Harvest Monday, May 8, 2017 – Container Fig, Lettuce & Kale

The weather prediction for the week of April 24 was pretty warm for that time of year so I decided to take a chance and wheeled the container fig tree out of the garage and onto the driveway on April 24, one whole week earlier than last year. Glad I did. Check out the photo below!

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Container Fig Tree

Container Fig tree is happy to be outdoors. The leaves are filling out nicely.

To keep the fig tree as a single trunk tree I am going to remove all the new shoots at the base of the tree and use the shoots to start new fig trees to give away.

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The lettuces in the below photo were transplanted into the window boxes at the end of March, and left outdoors unprotected.

Early we had some very cold nights (teens and low 20’s). All 3 varieties suffered set back. Needless to say I was worried and hoped that at least one of the variety or maybe all 3 varieties would bounce back.

Well, once the weather got warmer they bounced right back and are now making up for lost time. Just look at those beauties in the window boxes!

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Top to Bottom – Lettuce: Forellenschluss, Schweitzer Mescher & Bronze Mignonette

I had given some of the seedlings to Susan McCavery. She too bumped them up into larger container but was harvesting lettuce around Easter.

Reason: she kept them in a sunny location indoors put them outdoors on nice days and brought them indoors for the night. They did not suffer set back from the cold nights.

Lesson learned: OK to start lettuce seedlings in January in the Hudson Valley and transplant into larger container when ready, place outdoor on nice days during the day but must bring indoor for the night.

Of course what worked this year may not apply next year but at least I now have a base to work from.

Harvested the outer leaves of each lettuce plant and continued to harvest the outer leaves every few days, was, and still is, a treat at every meal.

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That’s a lot of lettuce in the basket. Made the tastiest salad, so fresh, tender and sweet. A simple dressing of lemon juice, EVOO and S & P to taste was all that’s needed.

A friend stop by and went home with half of the above harvest.

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Last fall I planted my garlic cloves closer than recommended. Now I dig up every other  garlic plant to use as garlic green.

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Top – Garlic Green aka Green Garlic. Bottom – Walking Onion aka Egyptian Onion

The entire garlic green plant is edible, very tender with a mild garlic flavor.

The Walking Onion is bolting early this year, not sure why, maybe weather related. The entire plant is edible, use as you would scallion or green onions. I also freeze for later use when making broth.

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Harvest the outer leaves of each of the container grown Red Winter Kale plant and made a stir fry with the garlic green.

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Red Winter Kale

Stir-fry Kale with Garlic Green

Kale, thinly sliced or coarsely chopped (the stems were so tender I used the stems/ribs and leaves)
Garlic Green (green garlic), white and green parts, slant cut or thinly sliced (or substitute 1-2 cloves garlic, minced)
1 – 2 tablespoons Oil
2 – 4 tablespoons broth or water as needed
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in wok or frying pan, add garlic green, stir-fry about 1 minute.
2. Add kale, stir-fry about 1 minute, add broth or water as needed.
3. Cover and steam 3 – 5 minutes or until reached desired doneness.

Add lemon juice and/or lemon zest or vinegar at the end
Add minced ginger during step 1.
Substitute soy sauce for the salt
Brown 1 – 2 strips bacon and use the bacon fat instead of oil
Add chopped nuts, seeds and/or dried fruits

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First tree peony to bloom. There are more than than a dozen flower buds on the plant.

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Tree Peony

The photo above and the photo below were taken a day apart. What a difference a day makes.

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Tree Peony

Today and tomorrow more of the buds will open, going to be just gorgeous!

Behind the tree peony is a deciduous peony, it will be in bloom right after the tree peony finishes blooming. Can you see the tiny pink buds at the top of the photo?

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Copyright © by Norma Chang. All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.

Do visit Dave at Our Happy Acres for more Harvest Monday

Posted in Container gardening, Cooking, Gardening, gluten free, Harvest Monday, Husdon Valley, meatless, New York, Recipes, soy free, Uncategorized, Vegetables, window box gardening | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Harvest Monday, April 24, 2017 – Comparing Transplanted Seedlings

At the end of March I transplanted some of the kale and Swiss chard seedlings I started during January and February into foam ice chest and left them outdoor (unprotected). I knew it was way too early for the Hudson Valley but figure I’d take a chance.

I bumped up the remaining kale and Swiss chard seedlings into 4″ pots. These I moved outdoors during the day and into the garage for the night. Transplanted them into foam ice chest last week.

Early April we had some very cold night (teens and low 20’s), the unprotected kale and Swiss chard that were outdoor (day and night) suffered set backs.

The photos below, all taken yesterday (April 23), illustrate the differences.

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4 Red Winter Kale & 1 Mystery Kale

Four Red Winter Kale and one Mystery Kale (in the center) transplanted end of March.

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Red Winter Kale

Red Winter Kale transplanted mid April

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Peppermint Swiss Chard

Peppermint Swiss Chard transplanted end of March.

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Peppermint Swiss Chard

Peppermint Swiss Chard transplanted mid April.

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Because of our climate, there is nothing to gain by planting out early. So from now on I will have patience and wait until mid April or later to transplant seedlings outdoor.

Lesson learned.

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Copyright © by Norma Chang. All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.

Do visit Dave at Our Happy Acres for more Harvest Monday

Posted in Container gardening, Gardening, Husdon Valley, New York, Uncategorized, Vegetables | Tagged , , | 20 Comments

Harvest Monday, April 17, 2017 – Overwintered Container Fig, Ginger & Taro + Container Garlic Update

This past week the weather was warm/hot (yesterday was 87°F) and beautiful, spring has finally arrived, plants are happy and growing, flowers blooming all around, just lovely.

Garage-overwintered fig tree is leafing out and looking good. Time to start hardening off.

My garage faces west and gets sun from early afternoon to sunset. To avoid having to wheel the fig tree in and out daily, I wheeled it, instead, to the front of the garage (leaving the garage door open during the day and closing it after the sun goes down) where it will remain until hardened off.

For the time being the car has lost it garage privilege and will be spending its time on the driveway until May 1 when the fig trees are ready to remain outdoors.

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Fig tree growing in container

Behind the large fig tree is a small multi-trunk fig tree that I started 2 years ago. Am curious to see if there is any difference in fruit production between a single-trunk tree and a multi-trunk tree.

As you can see from the above photo I am also hardening off the other seedlings.

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At the end of last year’s growing season, as an experiment, I brought in the container ginger and placed it in the basement to overwinter. The leaves gradually fell off, but I continued to keep the potting mix moist.

Forgot to note the date, but there is now a knob of ginger poking through the potting mix (photo below), I am guessing pretty soon the knob will begin to sprout, shall keep you updated.

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Ginger growing in container

Was tempted to poke under the potting mix to see what is growing underground but decided to wait awhile.

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Also overwintered the container Taro (aka Eddo, Coco) in the basement (another experiment), it too survived and sent out leaves.

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Taro (aka Eddo, Coco)

The small leaf on the right is from a baby Eddo. Wondering how big the “mama” tuber is.

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Container garlic (click on link and scroll down) all sprouted.

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Garlic, Spanish Roja

Garlic plants are loving the warm days, took off and is now a whopping 8 inches tall, looking healthy and happy, nice.

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Had a busy week, started to tidy up and mulch perennial beds, ready veggie containers for planting, bumped up celeriac, tomatoes and pepper seedlings, still much to do. Need to start cleaning and readying the veggie beds, more seeding, etc., busy days ahead.

Spring is such a beautiful time of the year, hope you are all having a gorgeous spring!

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Happy Gardening!

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Copyright © by Norma Chang. All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.

Do visit Dave at Our Happy Acres for more Harvest Monday

Posted in Container gardening, Gardening, Harvest Monday, Uncategorized, Vegetables | Tagged , , , | 15 Comments

Harvest Monday, April 3 2017 – Transplanting

Except for a few packed snow piles here and there all the snow have disappeared and hopefully the garden will dry out soon.

Seedlings I started in January and February have outgrown their pots and needed to be transplanted or bumped up to larger pots.

Transplanted most of the lettuce seedlings into window boxes.

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Decided to take a chance and placed the planted window boxes outdoor on the south side of the house. If no frost I should be harvesting my first salad in the not too distance future (salivating just thinking about it).

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Transplanted 5 of the Red Winter Kale into foam ice chest to see how they perform in container.

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Red Winter Kale

Oops, just noticed the kale in the center looks different.

Also placed the planted foam ice chest outdoor on the south side of the house.

Bumped the remainder up into 4″ pots.

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These will be moved outdoors during the day and into the garage during the night until the night time temperature stabilize. If the seedlings in the ice chest fail for whatever reason I will have these as replacements and the extra will go into the garden.

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Also transplanted 5 of the Peppermint Swiss Chard into foam ice chest.

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Peppermint Swiss Chard


Because Swiss Chard is more sensitive to cold night time temperature, to prevent bolting I will move the planted ice chest outdoors during the day and into the garage during the night until night time temperature stays above freezing.

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Bumped the extra lettuce and Swiss chard seedlings up into 4″ pots. These will go into the garden when the grounds dry out or replacement for window boxes or container if needed.

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Brought in, from the garage, the last of my overwintered celeriac and beets. Was going to roast the the celeriac and make soup with the beets, but got involved in projects so all are sitting in the fridge for the moment.

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Overwintered Celeriac

The largest of the celeriac, the one on the right, weighs 13 ounces. All are firm and, as you can see from the cress section, beautiful and solid inside.


Overwintered Beets

The largest of the beet, the one that is starting to sprout, weighs 9½ ounces.

Click here to learn how I overwinter my root crops.

Hoping to have a bit of spring harvest to share next week.

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Copyright © by Norma Chang. All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.

Do visit Dave at Our Happy Acres for more Harvest Monday

Posted in Container gardening, Gardening, Harvest Monday, Uncategorized, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

Harvest Monday, March 27, 2017 – Growing sweet Potatoes Slips + New Varieties + More Seed Starting

Last year at Locust Grove Heritable Vegetable Garden we planted six (6) varieties of sweet potatoes – Purple, Ginseng Red, Garrens Red & White, Ivis White Cream, Jersey Yellow and Georgia Jet.

This past week I started all 6 varieties for this year’s planting.

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Every year Mary N, also a LGHVG volunteer, and I grow the sweet potatoes slips for LGHVG. Between the two us we grow enough slips for LGHVG and our own gardens.

Last year Mary N grew Wilma’s SP as a replacement for Georgia Jet SP in her garden. She had great success and has offered to grow slips for LGHVG. Susan MacAvery, LGHVG horticulturist, accepted the offer and has agreed to plant Wilma’s in place of Georgia Jet this year. I will still keep the Georgia Jet I started just in case it is needed.

In my own garden, I am planting only Purple and Ginseng Red. Purple is a vigorously vining variety, during the growing season I harvest the tender leaves that are delicious cooked. Ginseng Red is a semi-bush variety, if you are lacking garden space, this is a good choice.

NOTE: Wilma’s SP is also a semi-bush variety, may be I will grow 2 plants if Mary N has extra.

Click here to learn which end of the sweet potato should be immersed in water.

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I like to try new vegetable varieties, besides the Red Winter Kale I mentioned in last Monday’s Harvest Monday post, the following are the ones I am trying this year.


Summer Purple Broccoli is a sprouting broccoli that produces shoots rather than one large head and is supposed to be easier to grow than regular broccoli. Too bad it turns green when exposed to heat.

Sun King Hybrid Broccoli produces large heads and is heat tolerant, but I bought it because of the 2 words “container friendly” at the lower right hand corner of the seed packet. As I mentioned in last Monday’s blog I am focusing more on container planting this year.

Atomic Red Carrot, with a name like that I had to buy it. It is a high lycopene variety that intensifies in color and sweetness after cooking, cool, can’t wait to taste it.

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Not sure why I bought the White Stem Bok Choy, I still have lots of left over bok choy seeds, could be because it was one of the end of season clearance item at the garden center and I could not pass up a bargain.

Toy Choi Hybrid Pac Choi, this is another seed that I bought because of its name.

Monstrueux de Viroflay Spinach is a variety we grew last year for the first time at LGHVG. A French heirloom variety with big smooth leaves. I liked it a lot cooked so decided to see if it will do well in window box.

Winter Light Daikon Radish is a compromise between the short stubby Korean type and the arm-length daikon. Planning to grow it in a deep container.

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Started more seeds: Oak Leaf Lettuce, Large Prague Celeriac, King Richard Leeks, Chinese Celery, Summer Purple Broccoli, Sun King Hybrid Broccoli, Toy Choi and Kolibi Kohlrabi.

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A lot of the snow from the March 14 Nor’easter have melted away but there is still much left.

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Photo taken yesterday (March 26 2017) afternoon.

Was able to dig a path from my back door to my shed door, now I have access to my garden supplies.

Hopefully all the snow will melt away by the end of this week and I can open the garden gate. (The snow piles left by the snow plows on the side of my driveway and the sides of the roads will stick around a bit longer.)

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Copyright © by Norma Chang. All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.

Do visit Dave at Our Happy Acres for more Harvest Monday

Posted in Container gardening, Gardening, Growing sweet potatoes, Harvest Monday, Heritage vegetable garden, Locust Grove, Uncategorized, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments