Monday, July 13, 2015

Harvest Monday - July 13, 2015


There were a few exciting harvests this week, two of which I’m particularly happy about.  It was actually a bit difficult to decide which of them was to get first billing, but I figured that this honour would go to the prettiest harvest – chamomile:

1st Chamomile Harvest
 
The little patch of chamomile that I planted at the end of one of the asparagus beds is going crazy with blooms:

Chamomile Patch
 
Can you believe that this is only 10 little plants that looked like this 6 weeks ago?

Chamomile Seedlings at the end of May
 
I picked all of these flowers a couple of days ago and the patch is ready for another picking today – I hope this means I’ll have lots of wonderful tea this coming winter.

Bursting with Blooms
 
I don’t have a dehydrator (yet) so I’m air drying them; fingers crossed this works out.

The other exciting, first ever harvest this past week - fava beans (broad beans):


Extra Precoce Violetto Favas
 
I’m growing two different varieties this year – a shorter, early variety (Extra Precoce Violetto) and a tall variety that is just starting to set pods (Ianto’s).  At this stage, the tall variety looks like it will out-produce the shorter one.

Shelled Favas
 
We had a couple of small pickings of favas like this.  Although not enough for a meal for 4, they were a wonderful snack for the fava lovers in my family - me and my son.  They were so tender that we didn’t even have to peel the inner skin – delicious!

The next first this week (told you there were a lot!) were cucumbers.  These were the first two  specimens that came from the still small plants (they are not even 12" tall yet!).

Corentine (left); Garden Sweet (right)
 
The Garden Sweet is a repeat from last year & the Corentine, a European gerkin, is new.  Both cucumbers, however, don't look like they should.  Corentine is supposed to be a bit longer & thinner and Garden Sweet is also supposed to be longer, with a relatively even diameter along its length.  I’m thinking that they were not adequately pollinated.  I haven’t looked it up, but I’m fairly sure this also happened last year when the plants were still small & didn’t have that many flowers on them yet.

The shallots were looking a bit worse for wear – all of the stems had flopped over & I was actually concerned that they had some sort of issue.  But when we harvested them, they looked really good.

Golden Shallots
 
I also harvested all of the potato onions, another one of my experiments.  Almost all of the bulbs were bolting, with only a few exceptions.

Even though bolted onions are not supposed to keep well, I’m still going to try to cure them as potato onions are supposed to be really good keepers, so you never know.  I’ll do a post about the onion/garlic/shallot beds soon with more details.

Potato Onions on Curing Rack
 
I actually don’t need any fresh onions yet – can you believe I have a few from last year that are still firm?  The shallots & potato onions are not included in today’s tally as I add them only after they are cured & trimmed.

And now for the repeat harvests.  The last of the Sabre shelling peas were picked:

Sabre Shelling Peas
 
The sugar snaps are coming on fast & furious:

Sugar Snaps
 
I harvested over 4 lbs. of them this past week - and when you consider that is from a 4' x 2' spot, that's quite something!

There were a couple of small Aspabroc side shoots:

Aspabroc
 
The direct seeded spinach was bolting, so I harvested what I could and pulled the plants.  Still haven’t decided what I’ll be replacing it with.

Last of the spinach &
a handful of sugar snaps
 
I only grew four kohlrabi this spring and one of them was a real slowpoke.  It finally sized up this past week, so that one was picked together with a bunch of mizuna.

Mizuna & White Vienna Kohlrabi
 
And finally, I harvested 3 heads of tatsoi:

Tatsoi
 
Also harvested this week but not photographed were the last of the strawberries.  We had a couple of bowlfuls earlier in the week but now there are so few left that we are basically eating them in the garden if we happen to spot a ripe one.  I think the bed will be totally done this week.

My harvest totals this week were:

Fava Beans (shelled) – 208 grams (0.46 lbs)
Broccoli – 40 grams (0.09 lbs)
Chinese Greens – 338 grams (0.75 lbs)
Cucumbers – 136 grams (0.30 lbs)
Kohlrabi – 158 grams (0.35 lbs)
Snap Peas – 1,882 grams (4.15 lbs)
Shelling Peas (shelled) – 136 grams (0.30 lbs)
Spinach – 336 grams (0.74 lbs)
Strawberries – 264 grams (0.58 lbs)
Chamomile – 52 grams (0.11 lbs)

Total for Week – 3,550 grams (7.83 lbs)

Total to Date – 26.31 kg (58 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

34 comments:

  1. Great harvests, Margaret!
    I just love the looks of the Tatsoi.
    My shallots are really floppy as well--I was assuming it was a water issue. They are very small, so I don't think mine are ready. Thoughts?

    Have a wonderful week.

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    1. Thanks Sue! If your shallot stems have flopped over and are dying back, I would say that it's harvest time.

      This was a very strange shallot year for the Golden Shallots. Usually they divide into 4 or 5 shallots but this year, practically all of them divided into 2 with a couple of 3's and even several that didn't divide at all. On the plus side, the bulbs themselves are really big and looked nice & firm. I'm thinking they may not have gotten enough sun, but am not entirely sure. Ah the garden, a land of non-stop mysteries!

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  2. Another brilliant harvest, things are coming thick and fast now. My cucumber plants aren't looking their best this year but the fruit is just starting to grow so I'm hoping they come good in the end.

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    1. My cucumbers are usually slow to start as well - but once they start, they REALLY start. I'm sure you will be swimming in cucumbers before you know it!

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  3. Looks like a very good harvest with lots of variety. Your cucumbers need more water :) they get "stunted" if they don't get enough of moisture.

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    1. We had some good rain about a week ago, but it has been very hot lately, so maybe you are right & I should be watering the bed more. I'll have to be a bit more diligent in using my moisture meter!

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  4. A lovely varied harvest.

    We picked our first peas always a treat.

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    1. Yum, yum peas - nothing beats fresh from the garden (as with most things!).

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  5. What a nice variety you have coming in! Those cucumbers definitely look funny. I have some chamomile that I've never thought to dry and use for teas - - I just thought they were pretty. I should try that out.

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    1. Chamomile is very soothing & calming...with the baby's arrival just around the corner, it would be a wonderful herb to have on hand as it's not only the baby that will need soothing and calming (although not with tea, of course!), but I bet you will as well ;)

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  6. That chamomile looks great! I have some myself but not sure where I put it :| Cucumbers are odd at times. My first few were short and stunted but now they're going like crazy.

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    1. Thanks! I remember having a few wonky cucumbers last year too before the big glut, so I'm thinking it may just be one of those things before it goes into high gear.

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  7. Why don't I grow chamomile? How silly. Thanks for the encouragement to grow it next year. And your tatsoi and mizuna are gorgeous! Were they covered? I didn't cover mine and they were very quickly decimated by bugs.

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    1. Now that I know how easy it is to grow, I'll definitely include a patch of chamomile in my garden each year, that's for sure! And yes, I do cover all of my brassica beds with netting otherwise the cabbage worms would end up eating more of it than we us!

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  8. Love those chamomile and fava beans, nice varied harvest, your garden is producing rapidly can't wait to see your summer crops.

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    1. Thanks Mac. Things are definitely speeding up now and it feels really good after the slow start to the season this year. I sowed most of the summer crops late this year, so I can't wait to see them too ;)

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  9. Really nice harvest. Hooray for fava beans. The pods look like they filled out nicely. And how do you have cucumbers before me? Mine are at least starting to vine and flower but it will be a week or two.

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    1. Well, that is a very good question - maybe I'm growing earlier varieties or they start to fruit before they are that big? My plants are tiny still, but they started to flower even before they started to vine, which they are now just starting to do. I'm actually quite surprised that I harvested anything from them.

      And the open fava pod in the photo was actually one of the prime specimens. I had many that had only one or two beans per pod, so they just didn't make the cut ;)

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  10. Lovely harvests. I used to grow chamomile. I found that I got tired of picking after a while (they keep going), so I left them alone. They would go to seed and they would pop up the next year without any help. I haven't grown them for a couple of years now, but I still got a couple of chamomile plants that I had to pull - as now they are weeds.

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    1. Thanks Daphne - If I had some chamomile "weeds" that would be pretty awesome. Well, I say that now - we'll see how I feel if they start to take over the garden.

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  11. Nice job Margaret. The chamomile really is lovely. Be thankful for your cucumbers; mine haven't even started to vine yet. I really want to grow tatsoi. I did not think of it as a summer vegetable.

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    1. Thanks! I'm not sure if tatsoi is a summer veg or not, but I still have 2 or 3 heads in the garden & only one has bolted so far. I have grown Joi Choi successfully over the entire summer, so I figure that other Chinese greens may also do ok - never know until you try!

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  12. Fabulous harvest! I am looking forward to hearing how your chamomile tea turns out. Do you have a favorite recipe? I've never made my own tea before. My onions also bolted but the bees like the blooms.

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    1. Thanks Karin! Chamomile tea couldn't be easier to make as it has only two ingredients - dried chamomile and hot water! I've never actually made it before with my own dried flowers, but what I have read is that you simply steep 1 tsp. of the flowers in 1 cup of hot water for a few minutes. I'll make sure to let you know how it turns out once my flowers have dried!

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  13. That's amazing you still had onions from last year! I love the looks and aroma of chamomile but I don't use it often or drink the tea. So I grow lemon grass, mint and lemon balm instead which I do use all the time.

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    1. Lemon balm is on my list of herbs to grow in the future as is lemongrass - I actually tried to grow lemongrass in a pot about 15 years ago but wasn't that successful. I think I've learned a thing or two since then, though ;)

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  14. Nice varied harvests, Know nothing about potato onions, will do research to learn.

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    1. Thanks Norma - potato onions are one of those old, veg that used to be grown throughout North America by most households until large scale farms took over. This was my first attempt at growing them but I started off with seed, which is itself problematic as the onions do not grow true from seed (they are normally grown like shallots where you plant a bulb and it multiplies), so you never know what you will get.

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  15. You did start with the prettiest harvest - Chamomile is just lovely and I hear the bees love it too. I am really excited to read your future onion/shallot/etc post. I have always been very curious about the "Stranger" onion family members like potato onions. I am excited to hear what you have to say. Have a great gardening week.

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    1. Yes - the pollinators love the chamomile & there are usually a few hovering around as I harvest the flowers. Always such a welcome sight, especially these days when bees are nowhere near as prolific as they used to be.

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  16. Fabulous favas! And so many other goodies too. I always air dried my chamomile spread out in a single layer on a basket tray and they came out fine, although it's not at all humid where I live. And I had the same experience as Daphne, one year I got tired of harvesting them and let them go to seed and now they pop up everywhere. They are a bit weedy in some spots but I still like to let some of them grow because they are so pretty and also attractive to good bugs.

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    1. Thanks Michelle! We have never eaten fresh favas before and they are such a treat. We haven't harvested very many so far so we're enjoying savouring them "au natural" after just a brief stint in some boiling water.

      My mom suggested air drying them outside, but we do get very humid around here, so that was a definite concern. I decided to try drying them in the basement; it's the coolest part of the house, but the AC does draw the moisture out of the air so I'm hopeful that they will do ok.

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  17. I love that you're growing chamomile to use for tea, I've been thinking about doing the same. And it's amazing you were still harvesting spinach in July.

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    1. The chamomile is flowering like crazy - I was worried that the small # of plants I had wouldn't produce very much, but now I have a feeling they will be more than enough - you definitely don't need a big patch! That spinach was direct sown in early summer to make up for some failures - I was surprised it lasted as long as it did although by the time I harvested it, it was bolting pretty badly.

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