Harvest Monday, July 15, 2013

Gardens, both flowers and veggies, survived during my absence.

Upon my return from vacation in Toronto, there were a number of veggies in the garden patiently waiting to be harvested. Made me very happy.

The garden beds, though, were screaming: I am overcrowded, get rid of the weeds. The beds were also very thirsty. The thirst was an easy fix, turn on the sprinkler. The weeding on the other hand, lets just say the last few days were and the days ahead are going to be very busy weeding days. Unfortunately, this is also going to be a very, very HOT week, 90’s mostly, so if I am to get anything accomplished I needed to be outside no later than 6 a.m. will be a challenge.


A bit past their prime, still tasty when cooked as soon as harvested

Asian green - happy rich

Johnny’s Broccoli X Gailon – Happy Rich (F1) (Brassica oleracea)
Definitely past its prime but still usable, just needed to peel the stems

Happy Rich (F1), a mini broccoli, is a cross between Chinese gai lan and broccoli. Easier to grow than gai lan in my area. Not sure if I will grow it next year. I would perhaps be more enthused about it if it was harvested at its prime. Will see how well it sends out side shoots. According to the catalog, it produces ample amounts of side shoots.

Garlic berries tomatoes & snow peas

Garlic, strawberry, raspberries, tomatoes & snow peas

Green (pink) garlicGarlic was not quite ready, needed another week or 2. But I like to harvest some at this stage, slice thinly and add to stir-fry. That’s the beauty of growing your own veggies, able to harvest at any time at any stage. Click here to learn when garlic is ready for harvest.

Birds did not touch that perfect strawberry in the above photo.

First raspberries, I picked more than the 2 in the photos, the others did not make it pass the garden gate.

First tomato. This is a blight resistant variety, Jasper (F1), cherry, nice flavor but the skin is a bit thick. Not sure if I will plant this variety again.

Snow peas was not doing anything before I went on vacation, returned after a week and would you believe the plants were loaded with pea pods. Unfortunately most of the pods were over matured (see pod on the left in above photo). Decided to leave the very matured ones on the plant. Will harvest for next year’s seed when they turn brown.

Carrots needed thinning.


Carrots, Burpee’s nantes half long
Not bad for thinnings, measured between 4 – 6 inches long, sweet and crunchy.

These were planted 4/8/13 from seed tape. Tried seed tape before but was unsuccessful. Decided to try again and this time was successful. Planted another row of the same seed tape 6/3/13 but not a single seed germinated. Why, what is the problem? Timing? Heat? The inquiring mind needs to know. Still have a bit of the seed tape left, will plant again to see if there is any germination issues.

Harvested Chinese (garlic) chives flowers (scapes) and the outer leaves of very young fordhook giant Swiss chard.

Swiss chard & Chinese (garlic) chives flowers

Swiss chard & Chinese (garlic) chive flowers (scapes)

Stir-fry Swiss chard & Chinese chives flowersHad precooked poultry in the fridge and needed a veggie side. Decided to make a stir-fry using only the chard stems and the Chinese chive flowers.

Chard & Chinese Chive Flowers Stir-fry
Washed and slant cut chard stems.
Cut chive flowers into 1½-inch lengths.
Thinly sliced (freshly harvested) garlic.
Salt and pepper to taste
Liquid (broth, water or wine) if needed to prevent burning.
Stir-fry using a bit of oil until reached desired doneness.
Garnish with dried apricots and toasted black and/or white sesame seeds. Enjoy!
(I like everything crunchy so I just stir-fried until the chive flowers turned bright green)

I usually peel my Swiss chard stems but these were young and tender so there was no need to peel. For peeling how to click here.

Endless summer hydrangea

Endless Summer Hydrangea
Need to amend the soil so the flowers will be bluer

While in Toronto, on the agenda was a visit to Allan Gardens in downtown Toronto to see the most amazing agave plant (estimated age is 75) growing though the glass roof of the cacti greenhouse (oh yes, this mother broke through the glass ceiling). Click here to learn more. Too bad there was not a single bloom when I visited and I will not be in Toronto when it finally blooms, but will post updates if I come across any.

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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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52 Responses to Harvest Monday, July 15, 2013

  1. I cannot wait for Spring to plant my garden again Norma. You are such an inspiration.
    Have a super day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  2. Karen says:

    It is nice that you got to get away and your garden had nice surprise for you. Well…not the weeds which you will get to in time. 🙂

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Karen,
      Getting away is great, the problem is I need a vacation to recover from my get away. It is so hot doubt if I will be getting to the weeds any time soon. Probably much cooler by the water in Maine.

      • Karen says:

        It is supposed to be in the high eighties today and tomorrow but with the breeze off the water…it’s not bad. I do all my weeding in the morning when all my gardens are in shade. 🙂

  3. I love this recipe – my Chinese chives aren’t flowering yet, but when they do I’ll be ready for them. We also have to get I to the garden early these days – I was weeding at 5, with bats overhead!

  4. My garlic chives never look that good! The stir-fry looks very delicious, Norma.

  5. salute for your garden Norma,
    i’m curious how wide is your garden and how come you got so many plants seed in your garden???

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Dedy,
      The growing area of my veggie garden is about 50 feet by 25 feet. I am able to grow so many different kinds of veggies because I grow only a few plants of each variety. I also practice interplanting.

  6. Doubt I’ve ever had produce from my garden that looked that good.

  7. Norma, I don’t know what is happening with your carrots planted 6/3 but it is not the heat. I planted Yaya 5//20 & 6/25, and Bolero 7/2, 7/5, and 7/9 and all are up & looking good except the last sowing which will probably be up tomorrow – it’s only 6 days since planting. I planted all the Bolero carrots on the north side of my shelling peas, in the same bed, and I’ve been removing the pea plants as necessary but only after the carrots are up. The shade has kept the bed moist enough for good germination even with almost no rain since planting.

  8. Patsy says:

    Beautiful harvest Norma! I’ve had a major struggle with getting carrots going this year too. My latest bed looks OK so far, but because I am being very diligent to water it. Like you, I’ve been hitting the garden at 6 am to beat the heat!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Patsy,
      It is a puzzle why the early planting of same seeds had 100% germination and later planting had 0% germination. Going to replant after the heat wave to see what happens.

  9. michelle says:

    How fortunate to have such a cooperative garden! It seems like every time I go away for a week or more I come back to an overgrown mess, how quickly things get out of control. I’m sure you’ll have those weeds taken care of in no time.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Michelle,
      I was pleasantly surprise at how well my garden looked when I returned, first time this has happened. We are in for a whole week of heat wave, impossible to get much done in the garden, am trying.

  10. Your garden gave you wonderful surprises on your return 🙂
    And your stir fry looks delicious!

    Choc Chip Uru

  11. Norma, is Happy Rich a brocolini? How does it compare in taste to gailan, which I love? You’re right about gailan, it’s hard to grow. Mine are always stringy. Maybe they need lots of water? I still have a lot of seeds from the 2 packages I bought from an Asiam market, but didn’t sow any this year. I’ll try it again in the Fall, maybe it’ll do better then.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello NG,
      It looks more like a miniature head of broccoli or a large broccoli side shoots, I found the taste to be more broccoli like than gai lan like, may be because it was over mature, if I get side shoots I will try to harvest early and see if there is a difference in taste and hopefully the leaves will be edible also.

  12. It’s too bad you lost a few things due to the heat and being away, always a shame. We finally got around to weeding last weekend; I took your advise and waited for the rose of Sharon seeds sprouted tall enough to grab, and although your method was easier than pulling the tens of thousands of seedlings out, it still was gruelling. We filled an entire garden bag (yes the big one) with the plucked seedlings! And I am quite sore today.
    We are also having very hot and humid days here in Toronto, which is not pleasant if one doesn’t have A/C, but fortunately we do. Have a great week.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Eva,
      The rose of Sharon is gorgeous when in bloom but it is also very invasive, my neighbor has a whole row growing along the east side of my garden and it is a battle keeping them out of my veggie beds. Sounds like you have a huge one. Hope you are all mended after a good night’s rest.

  13. Shawn Ann says:

    Very nice. Isn’t it nice to come home to a surprise in the garden. Much better than coming home to the garden half dead. Your strawberry looks just perfect. Glad the birds didn’t get it!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Shawn Ann,
      That was the only perfect one. I don’t mind sharing with the wild life, but I would like them to be more polite and finish one before going on to another.

  14. hotlyspiced says:

    I hope your garden survives the coming heat. It’s lovely to see there’s at least one strawberry the birds didn’t get!

  15. lucky you got to that lone strawberry before the birds did!

  16. Juliana says:

    As always, nice harvest Norma…it is so nice to cook with the veggies that you just harvest from your garden…
    Have a great week 😀

  17. Eha says:

    Norma: next to your lovely broccoli you show a photo of what you call ‘Johnny’s Asian Green’ – is that different from broccolini or don’t you use that term in the States? It’s sold in small and comparatively expensive bunches here as sort’of a ‘better and finer grade’ broccoli ?

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Eha,
      I miss labeled, it should read Johnny’s Broccoli X Gailon” I corrected the caption.
      It is different from broccolini, has thicker stalk and larger floret. I should look into growing broccolini, next year.

      • Eha says:

        Yes, I thought it looked different to ‘ours’ in just the way you describe. I very much like broccolini, but the price difference here with broccoli in season is quite considerable.

  18. ChgoJohn says:

    A garden in full flourish is a great homecoming, Norma. It’s so hard to leave home this time of year. You never know how to set up watering. I have timers and all is well if normal situations prevail. If there’s a rainy spell, however, everything will get too wet. If it is unusually hot, nothing will receive enough water. I’ll be leaving myself in a couple days and don’t know what kind of watering schedule to set up. Whatever it is, it will be wrong. 🙂

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello John,
      Wherever you are going, have a grand time and don’t worry about the gardens, they will do just fine. I worried for nothing.
      We are having a heat wave, 97 predicted for Friday, factor in humidity, it will be triple digits. Hope you are having cooler weather.

  19. leduesorelle says:

    What a nice coincidence, I just got a bunch of Happy Rich broccoli from a local farmer in exchange for telling him how to pronouce gai lan! Am wondering if it’s taste improves once the weather calms down to cooler temps…

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Leduesorelle,
      That was a great trade.
      According to the catalog it produces ample side shoots so will see if I get side shoots and if the flavor improves when the weather get cooler. I think I was disappointed because I was looking for more of a gai lan taste than broccoli.

  20. Kristy says:

    Oh! You’ve got some of my favorites! Strawberries and raspberries. I dare say none of them would make it past the gate. I’d just be camped out in the garden eating them all morning! I’m glad you had a good visit in Toronto. It’s such a great city. It’s too bad we weren’t there at the same time. 🙂

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Kristy,
      Yep, would have loved to meet you and the other bloggers. Did you hear about the flooding from too much rain in downtown Toronto? It happened the Monday after I left, Eva did not have flooding problem but did lose electricity for an extended period.

  21. mac says:

    Nice little surprise from the garden, the harvest looks great, hope you had a nice vacation, I like Toronto a lot, oh the food………
    I planted the same Nantes carrot tape as yours maybe a week later, only half sprouted, but they are so small it’s not worth picking, your look a lot bigger.

  22. Barbie says:

    I love coming back to an awaiting harvest. Unfortunately any time other than winter I’m fairly assured whatever I’ve left behind willhave rotted without me. LOL. Nice harvest. Hope you enjoyed your Holiday!

  23. Love your baby carrot harvest!

  24. Sounds like a great harvest. Love that Swiss chard and your Hydrangeas look beautiful!

  25. Early to rise and early to fall asleep. 0600 and gardening is quite a welcome back from your trip. I don’t think my berries would make it back into the house in time for me to make something with them either there is just something special about eating fruits and veggie straight from the garden when they are still warm. Your stirfry looks delicious and light. Do you use Chinese medicinal herbs in your cooking? Did you plant any or do you just purchase them dry? Happy planting! Take Care, BAM

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Bam,
      I use a few Chinese medicinal herbs, not a lot as I do not know much about them. From what I understand, one needs to be careful when using certain Chinese medicinal herbs.

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