Monday, October 19, 2015

Harvest Monday - October 19, 2015


We had our first frost on Saturday, a full 2 weeks past our first frost date of October 3rd.  We knew it was coming so I had a couple of days to prepare – I was a busy bee on Thursday and Friday as I harvested, pulled and covered.

A first frost means that this Harvest Monday post is all about lasts…

The last of the summer squash and eggplants:

Sure Thing & Romanesco summer squash; Ping Tung & Slim Jim eggplant
 
All of the squash plants are now ripped out & the bales don't actually look that bad at this stage - perhaps because of the late start.  I'm thinking I may be able to use them again next year.  We'll have to wait and see.

The last of the peppers:

Hungarian Hot Wax & Jimmy Nardellos


Stocky Red Roasters, Tam Jalapeno, Hungarian Hot Wax & Anaheims on the right
 
Since frost was imminent, I picked all of the peppers, regardless of how ripe they were.  They may not have attained their sweetest, fullest flavour, but I'll still be able to put them to good use.

You can see another big picking of Anaheims in the bottom photo - I'm really loving this variety & the fact that they are supposed to be picked while still green is a real bonus for us short season gardeners.

The last of the broccoli….maybe:

Arcadia broccoli
 
The broccoli has more than impressed me this year.  I harvested 750 grams (1.65 lbs) of sideshoots just over 2 weeks ago and this is what the broccoli patch looked like this past week just before harvest:


Broccoli plants before final harvest
 
After this last harvest, there are still a few tiny sideshoots left.  We often have a few warm days after the first frost/freeze so I decided to leave the plants in place for now.

The first and last of the cilantro:

Cilantro
 
I sowed a 2 x 4 spot with cilantro in late summer and it has rewarded me with a bumper crop – 758 grams/1.67 lbs!  I use cilantro a lot but I’m thinking this quantity may actually take me through until next summer.

Another big herb harvest was the parsley:

Final harvest of parsley
 
Most of the parsley went into a big batch of chimichurri, which was then frozen in ice cube trays.  The cubes were popped out and placed into zip lock bags – I can’t tell you how much we loved these last winter!

The last of the winter squash:

Last of the butternut squash
 
The fat one in the middle is not fully ripe, so I’m going to have to look into what to do with it to bring out whatever sweetness it does have.  I’m thinking roasting may be the best option.

Another first and last - sweet potatoes:

A first try at sweet potatoes
 
I harvested a measly 748 grams/1.65 lbs of sweet potatoes.  Nothing to write home about, that's for sure.  But considering how neglected they were all summer, I'm actually not that disappointed.  When I dug them up, I was half expecting to see a tangle of skinny roots.  I'm working on a plan to make watering easier in the veg areas so I'm hoping that my results will be much better next year.

Also harvested but not photographed were just under 3 lbs of Mountain Magic tomatoes, but the jury is still out as to whether or not they will ripen properly.  So far, only 5 of them have ripened and these were included in the tally.  I’m not using any green tomatoes this year – I did prepare a green tomato type salsa last year, but didn’t really like it all that much.  For the small quantity of green tomatoes I have this time round, I didn’t think it was worth trying another salsa recipe or coming up with an alternative use for them.

So what’s left in the garden that’s harvestable?  Carrots, chard, lettuce, Chinese greens (komatsuna, joi choi, tatsoi, mizuna), bunching onions, leeks, salad turnips, herbs (sage/thyme/mint) and kohlrabi (which is still tiny, so I doubt it will amount to anything at this stage).

My harvest totals this week were:

Broccoli – 1,144 grams (2.52 lbs)
Eggplant – 304 grams (0.67 lbs)
Sweet Peppers – 104 grams (0.23 lbs)
Hot Peppers – 554 grams (1.22 lbs)
Summer Squash – 310 grams (0.68 lbs)
Winter Squash – 3,386 grams (7.46 lbs)
Sweet Potatoes – 748 grams (1.65 lbs)
Tomatoes – 110 gram (0.24 lbs)
Herbs – 1,388 grams (3.06 lbs)

Total for Week – 8,048 grams (17.74 lbs)

Total to Date – 165 kg (362.75 lbs)

To see what everyone else has been harvesting over the past week, head on over to Our Happy Acres where Dave is 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

31 comments:

  1. Beautiful harvest, love the purple eggplants and that wonderfully looking broccoli.

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    1. Thanks Jenny! It's my first time growing eggplant and my first "successful" attempt at the broccoli, so I'm quite happy with both of them.

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  2. Yes, that is impressive broccoli. Looks like you have success with close plantings, which is great. I envy the cilantro; I just can't get it to grow big without immediately bolting, no matter what time of year I plant. Maybe not enough H2O? And what a great idea about freezing little blocks of chimichurri; just thinking about it makes me want some grilled beef for dinner!

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    1. I have no idea why the broccoli was so successful, was it the variety or something I did. Guess I will find out of it was a fluke next year!

      The variety of cilantro I'm growing is a slow bolt type called Slo-Bolt (original, eh?) from Baker Creek and this is the 2nd year I'm growing it. Last year I grew it in the spring/early summer with similarly impressive results in that it did take a long time to bolt & gave me a good harvest of leaves in the meantime. And just to let you know, I've never grown cilantro successfully up until now - like you, I would get a few leaves that were barely worth harvesting and then it would bolt.

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  3. It's so sad to see your garden winding down. I've still got a ways to go, the first frost here is generally around the beginning of December and if the frost doesn't take the garden down then diseases will. Even though I can harvest year round the pickings get pretty slim in our version of winter. But cilantro thrives in our winters, the plants get enormous before they bolt in the spring. My biggest challenge with it at this time of year is protecting it from the hungry birds.

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    1. Oh it would be so nice to have the option of growing a few fresh herbs like cilantro and parsley over the winter - I have tried to pot up parsley but it didn't work out too well. Looks like the birds like cilantro better than my daughter - when I was washing, drying & chopping it, the whole first floor smelled like it and my daughter held her nose for an hour. Luckily she likes the taste a lot better than the smell ;)

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  4. That's a pretty good harvest for "Lasts". Re the green tomatoes, what about "Fried Green Tomatoes"? I have never used them this way myself, but I heard they are good. I have preserved quite a bit of Basil by making it into pesto and then freezing it in ice-cube trays, so it is easy to use when you want some.

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    1. Thanks Mark! At this stage, the Mountain Magic tomatoes are fairly small - more like large cherry tomatoes or small salad tomatoes, so Fried Green Tomatoes would be a bit fiddly. I would probably give it a go if they were a bit larger - I have had them in the past but can't really recall if I liked them or not. I did the same with my basil - it's wonderful, isn't it? I'm especially appreciative as last year all of the basil was struck with basil downy mildew and we ended up basil-less.

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  5. Those are some lovely broccoli side shoots! Ours is just now making the heads so I don't know if there will be any side shoots or not. My side shoots are often more productive than the main heads themselves. I had cilantro overwinter in the greenhouse last year and it got huge for me too. It was another slo-bolt variety called Calypso. I have some ready to be planted now. I gave up trying to grow it here in summer as it bolts immediately. It and parsley are the two herbs I use the most.

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    1. You are so right on the broccoli side shoots - I think some of my side shoots were bigger than the main heads! I've kept track of the main head and sideshoot harvest and it will be interesting to see the comparison.

      If I recall correctly, I think I had cilantro in the herb bed for most of the summer last year when I did 2 sowings. But last year we had a very cool, damp summer - I have my doubts as to whether that would have been the case had I gotten around to sowing it earlier this year when I summer was much hotter than usual.

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  6. It's a sad time when we're harvesting the lasts but it won't be that long until we're sowing seeds again. The broccoli looks really good, perhaps that might go on for a while longer.

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    1. I've never had such good luck with broccoli before - although that's not really saying much as last year was my first time growing it. I have no idea how much more growth the remaining tiny side shoots will put out - anything above what I have already harvested would be a definite bonus.

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  7. We can never figure out how to use parsley in quantity -- the chimichurri-as-ice-cubes idea is great!

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    1. Thanks A.J. - Dave (Our Happy Acres) gave me the chimichurri idea last year & it really is awesome (and addictive!). Since pesto freezes so well, I figured the chimichurri would do fine, which it did. Up until then, I had simply been freezing a couple of bags of parsley leaves to use in cooked dishes...this is a much tastier use for all that parsley (although I do still tuck a bag of plain parsley in the freezer).

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  8. A great looking week!! I have to admit that I'm looking forward to frost. We are almost 3 weeks late this year and I'm getting tired of zucchini!! :)

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    1. Thanks! Wish I was tired of zucchini - have no idea what that feels like. Maybe next year...if I'm lucky ;)

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  9. Hi! I would say that you had a great last harvest! And some of those things will last for awhile so that you will be able to continue to enjoy them! Nancy

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    1. Hi Nancy - we still have a few cold hardy veg left in the garden, so hopefully that will keep us going for another few weeks or so. It's a bit of a tug of war as I want to put the garden to bed, but I also want to enjoy the fresh veg as long as possible.

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  10. Those summer squash could easily be mistaken for courgettes.

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    1. Those are courgette, aka zucchini, aka summer squash which also includes other things like patty pan. I remember when I first purchased a British Cookbook (I think it was by Delia Smith - loved her show!), it took me a bit to figure out what all those "strange" ingredients were.

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    2. I knew they were called zucchini in your part of the world but didn't realise that they were also in the summer squash group. You went to the Italian word and here in the UK we went for the French one :-)

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  11. Terrific harvest this time of year! You didn't get many sweet potatoes but I wasn't sure you'd get any with us this far north so fantastic job on those. Ditto on the cilantro, looks great, I might even try that variety myself as it never grows well for me.

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    1. Thanks Susie - I felt the same...not a lot of potatoes, but I was happy with the harvest considering the circumstances. The Slo Bolt cilantro is amazing - it's definitely here to stay.

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  12. I totally know what you mean by rushing before frost date. This weekend we had to go and pick all the remaining tomatoes, peppers and tomatillos, even if they were green... it's always bitter sweet. The kale will be Wintering for the next few months. Hopefully I'll be able to dust some snow off it and have some warm kale soup.

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    1. Soup made with freshly picked kale in the middle of winter sounds amazing! I tried to overwinter kale last year and it didn't work out very well. Perhaps I just didn't plant the right one - I'm pretty sure I've seen varieties that are known for their winter hardiness and you have obviously had success doing that.

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  13. Woodchuck polished off all my broccoli plants this year so no home grown broccoli, hopefully next year will be a successful one. Home grown broccoli is so much better tasting than the store bought ones.

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    1. You are so right, Norma - and it's so much more tender, which I learned the hard way last year when I cooked my first batch for the same amount of time as I do grocery broccoli and it basically fell apart.

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  14. Yum! We've been getting Sweet Potatoes lately from our CSA vegetable share, and I've been making Sweet Potato fries. Very tasty. I'd say you had a very successful gardening season!

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    1. Oh, I love sweet potato fries...didn't we all opt for them when we went to Earl's that time for dinner? It was a very busy year in the garden and as with most years, some things did well while others didn't, but overall I'm quite happy with how the season went. Next year I won't be doing any major bed additions, so I'm hoping it will be just a bit less hectic.

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  15. I'm so impressed with your garden. You got great harvests of lots of different things. And your broccoli is doing great, hopefully it'll keep going into winter.

    I'm already planning next year's garden, which is mainly going to be a salsa garden. And I went a little crazy at Franchi Seeds so am going to try lots of new to me vegetables.

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    1. Thanks Phuong! Experimenting with new varieties and techniques is so much fun. It's one of the reasons I love gardening so much - the possibilities are truly endless. Already planning your garden? You sure are ahead of the game - can't wait to see what new veg you decide to try!

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