June 20th 2011: Harvest Monday
June 20, 2011

Overall, the last two months were very stressful, because of personal, family, work and study issues… the gardens are a way for me to relax. And now I’m back to show off my harvest! Thank to Daphne from Daphne’s Dandelions for hosting Harvest Monday!

In the parents’ garden, most of the Asian greens, radishes and lettuce are out and have been replaced by the summer crops: hot peppers, beans, tomatoes of course, but also cape gooseberries and tomatillos, both of which I’m trying for the first time this year. The cape gooseberries are a little behind, but the tomatillos are starting to set fruits. Tomatoes look okay so far, the weather during the last ten days wasn’t ideal for them, but most are flowering, some started to set fruit. I’ll post some pictures soon. No harvest from the balcony this week, the parents’ garden provided more than enough.

Potatoes! approx. 1 kilo from one plant

Lavender

4,3 kg strawberries from the strawberry field were mostly dehydrated or made into jam

Cherries from my parents' tree were dehydrated or canned

Radish pods. Lots of them, more than 0,5 kg (one pound). These plants are really, really productive, unfortunately I had to throw half of them out because they took up so much space. It seems like they are slowing down anyway

The snow peas are grown on a space of maybe 1-1,5m² and produce about 1-2 pounds per week - and that's only the pods that I find! I wasn't very careful with staking, so the plants are just a tangled mess, but productive anyway. And the taste? Wonderful!

Mizuna, already chopped up and packed for storing in the fridge. Unlike other Asian greens, it goes bad pretty quickly, so using it before it spoils is quite a challenge - especially if you harvested 5 kilos over the last 10 days! Mizuna grows on a 0,5-1m² plot and by now I harvested probably half of it.

I cut some arugula before we'll throw it out due to bolting

Overall, I feel like I’m spending a lot of time in the garden – about 8-10 hours per week – and with my food – maybe another 8 hours per week. The whole washing, chopping, cooking, canning, dehydrating is fun, but time consuming. Anyhow, I now understand a little better what it means to feel a connection to your food.

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Second Harvest 2011
May 2, 2011

Thank you guys so much for your comments last week! I really appreciate them! And thanks to Daphne from Daphne’s Dandelions for hosting Harvest Monday!

Last week I picked some cut-and-come-again lettuce from my balcony – the first balcony harvest this year! I took a picture with my phone but couldn’t find the SD card reader to transfer it to the computer… but let me tell you, it was delicious! I also harvested a lot from the parents garden. But like last year, the bok choy is already starting to bolt! We’ve had some warmer days about two or three weeks ago, then it got cold and rainy again – not exactly what I’d call bolting weather. Any advice on how to prevent bok choy from bolting?

Clockwise from behind/left: Wild garlic (Allium ursinum, a little hard to recognize from the small picture) for pesto, lovage for salad dressings, "Easter egg" radishes, bok choy, lilacs for sirup, Asian greens and rhubarb in the middle. Please ignore the mess in the background.

Easter Harvest
April 25, 2011

Harvest from my parents’ garden: some “easter egg” radishes, also rhubarb, chives, and in the back of the picture you can see a bowl of oriental greens – tatsoi, mustard “Red Giant” and komatsuna. I’m very happy that the garden is finally taking off!

I’m participating in Harvest Monday once again. Please go and check Daphne’s Dandelions for more harvests from around the world.

First Harvest of 2011
March 29, 2011

The harvest doesn’t come from the balcony, but my parents’ garden. They allowed me to plant some of their plots. So first we had to clean them. I told them not to turn over the soil, because I really don’t see the benefits of it. I mean, yes, of course I know them in theory, but more than anything else it’s a lot of work and it’s bad for your back (and we didn’t have compost anyway).

During the cleaning we dug up the Jerusalem artichokes. I took home about two kilo of them.

jerusalem_artichokes

Jerusalem artichokes that overwintered in the soil (Dad's picture)

That was already two weeks ago. In the meantime, some plots were planted. Still nothing to harvest, but we went foraging around the backyard and found the following:

dandelion_bittercress
The blue colander is back!

It’s dandelions and bitter-cress! Dandelions (Taraxacum sect. Ruderalia) are best harvested right now (march/april). They taste great as salad or in soups. If the salad is too bitter for your taste, add a cooked potato. Large bitter-cress (Cardamine amara) is less famous than its relative watercress (Nasturtium officinale) but way easier to find. Both like wet soil. The taste of Cardamine amara is similar to garden cress (Lepidium sativum, they all belong to the cabbage family, Brassicaceae). If you go foraging, take the young and tender rosettes. Bitter-cress looks similar not only to watercress but also to Cardamine pratensis and Barbarea vulgaris. All of them are edible, but of course you’ll want to be sure what it is before you eat it.

It’s already tuesday, but I enter this post for Harvest Monday. Take a look at Daphne’s Dandelions to see more harvests from garden bloggers around the world!

Close-up

Harvest Monday Week 38
September 27, 2010

Thank you Daphne for hosting Harvest Monday!

Last week was just… terrible! I had so much work and couldn’t catch up with all your comments. I couldn’t even catch up with harvesting… I’m trying to answer comments asap and comment on your blog as well, bear with me guys!

The harvest is red and green this week. I had to break down 1.5 tomato plants yesterday. They were literally eaten up by white flies, spider mites and cracking from the rain we had during the last weeks. I took the green tomatoes inside, I’ll weigh and include them into the tally as soon as they ripen. They might ripen faster on the counter than they would on the vines, because it’s warmer at night. I also harvested many Tumbling Tom tomatoes green, because they just drop off as soon as they change color – and fall over the railing, never to be seen again.

Mung bean sprouts

More sprouts and micro greens are to be harvested this week. Look forward to nice shades of green during the winter!

Harvest in numbers:

Hot peppers: 398 fruits, 1286 g = 45 oz = 2,8 lbs

Tomatoes: 157 fruits, 2585 g = 91 oz = 5,7 lbs

Sprouts: 62 g = 2 oz

About 3,93 kg / 8,7 lbs by now!

Harvest Monday Week 37
September 20, 2010

Thanks to Daphne from Daphne’s Dandelions for hosting Harvest Monday!

I was away last week for a few days, so there were bigger, but fewer harvests. The hot peppers are at their peak. I think from now on everything will ripen slowlyer. The Venus von Willendorf pepper (NOT hot!) is having a hiatus, while I got a wave of fish peppers. Time for the plant portraits, isn’t it? I’m mostly drying the peppers now, but will try to make pickles. I’ve never made pickles before.

The tomatoes are mostly on their way out. They are still producing, but less. Tumbling Tom is a disappointment so far, the fruits took forever to ripen, the taste is okay, but not great, and there are only about 5 fruits ripening per week. The cherry tomatoes are still my favourites. Even now, they are reliably ripening and taste very good!

I also started my “fall garden”, which consists of mircogreens, sprouts (indoors) and cress (outdoors). I’ll include these into the tally from now on.

The eggplant failed again twice to set fruit – it has now lost 4 blossoms. Dad’s comment: “Yes, they sometimes do that. Means that somethings missing, fertilizer or light or so.”

Anyway, this weeks harvest begins with wheat sprouts:

I have an almost infinite supply of wheat and rye. I bought the grains once to use them as rice subsitutes but they have to be cooked forever and will be still hard. So I’m sprouting them! Wheat tastes sweet and buttery. Then I went away for a few days, when I came back, I harvested this:

Clockwise: Tumbling Tom tomatoes, Red Mushroom peppers, Cherrybomb and Tennessee Tear Drop peppers, Venus von Willendorf peppers, Fish peppers, Riot peppers, cherry tomatoes. And a tiny harvest today because I overlooked some fruits yesterday:

Harvest in numbers:

Hot peppers: 331 fruits, 1077 g = 38,5 oz = 2,4 lbs

Tomatoes: 144 fruits, 2417 g = 86 oz = 5,3 lbs

Sprouts: 22 g = 0,8 oz

About 7,8 lbs by now!

Harvest Monday week 36
September 13, 2010

It’s Harvest Monday, hosted by Daphne from Daphne’s Dandelions!

More nice shades of red this week with two “firsts”:

Peppers and the first Tumbling Tom tomato! + 8 cherry toms, eaten before pictured

Lots of peppers!

Cherry toms

The first Red Mushroom peppers! Plus one "Cuore di bue from Lampedusa" tomato not pictured. It was picked green and left to ripen on the counter

Harvest in numbers:

Hot peppers: 279 fruits, 890 g = 31,7 oz = almost 2 lbs

Tomatoes: 128 fruits, 2254 g = 80,5 oz = 5 lbs

About 3,15 kg / 7 lbs by now!

This week’s harvest
September 6, 2010

The tomatoes are coming in at a steady pace again after a small hiatus during the last two weeks. I’m very happy with the production of the cherry tomato plant – and with the taste! The beautiful, pinkish Italian heirlooms “Coure di bue from Lampedusa” (as I call them) are producing the biggest tomatoes. They taste great! The oval tomatoes are coming in just one by one, the fruits are rather small. Not so happy with them, neither with the striped tomatoes, they’ve failed to produce since July. I might throw them out very soon. The red round ones are on a hiatus, but there are still some fruits on the plant, so I’m hopeful. I’m also awaiting the first “Tumbling Tom” tomato this week.

Harvest from 30th August, a substitute for yesterday's harvest. I ate it before I remembered to take a picture

I’m really, really content with the hot peppers. They come in reliably at a steady pace. Only two kinds haven’t ripened by now: red cheese and red mushroom. Especially “Riot” is producing great. They are the classic, thin, long hot peppers. I dry them in a kind of Ristra. Many “Fish pepper” plants are on their way out due to spider mites (?), but I don’t really mind, they’ve produced well and taste nice when green too. Overall I’m surprised by how well the hot peppers are doing!

Today's harvest with some marigolds

I harvest two or three colanders like the above every week. Besides the peppers and toms I harvest a lot of marigolds (for tea) and some herbs like basil, sage, rosemary, thyme, cinnamon basil, scented pelargonium, mint. I don’t weigh them – maybe next year! I’m still waiting for my first egg plant. Two flowers broke off, the third seems to be pollinated successfully – I just want one fruit, that would really be enough, I just want to prove it’s possible. Keep your fingers crossed!

Harvest in numbers:

Hot peppers: 210 fruits, 645 g = 23 oz = 1.4 lbs

Tomatoes: 104 fruits, 1940 g = 69 oz = 4.3 lbs

More than 2,5 kg / 5.7 lbs by now (if I calculated it right).

I’m participating for the first time in Harvest Monday, hosted by Daphne from Daphne’s Dandelions! Thank you for inventing this great day!