Monday, June 6, 2016

Harvest Monday - June 6, 2016


It's been a very busy week with a lot of transplanting and seeding.  The big push came on Saturday as I knew we were in for a rainy Sunday & wanted to take advantage of that by getting everything into the ground.  I transplanted the tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, squash, basil, as well as a few ornamentals.  I also seeded the carrots (finally!!) and corn.

We have had some very high temps over the past couple of weeks, with many days in the high 20's & humidex readings in the 30's (80F+/90F+).  And what does that mean for the harvest?  Well, one of the first things to be impacted was, not surprisingly, the spinach.  The sustained high temps did not agree with the Viroflay spinach, which promptly started to bolt.  I quickly harvested what I could (which wasn't much at all) and pulled the plants.

Viroflay spinach

There are 4 other varieties planted and most of them seem to be doing ok, except for Giant Noble.  One of the plants looks like it is also on the verge of bolting.  It's nowhere near "giant" yet, but I'll be harvesting what I can & hopefully the others will continue to hold on as we are supposed to be getting more moderate temps this week.

The salads with fresh-from-the-garden lettuce have really picked up...oh have I missed them!

Sweetie Baby & Royal Red lettuce (left, centre); White Russian kale (right)

The lettuce is holding up very well to the heat.  I've pinned a bit of Agribon to the top of the hoops to give them some shade during the midday heat.  I've done this every summer and it seems to help.

And you'll notice the small picking of kale with the lettuce.  I quite enjoy both White & Red Russian kale in salads - they are sweet, tender and have just enough texture to not mat together in the salad.  The kale harvest will likely pick up this week and I'm looking forward to trying the two new varieties I'm growing, Red Ursa & Starbor.

One of the big successes this spring was the Early Greens bed in which I sowed rapini, radishes, baby choy, claytonia and arugula.  I had a good 2 weeks of pickings from this bed and, had our spring arrived on time, I'm confident that we would have been harvesting over a much more leisurely 3 or 4 week period.  Everything that was left in the bed was harvested this past week to make room for the tomatoes & eggplant.  But the goodness from that bed will last for another week or so as my fridge is now stocked with arugula & claytonia, which I've been adding to our salads, as well as quite a few heads of baby choy.

This my first time growing claytonia and I really enjoy the mild flavor and juicy, crunchy texture. 

Claytonia

For a while there I wasn't sure if it was worthwhile including claytonia in the Early Greens bed as it looked as if it wouldn't mature in time, but in the past week it put on a lot of growth - so much so that I have no hesitation including it in the future.  Had our spring weather been "normal", I likely would have been harvesting it much sooner.

Claytonia, close-up

I harvested all of the claytonia except for one plant which I transplanted to the herb bed, just to see how it fares.

The last of the radishes & arugula were harvested...see you both again in the fall:

Speedy Arugula with
French Breakfast & Easter Egg radishes

And I harvested a LOT of baby choy - stir fry anyone? :)

Ching Chang & Green Fortune Baby Choy

Of the two baby choy varieties that I grew, Ching Chang was the smallest.  If you've ever cooked with bok choy, you know how much it shrinks - no need to chop these babies up before adding them to the wok:

Ching Chang Baby Choy

I didn't notice a perceptible difference when I taste tested the two varieties, and they were both equally tender.  However, our high temps did seem to impact Ching Chang more than Green Fortune, as two of them had started to bolt by the time I picked them (vs. none of the Green Fortune).

I also harvested a White Lady turnip last night - a quick jaunt to the garden, pick the turnip, wash, slice & toss into the salad...no time for a picture.  I have 3 rows of them and they are sizing up quickly, so I'm sure a photo will find it's way into next weeks Harvest Monday post.

One thing that I noticed was that the turnip was much stronger & sharper in flavor than those I harvested last spring.  I've heard that warm temperatures may impact on their flavor, so that is likely the cause.  It's too bad as, although they are still very tender and quite tasty, I was really looking forward to the uber mild, sweet taste from last year.

My harvest totals this week were:

Arugula - 362 grams (0.80 lbs)
Chinese Greens – 2,502 grams (5.52 lbs)
Claytonia - 382 grams (0.84 lbs)
Kale – 38 grams (0.08 lbs)
Lettuce – 402 grams (0.89 lbs)
Radishes – 184 grams (0.41 lbs)
Spinach - 90 grams (0.20 lbs)
Turnips – 70 grams (0.15 lbs)
Turnip Greens – 164 grams (0.36 lbs)

Total for Week –  4,194 grams (9.25 lbs)

Total to Date –  5.93 kg (13.07 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.

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

32 comments:

  1. I'm not surprised that your spinach has bolted already, it's probably more because of the long days than the heat, although the heat doesn't help. Your salad greens are looking good! Mine are a starting to look tired now, I just can't seem to keep up with them because they grow so fast at this time of year. I love those little chois that can be cooked up whole, they are so cute.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The point of "too much salad" is quickly approaching - it's incredible how the lettuce bed goes from skimpy to overflowing. I love the tiny choy too - it's the first time I've grown them and I'll be adding them to the annual rotation for sure.

      Delete
  2. I've been so busy with other things this spring that I haven't planted a single vegetable. Luckily, you more than make up for me in the grand scheme of things. Hoping for better things in the Microgarden soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I do know busy all too well :) And it's not too late to plop a few lettuce seedlings or peas into the ground should you happen upon a plant or seed stand at a local nursery ;)

      Delete
  3. Glad you were able to get some more out of what was a very successful crop for you this year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This was my first attempt at getting an early group of crops in & out before planting up the warm season veg, so I'm more than happy with the results!

      Delete
  4. A good start to the year. It's very strange for me this year with no gardening going on, I'm usually busy getting everything planted out at the allotment but I'm enjoying the rest if I'm honest, though other things are keeping me busy this year. It's good to see what everyone else is up to though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies

    1. I'm sure it must be strange, when in the past you were probably up to your elbows in compost & seedlings at this point in the season. Enjoy the rest...in another year or two, you may very well get the growing bug once again.

      Delete
  5. Looks like you had a lot of success with your early greens bed. Good job considering the crazy weather. The claytonia is new to me, how do you like it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies

    1. I REALLY like it & have been using it as a salad addition - the leaves are on the thick side, verging on succulent, and it's tender, mild, crunchy & juicy. Even the stems are tender. Well worth a try, I would say!

      Delete
  6. It looks like you had lots of lovely greens this week! I've never grown claytonia. There's a native claytonia that produces little potato like tubers, I wonder if that's the same thing? Enjoy all your spring greens!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I had to look that up as I had only ever heard of the "regular" claytonia (Claytonia perfoliata) but apparently there are 26 species - Claytonia virginica grows "tasty tubers" according to one website but it looks very different from the one I'm growing. May be something to try in the future!

      Delete
  7. I've never tried claytonia before, and the thick leaves sort of remind me of a larger version of purslane. And I don't usually grow turnips here in spring because it gets hot so quick and I don't like the taste either. I'll wait until August to sow mine for a fall crop. That's some lovely choy, and I bet it was great in a stir fry!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was yummy and I have plenty more to go in the fridge...my lunches this week are taken care of :) I was quite surprised by the flavour of the turnips - last year they were so mild with no sharpness at all. I grew these last fall as well, but, surprisingly, enjoyed the spring ones more - we probably had a typical, coolish spring; I should look back at my notes to see if that was indeed the case.

      Delete
  8. I had made a note to try claytonia at some point, and with your recommendation, I'm sure it will make the cut next year.

    No surprise the spinach bolted with the heat the past few weeks but what a shame as we are getting some cooler temps and you might have gotten a bit more out of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do wish we had a bit more consistency in our weather! Well, it's not a huge loss as I do still have 3 spinach varieties that are not bolting...yet!

      Delete
  9. That's amazing that you got 5.5 pounds of baby choy. Claytonia sounds really good by your description.

    Most of our Asian green seedlings bolted today after another hot hot day. They were so tiny they all went into a quick soba noodle stir-fry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's incredible what you can grow in a small space - all the baby choy was in a 2'x2' spot which is not planted up with tomatoes. Yup - you can't stop nature; it sounds like you made very good use of your greens :)

      Delete
  10. Oh, my husband would be crazy for that Arugula! He loves it, and I say "meh." The rest of your harvest looks so yummy, though! We're now back on the schedule of getting our biweekly vegetable share, and I couldn't believe how much lettuce and spinach we got! I miss those fresh salad greens, too. We had enough spinach to make two big salads, an amazing stir-fry dish (which my hubby made--it was soooo good), and Zuppa Tuscana. Plus, we have enough left to make several more salads! Love this time of year! Your Royal Red Lettuce looks particularly tasty to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow - that is a LOT of spinach! Your CSA must be having a bumper spinach year...lucky you!!

      You know, I'm not a huge fan of arugula either as I often find the flavour much too strong. This particular variety, however, is very mild and tender. I quite like a handful of it in salads and as the green in a sandwich. I heard other bloggers commenting about this so I just had to give it a try & I'm so glad I did!

      Delete
  11. Oh, sorry to hear about your spinach--just yesterday I came out to cut salads and saw those darn seed stalks starting. ACK! And today's high temps are our normal low temps so the little buggers should have hung on just a couple more days and they'd get their cool temps back. Sigh.
    I will try claytonia next year--sounds great. My new one this year was mache and I thoroughly enjoyed that.
    Have a great week, Margaret

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup - by last evening, I noticed that another of the Giant Noble was bolting. That was the variety that I was most looking forward too as it's supposed to get huge...up to 24" across, according to what I read. Oh well, I guess I'll have to try again in the fall.

      Oh, mache is on my list too - I love finding these different little greens to add to our salads. Each year I try a new one - last year it was landcress but I had such a hard time getting them to germinate. And when I eventually did get a few seedlings, I ended up forgetting that's what they were and weeded them out of the bed ..duh!

      Delete
  12. As others have said, it's no surprise that your spinach bolted in the hot weather. That always used to happen to mine, so I have given up growing it. After what you have said about it, I am definitely considering growing Claytonia. It's nice to have salad with lots of different ingredients, I think. I have just sown some Greek Cress, Corn Salad and Land Cress, for this very reason.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It seems to be hit or miss with spinach - last year, it did fairly well in the spring when our temps were cooler. I'll probably keep at it as you just never know what the weather will throw at you each year (especially these days!)

      And completely agree on the greens - it's really a true luxury to be able to add a little bit of this and that to salads, from the garden. Not only are garden pickings super fresh, but there are so many more choices in seed catalogues than on grocery store shelves.

      Delete
  13. I know nothing about claytonia, must do some research. Used to grow Ching Chang Baby Choy, need to add to my list again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am quite pleased with the Ching Chang choy - last year it didn't do very well, so it goes to show that it's wise not to give up on things too easily. Had some tonight in a stir-fry with rice. Yum!

      Delete
  14. Your greens look so picture perfect, no nibbles from insects or sund damage.. Respect :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Lotte! I use netting on all of my greens beds, but the slugs still do manage to take a bite or two (or more!), especially as the season progresses.

      Delete
  15. Hi Margaret, You have a nice variety of delicious harvest!! My spinach is bolting now also. It is really hot and humid here now for a few days. Not my kind of gardening weather! Nancy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Nancy! Ugh...the weather is the same here. Our humidex reached 35C today (95F) - I did a bit outside, but I'm saving most of my outdoor work for tomorrow when it's supposed to be a much more comfortable 20C (68F) :)

      Delete
  16. Looks delicious! I love fresh spring spinach. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's so good, isn't it? Too bad it's equally fleeting.

      Delete

I appreciate and thoroughly enjoy all of your lovely comments :) Please note that in order to foil those pesky spammers, comment moderation has been enabled for older comments.