Monday, July 27, 2015

Harvest Monday - July 27, 2015


We are in for a heat wave this week, with highs of 30C+ (86F) & a humidex in the mid to high 30’s (closing in on 100F).

The Royal Red lettuce had already bolted last week and a couple of Simpson Elite’s followed suit.  I decided to harvest all the lettuce in the bed as I really didn’t want to lose it to the hot weather.

Pinares, Simpson Elite & Sierra MI

I harvested a new variety that I first heard about from Michelle as well - Sweetie Baby:


I normally harvest lettuce on a cut & come again basis, but with the late sowing this year as well as the impeding heat wave, both this one and the Pinares romaines were harvested as heads.  I am quite impressed with the size that Sweetie Baby attained - I didn't get heads anywhere near that size for the Pinares (which you can see peaking out of the top of the basket in the top photo).

Homegrown lettuce keeps incredibly well in the refrigerator – much longer than the grocery stuff that has probably already been sitting around for over a week before you purchase it.  I wash and dry the leaves and then store them in large bowls or Tupperware containers lined with some paper towels to absorb any excess moisture. Stored this way, leaf lettuce lasts about 2 weeks and the Batavian and Romaine keep for at least 3 weeks.

I just started another round of lettuce this past weekend, so I’m hoping there won’t be too much of a gap to fill.

This week we had the first of the broccoli & a small picking of the aspabroc, which had started to flower:

Arcadia Broccoli & Aspabroc
 
It’s funny, but the broccoli looked much bigger when it was on the plant.  Strange looking heads, yes, but mighty delicious!  I just prepared it simply, using olive oil, LOTS of garlic, and a bit of chicken broth & everyone loved it.

I have finally started to harvest some green beans this week.

Contender Beans
 
Not a lot, just a handful for now.  Not sure how much I will end up harvesting from my small patch as they are being overshadowed by the fava plants – a goof I made when planning this bed.  I’ll get into details on that when I do an update on this section of the garden in a day or two.

I finally got around to harvesting some basil this week.  I don’t usually weigh herbs unless I harvest a bunch at one time.

Eleanora Basil
 
The plants in the herb bed aren’t doing very well (I neglected to amend the bed this year) and I keep forgetting about those in the tomato bed, which are partially hidden by the tomato foliage.  The good news is that there is no sign of Basil Downy Mildew – hurray!  Looks like this resistant variety is a keeper.

The cucumbers are trickling in – I harvested one each of Garden Sweet & Corentine.  I thought I had taken a photo but can’t seem to find it.  I’m not sure about the Corentine variety.  They are good, but incredibly prickly.  Normally, I can just rub off any cucumber prickles with my hands when I wash them, but I needed to use a small knife and scrape them off this variety.

There were a few “lasts” this week as well.  I harvested the last of the Mizuna, most of which was frozen for use in the winter…

Mizuna
 
and the last of the sugar snaps:

Sugar Snaps
 
One of the tatsoi was bolting, so I also harvested the remaining heads, as well as the last of the tiny radishes:

Tatsoi & Radishes
 
And from the hilltop beds, a bowlful of chamomile:

Chamomile
 
I don’t have a dehydrator, so I’m spreading the flowers out on trays lined with paper towels & placing them in the basement.  The AC does draw moisture out of the air, so even though the basement is the coolest part of the house, the first batch I harvested a couple of weeks ago seems to be drying quite well this way.

My harvest totals this week were:

Green Beans – 140 grams (0.31 lbs)
Broccoli – 368 grams (0.81 lbs)
Chinese Greens – 854 grams (1.88 lbs)
Cucumbers – 388 grams (0.86 lbs)
Lettuce – 1,430 grams (3.15 lbs)
Sugar Snap Peas – 228 grams (0.50 lbs)
Radishes – 18 grams (0.04 lbs)
Chamomile – 144 grams (0.32 lbs)
Basil – 76 grams (0.17 lbs)

Total for Week – 3,646 grams (8.04 lbs)

Total to Date – 34.72 kg (76.53 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

30 comments:

  1. What do you use the chamomile for?

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    1. I am drying it and plan on using it for tea. I drink shop bought chamomile tea all the time, so I'm looking forward to seeing how mine will compare.

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  2. I love the bowl of chamomile, looks so pretty. The humidity the past few days has been agonizing - hard to get motivated to do much.

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    1. Tell me about it - it zaps your energy within a few minutes of being outside. I generally try to get out in the morning or evening, but the mosquitoes are crazy this year, so it's hard to judge which is worse.

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  3. I would never have thought of freezing mizuna, how do you use it? By the way we have had our central heating on today.

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    1. I use it in stir-fries and Thai curries (everything goes with a Thai curry!). Wish we could send some of our heat your way - we are at 30F (feels like 35) right now...yuck!

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    2. Does it get especially "wilty" when frozen?

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    3. Hi AJ - You do have to blanch the mizuna before you freeze it, so it is wilty even before it goes in the freezer :) Not a big deal, as I would only use frozen mizuna in cooked dishes which would have wilted it anyhow.

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  4. Really nice harvest for that transition time of year. I agree, homegrown lettuce keeps well.

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    1. Thanks! I was so surprised at how long it kept last year when we had a bumper crop to harvest. I'm hoping that this years timing will work out so that we will run out at around the same time my current transplants are ready for some picking.

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  5. Lovely harvests. I just looked at our weather forecast and I've got 90s coming in for a week. Ick. I'm sure all my lettuce will bolt. I ought to do what you did and go out and pick what is there.

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    1. Yes...the heat wave is here. The lettuce may not have liked it, but I'm hoping that the rest of the veg like the peppers will appreciate it and get a move on!

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  6. I'm with you on homegrown lettuce being a good keeper. Whenever I buy lettuce from the grocery I'm usually shocked by how quickly it can go bad. I laughed when I read about your simple prep for the broccoli. Olive oil and lots of garlic go on LOTS of things around here! I've been known to dress a baked potato that way, esp. since dairy doesn't always agree with me.

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    1. Yup...we are a garlic crazy family around here. I often leave the pieces quite large so that they roast in the oil and my kids actually fight over who has the most roasted garlic at dinner! And yum to the baked potato with roasted garlic olive oil - I'll have to remember that when I harvest some...hopefully soon.

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  7. Almost everything that was bolting is out of my garden. It does look like we are going to get your hot weather starting tomorrow, preceded by a thunderstorm rolling in right now. We can use the rain to wet the beds so I can do some planting for the fall. Wish I had some of your lettuce, mine is all gone. I think you were wise to cut it.

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    1. I think this is one of the first times I've actually been pro-active in the garden when it comes to bolting. I usually wait until I see the first signs, but our weather forecast is normally up and down, so I just keep hoping that the veg will hang on. This time round, the forecast was all up with no downs, so the writing was on the wall, so to speak.

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  8. Hi Margaret, Nice bowl of lettuce but like you I hate to see it bolt. Some of mine is still okay but I don't know for how long. I just planted more and hope it will come up. I am just starting to get a cuke here and there. I will be interested in how you like your homegrown chamomile tea. Nancy

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    1. I can't wait to try the chamomile - I'm not exactly sure how dry it has to be, so I'll be waiting a couple more weeks to make sure it is good and dry before brewing some up. I'll be sure to let you know how it is!

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  9. Hi Margaret
    I just had my favorite mesclun mix bolt just two days ago. I was saddened by the loss of the lettuce until later on weeding I came across another row of summer lettuce I had forgotten all about. It's hard to give up those wonderful salads on hot days. I'm always on the lookout for a lettuce that can take the heat (and drought!).
    It's a shame I can never get a tomato done in time before the lettuce goes all bitter. Hopefully this row I have growing now will last.
    You always do such a nice job with your harvest posts. I never remember to take pics or even post, for that matter. I'm envious of your great organizational skills.
    Hope you have a good week

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    1. I have no idea how lettuce will do during a "real" summer here yet, as last year we had such cool, wet weather. I guess I'll find out this time round when I set my seedlings outside in a couple of weeks & cross my fingers they don't keel over from the heat.

      Well, I certainly don't feel organized most of the time...and if you compared our perennial beds, I KNOW that the situation would be reversed - mine are a bit (big understatement!) of a mess right now. I guess I'm spending too much time taking harvest photos ;) I hope that you have a great week too...and try to stay cool!

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  10. We had that same weather during the weekend, and it continues now. But I like it! I love summer! (Wish I had a swimming pool, though.) Your Chamomile is so pretty arranged in the bowl.

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    1. Thanks Beth - I'm a real weather wimp...give me temps between 60-75F & I'm happy. Otherwise, I'll probably be complaining the whole time ;)

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  11. I wish I had some Sweetie Baby in the garden right now, but I'm just about out of any kind of lettuce. Even though it rarely gets hot around here, lettuce just isn't happy at this time of year, it has all bolted. I really wish I could find a "summer" lettuce. I just sowed seeds for Jericho romaine which is supposed to be more heat tolerant - we'll see. Sometimes I suspect that it's not just heat, but long days that makes the lettuce bolt, it just grows too fast.

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    1. Finding a good summer lettuce seems to be a recurring theme. I think this summer will be the real test around here - it's a scorcher! I'll be interested to see if the Jericho romaine works well for you...I've heard of a few other varieties that are supposed to work during the summer but can't recall people having that much success with them. One thing you quickly learn is just because the packet says it, doesn't make it so!

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  12. I do not envy your heat plus humidity. We are suppose to hit 100 on Wednesday but it will be a pretty dry heat. But it sure does make growing those cool weather crops a challenge. I just adore that picture of your bowl of chamomile.Enjoy your harvest this week and stay cool!

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    1. Thanks Lexa - you are very right...it is the humidity that makes the heat really uncomfortable, for me anyhow. I don't think the veg care so much - to them, heat is heat & they either love it or hate it :)

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  13. Nice varied harvest, lettuce always bolt in March for me, I don't get to grow them until Sept or Oct. The bowl of chamomile is so pretty.

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    1. Thanks Mac - there is so much trial and error when you are only starting out in the garden. I've only recently realized that trying to grow spinach & radishes in the summer is futile - but I haven't given up on lettuce!

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  14. Gorgeous harvest Margaret, I am envious of your lettuce even though your concerned to lose them to the heat, I am not succeeding in growing them as the slugs get to the seedlings :( I am also growing camomile flowers, just wondered what you will be doing with them once dehydrated naturally? Thanks

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    1. Thanks Shaheen! There was a slug party in my lettuce bed late last summer, so I do sympathize with you on that! As for the chamomile - I have seen "fancy" coffee & tea places make chamomile tea by simply filling little muslin baggies with dried chamomile flowers & steeping them in hot water. I'll be using my metal tea ball infuser instead of the muslin, but I'm thinking the results will be the same. As soon as I try it, I'll be sure to mention it in a post.

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