Monday Harvest – Apr 8th 2013

The garden is starting to slow down meaning that some of this weeks baskets look a little on the meagre side.

Beans and chillies

The beans were nice in a risotto along with some other veg and the chillies have gone into the fridge to make sambal at a later date.  As have the ones below.  Except for the Padrons that is, they were fried and eaten with a little salt.  This lot were all mild.

This is my first year growing Padrons so I have done a bit of internet research on them and I have to say I am getting sick of reading them described as “Russian Roulette”.  Almost every single time they are discussed on the internet it is with the analogy that eating them is like playing “Russian Roulette” and that 1 in 10 is hot.  Now perhaps that is true however:

  1. In my (admittedly extremely limited) experience it isn’t, for me they have either been all mild or all hot depending on how long they were left on the plant.
  2. Why must everyone use exactly the same analogy?  and
  3. One in 10.  Really? Everytime? Every plant?  In all growing conditions?  It does make me wonder about how much of what you read is just the same material regurgitated and how much is actually experienced.  I don’t mean gardening blogs but more often food sites, reference articles, gardening sites etc.

One thing the Padron’s research does demonstrate to me is how one idea can become ‘conventional gardening wisdom’ or in this case perhaps it is ‘conventional culinary wisdom’.   Or perhaps I am making a mountain out of a molehill and 1 in 10 really are hot.  What do you think?

Now that I have got down from my high horse I’ll let you see a picture of them:

Chillies and Cucumber

Just enough for me (fortunately Miss 6 and Mr 3 are scared off them by the “Russian roulette, one in ten” theory so perhaps it does have its uses after all).

Also this week; –  I needed aromatics for my risotto stock:

Stock basket

Some bits and pieces for a salad:

Salad bits and pieces

I harvested some eggplants that I failed to photograph.  But most excitingly, I pulled the first of my pot grown Sweet Potatoes.

Sweet Potatoes

Not a huge haul.  About 700g from one plant which I think puts then in the fun rather than functional category.  Having said that they are disease and pest free and pretty much take care of themselves.   You definitely can’t say that about everything.   Plus they should taste great.

For more harvests including some from a slowly thawing Northern Hemisphere head over to Daphne’s Dandelions.

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33 Responses to Monday Harvest – Apr 8th 2013

  1. Louise says:

    I am glad for your sensible observation and your critique of orthodoxy. I must say that that kind of parroting of the same phrase is irritating to me as well. I wish I had had more than three home-grown padron this season to observe and report … sadly that was all I have to date produced!

    I can say however that the only time I have eaten padron was in Spain in little cafes with a Cava, and it did seem that in every small plate ( of say 8-10) there was one or two knock out padron. But perhaps they stitched it up that way… knowing how to tell the difference.

    My padron plants are still alive and I am hoping to get a few more before the frost kills them off. Perhaps I will report on my experience if I get any more.

    • Liz says:

      I do like the idea of the Spanish chefs getting together to throw in the hot one that only they can identify…. I never ate them in Spain but now I want to go back just to do just that. Are they on menus all over or just part of the country?

  2. I was going to say I think much you read on the Internet is just copied from someone else – then you said it before me!

    I found one if the images from my blog on another website offering free backgrounds – tracked using Google Alerts. No contact address to challenge them. I wouldn’t have minded too much had they asked first.

    • Liz says:

      What is google alerts? And how would it track unattributed stuff? There is so much I don’t know about the internet….

  3. Bek says:

    A very nice selection. I do see what you mean with what I call gardening lore, it’s very frustrating, particularly when growing conditions vary so much and also so many plants have so many different names in various parts of the world. Experience is always the best guide. Glad to have yours on the chillis.

  4. Dave says:

    Last year was my first time growing Padrons, and for me it seemed like 10 out of 10 were hot! Not habanero or even jalapeno hot, but still hotter than I was expecting, given all that ‘1 in 10’ stuff I had also read. I believe mine got hotter the longer I left them on the plant, so this year I will try and harvest them a bit smaller. I will still be bracing myself for that first bite though!

    • Liz says:

      Mine were all hot at first too but I think that’s because I let them get too big. Michelle harvests hers thumb size and since I started doing the same they’ve all been mild. Having said that the weather has also cooled here so it maybe that as well. I have quite small thumbs.

  5. Norma Chang says:

    Love your first photo, the beans and peppers arrangement. Given my problems with critters eating my sweet potatoes last year, I was thinking of growing them in container this year, but am now wondering if it is worthwhile.

    • Liz says:

      Hi Norma, My containers were in partial shade, using previously used potting mix and I had two plants per (admittedly pretty large) pot so if you have a better quality potting mix, can give them full sun and perhaps are growing different varieties your experience may well be considerably better. My results in the grounds last year – also in the shade were pretty similar to this.

      • Norma Chang says:

        Thanks, I will give it a try. Will make a good potting mix with lots of compost and well rotted manure and only 1 plant to a container. I am planning to plant the purple variety.

  6. kitsapFG says:

    I think heat (ambient) and soil conditions have a great deal to do with whether peppers actually reach their genetic potential of flavor heat. It’s nigh on to impossible to grow really hot peppers in my mild and cool growing region.

  7. Barbie says:

    Love the sweet potatoes. Fun and functional I’d say. Besides they are pretty to grow as well! 😉

  8. Daphne says:

    Last year I grew sweet potatoes for the first time. I found that some varieties produced very well and some just weren’t worth the trouble for their output. This year I’m planting the three best producers again to see how they grow.

  9. Shawn Ann says:

    I think your harvests are looking great for end of year! Crazy your garden is just coming to a close and mine is just beginning! Besides that it still amazes me to see all you grow all through your winter too!

  10. Sarah says:

    I’ve only ever managed to grow mild Padrons – a bit disappointing really! You’re right though, that Russian roulette story is everywhere.

  11. Mark Willis says:

    Liz, this is why blogs are superior in many ways to the traditional websites. Blogs usually give you real views and real-life experiences (often at a personal level, in small scale) whereas websites are often second-hand (or third-hand) material complied by researchers who have little practical knowledge of their subject. I know this a generalisation, but you know what I mean! The Russian Roulette analogy is very typical of the “received wisdom” passed on from one person (website) to another without checking the facts.

  12. Nat says:

    My garden has been quite slow as well, as I pulled out all the summer crops to make way for the winter ones.

  13. Michelle says:

    You’ve hit on one of my pet peeves about gardening information on the web – there’s not much original information out there. Even the seed purveyors – they are all regurgitating the same information, probably from their seed suppliers, who probably got it from the internet… And while I’m on the subject of pet peeves about the internet – listen up garden bloggers – I hate it when I find a new garden blog and I can’t figure out where in the world their garden is or what type of climate the garden is in – the information offered is so much more relevant when you know where the garden is. OK, nuf said.

    And that 1 out of 10 thing might be true in Spain, but in my garden it tends to be all or none and size is certainly a indication of heat in my experience so the big ones generally hit the compost bin and not the skillet. Hmm, and my thumbs aren’t all that big either!

    I’m kind of intrigued by those pot grown sweet potatoes. I usually only eat about 2 of them in a year so perhaps I should grow them. Oh, and that way I could also put them in a nice warm spot up next to the house. What size pot did you grow them in?

    • Liz says:

      Agree re the gardening blog location thing. As for Sweet potatoes I put two slips into a 50cm tub. But I think you could get away with one slip in a 35cm tub as they didn’t seem to be creating much in the way of a root ball. The foliage does spread everywhere though.

  14. I really want to try sweet potatoes but don’t really have the room. So glad to hear you managed to grow them in pots. Will have to give that a try. Thanks

  15. Jodie says:

    Liz, I had to laugh a your comments on Padrons- my colleague keeps waxing lyrical about them. I personally don’t get it. Maybe I am boring… but whats the point in playing
    “Russian roulette”. You either want hot chillies or mild chillies depending on what you are doing with them. No sense in creating either an inedible (hot) or bland meal just because you got the wrong chilli. Your sweet potatoes look fabulous! I recently stuck one in the ground that had shown signs of sprouting – only time will tell if I get a result.

    • Liz says:

      Actually I think I have to agree with your colleague in some ways- they are pretty good to eat (fried and then sprinkled with salt) when you get the mild ones and so far all my thumb sized ones have been mild. Re: the sweet potatoes – you may not get a crop this year as they need a decent amount of warmth but definitely try again – or leave them in the ground. I just noticed the other day that some of the roots of lasts years crop must have sprouted because I have some growth where I grew them in the ground last year.

  16. mac says:

    I grew Padron two years ago from Michelle’s seeds, I think it might have been the climate and growing environment they are in, my peppers were on the hot side, they were planted in Earth Box, 2 plants per box in full sun, they may or may not get water everyday so they are pretty stressed, maybe this is the cause of extra heat in the pods.

  17. Balvinder says:

    I am preparing the beds for summer garden.I am going to try growing one vegetable in container this year.. which one would you suggest?
    I just finished cooking risotto, didn’t have parsley. My thyme and oregano are doing good but parsley is still struggling.

    • Liz says:

      Depending on the size of the container I would say either eggplant or chilli. If the container is pretty big the former, if smaller then the latter. Having said that depending on your climate you could try potatoes – fun to dig up but they need a reasonable sized container.

      • Balvinder says:

        Vancouver has a moderate climate which is good for cauliflower, carrots, herbs, radish almost anything but I am not sure which one will do good in a planter of 14″ height. I do chillies every year, potatoes my family does not like, so I think I should go for eggplant. They are grown in pairs, Isn’t it?

        • Liz says:

          Eggplant sound like a great choice. Do you know I don’t know about eggplant needing a pair. I haven’t heard that before but then I’ve always grown more than one. I think the planter would be just about deep enough for eggplant. How many you could fit in would depend on the width or length depending on its shape. I would try and allow about 16 inches per plant.

  18. Pingback: Thursday Garden Gobbles – Padrons | Suburban Tomato

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