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 , , , , , , , , , , | 46 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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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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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

Harvest Monday, September 22, 2014 – Smooth-skin Luffa + Lutz Beet + San Marzano Tomato + Asian Pear

Did not pull up the luffa plant as mentioned in my 9/15/14 post.

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Baby Smooth-skin Luffa

Was getting ready to clip the luffa vines when I noticed 2 baby luffas that looked like they will grow to edible size so decided to leave the plant alone.

Then I saw a ready-to-eat luffa (photo below).

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Smooth-skin Luffa

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Smooth-skin Luffa

There were actually 2 ready-to-eat luffas. Was not taking any chances of them becoming past their prime, cut them from the vine immediately.

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Perfect texture, unlike the one mentioned in the 9/15 post (photo below).

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Not knowing whether these would be bitter or not, decided to do a taste test. Dropped a slice of each in some broth and yes, they were bitter.

This really puzzled me so went on line for answers.

Luffa which belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family will produce bitter fruit (cucumber too) due to dry conditions or temperature fluctuation which we had (August temperature was below normal, the first week of September was way above normal and the 2nd week was below normal).

Hopefully we will not have a repeat of temperature fluctuation and although it’s been very dry I watered the plant well so will see if the 2 baby luffas in the first photo taste good when they reach edible stage.

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Lutz Beet
Weighed 1½+ pounds, lutz beet doing exceptional well this year
It went home with a friend

A friend stopped by while I was harvesting, knowing she does not have a garden and I have more lutz beets in the garden gave this one to her (she sure was at the right place at the right time).

My friend called the next day to tell me she went home and made beet soup and how sweet and tender the beet was (she did not offer me a bowl of the soup). She sautéed the leaves and used as a side, they were tender.

Lutz is my favorite beet. A long season variety, plant in early spring to grow through fall, harvest anytime at any size during that period. As you can see from the above photo, it can grow to gigantic size yet does not become woody/tough and still remains sweet. Did I mention low maintenance as well? A winner indeed!

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San Marzano Tomato

Too many San Marzano tomato. Made a few batches of sauces, all labeled and frozen for later use. Lacking freezer space, decided to oven dry the above tomatoes. They will take up less freezer space. Will use them, in the future as needed, to enrich and add texture to the tomato sauce. Other uses include adding to salads, pasta dishes and as pizza topping,

san marzano tomato (06809)Tomatoes ready for the oven, had 2 trays.

oven dried tomato (06810)Tomatoes after baking at 250°F for 4½ hours. They have shrunk a lot are dry to the touch but still pulpy. For drier texture bake for another hour or 2.

Once cooled, packaged in freezer bags, dated, labeled and placed in the freezer.

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Had inter-planted my fall Swiss chard seedlings among the spring planted ones. The fall seedlings are doing well and need more space while the spring planted ones are getting leggy.

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Pulled all the spring planted chards so now the fall chard seedlings can grow and spread.
The row of plants in front of the chard are the transplanted carrot of which I will post an update later.

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Asian Pears

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Asian Pears

Due to the harsh winter and the amount of snow we had, could not get into the garden at the end of February/early March to spray the pear tree with horticulture oil so many of the pears have blemishes (pear at left and right) or are wormy.

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Other harvests for the week include: Chinese chives, leeks, sweet potato leaves, carrots, cherry tomatoes, few strawberries each day and  last of the figs.

…   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …  …   … 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 Fruits, Gardening, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , | 52 Comments