Harvest Monday, September 28, 2015 – Fall Harvest from the Garden & Containers

Last of the figs.

It seems like just the other day when I wrote about bringing my container grown fig tree out from winter storage and hardening it off.  Today I am showing photo of the last figs for the year and in another month or 2 will be wheeling the fig tree into the garage for winter storage. The year certainly flew by very fast.

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Last of the Figs

There are a few green figs on the tree but I doubt there is sufficient time for them to ripen. As you can see from the above photo the fig leaves are starting to turn brown and some have already fallen from the tree.

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When I came across Rainbow Blend Cherry Tomatoes (7 varieties in one packet) at the garden center I had to buy it. Thinking how fun to grow different color cherries without having to purchase multiple packs. Mistake. The seeds were color coded but it was very difficult to tell an orange colored seed from a yellow colored seed; a blue colored seed from a green colored seed; … germination was also very poor. Will not be growing again.

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Cherry Tomatoes Left to Right: Green Grape, Golden Nugget, Brown, Black Pearl & Bi-Color

The combination made a very colorful tomato salad. The flavor of the Green Grape, Golden Nugget, Brown & Bi-Color Cherries were OK but not as flavorful as the Black Pearl (the seeds were from a different company).

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Sadly the growing season is coming to an end for the tender crops. The Red Noodles Long Beans and the Green Long Beans in the photo below may be the last harvest.

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Red Noodle Long Beans, Green Chinese Long Beans & Walking Onion

If there is no frost the baby beans on the vine may grow to edible sizes. Last year our first frost and freeze warning were 10/19/14.

The Walking Onions on the other hand are growing very well, wondering about their frost hardiness. The entire onion (bulb and green) is edible, I like it better than scallion.

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This may also be the last of the callaloo.

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Callaloo (amaranth)

I had the bunch of callaloo arranged in a vase (for the photo) and they made a beautiful bouquet a whole lot nicer than my photo above. The whole bunch was cut into shorter lengths, parboiled and froze for later use in soup.

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Swiss Chard on the other hand are very hardy and should provide many future harvests.

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Peppermint Swiss Chard

Harvested a basket of Peppermint Swiss Chard which I stir fried with garlic, walking onion and S&P to taste as soon as I got into the kitchen. Garden to wok in less than an hour.

Also harvested a basket of Ruby Red Rhubarb, Golden and Fordhook Giant Chards. A friend dropped by at that moment so I gave her the whole basket, no photo.

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Experimenting with growing pole beans in a container, will post an update later.

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Container grown Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans

Some critter/s ate some of the plants. Wrapped bird netting around the 2 remaining plants. They are healthy and producing.

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Container Grown Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans

Wished I had weighed the above beans so in the end I would know how much my 2 container grown plants produce.

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Container grown lettuces are doing well despite the heat wave we had. Should do even better now that the weather is getting cooler.

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Container Grown Bronze Mignonette Lettuce

Don’t know the variety name, seedlings I got from LGHVG lettuce thinnings. Harvested the outer leaves of each plant to add to a salad.

NOTE: LGHVG horticulturist, Susan MacAvery, left a comment on my blog with the name of the lettuce. It is Bronze Mignonette. Thanks Susan.

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Container Grown Lettuce

The above lettuces were showing sign of bolting so pulled the whole heads.

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Other harvest for the week included sweet potato vines, Shanghai bok choy, pole speckled Roman tomato and radicchio.

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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, Harvest Monday, Locust Grove | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 53 Comments

Harvest Monday, September 21, 2015 – Flowering Leek

Earlier in the week I noticed one of my leeks was sending out a flower stalk (scape). As far as I can remember this is the first time I am having a leek flowering.

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Flowering Leek

Had to bend the flower stalk to take the photo. The length of the leek from the root end to the flower bud was over 40 inches long.

My inquiring mind needed to know what the inside of a flowering leek looks like, reason I pulled the entire leek plant.

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Top: Peeled Leek Flower Bud & Cross Sections of Flowering Leek. Bottom: Flower Stalk & a New Leaf.

The larger circle in the cross section is the flower stalk the smaller circle is a new leaf. The flower stalk will become tough and inedible and from what I read the leek itself will become bitter. Fortunately I pulled the flowering leek as soon as I noticed the flower stalk and did not detect any bitter taste after cooking (I thinly sliced the leek and simmered the slices in a bit of broth so I can taste the leek itself). The white and light green section of the leek, including the flower stalk (up to the bent part, see first photo) was tender.

I froze the leek greens and the green upper section of the flower stalk (it was a bit rubbery) for later use to make vegetable stock or for flavoring soups and other dishes.

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The following is what I learned about flowering leeks:

1. Leek flowers are very beautiful and bees are attracted to them. Colors range from white to lilac to purple. Wonder what color mine will be?

2. Seed heads will develop once the flowers fade.

3. Each seed head will provide enough seeds for hundreds of baby leeks. If left in the garden these seeds will emerge as leek seedlings in the spring.
(If that is the case all I will need to do in the spring is to transplant these leek seedlings to where I want them to grow and mature which means I will no longer need to start leeks indoor under lights. This is a good thing.)

4. In about 6 – 8 weeks, baby leeks will grow from the base of the old (flowered) leek (this is similar to walking onion which I will be writing a separate post about at a later date, stay tuned). Remember the small circle in the above cross section photo that I say is a new leaf? Perhaps that will develop into a baby leek.

5. If I pull the entire leek plant once the flowers fade and start to develop into a seed head I will find small leek cloves clinging to the base of the old stalk. Separated and planted, each of the clove will grow into a new leek plant which I could use as baby leeks or leave in the garden and they will grow into full size leek plants ready for use in the spring (this is also a good thing, I can enjoy leeks in the spring) or I could use these cloves as baby onion substitute.

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The above information has gotten me quite excited and I am hoping to find at least 2 leeks flowering among my leeks.

I will let one plant go to seeds and self-sow in the garden (if possible, I will collect some of the seeds to start indoor just in case I do not get volunteers in the garden).

The other I will pull when the flowers fade and the seed head starts to develop so that I  can separate and collect the leek cloves that are clinging to the base of the old stalk. I will plant some to observe how they develop and cook some to see how they taste.

Too bad I cannot “hurry up” the process.

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The week’s harvest includes cherry tomatoes, red noodles long beans, green Chinese long beans, Ping Tung eggplant, Shanghai bok choy, amaranth, Swiss chard and walking onion.

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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 Gardening, Harvest Monday | Tagged , | 28 Comments

Harvest Monday, September 14, 2015 – Onions Failure + Leek & Parsnip + Bolted Napa

Leeks do very well in my garden but not onions. WHY?

Last year I planted the onion seedlings  in a row in front of my broccoli (I read that broccoli and onions are good companions) the results were small onions, still usable but they were supposed to be much larger.

Thinking they did not like the company so this year I gave them their own real estate, a bed measuring 48 inches x 40 inches. Same results, small onions. What am I not doing right?

The photos below will illustrate my points.

In the following 4 photos, the onions on the left were grown at Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden (LGHVG). The onions on the right were grown in my home garden using the leftover seedlings from LGHVG. Exact varieties different results. Why?

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Onion, Alisa Craig

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Onion, Blood Red Bottle

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Onion, New York Early

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Onion, Southport White Globe

Am determined to grow normal size onions, so between now and next spring hopefully I will find the answer.

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Leek and Parsnip

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Top: Leek. Bottom: Parsnip

Pulling leeks as needed and thinning at the same time allowing the remaining leeks more room to grow. The thinnings are pretty good sizes, sweet and tender.

Parsnips are recovering from the woodchuck (groundhog) damage. I will get a good harvest after all.

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My napa cabbage did not like the stretch of hot dry weather especially the first 3 days of last week (Tuesday’s high was 97ºF) quite a few plants bolted. Relief came Thursday night, it poured and poured (nearly 1½ inches of rain). More rain Saturday and early Sunday morning (lawn is green again). Second half of the week was just gorgeous, 70’s – low 80’s.

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Bolted Napa Cabbage

The bolted napa cabbage is quite pretty but not the result I want. With the cooler weather hopefully the remaining plants will form solid heads.

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Autumn is coming. The leaves on both my Katsura tree and my Gingko tree are changing color.

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Katsura Tree

I have a single trunk (which I prefer) Katsura Tree, there are also multi-trunk ones.

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Gingko Tree aka Maidenhair Tree

If you decide to plant a Gingko Tree make sure you are buying a male tree, the fallen seeds (gingko nuts) from the female tree is a smelly mess you do not want to be near.

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Left: Gingko Leaves. Right: Katsura Leaves

Both the Gingko and Katsura are ancient trees. Click on links to learn more about these beautiful trees.

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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 Gardening, Harvest Monday, Heritage vegetable garden, Locust Grove | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Harvest Monday, Auugust 31, 2015 – Figs + Long Beans

My container grown fig tree is giving me another good harvest year.

Picking figs daily since mid-August, some days only a few other days a handful but lately by the containers. Sharing the bounty with friends and neighbours.

Was hoping to create some neat fig dishes, but they seem to get eaten before I can locate a recipe.

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Container Grown Figs

Convinced a friend who never tasted tree-ripened figs to try one, she loved it (will have to keep an eye on my fig tree whenever she visits during fig season :). Hope her husband gets to taste the ones I sent home for him.)

NOTE: To prevent fruit drops during our unusual and extend dry spell these past weeks I had to water the tree at least twice a day, the disadvantage of growing in a container.

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Long beans are loving the hot weather we are experiencing. Vines are strong and healthy and producing well.

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Red Noodles Long Beans

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Green Chinese Long Beans (aka Yardlong Beans & Asparagus Beans)

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Red Noodles Long Beans & Green Chinese Long Beans

Many of my friends had never seen red noodles long beans nor tasted them so am sharing the harvest with them.

This week is going to be another hot week (90’s and high 80’s), long beans will be happy. Looking forward to continued bountiful harvesting of long beans.

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Harvest my first Brandywine tomato. Because of the location (too shady) my tomatoes are not doing well this year, not only are they late in coming in but also low production, need to select better location next year.

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Brandywine Tomato

The above Brandywine tomato weighed in at a whopping 1½ pounds. Unfortunately I got to it a bit too late and it split, not picture perfect but still wonderfully delicious.

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Harvest for the past week included more Peppermint Swiss Chard, Chinese Chives, radishes, Shanghai Bok Choy, Beets, Amaranth and herbs.

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Still battling wildlife. Some critters ate my pea shoots, carrot tops, radicchio and parsley, need to find a solution and real soon.

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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, Fruits, Gardening, Harvest Monday | Tagged , , , , , | 47 Comments

Harvest Monday, August 24, 2015 – Red, White & Blue Potatoes

This year I am growing 4 different varieties of potatoes, Adirondack Red, Blue, Fingerlings and Adirondack Blue. (I actually started out with 5 varieties but the Yukon Gold failed to sprout.)

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Left to right: Adirondack Red, Blue, Fingerlings & Adirondack Blue Potatoes + cross section of each

The potatoes in the photo below were steamed then peeled, all 4 are of the “waxy” type. I think they would make a lovely July 4th Patriotic Potato Salad.

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Left to right: Steamed then Peeled Adirondack Red, Blue, Fingerling & Adirondack Blue Potatoes

The photo below shows cross section of the steamed and peeled potatoes. Will not be planting the Adirondack Blue next year (don’t care for the cooked color) also will be looking for another red with deeper red color, not sure if such a variety exist.

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Left to right: Cross Section of Steamed then Peeled Adirondack Red, Blue, Fingerlings & Adirondack Blue Potatoes

Had planned to bake one of each for color comparison (steamed versus baked) and also make a roasted potatoes with onion, garlic and rosemary but just never got around to doing so, the hours flew by but not much was accomplished :(

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But all was not lost, using the potatoes I shared with her, Susan MacCavery made a Roasted Red, White & Blue Potatoes with Fresh Thyme, her photos below.

Susan is one of the 2 horticulturist at Locust Grove and a Garden Coach with over 25 years of experience in professional horticulture. To learn more about Susan, check out her web site http://www.susanmacavery.com

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Roasted Red, White & Blue Potatoes with Fresh Thyme

A close up

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Roasted Red, White & Blue Potatoes with Fresh Thyme

Don’t the above photos make you want to dig in? This is a gluten free dish.

This is what Susan did: Tossed the cut unpeeled potatoes with olive oil, garlic, fresh thyme, salt & pepper. Roasted on a cookie sheet at 425°F for about 20 minutes. She liked the texture of the Blue the best.

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Dug in all 4 varieties of potatoes from the garden last week. Also harvested the potatoes in 3 of the foam ice chest – Fingerlings, Adirondack Red and Adirondack Blue.

I found it a lot easier to harvest the potatoes in the foam ice chest than the ones in the garden especially the Adirondack Blue and Blue as they were difficult to find in the garden soil, I probably missed quite a few since I could not bend for long period due to my lower back problem (getting better but decided it’s best not to overdo).

Below is the fingerling potatoes from one of the ice chests.

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Fingerling Potatoes

The harvested unwashed potatoes are arranged, single layer, on basket trays in my shed and loosely covered with newspaper (to prevent them from turning green due to light exposure) after a few days the soil should be dry and I will carefully brush off any loose soil, inspect for damage (the damaged ones will be used right away), place the good clean ones in paper bags and store in the basement.

NOTE: My storage method is not for long term storage. For proper long term storage check out Rachel of Grow a Good Life blog: http://growagoodlife.com/storing-potatoes/

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Fingerling Potatoes

The fingerlings (washed for the photo) in the photo below are from the garden, quite a few of them were very large (I think they were on steroid) not what I would consider fingerlings.

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Fingerling Potatoes

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Hydrangea paniculata ‘Tardiva’

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Hydrangea paniculate ‘Tardiva’

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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, Harvest Monday, Locust Grove, potatoes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 36 Comments