Harvest Monday, June 15, 2015 – A Few Garden First Harvests

Am gradually retiring my window boxes and containers for the summer as my garden is finally producing and the harvests are very promising.

Planting only Peppermint Swiss Chard this season, love the color of the stems, so pretty and cheerful in the garden. May do a fall planting of other varieties but that depends on space, time and energy.

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Peppermint Swiss Chard

Below, first Swiss Chard harvest.

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Peppermint Swiss Chard

The above is only a portion of the chard harvest, all will be going into the freezer for winter enjoyment.

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Rain combined with cool weather made the snow peas very happy.

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Snow Peas

Looking forward to a good snow peas harvest.

Below is the first Happy Rich Broccoli harvest from the garden, also first snow peas harvest and a pitiful few strawberries.

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Happy Rich Broccoli, Snow Peas & Strawberries

Both Happy Rich Broccoli and Snow Peas will be going into the freezer also.

Critters got to the strawberries (the larger and better looking ones of course) before I did.

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Collard and Kale plants are healthy and looking really good, but had to reset all the plants as they were leaning due to the heavy rain (oops, forgot to take before and after photos of the plants).

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Collard and Lacinato Kale

First harvest of Collard and Kale from the garden they too are destined for the freezer.

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First harvest of garlic scape. More will be ready for harvest this week so all the ones below were gifted to a friend who is not a gardener.

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Garlic Scape

To learn about garlic scape, this wonderfully delicious but short season spring treat, click here.

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Pulling most of the lettuces from the sweet potatoes bed to give the sweet potato vines room to wander.

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Lettuce

The taste and texture of lettuce eaten within a day or 2 of harvest are just out-of-this- world so shared the harvest with non-gardening friends.

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Left: Large Smooth Prague Celeriac. Center: Hollow Crown Parsnips. Right: Red Sail Lettuce

Celeriac plants are properly spaced but needed to weed and to hill soil over the root shoulders to keep them covered also top dressed with well rotted manure.

Parsnips plants needed thinning. According to the package, the germination rate is 74%, to avoid empty spaces I sowed the seeds thickly and, of course, because I over sowed all the seeds germinated. Well, better to thin than having large gaps between plants.

Parsnips are slow to germinate so I planted a row of red sail lettuce seedlings along the row of parsnip seeds (I sometimes sow radishes). Pulling the lettuces this week they are starting to crowd the parsnips.

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We finally got a good amount of rain and both the vegetable garden and the flower garden are looking good. All the plants and shrubs are growing by leaps and bounds and so are the weeds, or I should say especially the weeds, they are popping up everywhere.

This week I am going to focus on getting all the gardens in order and hopefully have time and energy left to thin the Asian Pears and complete the pruning of the winter damaged shrubs and trees (I am way behind schedule). As a result, I will be MIA from Harvest Monday for a while hopefully for a week or 2 only.

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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, Growing sweet potatoes, Harvest Monday, Vegetables, window box gardening | Tagged , , , , , , , | 47 Comments

Walkway Over the Hudson First Marathon

Yesterday, Saturday, June 13, 2015 was the Walkway Over the Hudson inaugural marathon.

Oh, what a day it was!

This was an historic event in the Hudson Valley sponsored by the nonprofit Walkway Over the Hudson. I volunteered to help as I am a walkway volunteer and certainly wanted to be part of it.

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Walkway Over the Hudson Marathon Volunteer T-Shirt

As instructed, me and 2 of my volunteer friends arrived at the boathouse of Marist College, Poughkeepsie, NY, around 5:30 a.m. all excited.

This was my first experience at a marathon and had no idea what to expect.

The day started out looking very threatening. Will there be a thunderstorm? Kept fingers crossed and hoping not. Turned out to be a beautiful day, the sun came out, humidity was low, a bit gusty at times but overall a gorgeous day.

A total of 2500 runners registered for the 3 races – Treetops to Rooftops 5K, 13.1 miles half marathon and 26.2 miles full marathon representing 31 states and 6 countries.

The full marathon was a certified qualifying race for the Boston Marathon. I met one runner who qualified, another missed by 3 minutes but she was not disappointed because she had exceeded her personal best time. Another runner was so awed by the view of the Hudson River from the Walkway, stopped to take photos, and guess what? She lost time as a result but was OK with that as the view was just breathtaking and she had to take some photos.

The Walkway race is adhering to a strict set of 13 “committed practices” in order to be deemed the first “Green Race” in New York State, certified by Athletes for a Fit Planet http://afitplanet.com/

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Walkway Over the Hudson Marathon T-Shirt

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Burnout (devoré) Fabric

The half and full Marathon runners t-shirt was made with “burnout” (also known as devoré) fabric. I had no idea what burnout fabric was but one of the runners who is familiar with it  explained it to me. Here is a link to learn more.

Here is video from the Poughkeepsie Journal and reporting from the Daily Freeman about the Marathon.

I had a wonderful time volunteering for the marathon, met many wonderful runners, will definitely volunteer again next year.

Posted in Husdon Valley | Tagged , , , , | 21 Comments

Harvest Monday, June 8, 2015 – Container/Window Box Gardening

This post is all about container/window box gardening. Very pleased with the harvests from my containers and window boxes this year.

Container fig tree is happy and continues to grow by leaps and bounds every year.

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Container Fig Tree

Fig tree is getting too large for its winter storage space will need to perform major pruning (reducing the overall size by ¼ or more) after all the figs are harvested in the fall.

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Baby Figs

There is a fig at the base of every leaf, looking forward to a bountiful fig harvest from my lush fig tree.

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All the vegetables growing in containers, window boxes and foam ice chests are healthy and co-existing happily with the shrubs and perennials.

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Clockwise starting at lower left: Snap Peas, Calabrese Broccoli, Potatoes, Little Finger Carrot and Early White Vienna Kohlrabi

The Early White Vienna Kohlrabi should be ready in a week or so.

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Potato (in foam ice chest) & Purple Kolibri Kohlrabi (in window box)

Harvested the 3 large purple kolibri (one was camera shy)

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Purple Kolibri Kohlrabi

Made a stir-fry with the kolibri and ground pork. (I was making ground pork and decided to use some of it for the stir-fry. My meat grinder has 2 different size disc – regular ground and coarse ground, I used the latter. The white cubes in the photo below are the kolibri)

This is what I did:
Marinated the ground pork with a bit of light color soy sauce (or tamari), Shao Hsing wine (or pale dry sherry), fresh ginger, sesame oil and maple syrup.
Cubed the tofu and marinated in mushroom dark soy sauce (use regular soy sauce or tamari if dark soy sauce is unavailable, color of tofu will be lighter)
Peeled & cubed kolibri and carrot. Slant cut the garlic greens.

To Cook:
Add 1 – 2 TBS oil to preheated wok or frying pan, add ground pork, stir-fry until pork is partially cooked. Add all veggies, stir-fry until reached desired doneness and pork is cooked. Stir in tofu, stir-fry, gently, until tofu is heated through, add broth if needed for gravy. Thicken with cornstarch mixture if needed. Plate and garnish with toasted black and white sesame seeds (optional). Serve with rice or in lettuce cups.

Variations: Add hoisin sauce and or chili sauce to the marinated pork.

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Stir-fried Kohlrabi, Carrots, Garlic Green, Ground Pork & Marinated Tofu

The plated dish (which I neglected to photo) was garnished with toasted black and white sesame seeds.

And guess what?

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Kolibri eaten by critter

A critter decided it likes Kolibri kohlrabi also.

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Surprised to see the Adirondack Red Potato in the foam ice chest flowering already.

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Flowering Adirondack Red Potato in the foam ice chest

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All the pea plants, and other cool weather plants also, are loving the cool weather we had this past week.

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Window Box Snap Peas

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Pea Shoots

Window box snap peas are still providing many tender pea shoots.

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Happy Rich Broccoli sending out healthy side shoots.

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Side Shoots of Happy Rich Broccoli

There is a side shoot at the base of each leaf left on the plant after the 5/25/15 harvest.

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The peonies in my garden are just gorgeous.

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Heirloom Peony from Locust Grove, Poughkeepsie, NY

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All the above Peonies are heirloom varieties I got from Locust Grove many years ago.

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Each year, during September, Locust Grove’s heirloom peony divisions are available for purchase at the Locust Grove gift shop. Each division has at least 3 buds to ensure spring flowering. Proceeds from the sale support the gardens.

For exact date and time, call 845-454-4500.

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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, Gardening, Harvest Monday, Locust Grove, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Harvest Monday, June 1, 2015 – Garden Updates

Not a bad harvest week. The Ruby Streak Mustard was showing signs of bolting so cut all the plants (2 leaves above the ground to see if the plant will send out side shoots).

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Ruby Streak Mustard

We have been experiencing above average temperature (until yesterday), because of the high temperature the Ruby Streak Mustard is more green than purple. Will sow a fall crop hoping to get real purple leaves as shown in the catalog.

Uncooked, the Ruby Streak has a strong mustard flavor, cooked, it is mild. I cut them into bite-sized pieces stir-fried together with thinly sliced garlic green flavored with a few slices of fresh ginger, salt and pepper to taste. Liked the taste a lot, a keeper.

To learn about garlic green, click here. For a recipe using garlic green, click here.

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I always allow some of my mustard plants, both Red Giant and Green to go to seed. They self sow in the spring. For the past few weeks, there were mustard seedlings scattered all over the garden, the garden looked untidy but that does not bother me. When I am ready to plant in a certain area I pull them leaving the others to grow until I need the space.

The pulled seedlings, all freebies, are used in salad, soup or stir-fry.

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Red Giant Mustard

The Red Giant Mustard in the above photo are all volunteers, most started to bolt due to the high temperature.

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Sweet potatoes are not planted into the ground until end of May. To maximize my garden space, in early spring, I transplanted my lettuce seedlings into the bed where I will be growing sweet potatoes, marking the spots where the sweet potatoes will be planted and plant around them. As you can see from the photo below it is getting crowded now.

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Okinawan Sweet Potato (left), Purple Sweet Potato (right), Lettuces & a Volunteer Red Giant Mustard

The lettuce at the top left is Deer Tongue, the other 3 are red sail (I think), middle one is Forellenschluss. bottom 2 are Cimmaron and another deer tongue at bottom right.

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Portion of the Lettuces Harvest

I pulled the whole head of lettuces closest to the sweet potatoes and harvest just the outer leaves of the others, they too will be pulled in a few days as the sweet potato vines grow and need more space. Pulled the volunteer red giant mustard also. Shared the harvest with my neighbours.

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Garlic Greens, Ruby Streak Mustard, Red Rib Dandelion, Chive Flowers, Thyme Flowers & Snap Peas Shoots

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Made a simple salad dressed with balsamic vinegar, EVOO and S&P to taste.

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Lettuce Salad with Chick Peas Sprouts, Snap Peas Shoots, Red Rib Dandelion & Pomegranate Seeds

Remembered to take photo before digging in. The chick peas sprouts and pomegranate seeds are from the freezer. Click here to learn about chick peas sprouts.

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Tomato plants love the heat and are thriving. Few years ago a garden blogger wrote about putting 2 tablespoons each of bone meal and epsom salt at the bottom of each tomato hole, I have been doing that for the past 2 years and my tomatoes did very well so am doing the same again this year.

Sorry I forgot who the blogger was and unable to give credit. If you are one of my reader please identify yourself so I can give you credit or if one of my readers remember who the blogger is please let me know.

cherry tomato (07677)∗ ∗ ∗

Hilled and mulched potatoes and doing very well.

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Potatoes

Growing 4 varieties this year – Blue, Adirondack Blue, Adirondack Red & Fingerlings.

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Transplanted soy beans and Chinese long beans seedlings update.

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Soybeans

Soy Beans seedlings did not suffer any damage from the cold snap we had on May 21

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Chinese Long Beans

Chinese long bean seedlings did suffer damages. The good news is most of them bounced back (but most likely are set back at least a week). The seeds that I replanted sprouted and that’s also good news.

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One of my favorite flowers

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Mountain Laurel

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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 Cooking, Flowers, Gardening, Harvest Monday | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 51 Comments

Harvest Monday, May 25, 2015 – More Window Box Harvest + Soy Beans Seedlings + Chinese Long Beans Seedlings

More Window box harvest.

Johnny’s Happy Rich (F1) broccoli is a cross between broccoli and gailan (Chinese broccoli). Looks like miniature head of broccoli but has more of a gailan flavor. The entire stalk (stem, leaves and flower) is edible.

NOTE: Peel the lower part of the stem if it appears a bit woody.

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Happy Rich (F1) Broccoli, 12 plants, in a 28-inch Window Box

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Happy Rich (F1) Broccoli after Harvesting

Fertilized with fish emulsion fertilizer after harvesting.

Started the seeds in cell pack indoor on 3/11, transplanted into 28-inch window box on 4/19. This was the first Happy Rich harvest. Got 1+ pound.

I prefer to cut about 7 inches of each stalk leaving 2 – 3 leaves on the remaining stalk of each plant. Nice size side shoots will appear thus extending the harvest. You could choose to harvest just the florets leaving each plant with a longer stalk. The plant will send out many more side shoots but they will be skinny.

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Happy Rich (F1) Broccoli Stalks, Leaves & Snap Pea Shoots

I cut the Happy Rich stems and leaves into bite-sized pieces and stir-fried with 2 thinly sliced walking onions (not in photo), couple slices of ginger in a bit of coconut oil, salt and pepper to taste and served as a side. It was tender and tasty. A keeper, planting 2 window boxes next year.

The pea shoots are side shoots after the 5/11/15 harvest. (Click on link and scroll down.) Some went into a salad, the rest are in the fridge. There is enough for a meal and I will most likely stir-fry them in the same manner as the Happy Rich and use as a side.

I prefer to treat my freshly harvested greens simple with minimal cooking. I am sure you have noticed that freshly harvested greens cook much quicker and are tastier than store bought ones but they do take a bit longer to clean.

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This is the 4th and last of the window box spinach harvest. Putting this window box to rest until fall planting.

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Window Box Spinach

The window box spinach started to bolt so I pulled them all, got 8+ ounces. Look closely and you will see the flowers on the plants on the right in the above photo.

Made a spinach soup with tofu topped with a poached egg. Sorry no photo. Keep forgetting to take photos of the finished dishes before I dig in.

You see, after working in the garden and bringing in the harvest at the end of the day, I am starving, so after the meal is prepared I dive right in and thus no photo.

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Two years ago I experimented with starting my soy beans seeds in 4-inch pots and then transplant the seedlings into the garden. I was very pleased with the results, germination was good, the transplants did well and I got a head start. I also need not worry about birds and other critters feasting on my bean seeds.

Planting 3 different varieties this year – Black, Toyha and Besweet. All growing from self- saved seeds. Got the original Toyha and Besweet last year from Mary N of Mary’s Veggie Garden.

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Soy Beans Seedlings

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Soy Beans Seedlings

Seeds were sown in 4-inch pots, 9 seeds to a pot, on May 2, germinated on May 7. Was going away for a couple of days so took a chance and transplanted the seedlings into the garden on May 16. Sure glad they survived the 30+F nighttime temp we had Thursday night.

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Like the soy beans above, I also experimented with starting my Chinese Long Beans in 4-inch pots and also was pleased with the results.

This year I am growing 2 varieties, Green and Red Noodles. Also from self-saved seeds.

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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Chinese Long Beans Seedlings

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Red Noodles Beans Seedlings

Seeds were sown in 4-inch pots, 9 seeds to a pot, on May 2, germinated on May 7. Also took a chance (even though I knew it was not a good idea) and transplanted the seedlings into the garden on May 16. They did not like the 30+F nighttime temp we had Thursday night. The Red Noodles appear to be hardier and may recover but will suffer a set back I am sure, the Green variety is less hardy, quite wilted and may not recover. Fortunately I have extra seeds and direct sowed yesterday.

I did dig up 15 plants each of the Green and the Red Noodles seedlings Thursday afternoon and kept them in the garage, they looked OK. Replanted them yesterday will let you know how they fare.

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Failed to photograph harvests are: lettuces, garlic greens and walking onions all from the garden. Garden is finally (though slowly) producing.

Container grown potatoes as well as the ones in the garden are growing very well. Completed a 3rd and final hilling. Looking forward to harvesting new potatoes.

This weather is driving me nuts, the high tomorrow is going to be 90F. Hoping for rain.

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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 Cooking, Gardening, Harvest Monday, Vegetables, window box gardening | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 49 Comments