Harvest Monday, May 2, 2016 – Widow Box Harvest + Walking Onion

What a difference a week makes.

The photo of the window box Kookaburra spinach below is the same window box Kookaburra spinach I posted last Monday, 4/26, (click on link and scroll down to view) quite a difference in sizes!

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Harvest just the outer leaves and got ¾ pound of spinach, not bad from 18 plants in a window box..

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Cut spinach into about 1-inch pieces, steamed, cooled and froze for later use.

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Above photo after harvest. Should have another outer leaves harvest soon.

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Lettuce also grew by leaps and bounds in one week.

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Harvest just the outer leaves and got about ½ pound.

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Made a simple dressing with lemon juice, EVOO, salt and pepper to taste. Freshest salad.

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Above photo after harvest. Will be harvesting outer leaves as needed.

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Asian greens did not grow as well, they are more cold sensitive at this stage and the weather has been cool especially at night.

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Got a total of ¾ pounds from the plants in the 3 boxes.

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The harvested leaves were in 3 different piles but then I made a mistake and dumped them all in the sink to wash resulting in a basket of mixed up greens.

Cut leaves and stems into bite sized pieces and sauteed in a bit of ginger infused oil with roasted garlic (from freezer. Click here and scroll down to learn how I peeled, roasted and froze the garlic cloves) and salt & pepper to taste, tender and delicious.

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Above photo after harvesting outer leaves.

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Conclusion from the above window boxes experiment:
§ All the above, spinach, lettuces and Asian greens, were started on 2/23/16.
§ Spinach and lettuce definitely worth starting early. Started in cell packs then transplanted to window boxes (preferred method over direct sow).
§ Asian greens not worth starting that early, requires too much TLC. Needed to be brought into the garage nightly. The young plants are sensitive to cold and may bolt prematurely if exposed to frost or a week of nighttime temperatures below 50 F. Spring planting is doable but fall planting is easier.

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One of my garden friends wanted to grow walking onion so I gave him a clump of “walkers” (plants where the bulbils fell to the ground and grew, variety unkown) and 2 varieties of the bulbils. Click here to learn more about Walking Onion.

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There are more than 10 plants in that clump, which my garden friend will separate before planting (he could use some of the seedlings for cooking if he does want to plant them all), each of the bulbils will produce a plant also. The bulbils at the top will produce curly scapes and bulbils at the bottom will produce straight scapes.

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Got my peas, broccoli, kale, collard, celeriac, radicchio and leeks transplanted into the garden. Direct sowed my parsnips and Chinese long beans. I am too early with the beans but since I have lots of seeds decided to take a chance.

The container fig tree has been moved outdoors for the season and is looking really good happy to get fresh air and see the sky.

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Was at The Phantom Gardener in Rhinebeck, NY last week and saw different kinds of pea seedlings (snow peas, sugar snaps and shelling peas) for sale. First time seeing pea seedlings selling at a garden center. My starting peas indoors is not a unique idea after all.

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The Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County Master Gardener plant sale is May 13 & 14, there will be annuals, perennials and vegetables for sale. Click here to check out their plants lists. Among the vegetables are Ping Tung Eggplant and Purple Sweet Potatoes. Get there early for best choices.

Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County
2714 US Route 44
Millbrook, NY 12545

Plant Sale Dates
Friday, May 13, 2016, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 14, 2016, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

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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, Cornell Cooperative Extention Dutchess County, Gardening, Harvest Monday, Uncategorized, Vegetables, window box gardening | Tagged , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Harvest Monday, April 25, 2016 – Hardening Container Fig + Window Boxes Update

I am, unfortunately, one of those individuals who never learns. Overextended myself (again) reason for my absence.

Container fig is leafing out, time to start hardening off.

Wheeled the container from its corner to the front of the garage (and untied all the branches) where it will remain until the end of this month which means my car will be living on the driveway until then. (I do not need to move the fig tree in and out of the garage as my garage faces west and gets plenty of afternoon sun giving the fig tree enough sunlight to gradually harden off.)

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The Bloomsdale spinach seeds were leftover from last year so I sowed thickly and would you believe all the seeds germinated.

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Spent some time thinning out the seedlings. Remaining plants (still too crowded) now have room to breathe and grow. Should be looking good in a few days and there will be another thinning/harvest soon.

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Got ½+ pound of baby spinach, not bad from just thinnings.

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Had planned to make a spinach egg drop soup but changed my mind and instead wilted all the spinach in garlic infused oil and topped with chopped hard boiled egg.

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Was a pain to thin/harvest and clean the spinach but well worth the effort. It was the best wilted spinach and oh, so tender and sweet.

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The 4 varieties of bok choys are growing well in there individual window box.

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Win Win Choi

This is the first year I am growing Win Win Choi. Should I pull the entire plant? Or can I harvest the outer leaves when the plants are a bit larger and will the plants continue to grow thus extending the harvest? I think I will go with the outer leaves harvest.

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Top: Vitamin Green. Middle: Shiro F1. Bottom: Tatsoi Rosette

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While the Bloomsdale spinach was directly sown in the window box, the Kookaburra spinach was started in small plastic container. The seedlings were then transplanted to the window box reason they are nicely spaced. Will harvest the outer leaves as needed allowing the plant to continue to grow thus extending the harvest.

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Kookaburra Spinach

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The snowstorm and cold spell we had beginning of April damaged the lettuces. Removed the damaged leaves, gave the plants some TLC and am happy to report they bounced back.

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Check out the beauties above, I am so looking forward to my first homegrown salad.

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This past week friends came to visit while I was working in the garden and I harvested bunches of walking onions, spring onions and garlic greens to share with them, no photos as I did not have my camera with me.

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The snowstorm and cold spell we had beginning of April also damaged most of my daffodils that were blooming or were budding.

The daffodils in the above photos are late bloomers and did not suffer any damage. They only started to bloom this past week so I will be enjoying them for a while.

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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, Harvest Monday, Uncategorized, Vegetables, window box gardening | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Harvest Monday, April 4, 2016 – Seedlings Update

We had snow Saturday night, I am guessing there was 2+ inches on the roof of my shed, yes snow on April 3. Woke up to a completely snow covered lawn, the sun came out during the day and melted away most of the snow but it was blustery, cold and more like winter than spring.

Looked out my window this morning and saw a repeat of the same. It is pretty out but this is a scene for January/February, not the scene I want to see in April. Can you believe it is still snowing as I write.

This past week’s harvests were more tender walking onion and radicchio. The new item was spring onion. Did not take photo as it would look the same as previous photo.

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I am trying 2 new varieties of Burpee peas that my sister, Joyce, sent me. One is Golden Sweet Peas, a yellow snow peas, the other is Little Snap Crunch Peas, compact plant bred for “container-friendliness” (so says Burpee’s write-up).

Previous years I experimented with starting peas in container and was happy with the results and am doing the same this year.

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Peas sown on 3/21/16 in 4-inch containers

Sowed 9 seeds (1-inch deep then covered with vermiculite) in each 4-inch container, watered well then covered with a clear dome cover and kept indoor in a warm location. Germinated in 4 days.

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Back row: Golden Sweet Peas. Bottom row: Little Snap Crunch Peas.

The above peas seedlings are ready to go into the grounds. Need to harden them off and get them in the ground later in the week. That’s the plan unless mother nature dictates otherwise.

The Golden Sweet vines grow up to 6 feet and will need trellising, the Little Snap Crunch vines grow to 32 inches and is supposed to be self-supporting but I will give it some support as I think it would make harvesting easier. As you can see in the above photo the Golden Sweet seedlings are already much taller than the Little Snap Crunch.

To test the Little Snap Crunch Peas “container-friendliness” I sow some seeds in a foam ice chest. I also left the ice chest outdoor. Took 9 days to germinate. The ice chest is completely covered with snow now, hope the seedlings survive.

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Little Snap Crunch Peas in foam ice chest

The seeds in the 4-inch containers and the foam ice chest were sown on the same day. The seeds in the 4-inch containers under controlled indoor environment germinated in 4 days and is now about 4 inches tall, the seeds in the foam ice chest under uncontrolled outdoor environment took 9 days to germinate and is less than 1½ inches tall. Quite a difference.

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Transplanted my lettuce seedlings into window boxes, they look happy and are doing well.

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Top: Forellenschluss Lettuce. Bottom: Bronze Mignonette Lettuce.

Am anxiously waiting to feast on my first salad from homegrown lettuce and looking forward to harvesting the outer leaves from the above soon. What a treat that would be!

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Seedlings in the photo below need to be transplanted into containers or window boxes, hoping to find time to do so this week.

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Napa Minuet, Pac Choi Win-Win, Kohlrabi Kolibri & Broccoli Gypsy

Tempted to harvest the Bok Choy seedlings in the above photo and use as Baby Bok Choy but there is not enough for a meal.

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Happy with the progress of my container garlic experiment, click here to learn about.

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German Red Garlic planted on 2/29

All 11 German Red Garlic cloves planted on 2/29 sprouted, are healthy and growing well and though completely snow covered this morning will be OK.

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German Red Garlic planted on 2/29 sprouted on 3/12

Now I must wait for each plant to send out a scape which I will harvest to allow the plants to form larger heads. If successful, I should be harvesting mature garlic around mid-July. Will keep you posted on progress.

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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, Uncategorized, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , , | 40 Comments

Harvest Monday, March 28, 2016 – Overwintered Root Crops

From the garden: Parsnips.

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Harvest about 5½ pounds of parsnips. Most were like the ones in the middle of the above photo, about 7 inches long and about 2 inches in diameter. The smaller ones on the right were still usable.

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From containers that were overwintered in the garage: Carrots and Beets.

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Carrots & Beets from Containers

The above carrots and beets were grown directly in containers, not transplants. Late last summer I had a couple of extra spare containers so decided to sow the leftover carrot and beet seeds in them, not sure if I would get a harvest but figured I had nothing to lose. Look at those baby carrots and beets! Munched on a few of the carrots, they were sweet and crunchy.

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From my foam ice chest garden (transplants): Leeks, Carrots and Celeriac.

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Leeks, Carrots & Celeriac

In my 11/9/15 post (click on link and scroll down) I talked about an overwintering experiment with transplanted root crops. Photo below (taken 11/5/15) shows what my winter ice chest garden looked like with the transplanted leeks, carrots and celeriac.

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Photo below (taken 3/20/16) shows what the ice chest garden looked like last week.

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The celeriac leaves were the first to turn yellow and were removed in January. The carrot leaves were all yellowed. The outer leek greens yellowed as well but the inner leaves were light green and usable.

RESULTS: All 3 transplanted root crops, 2 leeks, 3 carrots and 2 celeriac, overwintered well in my garage, they were firm and the quality was excellent.

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CONCLUSION: Am pleased with the results and consider the experiment a success. From now on I am definitely going to overwinter a good portion of my leeks, carrots and celeriac, beets also, using this method but will transplant each into its own foam ice chest as I think it will make harvesting throughout the winter easier.

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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, Locust Grove, Uncategorized, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Harvest Monday, March 21, 2016 – 1st Harvest + Onion Sets

Happy Spring!

The walking onions in the photo below are growing in a shady area. At the moment they get a fair amount of sunlight but once the trees leaf out that area is quite shady.

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Walking onions

First harvests of the season are: tender Walking Onions and Rossa di Treviso Chicory, a small harvest but an exciting first.

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Walking Onions & Rossa di Treviso Chicory

I used the tender Walking Onions in a beef stir-fry dish (oops, got carried away with the sesame seeds).

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Karen of Back Road Journal posted a Sesame Beef with Snow Peas, click here for recipe. I was craving a beef dish and her recipe was very timely.

Had all the ingredients on hand: sliced beef in the freezer, onions and garlic in storage but no snow peas, did not want to make a trip to the store so I substituted sunchoke (aka Jerusalem artichoke) and carrots that I had in storage and added the walking onion to give the dish some green. One change I made to the recipe was cut back on the chili sauce, 3 TBS is waaaaay too much for me.

NOTE: Sunchoke has a high content of inulin which some individuals have difficulties digesting, to learn more click here.

NOTE: How to make the carrot flowers in above photo? Click here and scroll down.

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Last fall when harvesting my chicory/radicchio I cut the heads at soil level and left the roots in the ground. The Rossa di Treviso Chicory (one of the 3 varieties I planted last year) in the photo below are growing from the root stumps, most but not all the stumps from the 3 varieties are producing new growth. I need to keep an eye on all the new growth and harvest before they bolt (chicory/radicchio are biennial and will bolt the 2nd year).

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Rossa di Treviso Chicory

Brought in the chicory on the left and used it in a salad with Romaine lettuce, avocado, orange segments and walnuts. Dressed with a simple dressing of fresh orange juice, extra virgin olive oil, rice vinegar, salt and white pepper to taste. Walnut oil instead of olive oil would be nice but I ran out.

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The chicory had just a hint of bitterness which played well with the sweetness of the orange.

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As mentioned in my March 7, 2016 post I am determined to grow onions successfully this year and started 3 different varieties from seeds. All have germinated.

While browsing in Job Lot I came upon packages of 40 sweet onion sets for $2.99. The sets look healthy and the package says easy to grow, sold. For $2.99 I must try as I have never grown onions from sets.

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Sweet Yellow Onion Sets

I now have the opportunity to compare results from onion sets versus starting from seeds.

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Years ago I grew golden raspberries but somewhere along the way they disappeared. On the rack next to the onion sets at Job Lot were packages of Fall Gold Raspberry plants. I was drooling looking at those luscious golden raspberries on the carton plus the plant looked healthy so I bought one also.

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Fall Gold Raspberry

No room in the fenced in garden so this was planted in an unfenced area, hope the deer leaves it alone.

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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 Mondays

Posted in Cooking, dairy free, Fruits, Gardening, gluten free, Harvest Monday, Recipes, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments