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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Preparation
» 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.

Maintenance
» 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.

Harvesting
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.

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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.

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Garlic

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 , , , , , , , | 67 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.

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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

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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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

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

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

Harvest Monday, October 13, 2014 – Bok Choy in Window Boxes + Oven Drying Bok Choy & Mustard

This past week I continued with fall clean up. Most of the flower and perennial beds are in good shape, weeded, mulched and ready for winter. Also pruned and shaped my fig tree (not sure if it is the right time) before wheeling it into the garage for the winter.

Today’s post I am focusing on bok choy I transplanted into window box on September 1.

I had thickly sown some very old bok choy seeds in the garden early August hoping some of the seeds will germinate. Will you believe most germinated and needless to say needed thinning. Transplanted the thinning into window boxes. Below is one of them.

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Bok Choy

As you can see from the above photo, something is obviously enjoying my Bok Choy. May be I should give in and use a spray.

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Definitely overcrowded

Pulled every other bok choy plant and harvested some of the outer leaves of the remaining plants. Got 2+ pounds. Anxious to see how large the remaining plants will grow in the box now that they have more space and light.

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Bok Choy After Thinning

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Left: Red Giant Mustard. Right: Bok Choy

The Red Giant Mustard (all volunteers), about 1½ pounds, were harvested from the garden.

Still have lots of greens in the fridge that needed to be used so decided to experiment with oven drying the bok choy and mustard.

In Chinese cuisine, dried bok choy and dried mustard are used in soup.

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Blanched Bok Choy ready for the oven

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  Blanched Red Giant Mustard ready for the oven

 Placed the blanched bok choy and mustard in a 200°F oven (with oven door slightly ajar to allow moisture to escape) for 4 hours. Below photos show the results.

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Bok Choy after 4 hours in the oven

Bok choy after 4 hours in the oven at 200°F. The leafy part was dry and crispy but the stem part still had a bit of moisture, decided to leave the tray on the counter. After 2 days of air drying the stems were also dry and crispy.

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Red Giant Mustard after 4 hours in the oven

Red giant mustard after 4 hours in the oven at 200°F. Both the leafy part and the stems were dry and crispy. It appears given the same length of time and oven temperature the mustard dries faster.

After drying, 2 pounds of bok choy yielded about 4 ounces, 1½ pounds of mustard yielded about 3 ounces. Worth the time and effort not to mention electricity? Not sure. Packaged both in airtight container for later use in soup.

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Animals creating havoc

Some animals are digging into and overturning a few of my window boxes. The above is Shanghai Bok Choy.

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Repositioned Shanghai Bok Choy

After repositioning the Shanghai bok choy I moved the window box to a shaded location for a few days and gave the plants some liquid fertilizer to minimize the shock and help them to recover.

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Fall Blooming Daisies

Does anyone know the name of the above Fall Blooming Daisy? A friend gave me a plant some years ago but she never knew the name.

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HELP!!!! Photo #4, titled “Left: Red Giant Mustard. Right: Bok Choy” and photo #6 titled “Blanched Red Giant Mustard ready for the oven” have extra space (wider band) after the caption. Can anyone tell me how to get rid of the extra space? Thanks.

…   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …  …   … 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 , , , , , | 59 Comments

Snoopy & Belle In Fashion

Garden harvest was boring this past week, nothing new, so no Harvest Monday. Instead I am presenting Snoopy & Belle In Fashion.

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My daughter is a HUGE Snoopy fan. Before coming to visit last month, my son-in-law learnt there will be a Snoopy & Belle In Fashion exhibit in New York City at the New Museum‘s sky room during New York Fashion Week, is open to the public on September 9 and 10 and is FREE.

What a marvelous coincidence, that’s when they were visiting. So off we went on the train to NYC to view Snoopy & Belle In Fashion.

It was a fun and extravagant exhibit!!!!!

The outfits for all the Snoopy and Belle dolls were designed by international fashion leaders.

Below are some of the dressed-up dolls, so adorable.

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Snoopy & Belle in fashion (IMG_2234)Snoopy & Belle in fashion (IMG_2240)Betsey Johnson is the only designer with 2 sets of dolls. She participated in the first Snoopy & Belle In Fashion (the dolls at the top) 30 years ago and is again participating in this exhibit. The only designer to have the opportunity to be in both exhibits.

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After New York, the exhibit will travel to Paris, Milan, Tokyo, London and more over the next 2 years.

Hope you enjoy the posts as much as I enjoyed putting it together.
All the photos were taken by my daughter, Kathy.
Thank you Kathy!

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

Posted in New York, New York City, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 40 Comments

Harvest Monday, September 29, 2014 – Windowbox Spinach + Chicory (Radicchio) + Ramp Update

Garden harvest is slowing down but garden work is not.

There is fall cleaning which I started but haven’t gotten much accomplished. Hoping to get most, if not all, completed before it gets too cold and/or the ground is frozen. Also need to get garlic planted in October.

My 3 window boxes of spinach which I started on August 20 are doing exceptional well. Below is one of the boxes.

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Spinach (Space Hybrid) in Window Box

As you can see from the above photo there is serious overcrowding issue. Meant to thin many days ago and use the thinnings as baby spinach in my salads but never got around to doing so until Thursday.

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Window box spinach harvest
Weighed ½ pound
 Good harvest from just one 29″ L  x  8″ W x 7″ H window box

Was going to make a spinach and tofu soup but the days flew by. Spinach still sitting in the fridge. This week is going to be another busy one and with other greens from the garden to deal with, will most likely sauté all the spinach briefly in a little broth and freeze for winter use.

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Spinach Plants After Thinning

The above spinach plants are looking leggy due to overcrowding but were looking better yesterday since (after thinning) they now have room to grow and are receiving adequate sunlight and was also given a good soaking of fish emulsion fertilizer immediately after thinning.

From now on I will be harvesting just the outer leaves as needed leaving the remaining plants to continue to grow, how long will this continue? Don’t know the answer yet.

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It is only September but my chicories (radicchio) are bolting, why? This is the first time I am having this problem. Anyone with an answer for me?????

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Chicory (Radicchio)

The bolted chicory in the middle caught me by surprise as I did not expect to see that sight. Quickly harvested it and checked the others. The one on the left was small but showing sign of bolting (notice the protrusion on the top it should be flat like the one on the right) so that one too was harvested. The one on the right had formed a solid head. Not taking any chance to having it bolt, decided to harvest that one also. Still have a few more plants in the garden, they have not yet formed solid head but am checking daily for any sign of bolting.

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Some of you may remember the ramp given to me in May by my garden friend Nancy in exchange for garlic chives (yes, I got the better deal).

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Ramps

I planted the ones with roots and am happy to report that they all grew, flowered and formed seeds.

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Ramp Flowers

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Ramp Seeds

From what I read it will be 2 – 3 years before the ramps I planted from the (trans)plants/bulbs reach harvestable size bulbs and I should harvest only 15% of the largest bulbs. (It will take 5 – 7 years from seeds to harvest.)

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Slug

The above critter and its relatives are responsible for many of the damage to my bok choy, napa cabbage, strawberries, etc.

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Other harvests, as needed, for the week are: leeks, carrots, chard, tomatoes and amaranth plus a few strawberries daily.

…   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …  …   … 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 Garden pests, Gardening, Harvest Monday, Uncategorized, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , | 34 Comments