Monday 26 September 2016

Harvest Monday: September 26, 2016

Carrots and Queen Anne's Lace ... can you tell the difference?  I am not quite fully educated on the "weed" known as Queen Anne's Lace but I can usually tell which is which before pulling up the root.  I put the word weed in quotes because not everyone thinks of it as undesirable and it is edible.  I personally consider it a weed that has cleverly disguised itself as a carrot (greens look the same but the root itself looks like parsnip).

L to R: Q.A.L., Parsnip, Carrots

But it is not so much a disguise as it is an actual carrot.  From what I've read, domestic carrots are a cultivar of this wild carrot.  I used to think how amazing nature is that a weed looking just like carrots happens to grow among carrots (like some brilliant defense mechanism hoping the bunnies will nibble on the weeds instead).  Since the carrot seeds (if I understand it correctly) have been cultivated over years from this wild carrot, then I guess the wild carrots are likely coming from the same seeds as some sort of hybrid??  

With this weeks harvest, I've added another 5 lbs of carrots (shown above) and that's the last carrot harvest for the season.  Other harvests include more peppers, some Delinel beans and a  batch of basil that was made into pesto and frozen for later use.

King of the North,  Xanthia

K of the N, Hungarian Hot Wax, Gypsy peppers

And a new harvest this week ... apples!  These are Haralson apples, and the first time the tree has produced any.  The tree was here when I moved in a few years ago and I was actually considered removing the tree as I wasn't sure it would ever produce.  Good thing I waited!  I only got three pounds but good enough for some apple crisp.

I also had another (4 lb) Hale's Best Melon which went to a friend.  While dehydrating the latest harvest of chocolate cherry tomatoes, I finally got around to grinding up the Feher Ozon peppers for a paprika.  I added some to another batch of squash mac 'n cheese and I LOVED IT!  The paprika smells wonderful and was a great addition to the dish. The photo below shows three trays worth of peppers after dehydration and just before I ground them.

Please stop on by at Our Happy Acres to see what other gardeners are doing this week with their own harvests!

Saturday 24 September 2016

2016 Garlic Problems and 2017 Garlic Plans

In my previous post on the garlic harvest this season, I mentioned two concerns which I was unsure about.  As promised, I spoke with some experienced garlic growers at one (of many) local garlic festival recently as to what might be the cause.

Firstly, I will start with what may be the cause of losing almost one quarter of my crop (so about 20 or so bulbs).  Only one of the few gardeners I spoke to had an opinion - fusarium wilt.  This is a soil-borne disease, and he recommended not planting anything in the soil for at least five years.  So that's a problem, because as soon as I had harvested the garlic I used the space (two raised beds) for some fall crops including rutabaga, radicchio and a few fresh bean plants.  I guess if the soil is infected, I might see some reaction to these other plants but they all seem fine so far (already harvested some of the beans).

But I do say "if" the soil is infected.  When speaking with this garlic grower, he referred to the bulbs as "waxy".  I had not thought of that description but it seemed fitting  So I googled "waxy garlic" which led me to this link from Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.  The photos shown on that website are perhaps a bit more extreme than mine, but the description of the affected cloves as "amber and translucent with sticky, soft, jellylike tissue" is a good match for what I see with mine.  This, however, is not a disease, but is rather associated with high temperatures during growth, and particularly near harvest time.  We definitely had a hotter than average spring and summer this year, so this could certainly be the cause as well.

So I'm not sure that I know the cause at this point.  I did believe I had verticillium wilt (similar to fusarium wilt) a few years ago when I had tomato problems, but had not really had issues since that one year. Either way, the bulbs were tossed as they aren't edible (or at least I didn't try as they don't look very appealing) and certainly won't be used for seed garlic.

On the second issue, I asked about the bluish-green colour on some of my bulbs.  He had no idea as he had not seen anything like it.  He did not believe it be an issue with eating the garlic though.  The colour has deepened a bit more since the first photo but it's still hard to get a good shot with my camera.  Either way, I've eaten some, it tasted good, and I'm still here (whew!) - but I do not plan to use any for planting.

Well, what will I plant then?

I really liked the varieties that I planted in 2016, despite the issues I just wrote about.  Perhaps I picked all good varieties, or I'm not enough of a connoisseur, but they all taste great!  I have often stated in the past that no other garlic is as good as Red Russian, the kind I've grown for a number of years and is most common in this area of Ontario.  But the German White and both the Mennonite and Majestic Porcelain are all very tasty with a good bite to them.  I haven't eaten a lot of the Music garlic, but I've grown it before and always enjoy it.  And the Red Russian that I grew this year came out as big as the other varieties which is not my usual experience (the bulbs are usually smaller) and has its usual great taste.

Anyway, I just walked around the garlic festival and was my usual impulsive self and just bought from people who seemed nice with good product!

I bought a mixed bag of four varieties (one of the same sources as last year), two of which were the same as 2016 - the German White Rocambole and Music Porcelain.  And two new ones (with an Eastern European theme which seems common with garlic) ... Hungarian Rocambole and Leningrad Porcelain.  I haven't done a ton of research on these two new ones although I did see several websites that mentioned how hot the Leningrad garlic is (great news!).  I don't know yet how many plants I will get of each as some of the cloves are quite small and I'll likely only plant the medium to large cloves.

And I purchased a sleeve of Gem garlic (also shown in the main photo) from Riverside Garden of Almonte Ontario. I didn't see anything on their own website about this garlic but found this reference to it at Territorial Seed:

Late-season. This rare jewel was rediscovered at a germplasm collection in Washington State. A glazed purple stripe strain, it produces 4-6, hefty, wedge-shaped cloves per head. Our taste-testers describe its flavor as pleasantly spicy, hotter than Music, but not overpowering. Stout, productive plants have shorter, dark green leaves and ivory-wrapped heads streaked in violet.

So wow, germplasm collection ... yes, I had to look up what that meant, and no, I still don't understand.  But I tasted some at the garlic festival before purchasing it and I loved the taste and heat of it.  The seller did point out that some of the cloves were on the smallish side so, again, I'm not sure how many cloves I'll get out of them.

I still have to figure out where these are going as I usually get them in the ground in early to mid October. Although I have several spaces cleared already, I do not have as many options as I normally would as I planted a number of crops for a later harvest in the fall.  I'm sure it will all come together as it usually does.  :)

Monday 19 September 2016

Harvest Monday: September 19, 2016

I've spent more time this week using previous harvests than I have harvesting new items but there is still plenty left in the garden.  I harvested another Hale's Best Melon - this one shown weighing in at 3 lbs.  And another one - 4.5 pounds so the biggest so far - was harvested yesterday and had a bit of a nibble on the stem end (it had come off the vine so I guess I should have harvested it sooner).  I just cut off the end with the nibble and ate the rest.

The bottom of the basket is mostly full of Tuscan Nero Kale, along with Fizz Kale, Curly Scarlet Kale and Croatian Chard.  On the right, you can see a small number of broccoli side shoots.

Some of these greens ended up wrapped in phyllo similar to my kale and ricotta phyllo packets recipe.

And some of the Tromboncino squash I harvested last week was used to (finally!) make Michelle's zucchini tart (scarpaccia).  I fiddled a bit with the ingredients and it came out a bit puffier than her photo but delicious nevertheless.  Thanks for the idea Michelle, I love the concept of that type of batter mixed with veggies and am looking forward to trying other variations.

The last of the harvest this week included more Delinel green beans, and an assortment of tomatoes and peppers.  These peppers and tomatoes along with most of what I had in the kitchen went into a small batch of tomato sauce which ended up in the freezer.

I roasted a big batch of peppers that had been harvested over the past few weeks.  Once the skins were cleaned off and the seeds removed, they went into baggies and into the freezer.  And I'm still in the process of drying / dehydrating the big batch of Feher Ozon (for grinding my own paprika) along with some ancho peppers and cherry tomatoes.

And I also roasted one of the Marina di Chioggia squashes which went into two dishes: a really delicious version of Butternut Mac and Cheese as well as a luxurious breakfast of Pumpkin Pancakes.

Since I spent so much time in the kitchen this weekend, I decided to use up some buttermilk I had in the fridge to make these two loaves of Irish Soda bread.  Not too shabby for my first try!

Please pop on over to see what other gardeners are doing this week at Harvest Monday hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres!

Monday 12 September 2016

Harvest Monday: September 12, 2016

I will make this a short post as a quick update on what is happening in my garden this week as I am home briefly between trips.  But I still look forward to seeing what other gardeners are posting this week and will be popping over to Harvest Monday hosted by Our Happy Acres.

Most of the harvest is root veggies - some of which made up a delicious roasted veggie tray. A friend popped over to help me earlier in the week digging out a weeded over space that had contained collards (long gone), carrots and beets.  There were also some shallots that I had missed earlier and some volunteer potatoes found (also pictured is another Sweet Dumpling squash I found in the squash patch).

So who said I can't grow beets?!  Oh right, it was me.  Well, apparently leaving them to get weeded over seems to be my most successful approach yet.

And most of the harvest from that garden were these Nantes carrots which should form about half of my crop for the year (the remainder of my carrots are from a Rainbow blend and are in another bed not yet harvested).

While my friend was digging up those root veggies, I was cleaning up the potato bed and potato bags.  The bags mostly held Pink Fir Apple fingerlings (shown below) and the potato bed had a small amount of Irish Cobbler or Linzer fingerlings, most of which had been harvested earlier.

I still have tomatoes and peppers trickling in.   These green peppers were a result of accidentally pulling out a Xanthia plant from a hay bale.  I gave them away as I'm not a fan of green peppers.

And I've found a few more large peppers in the hay bale plants.  Two King of the North and a Sweet Red Pimiento.  That whopper of a King of the North pepper is a little over half a pound - not heavy compared to some in the grocers, but certainly the largest I've ever grown.

Another friend was kind enough to water while I was away several days and took some peppers and tomatoes with her.  These tomatoes were still left for harvesting when I returned.  The basket contains chocolate cherry tomatoes in various stages of ripeness, and the others are mixed heirloom varieties.

And a new harvest for the year as it was planted for a fall harvest - over a pound of Delinel beans.

And finally (my "short" post was longer than expected just from the variety of harvests), two truly new harvests as these are a first ever for me.  My one, and unfortunately only, Tromboncino squash.  The plant seemed to have a particularly late start and has since succumbed to the squash bugs.  And I have FINALLY been successful in growing a melon - this is a Hale's Best Melon and is one of several with the rest still on the vine.  This is likely the largest of the bunch, weighing in just over 4 pounds.

Hopefully after another trip this coming week I can come back to another harvest like this!

Monday 5 September 2016

Harvest Monday: Sept 5, 2016

This is my submission to Harvest Monday, hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres. Despite my earlier efforts at managing the squash bug population, they are now too many to keep up with.  At this point, I'm just taking what I can get and some things are going to be harvested early so I can get the vines cleaned up.

The large pumpkin on the right is a Dickinson.  It should be a bit darker in colour, but the bugs particularly liked that plant.  The rest of the lot includes two Marina di Chioggia, three Long Island Cheese pumpkins, two small spaghetti squash, 1 acorn squash, 5 Sweet Dumpling squash and a Cinderella pumpkin.

And more peppers ... these are all King of the North.  The small ones were from container plants in the greenhouse and those two big ones are from one of several plants I put into hay bales outside.

King of the North peppers

1 Xanthia pepper, rest are Gypsy

And San Marzano plum tomatoes.  These went into a batch of salsa.

I also have harvested a few side shoots of broccoli and one kohlrabi - or at least one that I could eat.  The remaining kohlrabi came out very woody and went into the compost ...

I look forward to seeing what other gardeners are doing this week!

Thursday 1 September 2016

Can You Name This Vegetable? Really.

I'm serious, this isn't a weird quiz to see if you know your stuff.  I don't know what this is.  I posted not long ago an update on the hay bale squashes I am growing and mentioned this squash plant growing out of my compost.  So I figured I would wait it out until something formed and I'd know what it was.  You can sort of see one on each of the vines ...

I've been MIA in the garden lately due to late days at work.  I finally had a chance to get a good look at what is going on today and found these.  It seems they sprouted out of nowhere which would leave me to believe they are a summer squash - but I don't recall growing any summer squash last year that looked like this?? And my sense of time is not great right now so maybe they've been growing for a while.

So it's about the length of a ladies size 8 right now.  LOL, weird picture of my foot with my toes partially in the shadow.

If it is a winter squash, it is definitely immature so hard to tell what it is going to look like mature.  Do the leaves help?  I googled images and couldn't figure it out.  I should mention that I very rarely buy vegetables at the store as I grow most of what I need.  And winter squash in particular - I have a cold room so I keep summer grown squash often until the following spring.  So this must be coming from something I grew???

If anyone has any guesses, please share in the comments!!!  If it is a summer squash, it is probably too late to harvest anyway (unless I want a lot of zucchini bread), so I'm willing to just see what happens at this point.