Harvest Monday, May 21, 2012 – Garden Update

Thornless Blackberry Flowers
The blackberry bush is laden with flowers, indication of a good harvest.
Hope I get to the ripe berries before the birds and the insects.

Yesterday was a very busy day. According to the weather report, night time temp will be staying above 50º as of last night, so I transplanted my bittermelon, Chinese celery, celeriac and Chinese long beans, gave each a nice drink of fish emulsion fertilizer. They are all happy in their new home.

Before transplanting the bittermelon seedlings I pinched off the tip of each, this will encourage branching.

Peas are looking good, stakes the snow peas and sugar pods. Hoping to plant my soybeans this week and maybe angled luffa, cucumbers and squash.

Choy sum not doing well at all, most are very skinny, as you can see from the above photo. I cut off the flowers (just above the last leaf from the ground, should have harvested earlier), fertilized the remainer of the plants and hoping for a cut-and-come-again harvest. Added the flowers to my spinach soup, they were tender and tasty not to mention added a lovely color to the dish. Remembered to take photo after I ate the soup, which was too late.

Harvest was good this past week.
Spinach, 4 pounds. Shared a portion with neighbours, made soup with part of the harvest and froze the rest.
Red giant mustard, 2½ pounds. Made soup and froze for the future.

Harvest lettuce, left: oakleaf; right, don’t know, was from a package labeled mesclun. Made a delicious salad with just oil and vinegar, oh so good.

Copyright © by Norma Chang

Visit Daphne’s Dandelions http://daphnesdandelions.blogspot.com/ for more Harvest Mondays

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About Norma Chang

I am the author/publisher of 2 user-friendly Chinese cookbooks: "My Students' Favorite Chinese Recipes (updated edition)" and "Wokking Your Way to Low Fat Cooking" A gardener who enjoys cooking and eating and loves to think outside the box A garden volunteer at Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden Conduct hands-on cooking workshops for teenagers Conduct cultural programs for children and family Conduct healthy cooking classes for adults
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54 Responses to Harvest Monday, May 21, 2012 – Garden Update

  1. I look forward to seeing your gorgeous juicy berries – your garden is in full swing – well done my friend 😀

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello CCU,
      I am looking forward to the juicy berries, need to make sure I get to the berries before the birds and insects. My garden is coming along, should be in full swing next week.

  2. cocomino says:

    It’s nice vegetables. Planting vegetables and eat them by myself is perfect. 😀

  3. All those leaves are looking so succulent and delicious Norma! I’m just starting to pick my lettuce, spinach and chard and it is so good to again have a bowl of home grown salad…

  4. Daphne says:

    Your blackberry flowers look beautiful. And I see I’m not the only one to grow choy sum. I do love it.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Daphne,
      My choy sum did so much better last year. Read your choy sum post and agree the weather has affected the harvest. I am hoping for plump and tender shide shoots.

  5. ceciliag says:

    You have a wonderful variety of greens in your garden, I look forward to seeing the bittermelon grown..c

  6. leduesorelle says:

    Looks like you were able to bring in a lovely harvest of greens, despite it being a busy time — It’s so nice to be back in the garden and eating what we grow!

  7. Lou Murray's Green World says:

    Norma, I got a chuckle out of you remembering to take a photo after you ate the soup. I can’t tell you how often that happens to me. The food looks so good that I forget to photograph it and go straight to the eating. Your photo of thornless blackberries is inspiring. I have two plants but they’re not doing well. I may need to replant them. Do yours spread like regular blackberries?

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Lou,
      I am glad I am not the only who forgot to take photos in a timely manner.
      Yes, the thornless blackberries do spread, but I think it spread less than the regular, the berries are huge and sugar sweet, getting to them before the birds and insect is a challenge.

  8. zestybeandog says:

    Nice looking greens!

  9. Eva Taylor says:

    I love your harvest Mondays Norma. Your harvest looks great. I planted a pot of just lettuce this year too. My garlic and green onions look great. We had an amazing long weekend 28C yesterday at the cottage. We’re on the road home making the 3.5 hour trip home (at least we hope it will be 3.5 hours and not more).

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Eva,
      Thanks. I was just going to harvest the outer leaves from each lettuce plant but I needed the space for my bittermelon so pulled up the whole plant, still plenty in the garden will have to get some friends to come by and harvest as I will be needing the space for my sweet potatoes.
      Glad to hear yur garlic and green onions are looking great. Feels good watching things grow, isn’t it? Were you writing from a laptop in the car?

      • Eva Taylor says:

        Believe it or not Norma, I often use my iPhone 3Gs to comment on blogs during down time. It takes a while to get used to the mini keyboard and I have to scan the auto correct (there have been some real weird corrections!) but all in all it’s fine and convenient. I also do entire posts from the phone…crazy but true! We actually beat the traffic and made it home in the normal time! But I wouldn’t have wanted to leave any later, that’s for sure!

      • Norma Chang says:

        Hello Eva,
        Glad you made it home from the cottage in the normal time.

  10. Sissi says:

    Thank you for this update! I enjoy so much reading about your garden harvest! I have just realised I have choy sum seeds I have never sown because I didn’t know what it was (a friend sent me some seeds from Japan and didn’t know herself what it was; this is the only plant I haven’t identified so the package has been lying unopened for 2 years… Thank you for this photo! I will sow it straight away (if it’s not too late).

  11. ChgoJohn says:

    4 pounds of spinach and 2.5 pounds of red mustard? You certainly did have a good harvest for this time of the year. Aren’t those blackberry blossoms pretty? It’s such a mixed bag trying to grow berries of any kind. There’s so much anticipation watching the plants blossom and the berries grow. And then, just as they mature, the birds, squirrels, and insects descend. It can be so frustrating. I’ve a similar problem. The neighborhood raccoons like my tomatoes and they’ve a knack for picking them the night before I had planned to do so. I’ve yet to figure out a way to outsmart them but hope springs eternal …

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello John,
      I had a good harvest except for my choy sum, I was really disappointed. You know I never paid much attention to the berry blossoms until now that I am blogging. Let me know when you figure out a way to outsmart the wild life.
      By the way, the kolkwitzia does have a fragrant. Went to Locust Grove yesterday to take a sniff, it is a delicate scent, one needs to get up close and personal to enjoy the fragrance.

  12. maryhysong says:

    Oh those black berries are going to be great! Will you put bird netting over them?

  13. Sounds like another productive weekend Norma. I thought of you this weekend I I finally managed to plant a few flowers and some herbs/vegetables in my garden. It is a very small little patch, but hey, it’s a start. I bet your lettuce was just amazing in your salad!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello P and P,
      It was productive and hectic. The problem with gardening in the Northeast with such a short growing season and unpredictable weather is one needs to make hay when the sun shines, its a challenge with timing. Yes, the lettuce salad was out of this world with just a simple dressing.
      Glad you got planting done over the weekend. I beleive your weather pattern is pretty close to ours.
      There is lot of advantage to having a smaller and more manageable garden patch, I think if I had a smaller patch, my garden would look a whole lot better organized and cared for.

  14. I’m starting to get obsessed about growing berries. I like the idea of a thornless variety. it would be so great to have freshly picked berries for breakfast!

  15. pooks says:

    Four pounds of spinach is a LOT of spinach! Wonderful harvest pics, as always!

  16. kitsapfg says:

    Looks like an abundance of blackberries is in your future! Good harvest of spinach this week.

  17. Liz says:

    ooooo blackberries – yum, yum, yum. A scarecrow perhaps?

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Loz,
      One of my neighbours had scarecrow and owl but nothing seems to work, there are so many birds, I tried netting but there frequently is that one bird that finds a way to get in but cannot find its way out, gets trapped under the net and I have to release it, adding insult to injuries.

  18. Kristy says:

    I hope you get to the blackberries before the birds too. Fresh grown blackberries are the best in my book. 🙂

  19. Charles says:

    Blackberry flowers already??? Is that not *really* early? I’m not familiar at all with different varieties of blackberry – the only ones I know really are the hedgerow variety which grow during the early autumn here, so the flowers are usually out in very late summer. I never heard of blackberries flowering so early. How lovely to have blackberries on the way in earnest so soon!

  20. I like the color of you oakleaf, Norma!

  21. The two things I miss most from our old place down south are my berries and my asparagus. Okay I miss gardening most of all and then the berries. I love your gardening posts.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Maureen,
      Thanks. you don’t have a garden? Hopefully you have a farmers market nearby so you can load up on berries and asparagus. I going to be demoing at the Rhinebeck Outdoors Farmers Market in June.

  22. Sophie33 says:

    I have also a thornless blackberry tree! My flowers haven’t opened yet! Your salads are looking so fresh & tasty too! 🙂

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Sophie,
      I think mine is earlier this year, but then this is the first time I am documenting dates, will see what happens next year. Yes, the salad was fresh and tasty, so much superior to the store bought.

  23. Sissi says:

    Thank you for the advice!

  24. I have never seen blackberry blooms before, so beautiful!

  25. mac says:

    Beautiful blackberry flowers. I’m having problems in germinating bittermelon and wintermelon this year, maybe the seeds are old.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Mac,
      Do you not save your own bittermelon and wintermelon seeds? I stopped growing wintermelon. If it is not too late to start I can send you some bittermelon seeds, the only issue with my seeds is that they got cross pollinated. I planted the white variety next to the green variety few years back, resulting in a paler green bittermelon.

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