Harvest Monday, July 28, 2014, Peppermint Swiss Chard + Carrots Experiment

My new favorite Swiss chard – peppermint. So pretty! Love the stripes!

peppermint Swiss chard (06530)

Swiss Chard – Peppermint
Taste the same as other variety of Swiss chard

peppermint Swiss chard stir-fry (06535)

Stripes remain after cooking

I stir-fried the Swiss chard stems (saving the leaves for other purpose) with sugar snap peas in a bit of garlic, ginger & scallion infused oil (see NOTE), salt & pepper to taste. Tossed in the tomatoes to heat through just before plating. Wanted to add some chopped roasted macadamia nuts but could not find them (still without a finished kitchen and needed items are a challenge to find among the boxes littering my dining room and family room).

NOTE: Garlic, Ginger & Scallion Infused Oil – Add 1 – 2 cloves of smashed garlic, 1 – 2 slices fresh ginger and 1 smashed scallion (green & white parts) to 1 – 2 tablespoons of hot oil in wok or frying pan. After garlic, ginger and scallion have perfumed the oil and start to brown lightly, remove and discard. Add veggies, stir fry to desired doneness. A beautiful side that will compliment any meat, fish or poultry dish.

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This past week harvested Bright Light Swiss chard, mustard greens, beets, parsley and basil for friends who stopped by the garden gate, no photos.

Also harvested a handful of raspberries, no photo (they never made it through the garden gate). Birds and other critters are enjoying the ripe berries, I was lucky to find a handful.

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Harvest (06531)

In the basket, a portion of the:
Parsley, Mache, Lettuce (red & green), Tomato, Okra & Sugar Snap Peas
Arugula, Red Tomato & Amaranth did not make it into the photo

Harvested about 6 ounces of sugar snap peas. All went into the Swiss chard stir-fry together with the red and yellow tomatoes.

Okra and parsley went into a stew. Arugula, lettuce and mache will go into a salad. Most likely just do a simple stir-fry with the amaranth.

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While visiting a nursery in the spring I saw carrot seedlings in cell pack. This is the first time I am seeing carrot seedlings for sale.

Thinking: That’s a great idea, must give this a try as I have problems with direct sowing. Either poor germination or good germination and thinning becomes a pain in the neck, or critters decide to feast on the seedlings.

So instead of direct sowing my fall carrots, decided to experiment and sow in cell pack. The germination was excellent and I did not have to worry about critters.

carrot seedlings (06518)

Top: Cosmic Purple
Bottom: Coreless Nantes

Sow 2 varieties of carrots, cosmic purple and coreless nantes, in cell pack on June 1, 2014 (my sister, Joyce, babysat them while I was on my trip).

cosmic purple carrot seedling (06523)

With the roots so tangled was worried that it would be difficult to separate each seedling but need not worry, the seedlings separated very easily and not as fragile as they look.

(Not sure why the photos of the cosmic purple seedlings in the above photo and the next 2 photos below are so yellow, they were taken in the garden where it was sunny. The previous photo with the green seedlings was taken in a shady location).

cosmic purple carrot seedlings (06524)

Dug a trench and placed the (2-3 inches tall) seedlings about 3-inch apart in the trench

cosmic purple carrot seedlings (06529)

Filled trench with loose soil and watered well

Will the carrots grow long and straight? Find out at a later date.

Hoping for success and looking forward to harvesting many delicious carrots. I shall keep you updated on the progress and results. If successful will definitely start my carrots in cell packs in the future, no more direct sowing.

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You are not going to believe this.

Something is wrong with the oven of my BRAND NEW stove, very noisy when turned on especially the convection feature, impossible to stay in the kitchen when oven is on. This is supposed to be Electrolux high-end product. Waiting for service center to come and find the problem and take care of it.

Honestly, I didn’t think anything else could possibly go wrong with my kitchen reno. Murphy’s Law at work here!

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Copyright © by Norma Chang. All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.

Visit Daphne’s Dandelions http://daphnesdandelions.blogspot.com/ for more Harvest Mondays

Posted in Gardening, Harvest Monday, kitchen reno, Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , | 55 Comments

Harvest Monday, July 21, 2014 – Garlic Harvest + Temporary Kitchen

I am back, but may be temporary.

My last post, published May 26, 2014, I mentioned I would see you in a few weeks. That was nearly 2 months ago and my reno is still under way and may not be completed for another month may be 2. All this delay is causing me much stress and affecting my health. I think I have developed “tired” blood.

Lack the energy to spend a lot of time in the garden so most of the veggies are not growing well. Thinning, pruning,  weeding … need to be done. Hopefully next week I will feel more like myself and get caught up.

Managed to get to the garden this past week and dug up my German white garlic. Had to show them off.

garlic, German white (06489)

Garlic, German White

The garlic are curing in the shed (leaving the shed’s door open for ventilation during the day). Once the tops and roots have dried (3-4 weeks) I will cut them off, clean the heads, select and save the best heads for planting in October and enjoy the rest.

garlic, German whiteThis variety of garlic, German white, sends out nice fat tender scapes and the cloves (6 to a head) are large and easy to peel 
First time growing this variety, like the flavor a lot, will definitely grow again

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Because the upper and lower kitchen cabinets plus the countertop will be removed to take care of the winter damage to the walls and ceiling, decided to redo my entire kitchen – new cabinets, countertop and sink; new floor and new appliances.

Despite a few surprises when the ceiling and walls were removed everything was proceeding on schedule.

Then came words that the cabinets will be delayed and there was no way the reno could be completed before I leave for my scheduled trip. Unable to change my trip’s date, decided to leave the keys with the contractor who assured me the kitchen will be completed when I return home.

When I arrived home from my trip on June 30, the cabinets were installed, but where are the cabinets’ hardware? And where is the countertop?

Cabinets’ hardware was supposed to arrive in 4 days and installed while I was away. What happened?

On the eve of leaving for my trip I was told there will be delay in the delivery of the countertop. The slabs are on a ship at sea but should arrive on July 2. They did arrive at USA shores on July 2, but, guess what? They were sold to someone else. Yep, you read correctly my countertop, fully paid for, was sold to someone else. I was NOT a happy person. When a friend learned about it, her comment was: “It shows you have good taste.”

Slabs were reordered. When will they arrive? No idea. Install?????

On July 3, I spoke to the owner of the kitchen design store where I ordered my cabinets, countertop, cabinets’ hardware and sink. He suggested a face to face meeting to address the problems. After waiting 2+ weeks, his office finally called on Saturday, 7/19, to set up a meeting date for Wednesday, 7/23.

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While cleaning the cabinets I discovered a number of issues. Two company reps came and agreed these are issues that should not have occurred. Rep reported back to the company’s president/owner who called the same day and promised to rectify the problems, which means additional delays.

I appreciated the prompt personal phone call from the owner of the cabinet company and suppose to hear from him or his rep today to let me know what steps the company is going to take to rectify the problems and when I will have a completed kitchen.

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It was challenging to prepare meals with an electric wok on top of the washing machine and the microwave on top of the cloth dryer for so many weeks. With no idea how much longer before I will have a completed kitchen, I insisted on a temporary kitchen in my kitchen. It was installed on July 4th. Below are photos:

temporary kitchen sink (06503)

20 inch Countertop & Working Sink
Countertop prevents dishwasher door from opening so need to have a dish drainer

stove (06501)

Stove & Refrigerator are in place
Sheet pans & plywood make great countertop substitute
Still waiting for cabinets’ hardware

knickknacks (06515)

Plants, Vases & Knickknacks add a cheerful note to the unfinished kitchen

When will I have a fully functioning kitchen? Hope within the next few weeks as I am expecting company in August and need to have my house in order, especially a usable diningroom.

Will post photos of my fully functioning kitchen when it is completed and write an update on how all the issues were resolved.

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Copyright © by Norma Chang. All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.

Visit Daphne’s Dandelions http://daphnesdandelions.blogspot.com/ for more Harvest Mondays

Posted in Gardening, Harvest Monday, kitchen reno, Vegetables | Tagged , | 62 Comments

Harvest Monday, May 26, 2014 – Window Box Lettuce Salad + Taking a Break

The weather in the Hudson Valley for today, Memorial Day, promises to be dry and warm.
A beautiful day to honor all those who died while serving in the armed forces.

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Winter damage renovation is finally going to start this week.

Barring any unexpected surprises (I am having nightmares) when the kitchen ceiling and walls are opened up, the job should be completed in 3 weeks. Followed by putting my kitchen and house back to normal. Oh I forgot to mention the dreaded cleaning and dusting.

During the reno I will most likely be spending my time away from the computer so will not be posting for a while.

Had a very small harvest – Swiss chards and lettuces from the window boxes and Italian red rib dandelions from the garden.

Did harvested a bunch of garlic green to take to a friend but forgot to take photo.

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window box Swiss charrd (06420)

Swiss Chard from Window Box
Not a huge amount so I combined all the above with garlic greens from the garden.

Made a simple stir-fry with a bit of oil, S&P, delicious!

Because the chards transplanted to the garden are still quite small and not yet ready for harvest I decided to cut just the outer leaves of each plant in the window box (instead of pulling up the whole plant as I had originally intended) to assure future harvests.

Fertilized with fish emulsion fertilizer after harvesting and should get another meal may be 2 in a few days. Will pull all the plants then and put the window box to rest until fall.

The outer leaves of chards in the garden should be ready for harvest in a week or so.

∞ ∞ ∞

windowbox lettuce (06404)

Window Box Lettuce Before Harvest

window box lettuce (06418)

Window Box Lettuce After Harvesting Outer Leaves

Harvested the outer leaves of my window box lettuces, there was enough to make 2 good size salads.

Fertilized after harvesting and will continue to harvest the outer leaves as needed. As with the chards, once the outer leaves of the garden lettuces are ready for harvest, I will pull all the lettuce plants in the window box and put the box to rest until fall.

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red rib dandelion (06417)

Italian Red Rib Dandelions

Like dandelions on the lawn, Italian red rib dandelions are very winter hardy and come back year after year. By a happy accident, I planted my Italian red rib dandelions (few years ago) in an area of the garden where it can remain permanently. Now all I have to do is harvest as needed.

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lettuce salad (06413)Made a salad of:
Red rib dandelions
Carrots (overwintered in the garden)
Frozen pomegranate seeds (see NOTE)
Sliced avocado
Roasted pumpkin seeds

Dressed simply with balsamic vinegar, EVOO and S&P to taste. (I like to dress my spring salads minimally to maintain the garden fresh tastes.)

NOTE: Bought a pomegranate but used only a small portion. Not wanting the remainder to go to waste decided to de-seed the whole fruit and freeze the seeds. Use as needed straight from the freezer. Happy with the results.

As you can see from the above photo, the thawed seeds maintained their bright red color and their crunch too.

∞ ∞  ∞

yellow tree peony (06414)Pink tree peony (06416)






See you in a few weeks.

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Copyright © by Norma Chang. All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.

Visit Daphne’s Dandelions http://daphnesdandelions.blogspot.com/ for more Harvest Mondays


Posted in Gardening, Harvest Monday, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 41 Comments

Harvet Monday, May 19, 2014 – Comparing Windowbox & Garden + Ramps

Not much happening in the garden, did transplant 4 variety of beets, peppermint Swiss chard, leeks and onions.

Bok choy that I transplanted into the garden 0n 5/10/14 were doing very well. Then came the rain and overnight the slug population exploded. The slimy critters devoured all my bok choy.

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My April 14, 2014 post featured lettuce and Swiss chard seedlings I purchased from the nursery and transplanted into window boxes and 3-inch pots.

windowbox lettuce (06404)

Lettuces in Window Box
Will harvest the outer leaves as needed for salad

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windowbox Swiss chard (06403)

Swiss Chard in Window Box

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On 5/3/14, I transplanted the lettuces in one of the window box and the Swiss chard in the 3-inch pots into the garden figuring they would do much better in the ground than in the window boxes.

Not so.

lettuce (06406)lettuce (06408) Lettuce on the left is in the garden, lettuce on the right is in the window box and is much larger (did not take a good photo).

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Swiss chard (06405)Swiss chard (06407) Swiss chard on the left is in the garden, Swiss chard above is in the window box. As you can see the one in the window box is much larger.

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I offered a garden friend some Chinese chives/garlic chives and she brought me some ramps yesterday. Guess who got the better deal?????

ramps (06409)


The above photo shows part of the bounty I received (should have taken photo of the whole lot). There were a few healthy clumps which I planted in 2 different areas on my property to see where they would be the happiest.

Never cooked with ramps before, need to look up cooking info on the internet.

Was making soup for dinner so thinly sliced the bulb (white part) of one of the ramp, cut the green section in short length, tossed all into the pot and cooked briefly. Reminds me of garlic green but stronger garlic flavor, hint of sweetness and crunchy. Liked it a lot. Will be experimenting with the remainder.

Sure hope the ramps I planted grow and multiply. From what I read, it will be 2 – 3 years before I can harvest. That’s a looooong wait!

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tree peonies (06398)

Wishing You A Beautiful Week!

…   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …  …   … Copyright © by Norma Chang. All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.

Visit Daphne’s Dandelions http://daphnesdandelions.blogspot.com/ for more Harvest Mondays

Posted in Flowers, Gardening, Harvest Monday, Uncategorized, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , | 33 Comments

Harrvest Monday, May 12, 2014 – Garlic Green, Spring Onions, Chinese Chives + Chicory

Had harvest last week but not from this year’s planting. Hoping to harvest some lettuce this week.

Garlic green & spring onion (06388)

Top: Garlic greens
Bottom: Spring Onions

These are onions that I missed last year, they survived the winter. Amazing!

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Chinese chives (06390)

Chinese Chives/Garlic chives
Meant to blanch some of the clumps, but forgot, and now it is too late.
Made a note so that I will remember next year.

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Overwintered carrots (06391)

Overwintered Carrots
Carrots that I missed last year, pretty good sizes but not as sweet as I expected

All the above went into a sweet potato noodles stir-fry. To learn about sweet potato noodles and a recipe click here.

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Overwintered chicory (06395)

Overwintered Chicory/radicchio
These baby chicories went into a salad.

Some of you may recall my surprise discovery from my 4/28/14 post (click on date and scroll down). There were many “baby chicories” growing together on each of the stumps crowding each other. Decided to harvest (thin out) most of the “babies” leaving only a few on each stump. These remaining babies will have room to grow and develop and hopefully form “little baby heads”. If this happens, they would be very cute, I imagine. Can’t wait to find out.

∞ ∞

Yellow spring flowers (06397)

Have a Sunny & Cheerful Week!

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Copyright © by Norma Chang. All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.

Visit Daphne’s Dandelions http://daphnesdandelions.blogspot.com/ for more Harvest Mondays

Posted in Flowers, Gardening, Harvest Monday, Uncategorized, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , | 35 Comments