Harvest Monday, October 1, 2012

Went to the garden armed with rake, shovel and bucket to pick up and dispose of all the partially eaten Asian pears on the garden floor and on the tree. A big surprise awaited me. There was no partially eaten or rotten fruits to pick up. Both the garden floor and the pear tree were clean, no mess at all.

The critters had returned and cleaned up after themselves. Oh, how very thoughtful!

With extra time on my hand, decided to harvest my butternut squashes.

Burpee’s butterbush

The squash at the upper right corner did not pass the nail test (you can see that it is a bit greener than the others) will be using it first.

These are small butternut squashes, weighing about 1½ pound each, really cute. I like the small size plus the bush type plant does not take over the garden. Definitely planting again next year.

                                                     Volunteer Butternut 

The plant was growing in the compost pile. I knew it was a squash plant but had no idea what kind. Decided to let it continue to grow and am happy that I did. Needless to say I have no idea about the variety. They are much bigger that the butterbush, averaging 4+ pounds each, good looking and I am sure tasty.

Will do a comparison taste test of the 2 varieties at a later date and let you know what I think.

Would like to save seeds but the plant was growing in the same area as the pumpkin (click and scroll down) and may have been cross pollinated. Need to give this some thought.

Comparing sizes.

Left, volunteer butternut, weight, 4+ pounds

Right, butterbush, weight, 1½ pounds

Remember the crowded napa cabbages (click and scroll down) in the window box? Decided to loosely tie each one so there is better air circulation. Wondering if doing so each will form a head faster and better. Will keep you posted.

Lutz beets

Lutz beets do not get woody so I usually leave them in the ground as long as possible and just harvest as needed. But since there is no more sweet potatoes in the ground the critters are nibbling on the beets. Brought in the good ones and left the nibbled ones behind (for the critters) with the hope they will not go after the parsnips and other root vegetables.

Italian Red Rib Dandelion

Yes, I am growing dandelion. At the end of last year’s growing season, among the clearance seed packs at the garden center was Italian red rib dandelion, for 25¢ a pack I had to buy. Planted 4 plants in July when I had a bit of garden space. They grew well and are pretty plants. Will plant again next year. Both the ribs and leaves have a bitter taste that reminds me of chicory. If you are a fan of bitter greens you will like this red rib dandelion.

Made a simple salad with oak leaf lettuce, cucumber (last from the garden) and dandelion (used both the ribs and leaves, the ribs were slightly chewy). Dressed only with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Love it. Note to self: plant more than 4 plants next year.

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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

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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97 Responses to Harvest Monday, October 1, 2012

  1. Patsy says:

    What a gorgeous harvest you have this week! That salad looks delicious! Love those Lutz Salad leaf beets! Last year I had some very large Lutz beets and when I went to pull out the biggest, it came right up, light as a feather! Voles had hollowed it out completely, leaving just the top that showed above ground to fool me! So I pulled all the rest before they got any more, even though they could’ve grown longer!

  2. I am so glad everything seems so successful my friend, especially those butternut pumpkins 😀


  3. Daphne says:

    I love all your butternuts. So pretty.
    BTW most pumpkins are C. pepo and butternuts are C. moschata so they won’t cross. They might cross with your other butternut. If you have tromboncino squash or cheese pumpkins they could cross with those.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Daphne,
      I am so glad to know that the pumpkin and butternut will not cross. Definitely going to save seeds. They were not near the other butternut so hopefully did not cross. Thanks for the info.

  4. leduesorelle says:

    Incredible harvest of volunteer butternuts, my favorite kind of gardening! And brilliant idea of tying up the cabbage heads, am looking forward to reading about your results…

  5. Andrea says:

    Nice surprise from your compost and those little butter bush are just so cute, will be interested to hear the outcome of the taste test.

  6. Liz says:

    What a lovely basket of butternuts. I like the idea of a bush butternut – that is definitely something I will seek out. Thanks for the tip.

  7. wow…cool butternut squashes! Haven’t seen them in the supermarkets here…lots of Hokkaido though.

  8. kitsapFG says:

    Look at all those beautiful butternut squashes! And part of them from volunteers no less. Good work.

  9. miastradgard says:

    That is some really nice Butternut squashes! Wish I could grow them here! Have a nice week! 🙂 Mia

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Mia,
      What is the reason why you cannot grow butternut squash where you are?

      • miastradgard says:

        Norma – I live in Sweden and they will never get big enough to ripe up here! I might try them in the greenhouse, but the space is limited, so maybe not, even if I´m really craving for butternut squashes! Maybe if I grew them in a polytunnel but then there is the slugs – oh, well, You know! 🙂 Mia

      • Norma Chang says:

        Hello Mia,
        Maybe the butterbush will work for you, the days to maturity is 75.

  10. What a wonderful butternut harvest you’ve had this year! Thanks for the info on the butterbush! I have seen them in catalogs, but never given them a try! With our small space, I’m betting it would be beneficial to give them a try 🙂

  11. Hi Norma, Aren’t those creatures clever? They really like the Asian pear, no doubts about it… Look at those beautiful butternuts! I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the same variety, just the one that grew on the compost pile had better nutrition… 🙂
    I love red dandelion, I always buy in when I am around Whole Foods. I actually made salad last night, and have some more for today. I also bought some seeds in May, but didn’t plant it because of the hot weather. I guess I can start it now. Next year I want to plant my own bitter melons, I think salad with thinly sliced bitter melon and dandelion with some tomatoes and nuts would be just perfect… 🙂 Temperature in our neck of the woods dropped down about 12 degrees and everything started to grow, finally, after a long summer stall…
    Have a great week, Norma!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Marina,
      One has to admire the critters, they are clever indeed.
      I dno’t recall seeing red dandelion in our markets. There is no Whole Foods where I live but next time I am near one in NYC I will remember to look for it just to see how it is packaged and sold.

      • I was in Dallas last week, and they sell it in their Whole Foods in a produce department where lettuces are, and it comes in bunches, unpacked. Or you just ask. This WF sells both regular and red, I prefer the red one, it has richer taste for me.

  12. Shawn Ann says:

    Butterbush! I am going to have to try that one! You have a great harvest there!

  13. Wilderness says:

    Beautiful butternut volunteers. I wouldn’t be surprised if they did cross pollinate with the pumpkin. However, I just read an article that says the second name in a species has to be the same for them to cross pollinate. Good luck.

  14. wok with ray says:

    I was chuckling a little bit when I read you said the critters cleaned after themselves, something you would see at a Disney movie, haha! These butternut squash looks amazingly fresh! Have a wonderful week, Norma! 🙂

  15. Jenny says:

    Such a gorgeous harvest of buternuts! The size difference maybe due to the fact that one was growing on the compost pile – pure nutrient for them 🙂

  16. Katie says:

    How kind of the critters to come back and clean up! I’m glad they left you all that pretty squash.

  17. Kristy says:

    Those butternut squashes look so good Norma! It’s one of my favorite things about fall. In fact I made some last night. Just LOVE it!

  18. What a great harvest, Norma! I love butternut squash, but we just don’t have the space in the garden for them. I’ve had them really really small, and even then they were delicious!

  19. That is awesome Norma! What are you planning for those squash?

  20. Saskia (1=2) says:

    Great looking salad Norma. Haven’t heard of Red Rib Dandelion, but it looks gorgeous. Clicked back to your pumpkin post too – that big beautiful pumpkin is a ripper. Halloween-worthy!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Saskia,
      Thanks. First time I am growing red rib dandelion, like the color and the taste, planting more next year. The pumpkin is gorgeous and to think it is from a volunteer plant.

  21. zentMRS says:

    Love those butternut squash!! We don’t have the space for them, but love to see others’ harvests.

  22. ChgoJohn says:

    Another great harvest, Norma, and what a bonanza of butternut squash! Dandelion greens are fairly common here. As Marina mentioned, they can be found at Whole Foods but also at our ethnic markets. I’ve seen them year-round at the Italian and Greek markets I frequent.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello John,
      You are not going to believe this, but this is the first time I am eating dandelion. Wasn’t sure I would like it reason why I planted only 4. I do like this red variety and will plant more next year.

  23. Ginny says:

    What a nice harvest of butterbush squash you had! I love that size — just right for a meal for 2. Think I may try growing some of those next year!

  24. Michelle says:

    Lucky you to have such considerate critters, mine just leave their messes for me to clean up. 🙂

    But you truly are are lucky to get such great volunteer squash.

  25. I always learn so much from you. This week it’s butternut squash in bush plants. And red dandelions. I love those red dandelions! So pretty. And I like the taste of dandelion leaves. I used to forage for them. I may have to find and plant some. 🙂

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Cristy,
      I was pleasantly surprised at the red dandelions. To be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect and whether I would like it or not. Glad I gave it a go.

  26. hotlyspiced says:

    What a great harvest, Norma. So interesting to see the difference in pumpkin sizes. Love your beets too. And great that you didn’t have to clean up after your thieves! xx

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Charlie,
      Last year this time I was still going to the garden daily to pick pears as needed, now that the critters have discovered the fruits, starting next year I will need to harvest all at once and early in the season.

  27. Barbara Good says:

    Love, love the pumpkins, a bush variety sounds like a very sensible way to go in a small garden, I should see if I can find some next year. I did find the vines last year went everywhere and sadly only produced a couple of harvestable pumpkins – a pollination issue I think. The dandelion looks beautiful, as does your salad.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Barbara,
      I have issue with my blue hubbard this year, vines everywhere and only 1 squash which I am still waiting to mature, but it is so cold at night not sure if it will. I really liked the red rib dandelion.

  28. Hoping to see what you cook with your butternut squash. It reminds me to start thinking about what I’ll make with b-nut squash this fall — it is a quintessential fall harvest item. I make a butternut squash and apple soup every year … but I’d really like to try some new dishes. Those beets look terrific too!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Barb,
      Butternut and apple soup sounds delicious. Is it posted on your blog. Right now the squashes are getting cured, will be cooking when garden chores slow down a bit.

  29. Kiran says:

    Beautiful harvest of fresh produce. I am so jealous of the fresh bounty!!!

  30. Your squash look great! Sorry to hear about your half eaten pears.

  31. Beautiful! I just bought a butternut squash at the Farmer’s Market and can’t wait to make something delicious with it.

  32. tokyohamster says:

    What an amazing harvest! Those squashes look beautiful. I can’t wait to see what you’ll make with them! Napa cabbage is one of my favorites to use in the winter for all of my chinese dishes, but I had no idea that they looked so similar to lettuce in their early stages! Wow you really have a green thumb.

  33. maryhysong says:

    what a great harvest Norma! I didn’t plant any butternuts this year. I’m wondering if the tromboncino will taste similar (color and texture seem similar). Haven’t cooked up any ripe ones yet, just the green ones, but will soon.

  34. The red rib dandelion looks a lot like the stuff we had in the EL – and it actually was a chicory (from Johnny’s). I grew Burpee Butterbush several years ago and didn’t like it, because I got only a couple small fruits per plant in my part shade garden. Don’t be too certain that the butternut and pumpkin won’t cross – a number of the hybrids are actually C. pepo x C moschatta. If people can deliberately cross them then bees can cross them accidentally.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Mary,
      Red rib dandelion and red rib chicory is the same.
      I don’t know if my volunteer butternuts are hybrid, now I must give this matter some serious thoughts.

  35. I still get confused hahha because I know you guys call it butternut squash but to me it’s butternut pumpkin! LOL What you guys call pumpkin then? 🙂 The ones that kids use to carve faces during Halloween? I love love love Butternut pumpkin/squash! I eat so so so much of it 😀

  36. I heard that Dandelions were so healthy for you—I will have to try and find some–and the butternuts are BEAUTIFUL!!

  37. I’m quite envious of your butternut squash…love them! But can you tell me what the nail test is? Did I miss something? Probably as we’ve been traveling a bit over the last month and to say I’m behind in reading is a gross understatement.

  38. So many butternuts! What the heck!?! My squash plant JUST started to make a Hubbard! A little late in the season to start producing.

    And I’ve never seen the red dandelion, how beautiful. I will try and grow a pot next season as I love dandelion.

  39. Sammie says:

    Loving the squash!!! So big and gorgeous!! I can only dream up the different recipes you could cook up this with! 🙂

  40. Sophie33 says:

    A lovely & tasty produce, Norma! So many butternut pumpkins! they do look fine, the big & smaller ones! Home-grown is best! I also love the dandelion greens & that salad makes me smile!

  41. Diana says:

    Love the things you harvest last week :). I might have a go with butternut squash next year. Hope they will be as bountiful as yours. I have never had any success with napa cabbage, although tried to grow them spring and autumn for 4 consecutive years. This cabbage have never produce compact head for me.

  42. Charles says:

    My oh my, what are you going to do with all those squashes? You’ll be eating them until they come out of your ears, haha 😀 Must be tasty though… I don’t know if you feel the same way but I always feel a greater sense of fulfilment when I successfully grow something which is big, like this. Sure, growing a radish or something leafy is very rewarding, but nourishing something which grows to the size of a butternut squash or a watermelon or something must be fantastically fun!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Charles,
      Gardening is a lot of fun and I really enjoy the activity. Miss it a lot during the winter months and turn to growing sprouts in my kitchen.
      Right now all the squashes are curing, my kids most likely will be taking 1/2 or more of my harvest, I will be playing with the remainder when garden chores slow down a bit.

  43. Eva Taylor says:

    What a great post, Norma. I was very much looking forward to your Harvest Monday to see what delicacies are coming from your garden! And how nice of the critters to clean up, so thoughtful.
    That butternut squash will make a gorgeous fall soup; in our cooking class in Lyon we made a pumpkin soup flavoured with vanilla! It sounds strange but it worked! I’m planning to remake the menu soon.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Eva,
      Looking forward to your pumpkin soup post, I could substitute butternut squash for the pumpkin. Apparently butternuts are known as pumpkin in Australia.

  44. Mac says:

    Great harvest, the butternut squashes are gorgeous, I don’t have any this year.

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