Harvest Monday, July 27, 2015 – Garlic + Tomato + Seniors & Kids Friendly Planters

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Japanese Anemone

My apologies to my subscribers for an error Saturday morning. I goofed.

Having company (starting yesterday) so decided to get a head start with my Harvest Monday post. The plan was to work with the photos I already took and finish the post Monday morning before my guest gets out of bed.

Typing away happily on my laptop at 5:30 a.m. Saturday (I am an early riser) and hit the “publish” tab instead of the “save draft” tab. Haste makes waste not to mention mistakes are bound to happen when I start working before my cup-of-joe. Again, SORRY.

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Had planned to harvest my garlic this week but didn’t know if I would have time since I have company and worry that the heads of garlic would split if I waited another week so dug them all up on Friday.

The garlic are curing in the shed (leaving the shed’s door open for ventilation during the day). Once the tops and roots have dried (3-4 weeks) I will cut them off (leaving about an inch of the top) clean the heads, select and save the best heads for planting in October and enjoy the rest.

This has been a very good garlic year both the German White and Duganski are of good size and beautiful. The harvest should last the whole year but I do share with friends so may be not.

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German White Garlic

The above is about 1/3 of the total German White harvest.

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Duganski Garlic

The above is about ¼ of the total Duganski harvest

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Left: German White Garlic. Right: Duganski Garlic

As you can see from the photo above the German White on the left is much larger than the Duganski on the right but the Duganski with its purple stripes is a prettier garlic.

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Finally vine ripened tomatoes from the garden.

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Left: Heirloom Black Cherry Tomato. Right: Speckled Roman Pole Tomato

Liked how the bunch of Black Cherry was hanging so decided to cut the whole branch. I am sure the green one will ripen indoor.

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Cross Sections of Heirloom Black Cherry Tomato & Speckled Roman Pole Tomato

The good looking Speckled Roman is a meaty tomato with nice tomato flavor would make a good sauce, a keeper.

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Lately I am having a bit of lower back problem and bending for an extended period is an issue. Containers planting would ease some of the problem.

As many of you know I have been experimenting with window boxes, large pots and ice chest but they are clumsy to lift and move around. I need something with handles.

Was very happy when I happened upon the blue tubs in the photos below. I bought 6. Not exactly the size I wanted (each is about 12 inches square and about 10 inches deep, I was looking for something similar in shape but a bit larger). Figuring what I want may not exist decided to give these a try.

These are actually tubs and not planters. To make them into planters I just needed to cut 4 holes in each corner for drainage. Once filled with potting mix, planted and watered each is still light enough for seniors and kids to lift and move around.

This is a solution for seniors who would like to continue gardening and kids would love to plant vegetables, herbs and/or flowers in these bright blue planters. I have them among my shrubs and perennials where they add a splash of colors.

Planted carrots in 2 of the tubs, yaya carrots (matures in 58 days) in one and coreless nantes (matures in 70 days) in another.

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Yaya Carrots sown on 7/19

Carrots, planted in the ground, are a pain to thin. Planted in the above planter, I can move the planter to a shady area, raise it to an appropriate height, thin the carrots while sitting on a comfy lawn chair and sipping on ice tea. Thinning carrots can be enjoyable after all.

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Planted lettuce in another planter, haven’t decided what to plant in the other 3.

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Forellenschluss Lettuce

Those are forellenschluss lettuce seedlings I started some weeks ago.

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Harvested blue potatoes from another of my foam ice chest. After enriching the potting mix (yes, I do reuse the potting mix) with compost and fertilizer I sowed 4 rows of peas for peas shoots harvest.

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Peas in Foam Ice Chest

The peas are sown very close together as not all will germinate and the birds most likely will feast on some of the seeds. In the event all germinate and the birds leave the seeds alone I will thin and use the thinning as peas sprouts (I used organic seeds).

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In my last post I threatened to yank my okra plants if they did not move. Well, they grew and are now taller than the nasturtium so I will keep them.

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Red Burgundy Okra

Okra plants are still only 14 inches tall (photo taken yesterday) but with yesterday’s morning rain and this week’s heat wave forecast hopefully they will grow a lot more (should reach 4 feet) and faster and I will get okra this year.

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A row of Japanese Anemone on the side of my shed

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Japanese Anemone

A close up

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Japanese Anemone

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Japanese Anemone

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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 Container gardening, Flowers, Gardening, Harvest Monday | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Harvest Monday, July 20, 2015 – Fruits + Contaianer Blue Potatoes + Duganski Garlic

First raspberries harvest.

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Finally, a raspberry harvest! Yep, this year I got to the berries before the birds.

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This is going to be a good Asian pear year, lots of fruits on the tree but not over crowded.

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Asian Pear

This year the pear tree self-thinned and the fruits are nicely spaced which will result in good size pears.

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Asian Pears

Last year the pears were damaged by stink bugs, not seeing any so far a good thing, I am happy, hope they stay away for good. Pears should be ready by the end of August.

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Fig tree is laden with fruits, going to be a great fig year also.

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Fig Tree Laden with Figs

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Figs should start turning brown at the end of July early August and ready to eat soon thereafter, I am drooling.

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I planted 2 all blue potatoes in the ice chest. Not sure why the plant on the left died before the plant on the right, both were treated with the same TLC.

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All Blue Potatoes Grown in Foam Ice Chest

Had planned to wait for the plant on the right to die before harvesting all the potatoes but changed my mind. I needed to know what was underground and just could not wait any longer. The plant on the left produced fewer potatoes than the one on the right results of an early death I suppose.

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All Blue Potatoes

Harvested about 3 pounds of potatoes from the 2 plants, the largest potato weighed 4½ ounces. That’s the one at the upper right hand corner.

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Left: cross section of uncooked all blue potato. Right: boiled and peeled all blue potato. Color will be lighter if peeled before boiling.

Was craving potato salad but had no celery and did not wish to run to the food market. Had peas and corn in the freezer so decided to skip the celery and add peas and corn instead. Liked the results especially the corn addition.

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All Blue & Yukon Gold Potato Salad

I used the Hellmann’s Original-Potato-Salad recipe with a few minor changes. Added more eggs than called for in the recipe and used rice vinegar. Do not like raw onion so tossed the onion in the vinegar and allow to marinate for about ½ hour before continuing with recipe. Click here for the original recipe.

Combined the All Blue with a few Yukon Gold (purchased from the food market) to make the potato salad. Love the waxy texture of the all blue potato, a keeper.

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Started to harvest my Duganski garlic when I noticed the plant where all the leaves turned brown the bulb had the purple stripes on the outer wrappers, the plant that still had 2 – 3 green leaves the outer wrappers were white.

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Duganski Garlic

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Enlarged Duganski Garlic

Decided to wait until all the leaves are brown to harvest the remainder.

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Both the Green Chinese Long Beans and the Red Noodles Beans are finally climbing up the poles, no flowers yet, hoping soon.

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Red Noodles Beans

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The Okra plants on the other hand are not growing well.

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Okra & Nasturtium

Okra plants are about the same height as the nasturtium, they should be much, much  taller. Temperature was in the 90’s yesterday expecting 90’s and 80’s this whole week so hopefully they will take off if not they will be yanked.

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Radicchios are forming heads.

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Fingers crossed, hope they do not bolt in the heat. Will be keeping a close watch.

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Tomato finally starting to show some color.

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Black Cherry Tomato

That colored Black Cherry in the photo should be ready this week.

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Yes, that IS a poinsettia plant growing in my garden in the Hudson Valley, NY.

Every Christmas I receive a beautiful pot of poinsettia from a friend, late spring when the plant start to shed its leaves I place the plant, still in the pot, outdoor. This year I decided to take the plant out of the pot and plant it in the ground instead. Look how it is thriving, why didn’t I think of this before. Ah well, better late than never.

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For the sake of convenience my shed is erected directly behind my house. The roof is the same as the house so are the siding and shutters. I landscaped all around it to blend in with the landscape and it looks like a cottage instead of a shed.

Planted the Bloomerang lilac in front of the window a few years ago and it is very happy.

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Bloomerang Lilac

To the right of the shed is a row of pink Japanese anemone, full of buds and should be blooming this week will post a photo later.

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Bloomerang Lilac

Aren’t the flowers gorgeous? Very aromatic.

The lilac bush is beautiful but it is blocking the shed’s window and door, will need to prune back quite a bit after it has finished blooming.

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And finally, a pot of annuals and lemongrass.

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Annuals & Lemongrass

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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 Container gardening, Flowers, Fruits, Gardening, Harvest Monday, Husdon Valley, New York, Recipes, Vegetables, window box gardening | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 55 Comments

10th Annual David Hill Memorial Locust Grove Car Show

The 10th Annual David Hill Memorial Locust Grove Car Show was held on Sunday, July 12, 2015 on the beautiful grounds of Locust Grove, home of the Samuel Morse Historic Site in Poughkeepsie, New York.

More than 270 vintage cars – American, foreign, classics, sports cars, hot rods and racers –  registered for the event.

I was asked to be a volunteer and chose the 2nd shift, 11:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Had intended to arrive early, visit with my friends who were showing cars, check out the other cars and take photos. Well, you guessed it, I got there just in time for my shift.

Managed to take some photos during my break and intended to take more later, but never got around to doing so. I was also tired as it was a hot and somewhat humid day.

Here are a few photos of some of the cars:

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IMG_0856weblargeThat’s it folks! See a car you would like to own?

Even though it was a hot and somewhat humid day, people of all ages just kept coming. An older gentleman, who had owned a few vintage cars during his younger years, came for a trip down memory lane, he bounced through the estate gate happy as a lark.

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Starting this year and going forward the show will be known as the David Hill Memorial Locust Grove Car Show in honor of David Hill who past away early this year.

During his life time David Hill generously contributed to the car community and local causes and was instrumental in getting Locust Grove to host the show 10 years ago.

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Copyright © by Norma Chang.

All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.


Posted in Dutchess County, Husdon Valley, Locust Grove, New York | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Harvest Monday, July 13, 2015 – Un-Retiring Window Boxes + Container Sweet Potatoes

Had a tiny empty area in my garden so decided to sprinkle a few Shanghai Bok Choy seeds and a few Napa Cabbage seeds next to each other in the spot figuring if the seeds germinate I will transplant them when a suitable area in the garden becomes available.

Shanghai bok choy seedlings (07913)

Shanghai Bok Choy Seedlings

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Napa Cabbage Seedlings

The seeds germinated and were growing well but no available garden space.

So decided to un-retire (is there such a word?) my window boxes and transplant the Shanghai Bok Choy seedlings and Napa Cabbage seedlings into them.

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Top box: Shanghai Bok Choy. Bottom box: Napa Cabbage

I have 16 Shanghai Bok Choy seedlings in one box which is a bit much but I will be thinning and use as baby bok choy.

Napa cabbage needs lots of room to grow so I have only 3 napa cabbage seedlings in the box.

The seedlings look a bit wilted and not very cheerful but all that will change in a week or so as the oak leaf lettuce below has demonstrated.

Also transplanted 1 napa seedling into a 10-inch pot for comparison with the window box.

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Napa Cabbage & Radish in Container

It will be a while before the napa seedling fill in the pot so I sowed a circle of radish seeds. (they are the pairs of tiny seedlings, need to discard one seedling from each set of 2) Radishes should reach usable stage when the napa needs the space.

Thinking: there is a lot of wasted space in the window box with the napa cabbage seedlings should sow a few radish seeds between each seedlings, will do so later today.

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Two Thursdays ago I was assigned the task of taking care of the lettuce beds at the Locust Grove Heritage Garden (LGHVG) where I am a volunteer.

While weeding and harvesting, I noticed the oak leaf lettuce seedlings needed to be thinned. The thinnings were put aside and us volunteers could take home the extras.  I took 5.

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Oak Leaf Lettuce

The seedlings did not look that great, semi bare root and wilted, but figured if I babied them they will survive, and survived they did even the one on the left which I did not think was going to make it. Don’t they look happy and gorgeous now?

The weather for the following days will be in the high 80’s may be 90’s. The crops in the above 3 window boxes and the pot are cool weather crops so I will keep them on  the east side of my house where they will receive morning sun but not the scorching afternoon sun. (The advantage of growing crops in window boxes/containers is the flexible of moving the boxes/containers to more suitable locations as required.)

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After rooting sufficient sweet potato slips for LGHVG and my garden, decided to pot up the “mother” sweet potato instead of throwing them out as I have done in previous years.

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“Mother” Sweet Potatoes Growing in Containers

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“Mother” Sweet Potatoes Growing in Container

Well, the “mother” sweet potatoes put out an abundant amount of vines which I harvested.

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Sweet Potato Vines

Harvested enough sweet potato vines for a stir-fry. Click here and scroll down to learn about cooking sweet potato vines.

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Peppermint Swiss Chard & Broccoli

Peppermint Swiss Chard continues to do well.

I did harvest 2 pitiful looking broccoli that the rabbit decided to leave for me. They were tender and delicious though.

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Left, Happy Rich Broccoli Side Shoots; center, Midnight Ruffle Red Lettuce; right, Broccoli Side Shoots (pretty big for a side shoot)

Midnight Ruffle Red lettuce is the only lettuce remaining in the garden. Looking forward to adding the Oak Leaf lettuce from the window box to my salad.

I combined both broccolis side shoots with some baby finger carrots and onion and made a stir-fry with sliced chicken. Instead of serving the stir-fry over rice I made wraps using the red sail lettuce leaves (did take photos but they looked awful so decided not to post).

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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 Container gardening, Cooking, Gardening, Growing sweet potatoes, Harvest Monday, Heritage vegetable garden, Locust Grove, Uncategorized, Vegetables, window box gardening | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 36 Comments

25th Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival

Woke up at 4:45 a.m. this morning so I could make it to the Dutchess County airport to view the balloons lift-off at 6:00 a.m.

It was a beautiful morning oh, and what a beautiful sight it was to see the balloons being inflated, one-by-one, and, one-by-one, lift-off and soar into the sky.

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25th Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival

The Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted the 25th Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival on July 10, 11 and 12, 2015.

Yesterday’s lift-off was from the Poughkeepsie waterfront, 22 balloons were launched from the site.

Quoting from this morning’s Poughkeepsie Journal: “Crowds, estimated at a few thousand people, packed a stretch of the Hudson River in  the City of Poughkeepsie Friday evening for a successful lift-off for the 25th anniversary of the event.”

One the balloons flew over my house yesterday evening.

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25th Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival

Was it this one in the above photo?????

Or was it the one in the photo below? Too bad I did not have my camera with me at the time.

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25th Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival

The balloon below belongs to my friend’s, Phyll, son Brian who is also the pilot.

25th Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival

25th Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival

Brian getting ready for lift-off with the help of his niece Annika (in red) and nephew Stefan (in blue).

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25th Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival

Annika and Stefan holding down the crown line (a thick rope).

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25th Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival

In the photo at left is proud daddy, Tom, who flew balloons for 40 years before handing it over to Brian who is in the basket.

Hot-air ballooning is definitely a family affair.

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25th Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival

Up, up, UP and away it soared

Remaining launch schedule

Saturday, 7/11/15, 6 p.m. South of Shadows on Hudson
176 Rinaldi Blvd, Poughkeepsie, NY

Sunday, 7/12/15, 6 a.m. Dutchess County Airport
263 New Hackensack Road, Wappingers Falls, NY

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

Posted in Dutchess County, Husdon Valley | Tagged , , , , , | 23 Comments