So I've been bad over the last 3(!?) weeks and not recording my harvests on this blog, but as usual there's always something going on in the garden and plenty of work to do. Since my last post, I have planted the tomatoes and laid more seed, focused some attention on my herb and flower borders, and tried to catch up on weeding. My sprained foot is slowly healing, but I am able to wear regular shoes now and do more than I was doing before.
Here's what I've harvested since my last post:
7 baby bok choys
small bunch of arugula
4 cups 'Jericho' and 'Flashy Trout's Back' lettuce (chopped)
bunch of young yellow multiplier onions
small bunch of chives
1.5lb Swiss chard
3 baby 'Detroit Red' beets w/greens
17 'Shandong' garlic bulbs
As always, there are some missing odds & ends, such as the pod peas that I harvest each day, freezing the peas as accrued. It's also hard to say how everything gets used, though usually I can roughly guess.
Two of the baby bok choys filled out a basic chicken stir-fry, while the rest were frozen for use in a winter stir-fry (I was only able to manage one bag). The arugula was just beginning to flower during the last harvest and ended up in the usual spring pesto, while the radish greens were blanched and frozen to use later (roughly 2 bags worth). The lettuce probably ended up in a tasty taco salad.
I was most please with my last harvest of Swiss chard, which is probably the most I've harvested at once. The 'Fordhook' seems like a steady producer, though it is not getting as big as quickly as the 'Bright Lights' I planted last year. A volunteer chard plant, presumably the white/green from the 'Bright Lights' mixed, turned up in my pepper bed and has been producing enormous and wrinkly dark green leaves. Yum. About half the chard ended up in a pasta dish with an Italian sausage and tomato sauce my boyfriend really liked, while the other half was blanched and frozen the next day for later use.
And though the beets were pretty small, I went ahead and added them to the CSA beets I pickled on Sunday. Sadly, only one jar, but it will make an excellent side once fall hits.
The garlic I harvested only a couple days ago and was fairly impressed with the results overall. The bulbs seem to lose their purple streaks the longer they're left in the ground, and the hardneck in quite a few seems to have gone soft. A lot of the bulbs are smaller than I'd like, but the cloves are quite big. I already know that the taste of the 'Shandong' variety is excellent, spicy and strong without overpowering whatever dish they're used in. As recommended, I will be saving my largest bulbs for fall planting, so I can have as good a harvest next year.
As a final note, I started harvesting raspberries from the last year's canes yesterday. Last year I decided to cut the old canes, which supposedly directs energy to the new canes, resulting in a bigger late summer and fall harvest. Since I've been unable to do as much yardwork this year, I sorta let the old canes go. Honestly, I didn't notice a big difference in my harvest last year and was even a bit disappointed. The old canes are pretty heavy with berries, so I think that overall this is a better plan. as they say in netspeak, YMMV. Most of the raspberries I harvested yesterday ended up in this morning's breakfast smoothie. If I can gather enough in the next few days, they might end up in a dessert or preserves.
The harvest season is picking up in my garden, and there is much to be pulled up and picked. On Monday I dug up 14 garlic bulbs to make way for the tomatoes. It's a bit early for a full garlic harvest, as only one leaf layer has dried and they haven't yet bloomed, but there are still lots more left. 'Shandong' is also an early variety of hardneck garlic that should be harvestable before July. I'm drying half the bulbs and storing the other half in the refrigerator to use fresh. Of course, it's hard to track how the garlic will be used, since I use it in just about everything. It's an essential ingredient in Asian, Middle Eastern, Italian, and French cuisines--all favorites. So chances are it will end up in a lot of things. Maybe a stir-fry, maybe some hummus, maybe a batch of arugula pesto?
Last night's harvest was 8oz of spinach and chard leaves, which went into an spicy Indian-style shrimp curry served with brown basmati rice. The particular varieties I planted were 'Bloomsdale Longstanding' and 'Fordhook', both of which are heirloom varieties that seem to be doing well. While harvesting I noticed that the spinach was already going to seed, but I pulled off the seedheads and am hoping I'll be able to harvest more soon. Most of my cool-weather greens are starting to go to seed, so I have to harvest bok choy, raab, and more arugular before it gets much hotter.
The radishes, too, are on the verge of bolting, and yesterday I also managed to pull at least half a pound. The bulbs were still quite piddly (presumably due to the heavy rains we had last week), so I am just using them for greens. I'm thinking about freezing some greens, since right now there's an over-abundance from the garden and our CSA. On a side note, the 'Sparkler' cultivar strikes me as too finicky for my garden, and I will likely not be planting more after this packet is done. It may be that they're a fast-growing, early season variety, better suited to cooler conditions with less rainfall. I had better results last year with the 'French Breakfast' radishes and might give one of the varieties our CSA offers as well.