Posts Tagged ‘harvest’

An ode to Mizuna

September 21, 2013

I believe in good home grown nutrition… but I also believe that what you put on your plate should be as aesthetically pleasing as it is tasty. This is mainly what drove me to try Mizuna seeds back in June when I was shopping on diggers.com.au for my future salad crops.

I had always seen Mizuna in mesclun salad mixes at markets and on my plate in restaurants, but never thought about trying to grow it until this year. I wish I had started earlier! Its just about the perfect green vegetable – you can eat it fresh in salads, sauteed with chorizo & tossed though fresh linguine, added to spicy stir fries or blended into a tangy version of pesto. So much potential in one little plant! And of course, its soooo prettyyyy.

Adding to this is the fact its one of those “cut & come again” wonderplants that you can start harvesting 6 weeks from germination, and its pretty much earned a permanent spot on my salad bowl rotation in the garden.

Here was my Mizuna patch first thing this morning:

photo 1

I decided to pull out a couple of the green plants to make some room for the one lettuce and carrots that are sharing the space, and I couldn’t stop taking photos of it:

photo 2

 

These Mizuna plants, paired with some rocket, went spectacularly with some spinach & ricotta cannelloni. Yum!

photo 3

First harvest!

September 3, 2013

Just a quick post to show y’all my first decent harvest from my new garden!! Delicious rocket & mizuna:

Lettuce

You can see the red mizuna a lot better in this photo than the “in garden” photos. They have the most gorgeous colour and lacey appearance.

And here are some yummy peppery radishes:

Radishes in bowl

A couple of them had split from the high rainfall but they were still delicious and made the perfect side salad for my lasagne!

Home grown broccoli

September 7, 2009

I took these photos a while ago but forgot to post them, that is until my Twitter friend Bianca reminded me! I sowed these broccoli plants in about March, they were in the ground by April & then I just kind of ignored them, that is until the last few weeks while they’ve been making broccolis! They have been fairly trouble-free, aside from picking off a few cabbage moth caterpillars when they were seedlings. Then it’s just a matter of waiting til they are big enough, then cut steam & enjoy! 🙂

A Garden Update

May 16, 2009

It was so cold & blustery outside today, but I hadn’t visited the garden for a few days so I thought I had better pay it a visit. So this afternoon the sun was coming & going between the clouds, so this would be a good a time as any to go outside.

There few a few tomatoes hanging on the vines still, but I think I am going to have to pull them out soon. Once they are close to ripening the wet weather quickly rots them and I end up throwing them onto the compost. A not-so-wonderful end for the last veggie of Summer in the garden. So it’s time for the Winter veggies to have their turn in the (low gloomy Winter) limelight.

Broadbean shoot

I sowed these broadbeans about 3 weeks ago from memory, and they have just shown up in the last few days. I guess it’s the cold that has delayed their germination, but I seem to be getting very good germination rates so I don’t really mind. I would have planted them sooner but I had Golden Nugget pumpkins here that just refused to die back like they were supposed to, and I didn’t want to damage the pumpkins by pulling them out prematurely. I’ve never grown these before so I’m interested to see if I’m going to need to stake them or not.

Pea blossom

My plan for an Autumn crop of peas is coming along nicely, with the first flowers appearing this week. Here’s hoping I get some pollination & some yummy peas in the next few weeks!

Carrots freshly pulled

I had sown a small row of carrots before I planted the cabbage seedlings (in top left corner of the photo), and, being my usual impatient self, I just planted the cabbage seedlings on top because I didn’t want to have to wait for another area of the garden to free up. But it has worked out okay as an accidental catch crop, because now that the cabbage leaves have almost started to cover the space in between each plant, the carrots are just about ready. Well, for baby carrots anyway! I have a few in there still, so the next lot I pull will hopefully be a bit bigger. I have 2 rows that are 4 weeks old also, and my last sowing (2 rows each of St Valery and Mini Round) have sprouted this week. I am determined not to run out of carrots before Summer this time!

Parsnips & carrots

Out of sheer curiosity (and also because I am terribly impatient) I pulled two parnips as well. These were sown on the 28th of January, and I was very surprised at the time because they had all germinated after only 9 days. Covering them with plastic & onion bags really works, and have used it for my carrot seeds with great success too. So these ‘snips are about 3 months old now & still probably need another 3 months! They are cool though! I’m going to grate them up along with the carrots & make some veggie fritters. It will be my first time eating parsnips so I hope I like them!!

Parsnip leaves

Here’s a photo of the parsnip leaves, which was another thing that was a mystery to me when I first started growing them. They are a bit like flat leaved parsley, but several times larger, and the stem bases wrap around the newer middle leaves – you can see this a bit in the other photo. It’s kind of cool. Carrots do this too but because the stems are narrower it’s less noticeable.

Turnips

Also eagerly awaiting my first turnip!! This is the biggest one, I might roast it, or make some soup with the winter squashes I still have. Such excitement!

That’s it for now – I’ll see what the weather’s like tomorrow after work, I might pull out the tomato plants & spread out a load of manure & coffee grounds. Seems like a long time until its going to be Summer again!

Still harvesting

April 29, 2009

Today I thought I’d better pick the rest of the capsicums since it’s gotten pretty cold now & they’re not going to get any riper. So I picked 4 of those, and another handful of tomatoes that have ripened. They seem to be ripening slowly but surely. Also today I visited my friend Eryn & her 4 month old identical twins, Bella & Olivia. They were gorgeous, even if they did spew on me a bit!! Also I finally gave them their presents that I made them, two kitties from Amy Butler’s new book, Little Stitches for Little Ones. They are so easy to make, and I’ve given them to a few other children of friends too. Anyway that’s all 🙂

Today’s Lunch

April 5, 2009

It was cold & gloomy today, and at lunchtime I felt like having something a bit fancy-shmancy as well as quick & easy. I have been harvesting some decent-sized tomatoes lately, so I really wanted to showcase them somehow. Bruschetta was the perfect solution.

I used a lovely sourdough from work for my bruschetta, but use any thick cut crusty loaf.

I made mine with tuna, diced tomatoes, grated cheese & oregano, but use anything: avocado, mushrooms, capers, olives, smoked salmon… The possibilities are endless. Grill or bake until bread is crispy & your ingredients are heated through. Dig in & enjoy!

March 1 is Corn Day

March 1, 2009

corn-2

Not officially, but I proclaim it as Corn Day in this household, since this is the first time harvesting corn in my new veggie patches! I love the fact that corn comes in its own enviromnentally-friendly packaging. But did you know this packaging can be a problem in the field when harvesting? According to this website, and a few other farming websites, corn can overheat in its husks if harvested during the heat of the day. To avoid this only harvest corn in the morning, before the heat has had a chance to build up, or have vacuum cooling equipment as part of the harvesting equipment on site. For home gardeners, it is easy to harvest the same day you plan to eat them, and this keeps as much sugar as possible from turning into starch inside the kernels. Putting the water on to boil before going outside to pick the corn ensures super sweet corn!

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Also from that same website, I learned that more sugar is produced on cooler sunny days rather then hot days. I think I inadvertantly timed my corn perfectly to harvest on the first day of Autumn. I am going to grow even more corn next Summer, and this time use a mulch to keep the moisture level more even as I only put the sprinklers on the veggie patches once a week. But for now, I can’t wait til my next cob.

corn-4

Onion Harvest!

February 6, 2009

onions2jpg

I think onions are about the slowest-maturing crop I have grown so far. I planted the tiny seedlings back in August, watched them grow so slowly it was almost imperceptable, but then fiiiiinally, after 6 months, I was looking up ‘how to cure onions’ on google. Did you know curing onions enhances their flavour? It disperses the chemicals that give onions their distinct flavours more evenly around the flesh. Also, it lets the outer layers of the onion dehydrate and wrap tightly around the flesh, giving the onions their super storage powers. Curing is cool! And mine are curing at the moment, and will be for about three weeks.

Here they are curing under my retired barbecue, appropriately laid out on old onion bags from work:

onions1

Arranged from smallest to biggest of course 🙂 Here is the count:

4 tiny

15 small

16 medium

4 large

4 jumbo

For a total of 43 onions. Not bad value for a $3 punnet of seedlings. But still only really enough to last us a couple of months. Next season I’ll be starting from seed, so I will space them out better to get more evenly sized onions. Did you know that onion size depends on how far apart they are growing? They don’t like to be too close to eachother, so to get the biggest onions you need to space them out. I need to find more space to grow more onions. Maybe I can squeeze them in between my flowers?

Brandy Snaps!!

December 25, 2008

Sorry, I don’t have a recipe for these since I got them free from work on Christmas Eve (sometimes its great to work in a bakery). But I did have to share with you all my absolutely delicious Christmas raspberries harvested especially for this dish, moments before this photo was taken:

brandy-snaps

I don’t know if the Northern Hemispherians have an equivilent Christmas bounty (the Pomegranate, maybe?), but for me it’s definitely my raspberries. I was going to make some mini pavlovas to go with my raspberries & cream, but with my free bandy snaps, I didn’t have to!

Carrots, and spinach

December 15, 2008

For once we had a beauuutiful day today, so when I got home at 4pm it was still sunny enough to work in the garden. I started on picking all my spinach, because it was starting to get flower buds! I pulled out all the plants (8 of them) and picked off all the good leaves, and put the rest on the compost heap. I got a whole sink full (first photo) and then went with my boss’s suggestion of chopping it up, blanching it in boiling water & freezing it in portions. I got 3 good-sized portions basing them on how much I use for a batch of spinach pasta or gnocchi. Thanks for your suggestion Harry!!

The second photo is my bumper crop of carrots that I pulled today. I have sort of been ignoring them for the last few months, since they seemed to be taking forever to get big enough to eat. After I cleared the spinach patch, I was weeding around the carrots which were next to the spinach, and I noticed some of the tops sticking out of the soil… So I pulled some & they were huge!! I ended up pulling most of them out & gave my second neighbour a bunch too. Where the spinach used to be, I have sowed some mesclun lettuce mix, and some more carrots. Click the photos to enlarge.