Harvest Monday, November 17, 2014 – End of Season Chores + Giant Parsnip from LGHVG

The weather last week was just fabulous, the first half was warm and gorgeous, the 2nd half was cold but calm, also lovely (as long as one is bundled up), as a result I was able to get quite a lot of outdoor chores completed.

Put up the deer fences, cleaned up the annual beds, finished pruning the shrubs and trees that needed pruning, raked the leaves, weeded, mulched … am pleased with me. My gardens are ready for winter.

Leeks, beets, parsnips, celeriac and carrots are mulched with a thick layer of leaves which will protect them and I can harvest as needed throughout the winter, garlic beds also got mulched.

Harvest of the week included

lutz beets (07058)

Lutz Beets

Pulled 2 lutz beets on Monday to make borscht, but never got around to making it.

Decided to take advantage of the gorgeous weather to get the outdoor chores completed so just pulled meals from the freezer. Beet roots are in storage but I did stir fry the greens with garlic and ginger for a side.

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leeks, kale, carrot & parsley (07060)

Leek, Beedy’s Camden Kale, Carrots (direct sow) & Parsley

All the above harvest was for a bean soup, but again never got around to it and they are in the fridge, hopefully I will make the bean soup this week.

The Beedy’s Camden kale is from seeds gifted to me a few years ago by Dave, Our Happy Acres. Was surprised the seeds were still viable.

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Decided to put my window boxes to bed for the winter. Below 2 photos are harvests from the window boxes.

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Window Box Spinach

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From Window Box, left: Bok choy; right: Shanghai Bok Choy

The spinach and bok choys are in the fridge for now.

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Had to feature the following parsnip from LGHVG

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Hollow Crown Parsnip. Left: from my home garden. Right: from LGHVG

Last Thursday during our morning work session at LGHVG, I was assigned the task of digging up the root crops for that evening Locust Grove Sunset Sensations. Imagine my excitement when I dug up the above parsnip (without breaking it).

The parsnip, on the right, from LGHVG, measured 20 inches in length, 11½ inches in circumference and weighed about 1½ pounds. The parsnip on the left is the same variety, hollow crown, from my garden and is the normal size we see in the food market.

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Cross sections of Parsnip from LGHVG

After the excitement, the question we asked the horticulturists was: Is it woody? That was also the question the audience at Sunset Sensations asked.

The answer is: No.

The whole root was tender and edible.

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Will be MIA for a while.

Having a few sets of out-of-town guests. First set arriving this week. But before anyone arrives I need to finish unpacking the kitchen items that are still in boxes and bags. Yes, my kitchen reno was completed 3 months ago, I unpacked the essentials but never got around to unpacking the rest.

Also there are a number of chores that I have been putting off until “tomorrow” that can no longer wait until “tomorrow”. Will try to get to them in between guests. There is no garden to tend to and no blog post for a while, I really have no excuse for not completing them. The truth is those are chores that I hate reason they are still on the tomorrow’s list, but will try real hard to get them completed before the end of the year.

Happy Holidays! I will be back soon.

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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, Heritage vegetable garden, Locust Grove, Sunset Sensations, Uncategorized, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , | 39 Comments

Harvest Monday, November 10, 2014 – Experiments Update (Carrots Transplant & Okinawan Sweet Potato)

In my 7/28/14 (click on link and scroll down) post I mentioned experimenting with transplanting carrots and promised an update.

This past week I harvested the transplanted carrots.

Below are the results, my observations and what I plan to do next year as I am determined to learn if carrots can be successfully transplanted.

transplanted carrots (07006)

Carrots from transplants

As you can see from the above photo, both varieties of carrots are short and stubby instead of long and tapered. About half of the harvest were crocked instead of long and straight. All are still usable though.

In the past, I have successfully transplanted carrots at LGHVG and my home garden. So why are the above transplanted carrots  short, stubby and crocked? After mulling over this mystery for days, I have come to the following conclusions, of course I will need to prove my theory and that is one of the garden project for next year.

The differences were:
The carrots I transplanted at LGHVG and my home garden were thinnings from direct sown seeds. The leaves were about 4-5 inches tall and the roots had formed long skinny  carrots. These thinnings were sturdy and easy to handle. All I need to do was to make a deep hole using a narrow trowel and set the seedling into the hole, making sure the root went in straight (this was easy to accomplish).
The leaves of the carrot seedlings from the cell packs were only 2-3 inches tall. The roots were tangled, formed a mass and sections broke off when I tried to pull apart the seedlings (reason for the short and stubby carrots). Some of the roots had formed very tiny carrots others were more hairlike. I believe the roots with the tiny carrots are the straight fat ones, the roots that were hairlike are the crocked ones (roots were most likely bent).

Solutions (I hope)
1. Use a larger and deeper container to start the seedlings.
Thinking: a gallon-size plastic milk container (or something similar that is at least 6 inches deep and has straight sides) instead of the cell packs that I used this year.
2. Thin the seedlings a bit (the ones in the cell pack were one solid mass).
3. Allow tiny carrots to form before transplanting seedlings or transplant the seedlings with tiny carrots only.

I am anxious to prove my theory so will do a spring experiment as well as a fall one. Stay tuned, I will bring you up-to-date from beginning to end (may be more than you care to know).

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container Okinawan sweet potato (07009)

Frosted Okinawan Sweet Potato plant in foam ice chest

Did not check the weather daily this past week. Had one bad frosty night and my container Okinawan sweet potato was frost bitten (above photo).

Figured it was as good a time as any to find out if any tubers had formed.

Okinawan sweet potato (07017)

Mass of Okinawan Sweet Potato Roots

Tried to pull the whole plant out of the container but could not get it to budge. Had to break the container apart. As you can see from the above photo, the roots were dense, had matted together and tightly jammed in the container.

Okinawan sweet potato (07019)Okinawan sweet potatoOkinawan sweet potatoYou can see from the above photos that sweet potato had began to form. The largest one is about the size of my thumb the others are about the size of my fingers. Would I have larger tuber if the original sweet potato slip was planted in the ground where the roots could roam freely and the tubers had room to expand (instead of being restricted in the container)? I do think so. Which means I could successfully grow Okinawan sweet potato in the Hudson Valley. Yes????? Another garden experiment for 2015.

Dave, Our Happy Acre, USDA zone 6b, grew Okinawan sweet potato this year and was successful, click here to see his results. I don’t think mine is the same variety as his. The leaves are similar but the skin colors are different. My Okinawan sweet potato slips were gifts from Angie, The Novice Gardener, click on link to visit her blog.

Okinawan sweet potato slips (07052)

Okinawan Sweet Potato Cuttings Rooting in Water

I am saving the thumb-size sweet potato to grow slips next year, but just in case the tuber does not make it to next February/March, I am rooting a few cuttings to grow as house plant and I will be able to get slips for planting.

My challenge now is where to plant it next year? My fenced in garden area is very limited, I have an ideal spot on my property but it is very close to where my neighbor’s woodchuck resides and I really do not wish to invite it to come any closer to my property (it and the deer love sweet potato vines). Will figure something out, have the whole winter to think about it.

Okinawan sweet potato (07038)

Steamed Okinawan Sweet Potato Tubers/Roots

Needed to know what the Okinawan sweet potato tasted like so steamed a few of the tubers/roots. Though skinny and not yet fully formed, the tubers, a bit stringy, were tasty and slightly sweet. The texture is drier than the purple sweet potato I currently grow. The flesh is a deep purple color (the one in the middle of the photo is peeled). The long arched root actually was edible (a pain to peel). Can you imagine the size of the tuber if that root (about 10 inches long) had matured?

Continuing with garden clean up this week, weather should be nice, 60′s today and tomorrow and no snow yet, who knows, I may get all my outdoor chores completed before the ground freezes and before it becomes too cold to be outdoor, that would be excellent.

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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, Heritage vegetable garden, Husdon Valley, Locust Grove, New York, Uncategorized, Vegetables | Tagged , , , | 48 Comments

Harvest Monday, November 3, 2014 – Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden

Locust Grove veggie display (IMG_0578)

The harvest display at Locust Grove Sunset Sensations on October 9, 2014

(I apologize for the poor quality of the above photo. The room was dark and the sun was streaming through the glass doors and windows.)

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It was one of those week.

The week went by but nothing much was accomplished. Sure glad I got my garlic planted the week before and did not wait until 10/29 (the date I planted in 2013).

Since there was nothing exciting from my garden, thought I would showcase some of the 2014 crops grown at Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden where I am a volunteer.

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Locust Grove's tomatoes (IMG_0527)

Locust Grove's tomatoes (IMG_0532)

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carrot (IMG_0510)

Yellow Carrot – Jaune Obtuse du Doubs (from 1894), Orange Carrot – St. Valery (<1885)

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Cross sections of orange & yellow carrots

Both the yellow and orange carrots are heirlooms and even though quite large are not woody. The yellow stays yellow after cooking.
Taste: sweet and crisp. Good carrot flavor.

Will be growing both in my home garden next year.

Today we are having our Locust Grove year end gardeners’ potluck lunch.  I am making a Sweet Potato Noodles dish featuring the above carrots.

To learn about sweet potato noodles and a recipe click here.

The above are just 2 of the carrot varieties growing in the LGHVG garden.

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Three Sisters – Corn, Pole Beans & Pumpkin/Squash

three sisters (IMG_0524)

Three Sisters – Corn, Pole Beans (Scarlet Runner) & Pumpkin (Cheese)

cheese pumpkin (IMG_0638)corn (IMG_0530)Top: Corn (Stowell’s Evergreen)
Left: Pumpkin (Tan Cheese)
No photo of the harvested Scarlet Runner Beans, sorry.

The Three Sisters companion planting is an ancient and practical space-saving method that was used by native Americans and are used by many gardeners today. The cornstalks, which acts as trellises, offer support for the beans to climb. The beans fixes nitrogen in the soil to nourish the corn. The pumpkins, growing along the ground and acting as mulch, prevent weeds from growing and help to conserve moisture.

To learn about 3 sisters companion plantings click on the links below.



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White Onions (IMG_0533)

Onions (Southport White Globe)

The above is one of the many varieties of onions grown in the LGHVG garden.

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Dried Beans

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Dried Beans

The True Red Cranberry is a pretty beans and the texture of the cooked beans is creamy, I like it a lot. Wish I had room to grow some in my own garden. Have not tried the Blue Coco or the Mayflower.

NOTE: Home-grown dried beans cook faster than store-bought dried beans. The same is true for home-grown vegetables.

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Turnips (Purple Top White Globe & Orange Jelly)

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Lavender (IMG_0570)


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There are also thyme, parsley, basil, rosemary …

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The nasturtiums are truly gorgeous this year.

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The above are a small sampling of the crops grown in LGHVG. Click here to view some of the other crops.

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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, Herbs, Heritage vegetable garden, Locust Grove, Sunset Sensations, Uncategorized, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 44 Comments

Harvest Monday, October 27, 2014 – Planting Garlic – German White & Duganski

For the past umpteen years I have planted multiple varieties of garlic, all properly labeled at planting time. However, between harvesting, curing and cleaning I always manage to get the varieties mixed up. Currently, except for the German White, all my other garlics are mystery garlics.

So this year I decided to plant only 2 varieties, German White and Duganski. As you can see from the photos below it would be impossible to get the 2 varieties mixed up.

German white garlic (06998)

Garlic, German White

I like the German White very much, both the young garlic green and the garlic scape are fat and tender with a mild sweet garlic flavor, the garlic cloves are big and easy to peel. Each head contains 4 – 6  huge cloves. The head in the above photo contains 5 giant cloves and 1 small clove.

duganski garlic (06996)

Garlic, Duganski

Duganski is a new variety for me. We grew this variety in the Heritage Vegetable Garden at Locust Grove (where I am a volunteer) for the first time this year. When I saw the mature head of garlic that we harvested, I was smitten by its beauty (I know, you are thinking: “she’s got a loose screw upstairs”) decided then and there to plant this variety.

Each large head with its beautiful, purple stripe, contains 8 – 12 cloves. The head in the above photo contains 11 fairly equal-sized cloves.

Duganski is a hard neck garlic so I am looking forward to harvesting the scape as well. Like the German white the cloves are also easy to peel.

garlic cloves (06990)

Left: Duganski Garlic Clove. Right: German White Clove

As you can see from the above photo, the clove of the German White is about twice the size of the Duganski. I now have a choice of clove sizes when adding garlic to a dish.

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Garlic is easy to grow and bothered by few pests. If you have never grown garlic before do give it try. Below are my planting guide that I hope you will find useful and encouraged to give growing garlic a try.

» Select a well drained, sunny location in your garden.
» Garlic is a heavy feeder, I enrich the soil by digging in compost and/or well rotted manure.
» Select and save the best heads with the largest cloves from the current year harvest

If you are a first time garlic grower, get your garlic for planting from a farmers market or the health food store, the garlic from the food market are most likely treated with a growth retardant and will not grow.

Day of Planting
» I plant my garlic around the end of October, last year I planted on October 29, this year I am a few days earlier. Depending on your planting zone (I am zone 6a, used to be 5) your planting date will be different than mine. (Your local cooperative extension or your local garden centers are good sources for garlic planting time table.)
» I sprinkle granular organic fertilizes on the surface of the soil, mix in well using my hoe.
» Prior to planting, I separate the garlic cloves and plant each clove, pointed end up, 2 inches deep and 3 inches apart (the guideline is to plant the cloves 5 – 6 inches apart. See Harvesting below to learn why I plant my cloves so closely).
» Water well and deeply especially if the ground is dry. The cloves will get established before the ground freezes and may send out shoots. That’s OK, not to worry, they will survive the winter.

NOTE: Will mulch the garlic bed with a few inches of leaves after the ground freezes.

» Weed if needed.
» I fertilize with fish emulsion fertilizer in the spring and water as needed. By the first week of July, as harvest approaches, I water less frequently and no watering few days before harvest.

Garlic Green aka Green Garlic – Starting around the end of March (depending on weather may be early April) I begin to harvest every other garlic plant to use as garlic green (also known as green garlic) until around mid-May. The whole plant, green as well as white parts, are edible.

Click here for a (non)recipe using garlic greens.

The remainder of the garlic plants are now properly spaced to grow and mature into full heads. For the same space I am getting 2 different crops.

garlic green (01328)

Garlic Green aka Green Garlic

Garlic Scape – Around the last week of May, the garlic plant begin to send out garlic scape (seed stem) which I harvest until about the 3rd week of June. (Soft neck garlic will not produce scape.)

You can substitute garlic scape for the garlic green in this (non)recipe.

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Garlic Scapes

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Garlic Scapes

I run my fingers along the seed stem and snap, both the stem and bud are edible.

Garlic Head – Harvest when the lower leaves are brown but at least 4 green leaves remain on the top of the stem, for me that’s around mid-July.

garlic (o5442)


To check for readiness, I dig one head to see if it is nicely wrapped with a parchment-like wrapper, if not, I will check again in a few days. Once ready, using my garden fork, I lift the heads, very carefully, out of the ground (do NOT pull), brush off extra soil (do NOT wash) tie them into small bundles and hang them in my shed (see NOTE) to dry and cure. This will take a few weeks. Once cured, I trim the roots, cut the stems to about 1½ inch above the heads and brush off the loose dirt. Store at room temperature (not in the fridge). Will keep for 3 – 6 months, depending on variety.

NOTE: I leave my shed door open during this drying and curing period to allow for air circulation. You can also place the plants single layer on elevated screen or garden flats to dry. Drying should be done in a dry and airy location but out of the sun.

…   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …  …   … 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, Herbs, Recipes, Tofu, Uncategorized, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , , | 78 Comments

Harvest Monday, October 20, 2014 – Garden Clean Up + Last Harvest of Some Crops

Veggie garden clean up was in full swing this past week and a good thing as there was a freeze warning for last night and when I looked out the window this morning there is frost on the roof of my shed. So glad I brought my containers of Okinawan sweet potatoes, Trinidad perfume peppers and window box bok choys into the garage for protection.

It seemed like just the other day when I was writing about the first harvest of the following crops and now I am writing about the last harvest. Where did the year go?????

Before pulling up and discarding the plants I harvested what was usable.

misc harvest (06846)

Left to right: Tri-color Amaranth, Broccoli, Gai Lan, Smooth Skin Luffa, Red Noodle Beans & Chinese Long Beans.

In the above basket, there is a little bit of this and a little bit of that, will need to be creative when preparing them.

Also harvested callaloo (amaranth) but forgot to take photos.

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brandywine tomato (IMG_0598)

Brandywine Tomato

Last of the Brandywine tomatoes. No more vine ripened homegrown tomatoes until next year. That is so sad as I will have to wait until next summer to enjoy tomato (I do not eat store bought tomatoes, yes, I am spoilt).

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sweet 100 & black pearl cherry tomatoes (06850)

Cherry Tomatoes – Sweet 100 & Black Pearl

Last of the cherry tomatoes. Both the Sweet 100 and the Black Pearl cherry tomatoes are very flavorful and I like both a lot but will not be growing Sweet 100 next year as they split very easily, looking for another yellow cherry. Definitely planting Black Pearl again.

Both the Black Pearl cherry tomato seeds and the Trinidad perfume pepper seeds were gifts from Dave of Our Happy Acres. Thank you Dave!

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Ping Tung eggplant (06918)

Ping Tung Eggplant

Some of you may recall my writing about growing Ping Tung Eggplant among my annuals. While cleaning up the flower bed I came across the above 3 Ping Tung Eggplants hiding among the annuals. What a pleasant surprise!!!!! The one at the top in the above photo was badly damaged by critters and went into the compost pile. The other 2 are in the fridge as I cannot decide how I want to prepare them.

Very happy with the results of the Ping Tung eggplant among the annuals also liked how it looked among the flowers. Will be experimenting with planting more varieties of edibles among my annuals next year.

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Asian pears (IMG_0593)

Asian Pears

Brought in all my Asian pears. Unfortunately most of them are deformed (like the one on the right), damage done by stink bugs. Did get about a dozen perfect ones (like the one on the left), it weight about 6 ounces (a pretty good size) crisp, sweet and juicy. Delicious!

Next year I am going to make some sacks (using netting from the fabric store) to bag the pears and hope that will prevent the stink bugs from attacking them.

…   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …  …   … 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, Uncategorized, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 49 Comments