First Proper Harvest of the Season

While I have been taking a few things here and there, like the globe artichokes.  I have been quite simple with these – just pick, wash and steam until tender.  Then we normally dip the scales into melted butter and lemon juice but there was this time when we didn’t have enough butter or even any lemons, so I tried a range of other sauces to go with it.  I couldn’t leave it for another day as the artichoke was perfect and after rejecting a range of other dipping sauces, I found aioli to be the best and now we don’t even bother to squeeze any lemons.  Although it isn’t exactly a healthy treat, but that is probably what makes it a treat!

Garlic harvest

The garlic harvest – first of the season.

And then there has been the salad crops, lettuce, spring onions and radish, however I’m not sure my succession planting of my lettuce is completely aligned, in spite of my best efforts and so I am anticipating a gap in the glut in the next week or so.   But there are fresh peas, which haven’t made it into a pot yet – fresh is so much nicer.  And we’ve had some spuds I overwintered in pots.

Vegetable garden

The Monday row – sorted and in control

There have been pickings from the garden, it has been more of a nibble, and not the full proper harvest of putting crops away for a rainy day like a squirrel collecting nuts kind of a way, until the other day.  The garden is a bit of a mess because I have been away and my attention has been held elsewhere, so I have been working my way across the beds – doing the Monday row on the Monday and the Tuesday row on a Tuesday, but that is as far as I have gotten so far as today is Wednesday so I anticipate another 7 beds will get some love.   It helps a lot that we are having summer-esk conditions – blue skies, not a puff of that dreaded wind and just all-round gloriousness. I say summer-esk as summer doesn’t start until Sunday – by the calendar, and to be fair after the spring we have had I just don’t trust it.  So, I’m trying to make hay while the sun shines, so to speak.

Garlic harvest

This first lot of garlic were showing signs of being in desperate need of harvest. There are still more in the bed and I’m watching them closely for signs of readiness so they will store better with all their protective layers intact.

The rules for my weekly maintenance plan are only take care of the needs of the bed in the row in question – no matter how weedy or terrible it looks elsewhere.  So, on Monday I tied in peas and tomatoes and removed laterals, and I replaced a dead squash with something greener and sowed some zinnia seeds into some gaps in the cut flower bed.  Then I weeded each bed, removing large and small interlopers and hoed the sand around the beds to keep them weed free too.

Garlic harvest

While I found a rusty nail in with the garlic, this is not the cause of the rust I battled all season, just an ironic coincidence.

While this was going on, I had the irrigation system on and watered everything and gave it all a deep watering, so when I gave each bed a liquid feed the soil was receptive to drawing the goodness deep down instead of it rolling off the surface.    It is great to look back at the end of the day and see an oasis of control in the middle of a messy garden.  It feels good too.

Garlic harvest

It is important to dig the garlic out of the ground as they are in there quite deep and pulling will result in a broken neck, and the bulb won’t store well.

Once the needs of the row are taken care of next comes the emergency work across the rest of the garden and I am still trying to bring the strawberries back to full health after their near-death experience while I was away.  Lesson learnt, even in the midst of a terrible spring, make provisions for watering when you go away!

Garlic harvest

As I suspected some had gone a little too far and the protective layers had perished in the waiting.

This brings me to the first harvest.  I honestly thought it would be the Hunter River White onions as I noticed while tending their beds that a couple had flopped over, but the rest were still growing strong.  I thought to myself ‘soon my pretties…’   But on my tour of the rest of the garden I noticed some of the early garlic was leaning over in a jaunty fashion – which isn’t really supposed to happen.

Garlic harvest

It is important to dry the garlic out of the sun as the sun is too harsh and can affect the flavour and the storage qualities.

You can normally tell when it is ready to harvest as the bottom third of the leaves start to die off – these are the tops  of the ‘wrappers’ that become the papery layers protect the bulb.    It was a little hard for me to tell this was happening as I had removed the bottom half of the layers in the battle with the rust.  I never quite got on top of it, but a lack of diligence is mostly the reason.  So, I dug them up.  And just like that I had my first proper harvest.

Come again soon – the garden is full of surprises

Sarah the Gardener  : o)

13 Comments on “First Proper Harvest of the Season

  1. Another good read and a focus on Garlic so I learnt a few things from that. Hmm the dreaded rust. I have been trimming off some rusty leaves. Think I left my harvest a bit late last year as some of the bulbs had lost that protective outer casing and did not last as along as others, though I still have some good cloves that should last until the next harvest.

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  2. “The rules for my weekly maintenance plan are only take care of the needs of the bed in the row in question – no matter how weedy or terrible it looks elsewhere.” A very sanity-preserving approach! I should try it.

    My harvest so far has been mostly parsley and nasturtium (must pickle some more seeds soon), and one solitary but extremely delicious strawberry.

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    • I found with going from one weedy bed to another, eventually the first bed would be just as weedy by the time I got back to it. This way everything is managed weekly and nothing gets out of control. : o)

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  3. You’re an amazing gardener, Sarah. I love your posts! You’ve got a great system for keeping on top of things. I remember your former garden could be quite boggy, so it must be nice not to have that to deal with anymore. There are always challenges.

    What do you normally do to address rust?

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    • Thank you so much Alys. It is nice not to worry about flooding, but the wind is a whole new problem here.
      I normally treat rust on garlic by looking out for the problems with the leaves before they become the orange spots full of spores – you can see them as white marks. I remove the leaves and then spray with a fungicide, however this season I wasn’t able to keep on top of it so I was pleased to see the harvest wasn’t a complete right off. : o) xxx

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  4. So nice to see your garden just beginning in spring, as ours is beginning its winter slumber! Makes me feel the wait won’t be too long before planting will begin again.

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  5. Castroville, the Artichoke Capital of the World, is not too far from here. Yet, artichokes have not done well in any of my gardens. They make nice foliage, but only small artichokes. They are good but not substantial or abundant enough to justify the space. It is nice to see them in other gardens, or read about them.

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    • We have enough to get a taster – I don’t think I would like to have a glut of them as they are more of a ‘sometimes’ food rather than a staple and then we leave the last few for the bees! They make such lovely flowers. : o)

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      • Ha! A ‘sometimes’ food. That really is how they are. I think they are too much trouble to eat, and there is not much to them. I have not grown cardoon here.

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