Monday Harvest – Apr 30th 2012

After being lulled into a false sense of security by about 3 weeks of beautiful weather it now seems that winter has come early.  Its cold, its been wet – not lots of rain but the sort that appears just at the point that your washing’s almost dry.  Mr 2 has about 20 pairs of trousers and I was down to the last pair last week – the rest hanging sodden on the line or hidden in a increasingly large dirty clothes pile.  Remarkably in all this greyness I seem to have managed a reasonable number of harvest photos.

The first of these are tamarillos – I have cut these so that anyone unfamiliar with the fruit can see the inside.  They taste a bit like one of the sweeter tomato varieties, but the texture is quite different so the experience of eating them is quite different.

This weeks harvest was very much a mix of summer and autumn.  The chillies are still producing – albeit in decreasing numbers (there is a second crop of long cayennes forming at the moment though).  The rainbow chard on the other hand will last until Spring when it will eventually go to seed.

The eggplants are still cropping – in fact both the Bonica and the Lebanese eggplants are both still setting fruit.  This is fortunate as Mr 2 seems to like to play with them.  These ones did eventually make it to the kitchen where they went into a Penne alla Norma.   For anyone unfamiliar with the dish Diary of a Tomato previously posted a good recipe for it.

I spent a bit of time this week clearing sweet potato vine away from an area I want to sow broad beans in.  I found these mini sweet potatoes at points where the vine had come into contact with the dirt and then rooted into it.  For all you sweet potato growers out there is it good practice to try and encourage this to happen?  Or will it deflect energy away from other tuber formation?  I also found a few left over potatoes in this area too.

  

I have been harvesting a lot of lemongrass lately – the stems are really fat and well flavoured at the moment.  I have grown lemongrass for a number of years but I had a question on my blog this week that I wasn’t sure how to answer.  The correspondent wanted to know if they could harvest all their lemongrass before winter and if they did that would it re-shoot in Spring?  I have to admit I’ve never tried harvesting the whole plant – I usually leave a good few stems on there over winter.  Although I think it would probably work I couldn’t say for sure.  If anyone has any experience of this please let me know.  I am going to experiment with one of my plants this winter to see what happens but if you’ve tried and it killed the plant then perhaps I will rethink.

This week my recipe posts were: Chard and Ricotta Gnocchi and a Vietnamese Coleslaw.  The silver beet and oregano above went into the gnocchi.  The Chinese Cabbage below became coleslaw.

Finally very few days go by at the moment without my harvesting either celery, parsley or both.  Here they are pictured with the last couple of borlotti beans:

For other harvests then pleased head right on over to Daphne’s - you’ll see things from all round the world.

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36 Responses to Monday Harvest – Apr 30th 2012

  1. Jules says:

    Those chillies look fantastic – being in the opposite season to you, my chilli plants are only centimetres high just now but I’m already picturing them laden with fruits. Let’s hope it stops raining in the Uk long enough for that to happen!

    • Liz says:

      I had heard its been a bit wet for you of late – hope the weather improves soon. I do love my chillies and have had a great many this year – hope yours do just as well.

  2. We’re hoping for some celery this year so fingers crossed.

    • Liz says:

      I grow it year round as a pick and come again crop – it does well for me. It should enjoy all that rain you’ve had.

  3. Lrong says:

    Good looking peppers there…

  4. Nina says:

    Liz, do you blanch your celery? I tried growing celery last season and they were a dismal failure. I’ve done better this season and they look healthy (and grew higher than my thumb, this time!) but they are quite green and a bit bitter though okay finely chopped for spag sauce or soup. I wrapped them in newspaper to blanch them the other weekend but I think I may be too late. So many things to learn! So little time!

    • Liz says:

      I don’t blanch my celery. I find that celery does best for me from now until Spring. It seems to respond best to cooler temperatures, more water and food. i find that mine gets bitter when the weather gets hot or I deprive it of either food or water. During Autumn and Winter though the extra food and water makes for fatter stalks and a more mellow flavour. I have been thinking of blanching a plant or two to see if it makes a difference though.

  5. Daphne says:

    Wonderful harvest. And I’m still trying to figure out whether letting the sweet potatoes spread by rooting is the way to go. I keep reading. Some say no, some say yes. For my cold and short summer it is probably better not to as the ones rooting won’t have time to size up.

    • Liz says:

      The ones I have found are pretty skinny and there isn’t much growing time left for them this year so I suspect you are right in avoiding the root spread.

  6. Loved the Chinese cabbage-beautiful shape-any ‘surprise’ inhabitants found inside??

  7. Norma Chang says:

    Even though I have been growing sweet potatoes for years, I still have not figured out which is better, I think a lot depends on the condition of your soil and the variety. At Locust Grove where I am a volunteer the vines rootings produce good size tubers.

  8. Your celery looks fabulous! I am trying it for the first time this year and it looks fairly good so far.

    • Liz says:

      I love my celery I have to say – I can usually harvest from a plant for about 8 months of the year until it goes to seed in Spring which is great.

  9. Bee Girl says:

    Everything looks great! Your harvests always seem so bountiful!

    I’m growing eggplant this year for the first tie and hope mine are as productive as yours have been :-)

    • Liz says:

      I’ve been really pleased with both my Bonica and Lebanese eggplants. I also planted one called Early Long Purple which was neither Early or Long and actually I would have called it mauve rather than purple.

  10. maryhysong says:

    what a great and varied harvest! so many wonderful things to eat. We’re opposite of you, the tomatoes are just beginning to bloom and set fruit, the peppers are still very small as are the eggplants.

    • Liz says:

      I’m already thinking about what I want to grow next summer, so its quite nice to read about what you guys are all planting.

  11. Barbie says:

    Here the sweet potatoes seem to be mostly perrineal so I would imagine there to be the same. Once it has roots you’d be able to seperate the smaller vine from the mother and so on. Lovely harvest again – wonderful variety!

    • Liz says:

      I am hoping my plants will be. I will definitely leave them in and see and as you suggest make some more – a couple have rooted in useful places which is nice.

  12. Prairie Cat says:

    I had never heard of tamarillos before, so thanks for sharing that photo!

    It is fun seeing the harvests of people in different climates. It makes me all the more eager for our summer to arrive!

  13. Leanne says:

    I must say I love the inventive way you came up with to photograph the eggplants. Love it. I also really like the first image, great image to have has the first one on the blog. The tamarillos really pop on that background.

    • Liz says:

      Thanks Leanne, I think the credit for the eggplant photo really needs to go to Mr 2 who grabbed them from me and wouldn’t give them back so I photographed him instead.

  14. You always have such a wonderful looking harvest Liz, I’m wishing I had have put in some Chinese cabbage after seeing yours. I’ve been picking eggplants and capsicums still too and have lots of fruit setting. I’m hoping they survive another month or more so the fruit grow to full size.

    The tamarillo looks interesting. I remember buying one at a market a few years ago to try and really not liking them. Perhaps I should give them another go.

    • Liz says:

      I really enjoy them but I suspect they aren’t for everyone. I pulled my capsicums – too slow to turn red and I wanted to plant some brassicas.

      • Nina says:

        I seem to be hounding you with questions – that’s what you get for being so responsive!

        I think you mentioned that you over-winter your capsicums/chillis. Mine were great this year so I’m keen to keep them, if at all possible. So my question is, do you cut them back hard when potting up? Mine still have buds coming on but I doubt they will come to anything at this stage of the year. And then I suppose I put them in a sheltered frost free spot? Oops, that’s two questions! Sorry!

        • Liz says:

          I enjoy responding so no problem at all! The ones I’ve overwintered were in pots to begin with so I haven’t potted them up at this time of the year. I don’t prune or feed mine from now onwards because I don’t want to encourage delicate new growth. If they are in an OK position and relatively protected I think I would be tempted to leave them where they are – unless you need the space for something else. I can’t remember if you’ve said where you are but presuming you don’t get frost they may well be fine in the ground then if you want to move them you could do it in early Spring when the plants will be happier with the transplant. I found the ones I pruned didn’t come back as strongly as those that I just left to it so my thinking is perhaps pot them up and do a really minimal prune if you need to move them now. Incidentally I wouldn’t right off those buds I had ripe chillies last July.

  15. Julie says:

    That tamarillo looks intriguing along with the rest of your harvest. You’ve inspired me to try sweet potatoes and lemongrass, however, I have not actually planted either one. The farmer’s exchange told me to come back the 2nd week in May for sweet potatoes, seems a bit late, but I guess they know how to grow things much better than me. I also love that Chinese cabbage- it is so pretty and perfect!

    • Liz says:

      From what I understand Sweet potatoes need at least 4-5 months of warmth to produce – even with a May planting you should still get that???? The cabbage was lovely – but only after I removed a huge pile of slug infested outer leaves. Urrrggh.

  16. Beautiful harvest, Liz! I am trying lemon grass for the first time. Keeping my fingers crossed to have some by this fall. Your’s look so fresh and I am sure it has wonderful lemon aroma.

    • Liz says:

      It is lovely – I do find that plants in their first year tend to be fairly small but in subsequent years they get a lot bigger and more productive.

  17. Jennie says:

    everything looks wonderful…I really want to try the rainbow varitey of chard. Its so beautiful

    • Liz says:

      It is really pretty and I enjoy growing it – i do find that the green and white stemmed varieties are more productive though – they seem to grow quicker, are hardier and suffer less from pests and diseases.

  18. leduesorelle says:

    Thanks for the mention, eggplant for Pasta alla Norma is still a long ways off for us!

  19. Andrea says:

    Another great week of harvests, loving all those purple eggplants………………
    Dig out those winter woollies and gumboots cause i think will need them over the next couple of days……………….

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