Harvest Monday, May 29, 2017 – Sweet Potato Experiment + Other Garden Activities

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Bearded Iris

I have read about starting sweet potato slips in potting mix instead of in water (which I have always done) and decided to give this method a try this year.

Will there be any differences in sprouting?

To find out, on March 17, I placed one Purple Sweet Potato in water and another in potting mix. The SP in water sprouted earlier than the one in the potting mix, unfortunately I neglected to note the dates.

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Growing Purple Sweet Potato Slips – Left: in water. Right: in potting mix.

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Purple Sweet Potato Slips – Left: grown in water. Right: grown in potting mix.

Will there be any differences in yield?

To find out, I planted in the garden (all bare roots) 5 water grown slips in one row (left in photo below) and 5  potting mix grown slips in another row (right in photo below), now I must wait for results that I will publish in later post/s.

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Purple Sweet Potato – Left: 2 of 5 slips grown in water. Right: 2 of 5 slips grown in potting mix.

Transplanted all sweet potatoes slips into the garden on Wednesday, 5/24, as rain was predicted for Thursday, 5/25, to be followed by 2 cloudy days.

And rain it did. Plants are happy so are the weeds.

Was only going to plant 2 varieties this year – Purple and Ginseng Red. But Mary gave me 2 slips of Wilma’s (a new variety for me) so now I am growing 3 varieties.

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First harvest of container grown Peppermint Swiss Chard.

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Container Peppermint Swiss Chard

Cut chard, stems and leaves, into bite-sized pieces, combined with thinly sliced garlic greens, and stir-fried briefly in a bit of oil, salt & pepper to taste. Garden to wok in less than an hour.

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Also transplanted my Chinese Long Beans seedlings. Seeds were started in containers instead of direct sow.

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Chinese Long Beans. Top Rows: Red Noodles. Bottom rows: Green.

Chinese long beans are also known as yard long beans, asparagus beans and snake beans. Click here to learn more and a recipe.

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The week of May 8 we had a few nights where temperature was in the 30’s°F.

All the semi heading mustard seedlings bolted.

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Bolting Semi Heading Mustard

However, the Toy Choi Hybrid I started 3/19/17 and transplanted into window box on 4/26 did not bolt.

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Toy Choi Hybrid

My guess is the Toy Choi had passed the seedling stage therefore hardier and able to withstand temperature below 50°F.

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Tomatoes I took a chance and transplanted on 5/12 all survived and are doing well.

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Tomato – Speckled Roman Paste

Speckled Roman Paste is one of my favorite tomatoes. Good for making sauce as well as for slicing.

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Garlic are doing exceptional well this year.

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Garlic – German White & Duganski

Both the German White and the Duganski are hardneck garlic. Looking forward to harvesting garlic scapes in a couple weeks.

Direct sowed: Green leaf Lutz beets, Crosby’s Egyptian Beets. Semi-heading Mustard and Tri-colored Amaranth.

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In her comments on last Monday post, Kimberly Brandt ask for a photo of the Goji aka Wolfberry plant.

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Goji, aka Wolfberry, plant

The above photo is for you Kim.

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Last of my tree peonies. Deciduous peonies should be blooming any day now.

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Tree Peony – Yellow

It was sunny when I took the above photo so the color is a bit washed out.

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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, Growing sweet potatoes, Harvest Monday, meatless, Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Harvest Monday, May 22, 2017 – Garlic Greens, Goji Leaves & Spinach

This is the last thinning of my over-planted garlic, now I will wait for garlic scapes to appear, which should be around mid-June.

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Garlic Green aka Green Garlic

There are 20+ garlic plants in the above photo, thinly sliced a few (white and green parts) and added to a chicken stir-fry, delicious. Also used some as scallion substitute in a Fried Rice.

With so much garlic green on hand decided to experiment with freezing.

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To freeze, this is what I did:
Removed and discarded roots and outer layer of garlic green/green garlic
Washed well and drained
Thinly sliced, white and green parts, placed in freezer bag, date, label and freeze

In future cooking, if a dish requires a mild garlic flavor I can just toss some in .

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My Goji (wolfberry) plants continue to do well and friends love to stop by for the leaves. They keep telling me how delicious it is and how good it is for ones health, and, keep encouraging me to give it a try (I did try to make soup as they recommended but did not care for it).

Decided to give it another try with the young tender spring leaves. The verdict: Liked it. The leaves were tender, delicious and mild flavor.

I added the leaves to chicken broth, simmered for a few minutes then stirred in beaten eggs, that’s it, simple and delicious (like Italian Stracciatella soup sans cheese). Definitely making again and may add sliced chicken or pork for a more substantial soup. Will also try stir-frying, can be used in salad as well.

(Previously I was using the mature leaves that had a slightly bitter/medicinal taste and came to the conclusion it is an acquired taste which I have not yet acquired.)

Wondering if there is any difference in health benefit between the young spring leaves and the more mature leaves?

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Goji Leaves aka Wolfberry Leaves

Another advantage with the young spring leaves there is no thorn on the stems making it much easier to strip the leaves from the stems.

I was told the leaves freeze well so will freeze some for future use.

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Monstrueux de Viroflay Spinach ready to harvest. The germination rate was poor, about 50%, not sure if it was due to weather or because I was using last year’s leftover seeds.

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Spinach: Monstrueux de Viroflay

Though huge, both the leaves and stems, cooked or uncooked, were tender and delicious. Am going to try to grow a fall crop.

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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 Cooking, dairy free, Gardening, Harvest Monday, soy free, Uncategorized, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , | 28 Comments

Harvest Monday, May 15, 2017 – Tree Peonies

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This past week, up until Thursday, the night time temperature was in the 30’s°F, but for Friday, the night time temperature was predicted to be in the 40’s°F plus it was a beautiful gardening day, high 60’s°F. Rain was in the forecast for Saturday and I wanted to take advantage, so marathoned (?) the whole day Friday in the gardens.

Transplanted my hardened off celeriac and leeks. Got carried away and decided to take a chance and transplanted some of the hardened off tomatoes. Fingers crossed, hope we do not get frost.

Parsnips seeds are sown.

Sweet potato beds prepared. Wednesday’s temperature is predicted to be 87°F and Thursday to be 90°F. By weekend the soil should be warm enough for me to plant my sweet potatoes slips.

Visited a nursery on Wednesday and purchased quite a bit of annuals. Planted all. They are supposed to be deer resistant but of course there is no guarantee, just hope the deer stay away.

My harvest was similar to the previous week, lettuces, garlic greens, walking onion, kale, photos would be pretty similar, so decided to post photos of my tree peonies instead.

The tree peonies are just gorgeous this year, the pink ones are the first to bloom (every day was a new surprise) followed by the purple, later will come the whites, the yellows and the reds.

 

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The tree peony in photo below is the same plant in last Monday’s post in full bloom (the plant is prettier than my photo).

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Happy Spring!
Happy Gardening!

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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 Flowers, Gardening, Harvest Monday, Uncategorized | Tagged | 18 Comments

Harvest Monday, May 8, 2017 – Container Fig, Lettuce & Kale

The weather prediction for the week of April 24 was pretty warm for that time of year so I decided to take a chance and wheeled the container fig tree out of the garage and onto the driveway on April 24, one whole week earlier than last year. Glad I did. Check out the photo below!

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Container Fig Tree

Container Fig tree is happy to be outdoors. The leaves are filling out nicely.

To keep the fig tree as a single trunk tree I am going to remove all the new shoots at the base of the tree and use the shoots to start new fig trees to give away.

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The lettuces in the below photo were transplanted into the window boxes at the end of March, and left outdoors unprotected.

Early we had some very cold nights (teens and low 20’s). All 3 varieties suffered set back. Needless to say I was worried and hoped that at least one of the variety or maybe all 3 varieties would bounce back.

Well, once the weather got warmer they bounced right back and are now making up for lost time. Just look at those beauties in the window boxes!

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Top to Bottom – Lettuce: Forellenschluss, Schweitzer Mescher & Bronze Mignonette

I had given some of the seedlings to Susan McCavery. She too bumped them up into larger container but was harvesting lettuce around Easter.

Reason: she kept them in a sunny location indoors put them outdoors on nice days and brought them indoors for the night. They did not suffer set back from the cold nights.

Lesson learned: OK to start lettuce seedlings in January in the Hudson Valley and transplant into larger container when ready, place outdoor on nice days during the day but must bring indoor for the night.

Of course what worked this year may not apply next year but at least I now have a base to work from.

Harvested the outer leaves of each lettuce plant and continued to harvest the outer leaves every few days, was, and still is, a treat at every meal.

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That’s a lot of lettuce in the basket. Made the tastiest salad, so fresh, tender and sweet. A simple dressing of lemon juice, EVOO and S & P to taste was all that’s needed.

A friend stop by and went home with half of the above harvest.

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Last fall I planted my garlic cloves closer than recommended. Now I dig up every other  garlic plant to use as garlic green.

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Top – Garlic Green aka Green Garlic. Bottom – Walking Onion aka Egyptian Onion

The entire garlic green plant is edible, very tender with a mild garlic flavor.

The Walking Onion is bolting early this year, not sure why, maybe weather related. The entire plant is edible, use as you would scallion or green onions. I also freeze for later use when making broth.

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Harvest the outer leaves of each of the container grown Red Winter Kale plant and made a stir fry with the garlic green.

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Red Winter Kale

Stir-fry Kale with Garlic Green

Ingredients
Kale, thinly sliced or coarsely chopped (the stems were so tender I used the stems/ribs and leaves)
Garlic Green (green garlic), white and green parts, slant cut or thinly sliced (or substitute 1-2 cloves garlic, minced)
1 – 2 tablespoons Oil
2 – 4 tablespoons broth or water as needed
Salt and pepper to taste

Method
1. Heat oil in wok or frying pan, add garlic green, stir-fry about 1 minute.
2. Add kale, stir-fry about 1 minute, add broth or water as needed.
3. Cover and steam 3 – 5 minutes or until reached desired doneness.

Variations
Add lemon juice and/or lemon zest or vinegar at the end
Add minced ginger during step 1.
Substitute soy sauce for the salt
Brown 1 – 2 strips bacon and use the bacon fat instead of oil
Add chopped nuts, seeds and/or dried fruits

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First tree peony to bloom. There are more than than a dozen flower buds on the plant.

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Tree Peony

The photo above and the photo below were taken a day apart. What a difference a day makes.

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Tree Peony

Today and tomorrow more of the buds will open, going to be just gorgeous!

Behind the tree peony is a deciduous peony, it will be in bloom right after the tree peony finishes blooming. Can you see the tiny pink buds at the top of the photo?

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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, Gardening, gluten free, Harvest Monday, Husdon Valley, meatless, New York, Recipes, soy free, Uncategorized, Vegetables, window box gardening | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Harvest Monday, April 24, 2017 – Comparing Transplanted Seedlings

At the end of March I transplanted some of the kale and Swiss chard seedlings I started during January and February into foam ice chest and left them outdoor (unprotected). I knew it was way too early for the Hudson Valley but figure I’d take a chance.

I bumped up the remaining kale and Swiss chard seedlings into 4″ pots. These I moved outdoors during the day and into the garage for the night. Transplanted them into foam ice chest last week.

Early April we had some very cold night (teens and low 20’s), the unprotected kale and Swiss chard that were outdoor (day and night) suffered set backs.

The photos below, all taken yesterday (April 23), illustrate the differences.

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4 Red Winter Kale & 1 Mystery Kale

Four Red Winter Kale and one Mystery Kale (in the center) transplanted end of March.

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Red Winter Kale

Red Winter Kale transplanted mid April

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Peppermint Swiss Chard

Peppermint Swiss Chard transplanted end of March.

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Peppermint Swiss Chard

Peppermint Swiss Chard transplanted mid April.

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Because of our climate, there is nothing to gain by planting out early. So from now on I will have patience and wait until mid April or later to transplant seedlings outdoor.

Lesson learned.

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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, Husdon Valley, New York, Uncategorized, Vegetables | Tagged , , | 20 Comments