Monday Recap: Rooted and Golden

It is amazing to me how the garden can change directions so quickly. Last week it seemed like all of a sudden it was time to harvest roots here. It started with the onions. I pulled a couple of the Candy onions to grill them for a pizza, and I was surprised how big they were getting. I pulled a few more for another meal, and they are tasty even if not quite fully grown.

Candy onions

Candy onions

These onions surely lived up to their name. They were sweet and mild to begin with, and grilling just made them taste even sweeter. The pizza also featured arugula from the garden and tomato sauce and roasted tomatoes from last year, plus cheese and mushrooms. I need to share the crust recipe sometime because it is pretty tasty, made from sourdough whole wheat. And it is easy to throw it together too, especially with the bread machine doing most of the work.

pizza with garden veggies and  Sourdough Whole Wheat crust

pizza with garden veggies and Sourdough Whole Wheat crust

Then it was carrots. I needed a few for a salad, and decided to see if any of ours were ready. Sure enough, I pulled a couple of the Yayas and they were definitely big enough to eat. I’ll pull some more to go in a quiche my wife is making later this week, along with some of our broccoli and another onion.

Yaya carrots

Yaya carrots

Next it was garlic. I really wasn’t planning on digging any until this week, but the garlic had other ideas. I was out in the garden doing other things and noticed that the foliage on the early types was turning yellow. After a quick inspection, I decided it was time to dig a few. I wound up digging all the Asiatic/turban types and the artichoke types as well. That’s Siciliano in the below photo, a nice big artichoke variety. They will be so nice for baking whole. It is my first year growing this one but I am thinking it will be back next year based on size alone.

Siciliano garlic harvest

Siciliano garlic harvest

Last year I waited too long to dig the garlic, and the outer wrappers started disintegrating on me. This year I was resolved to do a better job on the timing. And I planted the garlic with harvest sequence in mind. I started the row with the early types on one end and the later types on the other end, so that hopefully I could move down the row as they matured. That strategy is working so far. I did some other things different this year as well, and I’ll talk more about the way I grew it after it’s all harvested and cured. I’m hanging the garlic in our hot and dry basement to cure. It will be smelling good down there for a few weeks, if you like garlic! And it is safe to say we love garlic here. In the below photo is Uzbek, a turban type that I have been growing for several years now.

Uzbek garlic

Uzbek garlic

Botanically speaking, the kohlrabi bulb is a swollen stem and not a root, but it keeps like a root vegetable, and to me it looks like a root. I harvested more of the Kossak variety last week. The three in the below photo weighed right at six pounds total. We have enjoyed the kohlrabi sliced and then grilled, and this week my wife is going to roast some.

trio of Kossak kohlrabi

trio of Kossak kohlrabi

And some of the potato vines are definitely starting to dry up. So yesterday I dug one hill of them to see what sort of hidden treasure I could find underground. I got almost 13 ounces of fingerling Red Thumb potatoes from that hill. We will get our first taste of new potatoes later this week. I’ll wait and dig other potatoes as needed.

Red Thumb fingerling potatoes

Red Thumb fingerling potatoes

We are harvesting plenty of other things above ground too. Right about on schedule, the first ripe cherry tomatoes showed up last week. We typically start getting them the last week of June, give or take a week or so in either direction. The first to ripen here was Sun Gold, followed shortly by Supersweet 100. It will be awhile before any others are ready, but the vines are loaded with green tomatoes and that is a great sign of things to come.

Sun Gold - our first ripe tomatoes in 2014

Sun Gold – our first ripe tomatoes in 2014

The blueberries keep coming on strong, even as the raspberries are winding down. The everbearing raspberries are setting on the summer and fall crop though, so it won’t be long before they start ripening. We’ve hauled in 21 pounds of the blueberries so far. We are surely enjoying all the fresh berries, and not a day goes by when we don’t eat our fill of them. The blackberries are just now beginning to ripen, and I will be out there harvesting them soon as well.

everbearing red raspberries

everbearing red raspberries

I harvested one head of the Tokyo Bekana last week. This is a non-heading Chinese cabbage that is easier to grow here in spring than the heading types which too often bolt before they head. It is much like Fun Jen, if you are familiar with that one. The slugs and sow bugs had done a lot of damage to the outer leaves but there was still plenty left after cutting them off. We usually eat these raw, and indeed this one wound up getting mixed with lettuce for a taco salad. Despite the mixing of cultures, it was pretty tasty, and there is more of it to enjoy later.

Tokyo Bekana cabbage

Tokyo Bekana cabbage

And the first cucumbers are coming on right about now. The ones in the below photo were barely in the house before I was making refrigerator pickles with them and the Sierra Blanca onion next to them. The cucumbers are a mix of Tasty Green, Summer Top, Dasher and Green Fingers. Ironically, the ones planted in the main garden have matured just ahead of the greenhouse varieties which got off to a somewhat later than usual start.

first cucumbers of 2014

first cucumbers of 2014

We had bad news last week on the wildlife front. A House Sparrow trashed the bluebird nest yet again. The five eggs were about twelve days old, and there had been no sign of the sparrows for a couple of weeks. But a male showed up one morning, and when I went out to the garden I noticed the bluebird eggs were all pecked out and laying on the ground. It’s senseless, because he did it in one nest box but then took up residence in another one that was unoccupied. It’s no wonder these aggressive invaders have decimated so much of our native bird populations. Sadly, they don’t even need a cavity to nest, unlike the bluebirds who have no choice. Hopefully the bluebird pair will give it another try this year.

bluebird eggs after House Sparrows got through with them

bluebird eggs after House Sparrows got through with them

I’ll close on a happier note. The fall vegetable seeds I sowed last week sprouted in no time. It seems like I just got rid of the plants I started for spring and summer, but I think that’s the way it always seems. I’ll be potting these up into larger quarters in about two weeks or so, and they will get planted starting in early August.

seedlings for fall vegetables

seedlings for fall vegetables

I hope you have enjoyed this update of the happenings going on here in late June. To see what other gardeners are harvesting, cooking or planting, visit Daphne’s Dandelions where Daphne hosts Harvest Mondays.

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22 Responses to Monday Recap: Rooted and Golden

  1. Will - Eight Gate Farm - NH says:

    Great harvest, Dave. Wow, tomatoes already! Sad about the bluebirds. We too have a problem with house sparrows displacing the bluebirds and tree swallows in the nest boxes. However, I did recently see an adult bluebird feeding a begging juvenile, who was big enough to manage for himself–sounds like my son. Just kidding of course.

  2. Kay says:

    Great harvest. Your kohlrabi looks wonderful!!!

  3. Your garlic certainly looks better than we have here, size- wise that is. Ours are falling over now but don’t seem that large. Oh well at least we got something. Good looking harvest!
    Jay – Tossing Dirt recently posted…Harvest Monday, June 30, 2014My Profile

    • Dave says:

      It took me several years to get the garlic growing figured out. And I’m still working on the onions!

  4. Autumn says:

    I pulled some carrots this week too. I wasn’t impressed with the taste of the varieties I grew, but Daphne mentioned the Yaya carrots for spring, and now I see that you grow them as well.
    Autumn recently posted…Harvest MondayMy Profile

    • Dave says:

      I don’t think my spring carrots taste nearly as good raw as the fall ones. But I can’t tell as much difference when they’re cooked.

  5. Margaret says:

    My goodness. As I was reading your post it just seemed to be one different veggie after another – you are so incredibly lucky to have such a wonderful variety of produce right now!! So sad about the bluebird eggs.
    Margaret recently posted…Harvest Monday – June 30, 2014My Profile

  6. Daphne says:

    Lovely harvests. Around here I think of July 4th as the day to pick garlic. I only grow one kind so it is the same time most years. I think it might be a bit late this year though as some of the leaves are just starting to die off. I’m still waiting on my first cukes. Yours look delicious though.
    Daphne recently posted…Harvest Monday, 30 June 2014My Profile

  7. Bad news about the bluebird eggs. I passed your story on to my husband, who is president of our local Audubon chapter. He said that house wrens will do the same thing. We have three bluebird boxes, but wrens are all that have ever nested in them.

    Wonderful harvest with such nice big veggies. All I got this week was three nectarines.
    Lou Murray’s Green World recently posted…Harvest Monday on April 22, 2014My Profile

  8. Michelle says:

    I grew Candy onions this year also and they are good, although I was disappointed that a number of them tried to bloom, but I think it was because of our unusual winter heat waves. I’m going to give them a try again next year.

    What a shame about the Blue Birds. I hope the third try is the charm for them.
    Michelle recently posted…Harvest Monday – June 30, 2014My Profile

  9. Thomas says:

    Nice garlic. My plants still look quite green and lush even thought I stopped watering a few weeks ago. They are doing well but I’ll second Daphne’s observation that they are a bit delayed this year. Nice cukes as well. I’m looking forward to my first Tasty Jade of the year.

  10. Julie says:

    Looks like you had a productive and busy week in the garden! I’m jealous of your ripe tomatoes. I hope to get my first ones this coming week. Poor blue birds. I hope they will try again this year.
    Julie recently posted…Harvest Monday 6/30/14My Profile

  11. mac says:

    Nice harvest, sorry about the bluebird nest hope they’ll start another one soon.
    The Tokyo Bekana cabbage looks lovely, how high of temperature would it tolerates? We are baking in 101F today and it’s not dropping down away anytime soon.
    mac recently posted…Harvest Monday – June 30, 2014My Profile

    • Dave says:

      I have not tried the Tokyo Bekana in summer, so I don’t know how it would hold up in the heat. I am guessing it would not do as well as it does in spring or fall here.

  12. Jennifer says:

    Fantastic harvest! I am so impressed with your cucumbers and tomatoes. I have one pear type tomato that is just starting to turn red and I cannot wait to eat it!
    Jennifer recently posted…~ harvest monday: june 30, 2014 ~My Profile

  13. Mary Nisley says:

    Our bluebird boxes are too shady for bluebirds. Typically the house sparrows get nests started early before the house wrens return. This year both sparrow nests were destroyed, with the eggs thrown out and a couple punctured. The attacker must have been a bird as an upside down flower pot on the pole prevents ground attack.
    Mary Nisley recently posted…Rhizobia!My Profile

  14. Lexa says:

    Another wonderful weekly harvest Dave. I am growing Candy onion for the second year in a row. Mine are no where as large as your are right now. Your garlic looks great. Thanks for the reminder on waiting to long to harvest. I did that last year and my bulbs had a very thin layer of wrapping on them. How much of the plant’s leaves whould turn yellow before you dig? Thanks Dave!
    Lexa recently posted…Garlic Scape & Potato HarvestMy Profile

    • Dave says:

      Since every above ground leaf corresponds to a layer of skin on the garlic bulb, you want to harvest when some of the lower leaves have turned brown, but 4-6 of the upper leaves are still green or yellow. If the soil is wet, like mine was last year, the wrappers tend to disintegrate faster than when the soil is dry. It’s always tricky to time the digging!

  15. Wow! There is so much variety coming out of your garden this week. Roots and fruit and cukes, oh my! I am so sorry about the bluebirds. I hope the pair gives it another try.
    Rachel @ Grow a Good Life recently posted…Stringing Supports in the GardenMy Profile

  16. Jenny says:

    Holly cow those are huge onions! Love the potatoes and veg, but very sorry to see poor eggs being destroyed. Nature can be beautiful and mean at the same time. :(
    Jenny recently posted…Community Garden updateMy Profile

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