Harvest Monday – 20th Jan 2014

Happy New Year!  Apologies for the lack of posts for the last couple of weeks but I have been making the most of the holiday season and I don’t like advertising our holidays online.  Unduly paranoid?  Perhaps….

We are back now though and I am keen to start making the most of some summer crops.  If only I had some to make the most of….  Actually that’s not quite true, but it is fair to say that I have found this season challenging thus far.  Our cool Spring made way for a mostly mild start to summer until the weather woke up and decided to hit us with 4 days over 41 (106F) in a row.  Needless to say the garden wasn’t completely happy with this turn of events….

On the bright side it has meant that the first of the tomatoes are starting to ripen:


The back two are Tigerella.  I’m not sure what the front ones are.  Between the chooks and any number of small children almost all of my plant labels have either been moved or disappeared completely.

I picked the tomatoes under-ripe mainly because I am still concerned with the resident rodent population.  So far they seem to be content to feast on chook food and, more irritatingly, the figs, but I suspect its only a matter of time before they go in search of new flavours.  Hopefully they wont like the cucumbers even if they find them, as I’ve been really enjoying the first few of this seasons harvest:


Other than cucumbers and tomatoes the only other really summery crop ready in reasonable numbers are beans.


It has been a weird year for beans.  The chooks sat on my bush butter beans and the climbers haven’t put out many flowers despite masses of lovely green growth.  As a result I’ve getting handfuls of beans rather than basketfuls.

The Red Russian Kale, on the other hand, has been a far more predictable performer.

russian red kale

Thankyou to Nina for the seed.

I suspect the lettuce sensed the imminent heat wave and most of it bolted before temperatures even hit 30.

Harvest basket

Another victim of the heat were these lemons, which the tree gave up, presumably to reserve energy for saving itself.  In contrast the turnips seemed unfazed by the temperature fluctuations.  I picked this one but in retrospect I’m not sure why as I have only ever used them in soup so now I’m at something of a loss to know what to do with it.


I know what to do with potatoes though so these Kipflers and Dutch Cream were most welcome for salads;

Potatoes  Kipfler potatoes

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAOther harvests this week included a handful or two of kumquats – the first my relatively young tree has produced.  I think I will candy these and then use them on top of cheesecake.

This week also saw the first of my padron peppers.  These came from a tree which overwintered in a pot. I planted it out in the beds in September.  I have yet to eat these so I can’t comment on flavour yet but I am intrigued by the fact they are fatter and more of a squat shape than those the plant produced last year.

My final harvest this week was a red cabbage.  The variety is ‘Red Express’ which I have posted on previously.  In the past I had only ever tried growing it during our winter and I had been completely unsuccessful.  Clearly it likes more warmth than our winters provide as this attempt was far more fruitful.  Pleasingly I have a couple more coming on to enjoy after this one:

Red Express Cabbage

As usual this post is for Daphne’s Harvest Mondays.

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12 Responses to Harvest Monday – 20th Jan 2014

  1. Grate the turnip and use it raw in salad wherever you would use raw carrot. Dice and add to pasty/pie fillings. Roast bigger chunks as a stand alone veg. Man – I should get a job with the Turnip Marketing Board.
    I do contextual gardens for the recostructed buildings at an open air museum. Tudors through to post war prefab – there’s a whole lotta turnips going on!
    Enjoy! x

  2. Not over paranoid at all I am the same! We have red cabbage to harvest now – it manages in our winter. I love it braised and freeze a whole batch in portions.

  3. Just wondering what you did with your tomatoes in the heat? Did you cover them in shade cloth?


    St Kilda

    • Liz says:

      Hi Ian, No I didn’t but next doors trees provide shade from about 2 in the afternoon. Normally this irritates me as I would prefer full sun for the veg but last week I think they really helped. Some of my plants did get a bit scorched but I found that the deeper the layer of mulch around them the better they coped. I am planning a post on how various plants coped in the heat for later this week.

  4. Daphne says:

    That cabbage looks so good. I’ve yet to grow red cabbage successfully. It never seems to want to heat up for me. It could be that it would prefer our summers, but that just isn’t going to happen. I have enough summer crops as it is (a summer crop will most of the time use up a whole bed all year as there isn’t enough time in the shoulder season to grow much). I like the spring fall crops better in a way since I can get two crops out of the bed during the year with them.

  5. Sarah says:

    You’re gardening in some extreme weather at the moment. I’m impressed that the kale coped with the high temperatures, do you have it growing in some shade?

  6. Michelle says:

    It is lovely to see such a variety of vegetables. It’s getting a bit monotonous in my garden with kale, broccoli, carrots, and celery… repeat… repeat…

    Although I am enjoying some lovely oven dried slightly caramelized Jaune Flamme tomatoes in my salad at the moment!

    I hope your weather turns more hospitable, that kind of heat is rough on more than just the garden.

  7. I am having a similar problem with my beans this year. And I have planted Lazy Housewife which is usually a prolific performer. Yet to see the first bean despite all the growth. The rest of your harvest looks fantastic. We can’t grow brassicas in summer. They just get hammered by white fly so am looking forward to the autumn so I can get more kale and cabbage in.

  8. Welcome back! My beans are terrible this year, too. Not enough water I think.
    I use turnip in salads, because it’s very similar to radish.

    That’s a lovely cabbage, and your model has a particularly pretty dress!

    • Liz says:

      She is very pleased with that dress – all her clothes usually come from the op shop but that particular one was a new purchase from Cotton On.

  9. Lilian says:

    This has been the worst summer harvest I’ve known. Still waiting for a nice ripe tomato. Surely the Melbourne heat should be ripening the ‘few’ tomatoes that are on the bushes? A slight tinge and they are taken overnight by possums. The only thing growing is basil, zucchini and eggplant. The rest is a lot cause. So sad

    • Liz says:

      I know exactly how you feel Lilian. I have pretty much given up on getting any more beans. I didn’t plant zucchini this year and unlike yours my eggplants have yet to do anything useful. My hopes now rest with the chillies and capsicums, although the amount of flowers that have dropped isn’t particularly encouraging. I am getting cucumbers though which is lovely!

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