Monday Recap: Return to Normal

I am not sure what normal weather is anymore, but after ten straight days of colder than usual weather, our snow is all gone and temperatures here have returned to more seasonal levels. I didn’t do a lot of harvesting last week, since we still have quite a few veggies in the refrigerator from the previous week. I did pull a few carrots though. That’s Yaya in the below photo. I got them out after the ground thawed, and while the tops were a bit ragged the roots were just fine.

Yaya carrots

Yaya carrots

My wife roasted those carrots, plus kohlrabi and potatoes from storage. She also threw in a couple of ripe peppers (last of the 2014 harvests). I had to buy a bag of onions, since our stash ran out. One of those joined the mix. Then she added some of our garlic (of which we still have plenty) and tossed them all in oil before roasting. I love roasted vegetables. The combinations are endless and almost all vegetables work with this simple treatment.

roasted vegetables

roasted vegetables

We are not big chard eaters, but I cut a few leaves from the greenhouse to saute for a side dish one day for my lunch. I let Verde da Taglio go to seed in the greenhouse this spring, and now I have volunteers in there.

Verde da Taglio chard

Verde da Taglio chard

And though they were harvested months ago, let me give a shout out to the blueberries. We have some nearly every day with our breakfast cereal. It was a great year for them, and my wife froze these all summer long. I had a dream about moving the other night and in it I kept thinking “what will we do for blueberries?” Of course we are not planning on moving any time soon. I mean, what would we do for blueberries?

frozen blueberries

frozen blueberries

One of the smallest harvests of the year was from the Elephant Head Amaranth plants. The total amount of seed was slightly less than one ounce. I really harvested the seed for replanting and for sharing, but I would like to try popping some of it and see how it does. I do want to try growing amaranth for seed, and maybe next year will be the year.

Elephant Head Amaranth seed

Elephant Head Amaranth seed

Saturday I managed to get some planting done in the cold frame beds. I planted one bed in spinach, a mix of Viroflay, Giant Winter and Amsterdam Prickly Seeded. I’ve been having good luck with starting spinach seed indoors, then setting it out when it’s about three weeks old. The plants are not as big as they look in the below photo, and you can see the seed leaves are still attached.

planting spinach

planting spinach

Another bed got some spinach plants plus Mizspoona, which is a Frank Morton cross between mizuna and tatsoi. The leaves are supposed to look more like ‘dark green monster mizuna’ than tatsoi. Since it’s quick to mature like both its parents, I should know what it looks and tastes like in about a month or so.

Mizspoona Salad Select plant

Mizspoona Salad Select plant

Also on Saturday I baked some of my Multi-Grain Seeded Dinner Rolls to go with cauliflower soup my wife made that night. I was actually craving these crusty rolls, since I hadn’t made any in a long time. They were a nice companion to the soup, and together it made for a great dinner meal.

Multi-Grain Seeded Dinner Rolls

Multi-Grain Seeded Dinner Rolls

We also found time to make soap last week. One batch was a new recipe for a Neem Peppermint Tea Tree soap. That is our version of the Neem soap we bought on our Asheville trip. It has lots of organic cold-pressed neem oil plus neem leaf powder, which adds a greenish tint. The other soap we made is our Sunny Calendula, featuring our own calendula flowers infused in olive and coconut oils. The calendula turns the soap a lovely and natural orange color. That one has lemongrass essential oil in it. After cutting they need to cure for several weeks before we try them out. The neem soap is pretty stinky at this point, and hopefully it will be less so after it cures. Anyone who is familiar with neem oil should know the smell!

soap cut and ready to cure

soap cut and ready to cure

And speaking of calendula, I let some of the flowers go to seed this year. Compared to the amaranth seed, the calendula seeds are giants! Our calendula plants bloomed all summer and fall until a hard freeze finally did them in. Their dried flowers are now starring in the infused oils we use to make soaps and salves.

calendula seeds

calendula seeds

I hope you have enjoyed this recap of current happenings here. To see what others are harvesting and cooking up, visit Daphne’s Dandelions where Daphne hosts Harvest Mondays.

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7 Responses to Monday Recap: Return to Normal

  1. It was a great year for blueberries here, too. My blueberry plants are too small to harvest from, but because my friends know how much I like blueberries, and because they were so prolific this year, I gleaned a huge amount of blueberries. I still have 5 gallon bags in the freezer and eat them every day. It’s wonderful.
    crafty_cristy recently posted…Harvest Monday Labor Day EditionMy Profile

  2. Will - Eight Gate Farm - NH says:

    Nice carrots and chard. The calendula seeds look creepy–like fossils.

  3. Daphne says:

    I really wish I could make soap. But I’ve always been afraid to do it with my crappy lungs. And roasted vegetables are the best. I need to make some more. Right now I’ve been mixing parsnips, turnips, and onions. Yummy.

  4. Margaret says:

    Gorgeous carrots – and that soap is beautiful too – it cuts so cleanly! When I saw the photo of the calendula flowers, I actually thought they were weird cutworm type caterpillars – seeds are so fascinating!
    Margaret recently posted…End of Season Review – Tomatoes – Part 2My Profile

  5. Michelle says:

    Years ago I let a Hopi Red Dye amaranth plant go to seed and after that I never had to plant it again… It was a pretty plant but I’ve found that I prefer the green leaf white seeded varieties for eating. Some of them can be truly enormous plants and can produce copious amounts of seeds. Now I grow dwarf varieties strictly for the greens.

    I do know that neem scent, it’s not unpleasant but it is a bit strange.
    Michelle recently posted…Harvest Monday – November 24, 2014My Profile

    • Dave says:

      I have seeds for a white-seeded amaranth (Golden Giant) but didn’t get around to planting them this year. The Elephant Head plants were volunteers, and since they went to seed again I am guessing I will have volunteers for some time. The same goes for the chard in the greenhouse. At least it is a very edible volunteer!

  6. I love root vegetables roasted like you did. I can’t believe you harvested carrots AFTER all of your snow. Weird weather.
    Lou Murray’s Green World recently posted…My southern California garden in AugustMy Profile

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