Harvest Monday, March 27, 2017 – Growing sweet Potatoes Slips + New Varieties + More Seed Starting

Last year at Locust Grove Heritable Vegetable Garden we planted six (6) varieties of sweet potatoes – Purple, Ginseng Red, Garrens Red & White, Ivis White Cream, Jersey Yellow and Georgia Jet.

This past week I started all 6 varieties for this year’s planting.

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Every year Mary N, also a LGHVG volunteer, and I grow the sweet potatoes slips for LGHVG. Between the two us we grow enough slips for LGHVG and our own gardens.

Last year Mary N grew Wilma’s SP as a replacement for Georgia Jet SP in her garden. She had great success and has offered to grow slips for LGHVG. Susan MacAvery, LGHVG horticulturist, accepted the offer and has agreed to plant Wilma’s in place of Georgia Jet this year. I will still keep the Georgia Jet I started just in case it is needed.

In my own garden, I am planting only Purple and Ginseng Red. Purple is a vigorously vining variety, during the growing season I harvest the tender leaves that are delicious cooked. Ginseng Red is a semi-bush variety, if you are lacking garden space, this is a good choice.

NOTE: Wilma’s SP is also a semi-bush variety, may be I will grow 2 plants if Mary N has extra.

Click here to learn which end of the sweet potato should be immersed in water.

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I like to try new vegetable varieties, besides the Red Winter Kale I mentioned in last Monday’s Harvest Monday post, the following are the ones I am trying this year.


Summer Purple Broccoli is a sprouting broccoli that produces shoots rather than one large head and is supposed to be easier to grow than regular broccoli. Too bad it turns green when exposed to heat.

Sun King Hybrid Broccoli produces large heads and is heat tolerant, but I bought it because of the 2 words “container friendly” at the lower right hand corner of the seed packet. As I mentioned in last Monday’s blog I am focusing more on container planting this year.

Atomic Red Carrot, with a name like that I had to buy it. It is a high lycopene variety that intensifies in color and sweetness after cooking, cool, can’t wait to taste it.

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Not sure why I bought the White Stem Bok Choy, I still have lots of left over bok choy seeds, could be because it was one of the end of season clearance item at the garden center and I could not pass up a bargain.

Toy Choi Hybrid Pac Choi, this is another seed that I bought because of its name.

Monstrueux de Viroflay Spinach is a variety we grew last year for the first time at LGHVG. A French heirloom variety with big smooth leaves. I liked it a lot cooked so decided to see if it will do well in window box.

Winter Light Daikon Radish is a compromise between the short stubby Korean type and the arm-length daikon. Planning to grow it in a deep container.

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Started more seeds: Oak Leaf Lettuce, Large Prague Celeriac, King Richard Leeks, Chinese Celery, Summer Purple Broccoli, Sun King Hybrid Broccoli, Toy Choi and Kolibi Kohlrabi.

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A lot of the snow from the March 14 Nor’easter have melted away but there is still much left.

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Photo taken yesterday (March 26 2017) afternoon.

Was able to dig a path from my back door to my shed door, now I have access to my garden supplies.

Hopefully all the snow will melt away by the end of this week and I can open the garden gate. (The snow piles left by the snow plows on the side of my driveway and the sides of the roads will stick around a bit longer.)

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

Do visit Dave at Our Happy Acres for more Harvest Monday

Posted in Container gardening, Gardening, Growing sweet potatoes, Harvest Monday, Heritage vegetable garden, Locust Grove, Uncategorized, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Harvest Monday, March 20, 2017 – Seed Starting + Container Garlic

Happy First Day of Spring!

I am back!!!!!

My hip, knee and lower back pains are pretty much gone. I am now able to walk at a good pace, go up and down stairs in a normal way and pick things up from the floor/ground. And, the good news is, I did not need medical attention. All this was accomplished by applying massage, gentle stretching, rest, patience (lots of it) and aspirin as needed. It was a looooong, slooooow progress but I consider myself very, very  fortunate. And, to make my life even more interesting during this period, I also came down with bronchitis. So as not to drive myself and others around me crazy while recuperating, I started some Swiss chard, peppers and lettuce seeds in January, way too early for the Hudson Valley but kept me occupied.


Seedlings under grow lights

To my surprise, all the seeds germinated, grew healthy and are happy under the grow lights!

Click here to check out my seed starting stand and grow lights set up.


Peppermint Swiss Chard seedlings in blueberries container

Some of the Swiss Chard seedlings will be transplanted into large containers, some will be transplanted into the garden. The Peppermint Swiss Chard is a very pretty plant. Click here for a photo of the mature stems and leaves.

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Peppers. Left: Jimmy Nardello. Right: Doe Hill Golden Bell

Both the Jimmy Nardello and Doe Gill Golden Bell do very well in containers. These will be grown in large (6-7 gallons) containers, one plant per container.


Lettuce, left to right, Forellenschluss, Bronze Mignonette & Schweitzer Mescher

All the lettuce will be transplanted into window boxes.

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While shopping came across Red Winter Kale.


A pretty plant that can be grown as baby greens indoor any time of the year. Had to buy it. The package contains 6 grams of seeds so I had plenty to share with my garden friends.


Started the seeds mid February.


Red Winter Kale seedlings in blueberries container

Some of the Kale seedlings will be transplanted into large containers some will be transplanted into the garden. Looking forward to a salad of lettuce and baby kale.

All the seedlings need to be bumped up, the challenge is finding space for all of them under the grow lights. Was hoping our weather would warm up early and stabilize so I can transplant some of them in my outdoor containers on the south side of the house where it is sunny and warmer, but mother nature had other plans.

On Tuesday, March 14, a Nor’easter dumped over 20 inches of snow in our area. My property is now a winter wonderland, very pretty.

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Steps leading to front door

The snow on the right of the walkway in front of the window is over 3 feet deep.

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Shed behind the house. Will be a while before I can open the door.

Back door is blocked by snow, above photo was taken through glass door.

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Planted my container garlic. Click here and scroll down for information about planting garlic in container.

Before planting I added some peat moss to the potting mix and also enriched the potting mix with bone meal and organic granular fertilizer.


Garlic, Spanish Roja in foam ice chest

This year, in my container, I am planting Spanish Roja Garlic that I got from Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden.

Last year LGHVG had a bountiful harvest of garlic and us volunteers got to share the extras. I saved mine for planting.

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Yeah! I am ready to garden and should be fine going forward as long as I am mindful of certain movements and remember my limitations. Planning to reduce the size of my garden and focus more on containers. Also planting less so may not have sufficient harvests to write a weekly post, will see.

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

Do visit Dave at Our Happy Acres for more Harvest Monday

Posted in Container gardening, Gardening, Harvest Monday, Heritage vegetable garden, Husdon Valley, New York, Uncategorized, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Harvest Monday, October 31, 2016 + Peanuts Harvest & Boil at Locust Grove

We had snow, our first snow of the season! Although the ground was all white, that scene did not last long as the snow turned to freezing rain followed with just rain and that washed away all the ice and snow.

Beginning of the week night time temperature was predicted to be in the 20’s and snow was in the forecast for Thursday, 10/27/16.

Need to get my garlic planted, harvest some of the crops and dig up my sweet potatoes in the garden (the leaves were a bit damaged from the 10/14 frost but since it was not a killer frost I am sure the tubers did not suffer any damage). It was a busy week.

From the garden:

Found a few hidden Goji berries that the birds missed.


Goji Berries

Was going to save the Goji berries for soup, but decided to add them to a napa stir-fry I was making and that was a mistake. Goji berries (to me) has a slight medicinal taste and that did not go well with the napa stir fry (in soup the slight medicinal taste is not objectionable).

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Decided to take a chance and only harvest part of the crops still growing in the garden.


Left to right: Peppermint Swiss Chard, Golden Pascal Celery, King Richard Leeks & Red Giant Mustard

In the above photo that’s only a portion of the chard I harvested. Partially cooked all and froze for later enjoyment. The celery, leeks and red giant mustard are still in the fridge.

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Harvested 14 heads of Black Summer Pac Choi. Left a few in the garden to test for cold hardiness. Most will be going into the freezer.


Bglack Summer Pac Choi

Pac Choi looking pretty good considering I did not spray.

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Last of the sweet potato vines.


Sweet Potato Vines

By some miracle the SP vines in the above photo were not damaged by the frost of 10/14/16.

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Harvested part of the Loose Head Beka Santoh Chinese Cabbage and the Qindao 65 Chinese Cabbage.


Chinese Cabbage: Loose Head Beka Santoh & Qingdao 65

The Qingdao cabbage were badly damaged by all sorts of bugs that found a home among the layer of leaves. Removed and discarded ¾ of the outer leaves and was left with the above, the largest weighed only 9 ounces. Makes me wonder: How much chemical was used to produce those huge beautiful Chinese cabbages we see in the food market?

The Loose Head Beka Santohs were fairly bug free. Next year may just grow this variety.

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From the containers

Last of the Kohlrabi – Purple & White Vienna.


Purple &White Vienna Kohlrabi and Broccoli side shoots

The 2 insignificant broccoli side shoots were from the garden.

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Harvested only the outer leaves of the lettuce, remaining plants are continuing to grow.



Did not weigh but there were enough lettuce leaves for multiple meals. They were so tender and crisp.

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Last of the Tae Baek daikon.


Tae Baek Daikon

Don’t care much for the texture so will not grow next year.

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The Green Lance F1 loves the cooler weather and is sending out many new shoots.


Green Lance F1

Fall crop does so much better, may grow again next year but only as a fall crop.

The crops left in the garden and containers all survived the snow and freezing night time temperature and are continuing to grow, though slowly, so gardening season is not yet at an end.

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From Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden (LGHVG)

This was our best peanuts harvest at LGHVG. Previous years as soon as the peanuts have filled out the critters get to them before we do, very heart breaking. Somehow they know when the peanuts are ready. Smart critters, they would eat the nuts and leave the shells scattered on the peanut bed. This year they decided not to visit and we did not miss them at all 🙂

We planted 2 varieties of peanuts: Tennessee Red Valencia and Caroline Black, both did well.


Tennessee Red Valencia Peanuts


Tennessee Red Valencia Peanuts. Photo courtesy of Urban Farmer.

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Carolina Black Peanuts


Carolina Black Peanuts. Photo courtesy of thepowerofplants.

I brought in my portable stove and we had a peanut boil in the garden using the freshly dug peanuts, both varieties were delicious. A few of the garden volunteers and myself liked the Carolina Black while others preferred the Tennessee Red.

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Peanuts Boil in the Garden

Last year the critters left us so few edible peanuts we each had only one single nut to taste. This year we were able to feast on quite a few whole boiled peanuts in the garden plus extra uncooked to take home. It was a delicious treat.

Click here to learn how peanuts grow.

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

Do visit Dave at Our Happy Acres for more Harvest Monday

Posted in Container gardening, Cooking, dairy free, Gardening, gluten free, Growing sweet potatoes, Harvest Monday, Heritage vegetable garden, Locust Grove, peanut boil, Uncategorized, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

Harvest Monday, October 24, 2016 – Containers Sweet Potatoes: Okinawan & Ginseng Red

RAIN, finally.

Rained Friday and Saturday, on and off (mostly on) softly and steadily, not enough to end the drought but good enough to give the grounds a decent soaking. Lawn looks greener already, trees, shrubs and annuals are happy so are my veggies.

Harvested my container grown Okinawan sweet Potatoes.


Okinawan Sweet Potatoes

Got a total of 4½ pounds from 1 plant. It may not seem like much but for me it is a success. You see Okinawan SP is a late variety that requires 130-140 days to form edible tubers. In the Hudson Valley where I live we do not have that many growing days.

This actually is my 3rd attempt at growing Okinawan Sweet Potatoes. The first was July 2014 when I planted 2 slips in containers and all I harvested were a few pencil-size tubers. Last year I planted 2 slips in the garden mid-May and actually harvested a few good size tubers, 2 pounds total, click here and scroll down for photo.

This year I decided to grow the Okinawan SP in container and also start earlier to see if I will get a better yield. Planted 1 slip in a 15 gallons black (for better heat absorption, SP loves heat) plastic container late April. The container spent the days on my sunny driveway and the nights in the garage. This ritual continued until around mid-May when the weather was warm enough for the SP to remain outdoor (day and night) on the south side of the house where it received full sun.


Container Okinawan Sweet Potato plant just before harvest, 10/18/16.

After cutting away all the vines I dug around carefully and removed the loosened potting mix and fine roots. Surprise! I encountered the tuber in the photo below. Kept digging as the tuber was buried deep into the potting mix. Whew, glad I got it out in one piece. Check out the length of this baby (15 inches) in the first photo.


I then turned the container over and below is what appeared. Yes, more tubers, not as large as the one in the above photo but still good edible sizes.


Had to carefully untangle the roots so as not to break too many of the tubers.


Harvested a total of 4½ pounds. The tuber at the top weighed 2 pounds.

Next year I will again plant 1 slip in a container and also 1 maybe 2 in the garden for comparison.I will also choose a much deeper container and hopefully I will get straighter and less root tangled tubers.

I read that adding phosphate to the soil will increase the size and yield so am going to amend the soil with rock phosphate.

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Also experimented with growing Ginseng Red Sweet Potato in container. This is my first experience growing Ginseng Red SP so had no idea what to expect. And,

Thinking: Ginseng Red SP being a semi-bush plant would make a great ornamental plant in a container. The leaves are very attractive (edible also) and at the end of the season harvest the tubers for food, an all around winner.


Container Ginseng Red Sweet Potatoes just before harvest, 10/18/16.

Had one very large tuber, a few good size tubers and many pencil-sized tubers. Guessing those pencil-sized tubers would size up if the container was larger. Will repeat again next year using a larger container.


Container Ginseng Red Sweet Potatoes

Harvested a total of 3½ pounds from 1 slip. Tuber on the left weighed 1¾ pounds.

The photo below is also of Ginseng Red SP that was planted in the ground at Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden. The tubers had more room to grow so were much larger and more uniform in size compared to my container grown tubers.


Ginseng Red Sweet Potatoes from Locust Grove

Next year I am going to again plant 1 slip in a larger container and 1, maybe more, in the ground for comparison.

Am curing both the Okinawan and Ginseng Red SP.

Understand the flavor of the Ginseng Red will improve if kept for 6 week. They will be a special treat at the Thanksgiving table.

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Goji Berries mystery solved.

The Goji shrub was full of unripened berries and I was so looking forward to a bountiful harvest of those red beauties. Then one day, while watering, noticed there were very few berries on the shrub, what happened? Couple days later when I approached the garden a flock of birds flew out of the Goji shrub, aha, birds, they were the thieves. Next year I will need to net the plant to save the berries.

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

Do visit Dave at Our Happy Acres for more Harvest Monday

Posted in Heritage vegetable garden, Husdon Valley, Locust Grove, New York, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 19 Comments

Harvest Monday, October 17, 2016 + About Lutz Beets

Yeah! The lettuce thinning I brought home from Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden mid-September and transplanted into window boxes are all growing well and all survived Friday night’s frost.


According to weather forecast this week day time temperature will range from 57°F to 84°F with night time temperature above freezing. Lettuce should grow quite a bit more. Planning to harvest the outer leaves sometime this week.

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Needed some carrots so pulled a few from the container. Pretty good size, sweet and tender.


The remainder carrots should be sweeter after Friday night’s frost.

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 Got a basket of Red Giant Mustard, all are volunteers.


Made a simple stir-fry using the same method I used with the Semi-Heading Mustard. Click here to learn how.

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Leeks sized up quite a bit since mid-September. The beautiful long leeks in the photo below are a little under 4 inches in diameter. Long and fat, so cool looking! They went to a friend’s home.


King Richard Leeks

King Richard has produced well for me every year, a keeper.

Now if only I could grow onions. Tried again this year and the results were better than last year, will try again next year and hopefully I get a good onion harvest.

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My Lutz beets continue to grow. The 2 in the photo below each weighs 1 pound and even at that size is not at all pithy.


Lutz Beets

Below is the cross section of the beet on the left.


Cross Section of Lutz Beets

While shopping, came upon packages of nice looking pork soup bones. Just what I needed to make a big pot of Pork and Beet Soup.

There is no recipe for the soup, besides pork bones and beet, I added tomato, leeks, bay leaf, peppercorn, fresh ginger and salt to taste.

While going through seed catalogs, I learned that my Lutz Beets are not true Lutz Beets.

True Lutz have glossy green tops without any purple veins.


True Lutz Beet (Photo courtesy of Sustainable Seed Company)

But as you can see from the photo below my Lutz leaves are sporting purple veins and stems.



What happened?

Some years ago Lutz got crossed up and as a result true seeds were hard to find. Thankfully Fedco Seeds has the real McCoy so for next year’s planting I am ordering from Fedco.

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Other harvests for the week include: sweet potato leaves, Peppermint Swiss Chard, broccoli florets  and baby bok choy.

Got my garlic bed ready for planting. May plant later this week but most likely next week. Definitely planting German White and Duganski, both hard neck, may plant a row of German Red, also a hard neck, can’t make up my mind. Toying with the idea of  planting a soft-neck variety as well.

Washed and sterilized my seed starting equipment. Sure glad that’s done, this is my least favorite part of gardening. Hoping to complete my garden clean up this week, if not next week the latest.

Still waiting for RAIN!

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

Do visit Dave at Our Happy Acres for more Harvest Monday

Posted in Gardening, Harvest Monday, Heritage vegetable garden, Locust Grove, Uncategorized, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , | 28 Comments