Monday, 11 July 2016

Harvest Monday - 11 July 2016

It has been a week of varied harvests for me, thankfully. I have called my post Harvest Monday, but I think Harvest Week would be more appropriate.

This was Monday's harvest - Broad Beans and peas:

These Broad Beans are 1.1kgs of "De Monica". The pods are short and fat, and usually contain four or five beans.

The peas (465g) are almost all "Early Onward", with one or two of the small "Douce Provence" and the first few of the purple "Desiree" ones.

The pods of  "Desiree" have a strange leather-effect texture, though the peas inside are sweet, tender and green.

On Monday I also cut another batch of "Winterbor" kale, and made it into kale chips with paprika, salt and olive oil.

On Tuesday Jane made a Greek-inspired meal based on Broad Beans and feta cheese. My contribution to the meal (apart from the beans of course) was Lettuce, Mint, Oregano and (appropriately) Greek Cress.

Growing this type of salad ingredient does have its advantages - being small and grown in a pot, it is easy to bring indoors, so that you can snip it in the comfort of the kitchen! It doesn't amount to a lot in terms of weight but it definitely earns its keep in the flavour department.

Wednesday's harvest was potatoes and rhubarb. The potatoes were these "Charlotte" ones:

This batch was 1.1kgs, the yield from two tubers grown in one 35-litre pot. Charlotte is a great potato variety, a reliable performer that delivers good shape, colour, texture and taste - a winner in every respect. I sometimes wonder why I bother to grow any other varieties!

Here's the rhubarb:

Six sticks this time - just enough for a 2-person serving. As usual we had it stewed with fresh ginger and Sweet Freedom (in lieu of sugar), and then served cold, with ice cream.

Thursday saw me harvesting my first carrots of the year. They proved to be a bit of a mixed bag:

The three at the top of the picture are "Norwich" and the three at the bottom are "Autumn King". As you can see, each variety has two "regular" carrots and one "wonky" one. The wonky ones will be just fine to eat, but they will be a little more difficult to prepare. I'm a bit puzzled about why these carrots have forked, because their raised bed is completely stone-free (it has a high sand content), and it has not been recently manured. Hopefully the incidence of forked roots in this first batch will not be representative of the whole crop.

I also pulled up the two volunteer carrots that had been growing in among the Broad Beans. Evidently they are some of the "Paris Market" type, which did so badly for me last year in my raised planter. I discarded the remainder of the packet of seeds earlier this year, when I put out into the garden all the seeds I no longer wanted, for the birds to eat. Evidently they didn't eat them all.

One of them was a perfect example of the type - a radish-sized carrot:

The other was not so pretty:

On Thursday I also took the first cut from my latest patch of Daddy Salad (Baby Salad Leaves). Despite me sowing plenty of lettuce this batch has a preponderance of endives, so I had to alter the balance by adding a few leaves from a big "Redin" oak-leaf lettuce.

I like having a bag of this in the fridge so that you can just take out a few leaves whenever you want, to garnish a dish or to go in a sandwich.

These peas were a Thursday harvest too.

As usual, it's not a big haul, but combined with something else (e.g. Broad Beans and carrots), they can make a decent contribution to a meal. For instance, the other day Jane put some peas into a Chinese-style stir-fry with chicken and mushrooms, and they were lovely. Being so fresh they only needed a minute or two to cook.

On Friday, it was Broad Beans again, this time 607g of "Masterpiece Longpod".

They were nice beans, but I have to say that the "Longpod" part of the name is hardly justified! I was expecting pods with about 8 or 9 beans each. These ones mostly had 6 beans per pod. They went into a dish that included pasta, smoked bacon lardons, Basil pesto and Mozzarella "pearls" (tiny balls of Mozzarella cheese) added at the last minute - as well as the beans of course.

Friday was also the turn of peashoots and Greek Cress, which combined to make a nice tasty accompaniment to the pasta and Broad Beans dish.

Saturday, and another different vegetable - Cabbage:

This one is an aptly named variety called "Cabbice", grown from the seeds kindly provided by Marshalls. I have deliberately harvested this one early, because my cabbage-patch is too crowded and I need to ease the congestion a little. I'll be writing more about that soon.

On Sunday I finished the week with another small picking of peas (270g):

These were just enough to add a bit or colour to a chicken and mushroom risotto I made. So that's it - my week in vegetables.

I'm linking my post to Harvest Monday, hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres. In mid-July you're bound to see some wonderful harvests there!


  1. That is quite a harvest week! Your pasta and pesto dish sounds tasty. I don't have broad beans but I could make it with another bean. I do have lots of basil ready for pesto. That kale is truly picture perfect!

  2. What a brilliant week of harvests, it really is surprising that you only grow in your garden with the variety you manage to produce. I've just read your comment on Sue's blog about growing onions and remember that you said you wouldn't give the space to them in the garden, does this mean that a decision has been made about the allotment? I love kale and have been meaning to give kale crisps a go for some time now but still haven't got round to it.

    1. Yes, I have always thought it was not good use of space to grow onions, but last weekend (in France) I bought some young red onions - about the size of a shallot - and they were brilliant, so I want to try something like that, maybe the Tropea onions? Re the allotment - not 100% sure yet, but it's looking less likely.

  3. Nice looking veg! Something to be proud of!

  4. What a great harvest week, lots of variety. Really cute carrots. There's now a campaign in the US to have stores sell their ugly produce rather than throw it out.

  5. Yeah we have the Wonky Veg campaign too, sponsored by Jamie Oliver etc, though it has been a bit overshadowed just recently because of more important issues in our country's political arena!

  6. Looks like you have lots of lovely harvests this week! I love how short and plump those broad beans are and they look delicious in your pasta dish.

  7. Carrots also fork when main root gets damaged when seedling is still tiny or just emerging. Bacteria or fungi, mostly happens when soil is too wet and cold at this early period.

    1. Well yes, cold and wet soil, that sounds familiar!

  8. I have been following your blog for a while now. I wish to thank you for such beautiful posts that have inspired me to start with a decent vegetable garden this year. Though I live in a very different climate- the Texas Gulf Coast, your meticulous planning and organized gardening methods have been very helpful.

    1. Thank you, Veena, that's a lovely comment! I'm happy to have been able to provide you wish some inspiration. I'd be very interested to hear about what you grow in your own garden.

    2. I try to update my blog, so you can find some of it here -
      I still have a long way to go to get consistent results. Right now, very hot temperatures for several days in a row are roasting a lot of my plants. Your post yesterday about planning an autumn garden made me realize that I need to do the same.

  9. That really is a nice selection of veggies that you harvested last week. Fresh peas and broad beans are just a memory in my garden now. But I'm still enjoying carrots and cabbage, it's so nice that they keep will in the fridge. That kale sure is pretty and your potatoes are perfect, as usual, such a treat to see.

  10. Gorgeous potatoes, peas, and carrots. You must be getting lots of delicious meals from your garden. I'm going to try an autumn planting of peas again, it's so hard to get the timing right.

  11. I love that first photo - so colourful & varied - the pickings for a wonderful meal. Looks like your broad beans are far better than mine this year - I was lucky to find 4 beans in each of the pods I picked. I suppose they are loving your cool, wet weather better than our hot, dry days!

    That is such a great yield for 2 potato tubers...and they are lovely to boot. Even though we often find the "perfect" variety, there are so many veg where we just can't help but branch out and grow a few different ones.


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