Harvest Monday, May 27, 2013

This is going to be an interesting gardening year. The weather was wild this past week – Tuesday, the high was 90°F, turn on the a/c. Saturday, the high was 50+, turn on the  heat again. Wonder when the weather is going to settle down?????

Was so looking forward to getting most of my seedlings into the ground this past week. But when I checked the 10 days forecast for my area and read that night time temp will be in the low 40’s/high 30’s with rain and gusty wind (even mention of frost by one of the weather channel) over the Memorial Day weekend decided to hold off on most of them until later this week.

Planted Chinese celery, 1 artichoke (surplus from Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden), collard green, kale, celeriac, leeks and Brussels sprouts. Hope they were not affected by the low night time temp.

Chinese celery, artichoke

Chinese celery and 1 artichoke (upper right corner)
Tried planting artichoke couple years ago but was unsuccessful, will see if I do better this time.

Kale an collard green

Collard green and kale

Rain combined with low night time temp, the soil is currently cold and soggy. Good news is second half of this week is going to be warm/hot and dry. Hoping to get every thing (except my eggplants) in the ground before the week is over.

I usually plant my eggplants in the ground late May/early Junebut this year I am experimenting and will wait until mid-June. I read somewhere that by delaying planting until later in the season (mid-June) there will be less flea beetles damage.

The razzle dazzle spinach I direct sowed in the garden did not do as well as the ones in the window box, was starting to bolt so I pulled them all. Hon tsai tai not doing well at all, very skinny and also started to bolt. Harvest all the flowers shoots.

Spinach, hot tsai tai

Hon tsai tai flower shoots and razzle dazzle spinach
Hon tsai tai went into a stir fry with other veggies. Spinach was blanched, cooled and froze for future meals.

Other harvests were mostly green mustards (they started to bolt) and some red giant mustard. All volunteers. Got over 3 pounds.


Green mustard and red giant mustard
Cleaned, cut into shorter lengths, blanched, cool and froze for future meals

Bok choy flowersThe volunteer bok choy also bolted.

Again I harvested all the flower shoots and added to the hon tsai tai in a stir-fry. The flower are edible and the stems are very tender and sweet.

As you can see from the photo at right the flowers are a pretty yellow. Notice the nibbling on the leaves by critters.

Tree peonies

Tree peonies

Tree peonies – red, yellow & pink


Bleeding heart & viburnum

Decidious azalea

Deciduous azalea
Saw my first hummingbird yesterday hovering over this shrub. Did not get a chance to take a photo.

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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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71 Responses to Harvest Monday, May 27, 2013

  1. Hotly Spiced says:

    My sister is currently working in NYC and she said it’s been unbelievably cold and hasn’t stopped raining. It seems your summer is very late to arrive. Great that you’ve had the opportunity to do some planting and I do hope the warm weather arrives and hangs around for more than a day here and a day there xx

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Charlie,
      Will you be visiting your sister in NYC? If you do drop me a note, would love to meet you. Going to be in the 90’s later this week, crazy weather.

  2. Eva Taylor says:

    It’s been crazy in my neck of the woods too. I bought a fig tree, it’s supposed to be hearty to zone 6, but I’ll still bring it in for the winter. What’s the soil you use that limits insects? Very excited about my figs. Any advice you can give would be very appreciated.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Eva,
      I use Pro-Mix, it is a Canadian product. I read that fig prefer alkaline soil so I put a chunk of cinder block in the container with the fig. I also add a handful of lime. Keep it well watered during the growing season. A heavy feeder, I fertilizer often but at half strength. I am sure your fig will do well. Which variety did you get?

      • Eva Taylor says:

        Thanks Norma, I’ll have to look at the tag. I’m definitely taking your advice — we’ll transplant it tomorrow with the new, clean earth. I usually use that mix as well but the nursery I shopped at on Saturday didn’t have it.

      • The fig is called Ficus carica, the tag says tasty, medium-size fruit. I’m really excited about it.

      • Norma Chang says:

        Hello Eva,
        Great, I have no idea what variety I have. Could be the same as yours, it is a brown fig. Forgot to mention I place my container in another deep container which I fill with water and the fig tree just drinks it all up. Makes keeping the fig tree watered so much easier. I have a photo but don’t know how to put it on this comment so will send it to you via e-mail.

  3. Daphne says:

    It has been so cold recently. We had a day we didn’t get out of the 40s and last night was in the 30s. My heat is off so today the house is a bit cold. It ought to warm up fast once the sun is up though. Starting Thursday the predictions are for temps in the 90s. I’m not liking the swings. Earlier this spring it was great as the weather didn’t swing at all. In fact I think it was the most stable of any spring I’ve seen in quite a while. I guess it is making up for it now.

  4. Beautiful spring flowers, Norma. We have a really cold and rainy spring..Yesterday it’s just 3C over here.

  5. Hi Norma, have not seen you for some time :). Love your flowers, of course and your own vegetables. Given up growing any here on my own terraces – far far too hot. Everything either dies soon, shoots up and then tastes of absolutely nothing. But, dear friend, I follow your progress! 🙂 good luck. Carina

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Carina,
      So sorry to learn that you had to give up growing your own veggies.
      I was under the weather for a while but am nearly back to normal. Trying to catch up and hopefully will resume writing my Friday post soon.

  6. Mark Willis says:

    Most plants hate weather fluctuations, don’t they? I find that many plants will tolerate cold conditions reasonably well, but as soon as things warm up they bolt. Oriental Greens seem to be particularly prone to this – as are radishes.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Mark,
      Yes, Oriental greens are fussy about the weather and it is challenging trying to grow them where I live. Some years I do well others total failure, I think this is going to be one of the “failure” year.

  7. kitsapfg says:

    Sorry you are getting such weather extremes – likely the reason so many of the greens are wanting to bolt – the stress of that kind of wild weather really takes its toll. Regardless, you are getting some very nice harvests and are making real progress on your garden planting up.

  8. Beautiful flowers. I made a flower breakfast few days ago and I could eat some more. It’s crazy with weather over here as well. Sometimes we have summer weather, next day it’s 5*C. Hopefully your plants will be on good terms with a changing weather.

  9. Kim says:

    Did you see the snow storm in upstate NY? Weird weather!
    We have not had temps into the 90’s yet in coastal NC but it has
    been down into the low 40’s at night.
    I hope this is the end of the cold for you.last frost free date now right?

    Happy Gardening

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Kim,
      I understand Copake (about 1 hour north of us) had snow. Yes, weird weather indeed. I guess since you live on the coast you do not have the extreme weather fluctuation we are experiencing.

  10. Your peonies are splendid!

  11. I love your peonies! Those mustard greens look nice too. My mom brought me a packet of seeds for them after a bowl of soup with mustard greens. I will have to give them a try.

  12. Those bleeding hearts certainly cAught my eye, they look lovely 🙂
    Haha crazy weather here too, in the midst of autumn, we have 4 degree mornings and 25 degree days…

    Choc Chip Uru

  13. Michelle says:

    I thought my weather was crazy, yours is downright schizo! At least your flowers don’t seem to mind the crazy swings, they’re beautiful.

  14. Everything looks good, Norma! Especially the tree peonies. Love that yellow one!

  15. Your plants and flowers look amazing Norma! The weather has been so crazy, I agree! Hopefully it will settle down now – though I now have a feeling, it’s going to get hot and sticky, quick! At least the plants will like it as long as we have rain every now and again…hope you had a good weekend!

  16. Jenny says:

    Beautiful greens and very lovely flowers! And you’re right, it’s been one very wild year already with rolercoaster ride up and down. let’s hope it’s the last of the cold and nice warm will settle in.

  17. Kristy says:

    You know my peonies still have not bloomed. Odd. Although the weather here sounds similar to yours as well. Up and down, up and down. Enjoy your planting later this week! 🙂

  18. Eha says:

    It sure will not help to praise your beautiful floral offerings when there are some 40-50 degree differentials in your diurnal temperature! For once we in E Australia are doing ‘better’! Yet you are picking an awful lot of ‘greens’ and freezing them and I have to pick myself off the ‘watching cycling all thru’ the night’ ground and do more which is practical 🙂 !

  19. Sophie33 says:

    Your 3 different coloured pionies look just wonderful & your azaleas too! Too bad for your spinach!

  20. Saskia (1=2) says:

    Those peonies and deciduous azalea are GORGEOUS Norma. I hope you can capture a photo of a hummingbird for us one day. I guess there would be a lot of blurriness though, from those teeny flapping wings! Sorry to hear about your spinach 😦

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Saskia,
      How I would love to capture a photo of my hummingbird, but I doubt my little point and shoot camera would do the job. My bloomsdale spinach is still growing well so all is not lost.

  21. You’ve got stuff for the kitchen and you just started! My ex mother-in-law from the backwoods of Tennessee used to call the PeeOHnies. I’ll never forget that. 🙂

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Maureen,
      Compared to last year, I am late but then last year we had an unusually warm winter and if I remember correctly an early and warm spring also. This year it is a very late and cold spring.

  22. you even plant the pricey artthichoke…..
    i’m jealous for your devine garde…

  23. Gorgeous post, Norma! Pete is talking about planting artichokes for the first time this year…

  24. tokyohamster says:

    Hi Norma! I love all of your chinese greens! I sometimes wonder how you use all of your vegetables? Do you always have a large surplus for neighbors and friends? Or do you have an inventive way of storing them?

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Tokyo,
      I share my bounty with neighbours and friends, I also do some freezing.

      • tokyohamster says:

        Haha that makes more sense! Whenever our neighbors and friends back home grew Chinese greens, they always had such an abundance that we always had vegetables for the week! Anyone who knows you is very lucky!

  25. Juliana says:

    I always enjoy seeing your garden pictures…and yes the weather has been crazy here in the West Coast too, but nothing like what you are experiencing.
    Have a great week Norma 🙂

  26. Your peonies, viburnum and deciduous azalea are gorgeous, Norma! So far the plants I’ve put out this year have bolted, too. Probably a good thing that I am so far behind in planting. Very strange weather year indeed!

  27. Shawn Ann says:

    Lovely greens. Beautiful flowers. Yep the weather has been a bit crazy. Hopefully it will get a bit normal here soon!

  28. You have some really beautiful flowers and veggies in your garden Norma. I especially love your tree peonies & deciduous azalea.

  29. Peonies and kale…two of my absolute favorites. Your green thumb is amazing, Norma!

  30. Karen says:

    We put off going to Maine until tomorrow for the summer season as it has been so cold and rainy. I’m taking all the tomato plants but will put off planting for a few more days. Hopefully, the weather will settle down.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Karen,
      Garden suffered a bit of frost damage over the Memorial Day weekend, very unusual. 90’s yesterday, today and tomorrow. Plants are stressed and confused.

      • Karen says:

        We are in Maine now and the high today and tomorrow is around 90 then down into the 70’s. The plants are definitely confused. My tomatoes aren’t going into the ground. You will laugh when you see what I’m doing with them…they are in a wagon that I’m moving around during the day. I’ll do a post on them soon. 🙂

      • Norma Chang says:

        Hello Karen,
        We, gardeners, do what we have to do to protect and take care of our babies (plants). Looking forward to your post.

  31. We’re moving to a new home next month and I’m not sure there will be space for much gardening, so I may be living vicariously through you. I’ve grown artichokes in my current home for a few years with great success. Our weather is perfect for them, and I will miss the plants dearly. On the weather, we had a VERY dry winter, but it rained all day Memorial Day for the first time since 1993. Crazy weather indeed.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello WV,
      We do not have the ideal condition for growing artichokes, but Locust Grove (about 2 miles from my home) manage to grow them successfully, so I am hoping it will be successful in my garden too.

  32. Hello Norma, as you know we do not have the weather diversity in HK as you do. Sometimes it is humid and sometimes it is so humid you can breath but it is humid… LOL Love seeing all of your beautiful seedlings and flowers. Wishing you a relaxing weekend. BAM

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Bam,
      Yep, I know about the humidity in HK. Can be suffocating. A storm came through last night and knock down many of my peonies, but there are still lots of buds so I am looking forward to many more blooms.

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