Harvest Monday, October 31, 2011

October was coming to an end and still no hard frost, quite unusual, but snow shower was predicted for the area so Mary who is in charge of the Edible Landscape, Dutchess County Farm & Home Center, Rt. 44, Millbrook, NY, scheduled a work session on Monday to remove all the frost tender vegetables. That was a good call as Thursday night we had killer frost and on Saturday we had snow, yes, snow in October and lots of it (Millbrook: 21+ inches), quite unusual.

Malabar spinach, Pinetree ‘Basella alba’, was one of the frost tender veggies. The plant was still looking gorgeous, but you do what you have to do. The photo at right was taken by Mary (I forgot to bring my camera).

Only one volunteer took some of the Malabar spinach I ended up with most of the harvest. Washed, discarded stems and mature leaves. Result: 3 pounds of tender leaves. Sautéd until wilted in olive oil with minced garlic, minced shallots and a few slices of ginger, salt and pepper to taste. Cooled some and packaged in a freezer bag, dated and labeled, will find out how well this vegetable freezes at a later date.

Did not get to my own garden before Thursday’s killer frost but was able to salvage some of the veggies on Friday.

This is the last of the “surprise” bitter melon, weight: 4¼ pounds. Most were small ones and many were damaged by frost, still edible.

Also dug the remainder of the sweet potatoes (vines were damaged by frost). These were planted from purchased slips that arrived too late in the season, yields were very poor and tubers were very small as a result. The photo above shows the harvested total of all 3 varieties from 7 plants, weight: 1¾ pounds. I liked the texture of all 3. Will definitely plant purple and Korean purple (this variety is similar or may be the same as the white sweet potato I plant) but will be propagating my own slips so I can plant in a timely manner.

Photo at right is a cross section of the purple.

Check out this site Secondary Edible Parts of Vegetables, you will find useful and surprising information.

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


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About Norma Chang

I am the author/publisher of 2 user-friendly Chinese cookbooks: "My Students' Favorite Chinese Recipes (updated edition)" and "Wokking Your Way to Low Fat Cooking" A gardener who enjoys cooking and eating and loves to think outside the box A garden volunteer at Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden Conduct hands-on cooking workshops for teenagers Conduct cultural programs for children and family Conduct healthy cooking classes for adults
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26 Responses to Harvest Monday, October 31, 2011

  1. kitsapfg says:

    It is always amazing how much the late fall garden yields up when we start doing the final clean up and winter prep. Do you have any fall/witner crops left in your garden?

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Kitsapfg,
      Yes, I do have fall/winter crops left in the garden. They are – parsnips, celeriac, kale, collard, leeks, carrots and maybe Swiss chard. Not sure what will make it through the snow. Will just have to wait and see.

  2. Wilderness says:

    It sure was a good move to pick down the garden. I was looking at the weather map this morning and saw how much Millbrook got and here I am in the mountains and we only got a dusting.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Wilderness,
      How lucky. I have 3 downed trees to deal with, broken branches to prune and deer fences to rebuild. Fortunately I did not lose electricity. Many of my friends are still without power.

  3. What a great late harvest you have had!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Promenadeplantings,
      Yes, the bittermelon harvest was a great surprise. Guess because the vines were so thick I missed a few good size ones and because they were protected escaped the frost.

      • I haven’t tried growing bitter melons, but I hope to try some next year in my greenhouse. I doubt our weather here will be as kind as yours. But it will be fun to try!

      • Norma Chang says:

        Hello Promenadeplantings,
        I am in the process of writing a post about growing and cooking with bitter melons. The plant is very decorative, I have seen it grown for just that purpose.

  4. Barbie says:

    Beautiful melons and malabar. I hope youll remember to posta bout it when you get around to eating it!

  5. Shanon says:

    Stopping by via Daphne’s. Just wondering how you eat a bitter melon? Thanks! –Shanon

  6. Liz says:

    The colour of that purple sweet potato is just fabulous! I planted mine today and having never grown them before I am really interested to see how they do.

  7. emily says:

    What a nice varied harvest. I don’t have any of those crops growing in my garden!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Emily,
      Those crops are very easy to grow. The Malabar spinach on a trellis adds structure and makes a lovely backdrop for a flower garden. It really is a beautiful plant.

  8. mac says:

    Love those purple sweet potatoes.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Mac,
      Do you grow them? They are lovely to look at, the texture is great and I understand they are also good for you. I have a short growing season, must propagate my own slips so I can plant in a timely manner.

  9. Joyce says:

    Hi Norma:

    I had my last sweet potato last night. As you know we were hit very hard with the snow. The kids were able to trek or treat last night in the neighbour so we all had dinner and head out. Our neighbour was clean up pretty good. We had more children than I have seen. As a matter, I run out of candy.

  10. Daphne says:

    I so want to try sweet potatoes next year. But supply is an issue. The short season ones do better here – or so I hear. I hate all the costly shipping though. I’d rather just grow some slips from the supermarket potatoes.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Daphne,
      The supermarket sweet potatoes may be treated with a growth retardant and may or may not sprout. I got my initial sweet potato from a health food store, you could also get one from your local farmer’s market if one is still operating at this time of year. Purchasing from your local farmer’s market you can be assured that it is suitable for growing in your area.
      I decided to experiment and brought in a cutting of the purple sweet potato vine and am rooting it. Will pot it up soon and grow as a houseplant, if my experiment works, I should have vines which I can then cut into shorter lengths and treat as slips.
      Wish I had thought of doing the same with the other varieties.

  11. Mary Hysong says:

    Wow purple sweet potatoes? How cool, where did you find them? Tho at this time I have not been able to grow decent ones here in the alkaline clay of the desert, this coming year I may just try a peat based compost in a big tub and see what happens. I found you through Daphne’s Harvest Monday

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Mary,
      One of my garden friend ordered the purple sweet potato slips from Sandhill Preservation.
      Sweet potato does best in soil high in organic matter, prefers slightly acidic soil with pH between 5.0 – 6.5. Your planting in a peat based compost in a big tub should yield good results. Keep me posted.

  12. Diana says:

    Ohhh…I crave for some bitter gourd now looking at your super harvest. I tried freezing one bitter gourd last year to see whether it does well but it still in the freezer. I would really like to have my hand on some of the korean sweet potatoes to try and grow them.

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