:

  1. Wow, your Camelot shallots are huge. I just pulled my Saffron shallots and they are maybe a little bigger than the ones you show in your palm, but I still thought they were big. And you are right, I usually pick the heirlooms once they start coloring up to avoid splitting and bird damage. They will ripen nicely on the counter. I'm impressed you are growing collards, on one around here even knows what they are. I think I am growing Champion this year but will have to consider trying the Beira Tronchuda, although I have seen it described as Portuguese kale and not a collard.

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    1. I've seen it described as Portuguese kale as well, but it is definitely a collard green. It's quite fabulous being just as tender but slightly sweeter than the other variety I was growing.

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  2. The shallots look fabulous! I never seem to have enough onions but I also love shallots - might try some next year. I did not know that about heirloom tomatoes and mine do tend to split though not always. I'll try that trick this week.

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    1. That's the wonderful thing about gardening - there is never a shortage of new things to learn!

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  3. Those shallots are huge. I really do have to try them after seeing everyone's shallots this week.

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    1. The regular "golden" shallots were one of the few successes I had in my first garden many years ago - even back then, knowing absolutely nothing, they grew well & they stored for over a year! And the fact that they are delicious doesn't hurt either!

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  4. Impressive "shallot/onions". Lol. They are huge!! Love your assortment of tomatoes!

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  5. HUGE "shallot"! I didn't have a good year for onions so I'm envious of others'. I also never heard that about picking tomatoes before they fully ripen.

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    1. In the past, I always wondered why I saw people with under-ripe tomatoes sitting on their kitchen counter! Apparently, the trick is to pick them just as they start to ripen.

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  6. Wow giant shallot, hope they keep well for you. Love those yellow beans you have there, need to get some yellow veg in my garden next year, beans and squash probably would be easy to deal with.

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    1. The Golden of Bacau beans are not only good looking but so tasty too. I agree with you on the yellow veg - just love them - maybe a little too much. Just this past weekend I realized that all three of the cherry tomato varieties that I grew were yellow - not one red one...can't believe I didn't realize this until now!

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  7. Whatever you call those alliums, they are impressive. I hope they store well for you. The last time I grew the Beira Tronchuda it got huge like yours did.

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    1. I'm definitely crossing my fingers that they store well.

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  8. I too hope your giant shallots store well for you, keep us updated.
    Not sure what happened but my seedlings got mixed up and I think I am without collard, will have to wait for plants to get a bit bigger to identify.

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    1. I will definitely fill everyone in on how well the shallots do in storage. It is just way too easy to mislabel (or in my case forget to label) seedlings. I hope that you end up finding your collards!

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  9. The Beira Tronchuda seems to be one of those vegetables that defies categorization, I've seen it described as a non-heading type of cabbage. It is really good when used to make the Portuguese soup Caldo Verde and that't the primary reason I grow it. Those Camelot shallots are amazing. And I would never have guessed that your beans are coming from diseased stressed plants, they look perfect.

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    1. Caldo Verde is what I use collards primarily for as well, but I do want to branch out into other collard dishes at some point. The beans right at the bottom of the vines were goners but those higher up are fine - so far. Last year the entire vine was pretty much done by the end of August.

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  10. Wow! That is huge. Not just sure what shallots are but don't think I have ever grown them. Nancy

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    1. Shallots are lovely - they taste like a mild onion. If you like growing onions, you should definitely give these a try!

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  11. Your tomato harvest is especially beautiful. I'm regretting that I didn't plant an heirloom beefsteak this year. I hadn't heard about picking the heirlooms green and letting them ripen indoors. Thank you for passing along that tip!

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    1. The next best thing to finding a new or better way of doing things is sharing it!

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  12. Wonderful harvest and YAY on that huge brandywine! It's one of my staples in the garden. Never know what to do with colards, maybe one day I'll try growing it.

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    1. Love brandywine too - I'm actually quite surprised that I was able to harvest one even sooner than some of the smaller varieties.

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  13. Wow that tomato is incredible! Good tip on the heirloom varieties too. I expect you already know this but you can eat the stems of chard too. Depending on what I'm cooking I normally just chop them up and add to the dish but you can cook them separately too e.g braised which is really tasty.

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    1. Yes they are delicious - I actually did a new to me preparation with the leftover stems which was to chop them up, blanch them and then drizzle with olive oil & toss them in a grill pan on the bbq - they turned out amazing - so smoky. I believe I got the idea from Michelle at http://fromseedtotable.blogspot.com.

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    2. Yum! Sounds good. I've done them in olive oil in the oven before but not on the BBQ.

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  14. Oh my goodness, those Camelot shallots are huge. Your tomatoes are colorful and beautiful. I usually harvest tomatoes partially ripe because I don't want to lose them to pests or critters. They ripen up just as well on the kitchen counter.

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    1. It's definitely a great tip - can't believe I hadn't heard about it sooner!

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