Despite a scarcity of rain this month (only slightly over an inch so far), April is shaping up to be a great month for the garden. The star of the harvests has to be the asparagus. We’ve been harvesting it a little over 5 weeks now, and so far we’ve hauled in over 18 pounds of it! If this rate of growth continues, we could wind up with 25-30 pounds this year, a big improvement over the 20 pounds we harvested last year. We generally harvest it for about 7 to 8 weeks, as long as the size of the spears holds up.
I attribute the great harvest to two things. First, the plants are a year older. Two rows were planted in 2007, and the third was planted in 2008, so the planting is just now getting up to its full potential. And second, last years record rainfall kept the plants growing more lushly than usual. All that energy got stored in the roots, and they have pushed up lots of spears this year. Whatever the reasons, we have certainly been enjoying all that asparagus. We’ve frozen some of it for making asparagus soup when winter comes around.
We’re also harvesting greens as needed, like spinach. Last week I pulled some of the bolting spinach and sauteed it with some mushrooms and a little butter. The leftover spinach went into a frittata. And more spinach went into a salad, along with some radish greens and lettuce. I’m growing the dual purpose Saisai radish (from Fedco seeds), which can be grown for both the mild, smooth greens and for the full-size daikon roots. I sowed this batch thickly for greens, though I may thin a few out and see how the roots develop.
I also harvested some Shunkyo radishes, and some from a radish seed mix I planted. Those were nice on salads too. The Shunkyo radishes are the long red ones in the below photo. Their taste is supposed to be “both hot and unusually sweet” according to the catalog description, but so far ours have been rather mild tasting. I’ve got some April Cross daikon radishes planted that should be ready to eat here in a couple of weeks.
In other garden news, the Beedy’s Camden kale is finally bolting. That’s good news, since I’m saving seed from this variety for growing again. I pulled up all the other brassicas that were blooming so they wouldn’t cross-pollinate with the kale. We’ll be eating some more of that kale too. It’s been a good-tasting, star performer for us.
I also let some fall-planted arugula go to seed. This was a planting of two hardier than usual varieties, Ice Bred and Even’ Star. Whatever seed I get should make for arugula that is tasty and hardy. Though Arugula is a member of the Brassica family, it won’t cross with any other Brassica except itself, so I don’t have to worry about the kale and arugula crossing.
That’s a look at what we’re harvesting here in late April. For more gardeners harvests from around the world, visit Daphne’s Dandelions, host of Harvest Monday’s.