Last Harvests of 2011, First In 2012

Like any year, 2011 brought its share of both rewards and challenges in the garden. But for the most part, last year was a great year for gardening here. The fall garden thrived with record rains, and so far our winter has been pretty mild. That means I have been able to keep harvesting a lot of goodies on an as-needed basis.

spinach and arugula (click on any image to enlarge)

We’ve really been enjoying the fall planted spinach. It has been wonderful in salads and soups. It has also found its way onto several pizzas, and into frittatas. The arugula has been doing great too. It’s growing in the greenhouse and cold frames, and has been showing up in some of the same places the spinach has, plus in a few pasta dishes.

Maruba Santoh and pak choi

This week I harvested some pak choi from one of the cold frames to make a batch of Green Choi Soup. I cut the plants just about the soil line, so hopefully they should resprout and grow more greens. I also cut a couple of leaves from the Maruba Santoh plants for the soup. It’s a large leafed, mild flavored relative of Chinese Cabbage that’s growing in the greenhouse.

lettuce seedlings big enough to eat

My last harvest in 2011 was a bowl of baby salad greens I cut for a New Years Eve salad. I was able to harvest most of the leaves from some leftover seedlings that have been growing in the greenhouse for some time now. I call that a real bonus harvest! I snipped a few leaves of arugula and radishes as well. The radish I harvested is the Saisai Purple variety that is grown for the mild tasting leaves. If you look closely you can see the purple stemmed leaves in the bowl, along with some frilly purple mizuna.

bowl of baby salad greens

Bringing in the New Year was more greens! So far the mild weather has left all of the kale plants alive and well. The first harvest of 2012 included Portugese Kale (Tronchuda). I can’t say that it is my favorite tasting kale, but it has been prolific.

Portugese Kale

The Lacinato kale has also been doing great this season too. It may well be my favorite of all the kale varieties. It has a lovely bold flavor and a sturdy texture that’s good in a variety of dishes. I took a cutting of it yesterday, and also harvested the last head of cabbage from the fall planting.

Lacinato kale and cabbage

The last harvests of 2011 took us to a total of 1050 pounds for the year. I have to say we have been really blessed to have that much food available to eat and to share with others. Who knows what 2012 will bring, but at least we’re off to a good start, and hope springs eternal for this gardener! To see what other gardeners are harvesting visit Daphne’s Dandelions.

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24 Responses to Last Harvests of 2011, First In 2012

  1. Jody says:

    You’re off to an amazing start. Only a gardener would ever think to measure a years worth by the weight of a harvest! Hope springs eternal!

    • Dave says:

      Jody, you are so right! I do like this time of year because the new year is like an open slate right now, and I am a true optimist.

  2. Robin says:

    Very nice harvests Dave! Boy, that Portugese Kale looks a lot like collards. I have never heard of that variety before.

    Here’s to 2012 being a bountiful gardening year!

    • Dave says:

      It does look like collards, but it tastes sort of like cabbage. It’s hard to believe it is time to start planning the 2012 garden!

  3. Sharon says:

    I’m envious! Everything looks fantastic! I hope I’ll be able to follow your example next year!

    • Dave says:

      Thanks Sharon. I think having 65+ inches of rain made gardening a lot easier this year. Last year, with a summer drought, things didn’t do nearly as well.

  4. Thomas says:

    What a great harvest of greens! I would kill for some baby salad greens right now.

    • Dave says:

      Thomas, if you were closer I would surely share them! I didn’t cut but about a third of the seedlings. I started too many plants, then decided to keep them and eat them when they got big enough.

  5. Mary Hysong says:

    What a great year you have had in the garden, everything is looking so good! I’ve been quite pleased to have lots of baby lettuce and greens too; trying to get my fill before the weather turns too hot for them!

  6. Norma Chang says:

    1050 pounds of produce for the year, Congratulations!!!!! Beautiful bouquet of lettuce seedlings. Bet that cabbage was super delicious.

    • Dave says:

      Norma, we are having that cabbage tonight, stir fried along with the last bit of Napa Cabbage. I will miss the cabbages until spring!

  7. Wonderful winter harvest! And over a thousand pounds for the year is truly impressive. Lacinato kale is also our favorite kale variety and, as an added bonus, seems to be much less sought after by aphids than the other types of kale we grow. Who knows, in the future, it may become the only types of kale we grow…

  8. kitsapFG says:

    Those are gorgeous salad greens – such a treat in the dark days of winter to enjoy the tender succulence of baby greens. The pac choi, spinach, and kales are all really beautiful as well. You are blasting right into 2012 with lots of garden bounty – bodes well for the year ahead.

  9. Bee Girl says:

    What a fantastic harvest! So much green! Congratulations on your amazing 2011 totals! You are an inspiration! Happy 2012!

  10. Aimee says:

    Terrific harvest indeed! 1050 pounds – incredible! How rewarding it must be to know you have helped a lot of people – and to have done so by doing what you love. Bravo! Congratulations on a great year of gardening, harvesting, and sharing – not only your produce, but your knowledge and experience with us through your blog. I’ve learned a lot from you and have been inspired by your posts and look forward to following you through the coming year! (eager to hear about what your BEES do in winter! – any updates?) Happy New Year and congratulations once again!

    • Dave says:

      Thanks Aimee. The bees are just hanging out in the hive in winter, clustered up to stay warm. I won’t open the hive to check on them until warmer weather.

  11. Andrea says:

    What joy the growing of food brings…….. your mixed greens are so colorful and must of made a very tasty salad.

  12. Liz says:

    A beautifully green harvest – I am attempting to start a Tuscan Kale (as good as your Lacinato looks I hope) but the seedlings keep getting eaten – even when nothing else is – aphids may not like it but the slugs seem to….I love those salad greens by the way, a lovely looking mixture.

  13. Wow! 1050 Pounds!!! That is amazing! 🙂 I hope you have a wonderful new year.

    Lynn

  14. Daphne says:

    What a wonderful harvest for this time of year. Has it been as warm in your area as in ours. I tested the soil yesterday and the ground was unfrozen in the afternoon. I don’t remember a January where I could put my fingers into the soil before. I think spring will come early this year as the soil won’t have had a chance to really freeze deeply.

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