Sunday, January 9, 2011

First Harvest of 2011

Mache
It felt good to kick off 2011 with a fairly decent winter harvest (by New England standards of course). Today I picked a good amount of mache (aka corn salad), which we prepared lightly dressed with a simple vinaigrette for dinner. If you've never grown or tasted mache, I'd highly recommend it. This hardy winter green is very delicious and simple to start from seed. The leaves are mild and have a slightly floral flavor reminiscent of rose petals.

spinach
I also harvested a bit of spinach, which has proven to be very disappointing this winter. I haven't been able to harvest nearly as much as I did last year. The plants seem completely unfazed by the cold but are not growing at all (probably because I've been too lazy to cover the bed with some fabric row cover). Plus the voles have been taking much more than their fair share.

red russian kale 2
Speaking of voles, they are having a field day with my Red Russian kale right now, toppling whole plants and scattering stripped stems everywhere. They've already done away with my winter carrots and Swiss chard. I never thought in a million years that they would become such a problem this time of year. Building one of those industrial-sized 5 gallon bucket mice traps is definitely on the top of my list of things to do this spring. Anyway, I harvested as much kale as I could (no sense in leaving it for the little bastards) and some thyme to store in the fridge.

red russian kale
On a side note - I love the look of Red Russian this time of year. The leaves are so beautifully tinged with shades of purple.

meyer lemons
And yes, more Meyer lemons. I'm sure you're all sick of seeing them in my harvest posts but considering the climate we live in, every single one is so very precious to me.

Finally, I've decided to forgo weighing my homegrown produce this year. I'm glad I did it last year but after a while, the effort began to feel tedious. I'll still post about my weekly picks and envy your harvest totals though!

25 comments:

  1. I could never be sick of pictures of your Meyer lemons. They are beautiful and such a treat this time of year.

    I love the color of the Red Russian too! It is green at first, but when it freezes a few times it turns to this lovely purple color. So back in September I wondering why they call it "red" when it's green. Now I know.

    I have also decided not to weigh my harvests this year. It is an obligation I can't follow through.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It sounds like you need a couple of those traps and maybe a cat or two!!

    I agree, I just love looking at all of your pictures and the lemons are just beautiful! I really need to order myself a tree!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I too am an admirer of the gorgeous lemons and the russian kale...both beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Congratulations on your harvest! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great looking mache! The lemons look nice as well. Too bad about the voles though. Ours have not been causing any problems lately. I'm hoping the cats did them in.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love the pile of mache. I am going to try growing some this year. Maybe some in the spring for a taste, but most will be grown in fall to try to overwinter.

    I love seeing your lemon harvest and will never get tired of it. I hope to someday have a Meyer Lemon Tree of my own.

    So sorry about the continued vole trouble. I hope you are able to figure out a solution soon.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Just catching up after vacation! Wonderful photos as usual! I love that you did that Tomato Album, I will use it as a reference for my upcoming order, between yours and Granny's I can look up opinions on just about all of them LOL! Looking at that I can't help but be reminded of all those tomatoes you grew last summer, it was tomato insanity! I need to get moving on my seed catalogs and inventory of my current stuff - your posts are a good motivator!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Nope. I'm not sick of seeing the lemons. Oh how I'd love one to use in my tea right now. Have you tried Coleman's way of getting rid of mice? He has traps inside a box with holes on the side. I'm probably going to have to make a few before I get bigger tunnels next year.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Daphne - funny you should mention that. I think I may try Coleman's design if I can get the materials together. What I like about it is that he doesn't use any bait.

    Well, we'll see if it works.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Darn voles! That is a beautiful harvest this week Thomas. I have some corn salad that is ready for harvest in the greenhouse but was busy eating storage food items this week and never did any fresh harvesting. I need to though, so this week I will get to it. I have a bunch of parsnips in the ground still needing to be used too. I just need to get off my butt and go dig them! :D

    Beautiful harvest as usual and I am tempted to quit weighing myself. It is a bit of a pain but I like the data it provides. Decisions decisions?!

    ReplyDelete
  11. That is a fantastic harvest for January!

    ReplyDelete
  12. beautiful lemons. Hey- they look better than mine! Mache is another thing I've never seen or tried that I am interested in. THe list gorws on!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love your lemons and this photograph was so perfect you could almost touch them))). Also, so impressed by your winter harvest..very good and good for you.

    Williams-Sonoma have a very good recipe for Meyer Lemon Relish and also Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette (Holiday Entertaining cookbook).

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thomas, I was inspired by you to try and grow meyer lemons. I figured if you could do it in MA, I could do it in MD! After a few weeks there were LEAVES falling off every day. Close examination revealed scale, fruit tree spray took care of that. The tree seemed better but was in a cold room that got some sun (necessary because of a cat that likes to eat greens). Also had one of those pot/saucer combos that keeps the water in contact with the soil. BAD idea. Well that saucer combined with the cold prevented the soil from drying out and we know citrus do not like wet feet! More leaves started falling off and then FUNGUS started growing on the soil!! I repotted it this weekend with new soil, took off that water trapping saucer and set the pot over stones on an open saucer to allow any excess water to drain away from the dirt. It's also in a warmer room with direct sun--we built a chicken wire cage to keep the cat at bay. Wish me luck, I want lemons like you!
    Anna

    ReplyDelete
  15. Lovely harvests Thomas. I need to try some of our mache we have in the cold frame. I haven't harvested any of it yet.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anna - YIKES! Sorry to hear that you're off to a tough start. I water my tree about once a week during the winter months and it gets about 4-5 hours of direct sunlight inside. Other than that, I fertilize with an organic slow release citrus fertilizer three times a year (late September, and February and May).

    My tree sheds a few old leaves during the winter months too but quickly rebounds with new growth in the Spring and when I bring it outside. I treat any scale or mite problems with an insecticidal soap spray approved for organic production.

    Hang in there! Citrus trees are a lot more forgiving once they become established. A month into purchasing my tree, I was down to 3 leaves!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Oh that's a relief to hear. Hopefully my tree is now on the upswing. Thanks for the encouraging words! Anna

    ReplyDelete
  18. Lovely lemons you have there, Thomas. I have blossoms, but they sure seem slow to open. It also has some puckered leaves, but the color is good and there's no sign of insects. The odd leaves were the first ones that formed after we got to AZ last fall, the newer leaves look normal. I finally found some citrus fertilizer, but won't be using it until spring. I used a bit of rose fertilizer just to get it through the winter, and it seems to be doing the trick.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Absolutely gorgeous. If only my harvest could be so pretty... Your lemons are like little sunshines! I did scrape together a bowl of lettuce from the coldframe but they're a bit frostbitten. Next year I plan to build a hoop house, modeled on yours. If you have time, could you please update us this spring with your assessments of the house and any changes you might make?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Beautiful harvest as usual. Love your lemons, my tree has not produced as well as yours, I need to repot it later.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Oh wow, everytime I see photos of your Meyer lemons, I get so jealous. Our Meyer tree has yet to produce one fruit! It flowered last year, but it didn't this year. Not sure why. Your greens look amazing too!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I would love to have a tree! I have looked at Four Wind several times, but am afraid I would kill it!
    Your pictures are beutiful.
    I made some radish sprouts the other day and was reading those posts again and didn't see your comment about telling me to get the screens. Did you ever find any? I would be more than happy to send you a few.
    I would have gotten tired of weighing the produce too!
    Andrea

    ReplyDelete
  23. Never tire of the lemons here Thomas.

    I didn't weigh much last year, mostly potatoes which I think I will always do. I just can't be bothered, though I really would like to know how much produce my garden produces. Just enjoy your wares without worrying about what they weigh, we all can see you are a top notch gardener, and you get to taste it a well!!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Your mache is so lovely! My little plants are taking their sweet time sizing up, it's been rather cold and wet lately which is slowing everything in the garden. I'm so sorry that the danged voles are being so destructive, I know how incredibly frustrating that is.

    BTW, I'm going to take you up on your offer of the tomato seeds. I would love some seeds of the Amish Paste tomatoes, I already got some Black Krims in another trade. It's getting to be time to set up the indoor growing station!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hi Michelle, I will get the seeds out to you! Thanks again for the beautiful favas and kale seeds!

    ReplyDelete