Monday, May 23, 2011

Harvest Monday May 23

There was not much harvesting going on in my garden this week. These radish pods, which went into another bento, were from last week. Still yummy, though. Cooking takes the heat out of them. The hot weather lately has made the pods really spicy!

This did come from my garden, though. The first garlic bulb I've harvested this year (other than green garlic). I didn't wait for it to cure, just cleaned it, quartered it, and tossed it into a pot with some rosemary and my two farmers market artichokes. I will have those for dinner tonight. It smells divine in the kitchen right now.

This was the most exciting harvest of the week. Our awesome neighbors let us come over and pick cherries from their tree. Some were gobbled up immediately. Some I gave to my mom. The rest (about 13 lbs) got mashed up and are in the process of becoming wine.

The most exciting news of the week: Babs kindled today, while I was at work. Before I left in the morning, she was carrying around a mouthful of hay obsessively. While I was gone, she finished up her nest, lined it masterfully with fur, and had her babies. I counted at least three, but she seemed kind of upset with me, so I didn't dig around any further. She seems to be doing just fine as a mommy, but I'll keep a close eye on her.

This week's totals:

13 lbs cherries from neighborhood tree

2.5 oz garlic

Monday, May 16, 2011

Harvest Monday

Friday through Sunday of last week were gardening days. We're finally getting the side yard squared away, with the four grape vines set up in their trellises, the blackberry and raspberry, and the two fruit trees. We are almost done mulching everything with city compost, but then it started to rain. I'll post pictures when we're through.

Out of the vegetable garden, I got 4 oz of greens (mostly bright lights chard), 5.5 oz of radish pods, and 3 oz of peas. Of the three varieties I'm growing, Avalanche snow pea is by far the best. The pods and peas are flavorful and the pods stay fiberless even when the peas are large (at that point, though, it does develop a string, but the pod itself is still tender). I will be growing these again for sure.

The veggies above were chopped and sauteed with a little soy sauce and balsamic vinegar and eaten over noodles. Very good. The remainder of the peas and pods were taken to work as snacks for my breaks.

I also made a stencil and decorated my garden/recipe book. I would like to put the ninja onto a shirt some day as well.

To date, my totals are:

39 oz greens

60 lb oranges (picked from my sister's tree)

13.5 oz kumquats (from my mother's tree, preserved according to this recipe)

12.5 oz radish pods

8 oz peas

Not bad for a beginning gardener.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Harvest Monday May 2

It is pretty much too hot by now for leafy greens. My mustard-types (bok choy, chinese cabbage, giant red mustard, and kale) have long since bolted. Endive is sending up shoots, though it hasn't put out flowers yet.

My tomatoes are in the ground, but I had to restart with more chile pepper seeds after my lighting set up collapsed and crushed the earlier seedlings, so they're not ready to plant out yet. Of course, it will be a long while yet before I have any solanum crops to harvest. My bean plants are just starting to come up (and be devoured by the slugs. I don't hold out much hope for beans this year).

Right now is the time for the crispy, crunchy delight of snap and snow peas. And my personal favorite: radish pods. I don't grow a special variety of podding radish, since they all have edible pods. I planted a bunch of white icicle radish seeds early this year. I ate a lot of them for roots, and left some to bloom. Of those, I will harvest most of the pods to eat fresh or cooked, like snap peas. Some pods will be left for next year's seed.

Here is a bento featuring my garden radish pods and peas, stirfried briefly in teriyaki sauce, alongside some katsu chicken and rice-quinoa onigiri.

Fresh, radish pods have a pleasing crunch and a "green" flavor somewhat like snap peas, but less sweet, and some radish heat. Cooking reduces the heat without losing the radish flavor and seems to make them taste a little sweeter.

I imagine the level of heat has something to do with the variety, but I think it mostly depends on care. Some of the plants this year were in my garden proper, and got regular water and care like the rest of the vegetables. Others sprouted from spilled seed in the sideyard and were left to fend for themselves. They grew right up against an eastern facing wall, and the reflected heat, along with the general lack of water, made the pods very, very hot. The variety is the same as the garden pods, collected from the same plants last year, so only the level of care was different. If you like milder pods, coddle your radish plants.