Harvest Monday, August 12, 2013 & Container Gardening

This past week was perfect gardening weather, but I, sadly, did not take advantage. Could not get into the gardening groove plus work and other obligations took quite a bit of my time and energy. Very little garden chores got done.

On Thursday, a friend brought me some veggie seedlings that she got from her gardening friend. I accepted them even though I had no space in my garden. Planted them in  windowboxes I had lying around.

Choy sum (5579)

Choy Sum
They may be planted too close together

Still have more choy sum seedlings, will find some space in the garden to tuck them in.


'A' Choy

“A” Choy
Taiwanese Lettuce

Never heard of “A” choy before, had to look it up. Found out it is Taiwanese lettuce. The seedlings look like celtuce, wondering if they are the same? Should be interesting to see how this lettuce variety develops. Why is it called “A” choy?

I also received some leaf lettuce seedlings, will most likely plant them in a large pot.


The self-saved sugar snap peas that I planted in windowbox germinated and look healthy. I am looking forward to harvesting pea shoots.

Sugar snap peas seedlings (5587)

Sugar Snap Peas Seedlings
Difficult to see, but there are 2 rows of seedlings

Also planted some of the sugar snap peas in cell pack for transferring into the garden after I pull up all the spring sown carrots this week.

Sugar snap peas seedlings (5586)

Sugar Snap Peas Seedlings
Germination rate: 100%. I am thrilled.

Will the above peas transplants succeed? I have no idea. But since I did not have the garden space to direct sow earlier, decided to give it a try. I may not get peas but I will be happy with pea shoots.


It is mid-August and I am still waiting for my slicing tomatoes to show colors.

Tomatoes (5575)

Green Tomatoes
Pruned away the leaves to exposed the fruits to more sun, hoping this will speed up the ripening process


Harvested my first eggplant and my first okra (okra did not make it into the photo).

Ping Tung Eggplant (5573)

Ping Tung Eggplant & Cherry Tomatoes
Gave all to a friend


Needed some carrots and potatoes for my pork stew. Went to the garden and pulled a few carrots and plucked some fingerling potatoes.

Carrots & fingerling potatoes (5571)

Carrots & Fingerling Potatoes

Carrots are losing their sweetness, will pull all this week. Love the texture of the fingerling potatoes, definitely planting more next year. No idea what variety they are (picked up the original ones from a health food store). Will be saving my own seed potatoes for next year and future years.

Also harvested 1 bag each of beets (golden and Detroit dark red) and Swiss chard to share with a friend.

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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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76 Responses to Harvest Monday, August 12, 2013 & Container Gardening

  1. Karen says:

    You are putting your window boxes good use with your newly acquired seedlings. I’ve yet to pick a red tomato either…certainly not a typical year.

  2. Eva Taylor says:

    We’ve been up north since Thursday, hence my late comment. You’re eggplant looks amazing! Did you know that carrots weren’t orange originally? I bought a variety of coloured (white, purple, yellow) heirloom carrots this week and was rather disappointed in the taste, actually lack of taste is more like it. You had a great harvest this week. It’s been rather chilly here too.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Eva,
      I too find the white and yellow carrots tasteless. I use the purple ones for color not taste.
      Game to do an experiment with growing garlic? I was thinking, on one of your trips to your cottage, if you come across a farm stand selling garlic, buy some and plant the cloves at the edge of your flower bed late/Sept or Oct. Early next spring, transplant the seedlings to container on your deck, I think you will be able to harvest garlic scape and garlic bulbs.
      I plant garlic among my flowers to deter insect. Since I do not use chemical spray on my flowers, I harvest and use the garlic bulbs.

      • Eva Taylor says:

        Hi Norma, I’m game! Does garlic need a lot of sun or shade? I’ll have to find a spot with some soil as our area is very rocky, more Canadian Shield than dirt!

      • Norma Chang says:

        Hello Eva,
        They will perform better in full sun, but mine were planted in partial shade this year (darn neighbour’s trees) and did pretty good. The heads were a bit smaller than last year but still a good size.

  3. Jenny says:

    Beautiful and colorful harvest! Love the carrots and eggplant. I seeded fall garden two weeks ago but yesterday came to see that it’s all been destroyed by animals once again. Hope your seedlings will have more luck.

  4. Gifted seedlings are one of those things I could never turn away either, even without the space to put them in 😉 All of your harvests look (and sound) wonderful! Also, thanks for the reminder about plantings peas! I am so bad about remembering to sow my fall veggies…I keep saying I’ll get better, but I’ve yet to do so! Maybe I need to create a calendar…

  5. You have so many wonderful things growing in your garden Norma.
    I was thinking of planting some eggplant – yours is perfect.
    🙂 Mandy xo

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Mandy,
      Thanks. Eggplants are quite easy to grow, you will have fun growing them especially if you grow different varieties. I believe you are entering spring and a new planting season, happy gardening.

  6. Patsy says:

    You are not alone with the slow tomato ripening! Your carrots and fingerlings look great and have me dreaming of stew. And I love your window boxes of seedlings. I have some nice celery growing in a window box inspired by one of your posts last year.

  7. Kim says:

    We are spoiled down here our tomatoes are fantastic and plentiful.
    Hope you find more time and energy for the garden this week…it misses you :0)

    Happy Gardening from NC

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Kim,
      Glad to learn that you are having fantastic tomatoes harvest. With your longer growing season, you will still be harvesting when we are pulling up frost-killed plants.

  8. Stoney Acres says:

    Everything looks great! I’ve never grown peas from transplant myself but they are often sold that way in the spring at nursery’s in our area. So some one must be doing it. I’d love to hear how it works out. That could be a good solution for me to get some peas in the fall!

  9. wow Those green tomatoes!!! They are so healthy and plump!

  10. My neighbors tomatoes are already orange -red – we have been having a very warm and sunny season!

  11. Kristy says:

    Several of my herbs are in containers. They have done well this summer. I’m hoping I can keep them going in the house through the winter this year. Any good tips? I’m assuming a sunny window is useful. 🙂

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Kristy,
      Glad to learn your container herbs are doing well. Isn’t it wonderful to harvest as needed, so fresh and aromatic. Before bringing your herbs indoor, inspect for insects. Yes, a sunny indoor location is essential, do not over water, better to under water than over water.

  12. Your veggies look great! I can relate to the limited time…great idea to use containers for seeds you don’t have space for. The eggplant looks great (as do all the veggies) – my tomatoes are looking the exact same…can’t wait for them to start turning…hope you find some tome to get out and garden in this beautiful weather!

  13. ChgoJohn says:

    Wonderful weekly harvest again, Norma. My tomatoes are slow this year, too. I’m afraid that I’ll be inundated if they all decide to ripen during the same week. Those fingerlings look great. I love roasting them. I know how much you enjoy time spent in your garden and hope you’re able to spend more time there this week. 🙂

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello John,
      Thanks. That’s what makes gardening fun, one never knows how things are going to turn out. Am going to make an effort to get into the gardening groove this week, the weeds are taking over.

  14. Even a quiet week brings wonderful homegrown produce into your kitchen, Norma! x

  15. Michelle says:

    Sounds like you’ve been busy, sometimes the garden just has to take a backseat. I’m still waiting for most of my tomatoes to start ripening also, just my early croppers are proving their worth, a bit.

  16. Cathy says:

    Your Asian eggplant looks amazing! You are winning me over to the container gardening camp since my arthritic back and joints have kept me away from normal vegetable beds. I live in zone 3 in North Dakota . Is there a shorter season Asian eggplant you would recommend that would lend itself to container gardening ? I am planning on planting eggplant, tomatoes and herbs next year.
    Thank you in advance.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Cathy,
      The Ping Tung eggplant I grow is a short season variety. I start my seeds indoor around end of February (this year I started 3/1) keep bumping up as the plant outgrows it pot. When I transplant to the garden they are a pretty good size. For container, plant only 1 plant in a large container, keep well watered and fertilize regularly.

  17. Hotly Spiced says:

    I have never heard of A Choy. I love the image of your eggplant with the tomatoes. And the image of the carrots and the potatoes. That must have been a very satisfying meal having made it mostly with your own vegetables xx

  18. Daphne says:

    I was going to save a lot of seed this year to grow pea shoots over the winter, but I was gone at the wrong time. When I got back the seed had all rotted on the vine. Oh well. I did save enough seed earlier for next year’s planting though.

    You will have to tell us what A Choy turns out to be like. I love weird greens. Though I confess that they don’t tend to stick around in the garden. But they are fun to experiment with.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Daphne,
      It appears my self-saved seeds had a better germination rate than the store bought ones. Next year I will save more.
      I will post an update to my A choy later. Am thinking, perhaps I should move a couple of the plants from the window box to the garden or better still ask my friend if her garden friend has any more extra seedlings.

  19. Love your variety of harvest this week! I also love your container garden! That reminds me that I have to start some fall seeds! Yikes!

  20. A wise woman once told me a watched tomato never ripens. It’s a shame that we’re reaching mid august and they’re still green 😦

    The potatoes and carrots look delicious! I hope they made nice additions to your stew ^_^

  21. Juliana says:

    Norma, so cool…your window box look great with the little ones…and boy the tomatoes look awesome! So fun seeing all the harvest.
    Have a great week ahead 😀

  22. Sammie says:

    Wow beautiful harvest!! Eggplants and okras / lady fingers are definitely my favorites! I can already think of plenty of dishes involving them! 🙂

  23. cocomino says:

    The eggplant is very long. I like okra. 😀

  24. Connie says:

    Norma, your veggies look amazing. Thanks for introducing us to Ping Tung.
    And, your creative way to use old window boxes is inspiring. You are a treasure.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Connie
      Thanks and you are welcome. Did you grow Ping Tung in a container this year?

      • Connie says:

        No, I don’t have enough sun to grow veggies, even in containers. That’s why I volunteer at a local veggie garden… just to be around healthy, organically grown veggies. Also, the occasional freebies are very welcome, since I can’t grow my own.

  25. I had no luck with lettuce or tomatoes this year. I tried to grow them on the window. The tomato was off to a wonderful start and produced yummy tomatoes but then the leaves started turning yellow and the plant died even through I watered them regularly
    The lettuce grew to about 20 cm then the new leaves started growing upwards! I ended up with a tower of lettuce lol
    I really need to get a house with an actual garden!

  26. I love sugar snap peas – I finally tried them just this year, which is a little embarrassing. I might just take a look at growing some next season. We’ve spent the summer in the mountains at a condo and I’ve been doing containers for my herbs. Time to get a little more creative 🙂 I love seeing the photos of your amazing garden!

  27. I also wondered why it’s called “A” choy. I first had this veggie at a Shanghai restaurant. It was delicious sauteed in garlic. YUM! Love your green tomatoes… they’re so healthy looking!

  28. Hello Norma, just looking at your bright vibrant Asian egg plant makes me crave the spicy pork and eggplant dish. You have a beautiful harvest. Today the weather in HK is dismal we are at a level 8 typhoon, terrible wind and rain and had to bring all plants in from off the balcony. Take Care, BAM

  29. mac says:

    I transplant most of my peas and beans frequently, it’s because birds always eat the sprouts as they appear, I have to grow them to about 2″ and then pop them into the soil, otherwise the peas don’t have a chance. I’ve never been able to get a good crop of choy sum going, they always bolted on me no matter when I plant them. But it didn’t stop me, I kept trying every year.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Mac,
      Glad to know your peas transplants are successful, that means I can have high hopes that mine will grow well.
      My experience with growing choy sum is not consistent, some years I have good harvest, other years not. I am hoping these seedlings given to me will give me good harvest.

  30. I love container gardening. Your containers look so nice and inviting!

  31. that eggplant is such a beautiful purple!

  32. Purely.. Kay says:

    Planting these in the window boxes is such a genus idea. I absolutely love it. And yuor eggplant are beautiful and so are your carrots. I love fresh carrots. This is just so inspiring

  33. Norma, you’ve convinced me to start from seed here soon. I don’t know when, but I’m going to do it because of you!

  34. That’s some beautiful looking gardens! Just saw your comment about pickled daikon, I’m also a huge fan of daikon including these in my vegan Taiwanese beef noodle soups 😉

  35. Saskia (1=2) says:

    What a lucky friend, scoring that beautiful Ping Tung eggplant and the cherry tomatoes. Seeing them sitting together reminded me I haven’t made ratatouille for a while! Yum.
    PS. Maybe the A Choy is the highest quality variety, in which case you should definitely stay away from B Choy, and C Choy would be for rabbits only.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Saskia,
      That’s not all that my friend got, she also was given kale, Swiss chard and cucumbers.
      Like your way of thinking, I thought A choy came first in its class. Will definitely stay away from B choy.

  36. It’s August and my new tomatoes are just forming on my plants. It’s been a very mild winter here and Spring has already arrived. I wish I had the space to grow ping tung eggplant! It looks so good in that photo.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Maureen,
      Ping Tung eggplant does very well grown in a container. Use a large container, about 12-inch in diameter, and only 1 plant in the container. Place in a sunny location, keep well watered and frequent fertilizing at 1/2 strength, you will be rewarded.

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