I did a bad thing.
So much chard.
So many fava greens.
So much shame.
Technically, I did harvest them. But then I composted them. I'm sure there are at least twenty calories wasted in that pile there. There are starving kids in Africa, Day. How dare you.
-- that's what my brain's been yelling at me since the Wednesday chop.
Michelle told me in a different conversation that I lack the ruthless gardener gene. I think she's right. Though on a GOOD NOTE I did finally rip out the chard!
Oh jeepers, don't look...
I grow cinder block pineapples now, in case you were wondering. AKA: shaved cat chard.
Either way, they look ridiculous.
Yeah yeah, I'm sure they look perfectly normal to you, but you don't understand. Did you not see how many chard leaves were on that table? These weren't plants, these were shrubbery. Topiaries. I could have trimmed them into fawns, or built tree houses in them. It was a psychedelic LSD jungle of elephant ears. I'd forgotten there were cinderblocks under there.
Now they're all just glaring at me like...
The second picture at the top was supposed to highlight the fava devastation, but honestly... it wasn't that devastating. On the plants, at least. All those clipped above were from just from jaywalkers, non-bloomers, or weak spindly side shoots trying to get their fifteen minutes of fame.
And I know I complained I wouldn't be getting any beans this year, but after thinning out the herd I found about 1/4 of the stalks had at least one pod near the base. Which is great, except now these suckers also get a reprieve from rip out. Because I want those beans. Dried, please, for seed. Because I've decided I will always grow favas from now on -- and you should too. (Something I'll discuss in a future post.)
For now, back to Harvest Monday -- and on to some harvests I actually did eat!
Looks good though, right? Everyone loves a galactic black hole of lettuce fresh from the garden.
This came from the second, smaller patch of accidentally dry-farmed lettuce. Sure, it's gotten copious water since I returned in January.... buuut I was still impressed by it's survival for five weeks with no water, yaddda yadda, you know the story.
Up until last week, it's also been completely pest free. Famous last words.
I was sorta hoping that our crazy fluctuating temperatures lately would cause it to bolt (I know, what gardener begs their lettuce to bolt?) because I'd love to replant more of this miracle seed across the garden in patches, to act as a living mulch. Annnnd because I need the bed it's currently in... so the sooner it bolted, the better.
This lettuce doesn't want to bolt.
And then the ants found it, which means the aphids own it now.
...but I ain't even mad
because Ladybug eggs! Yellow blop = eggs.
My phone's camera won't focus any closer than this, so this is as macro as it gets I'm afraid.
It seems my summon horny ladybugs spell from a few weeks ago has proved fruitful. Though the dandy red buggers were spending so much time of the favas I figured that's where they'd be hiding their eggs. Wrong. They've picked the favas clean of aphids (which is awesome) and have now located the smorgasbord of food hiding in the 'lettuce forest.'
|Un-thinned lettuce forest, inside look.|
And since they need food when they hatch, well... I guess the lettuce dodges the compost noose once again.
So: Did I eat a damn thing from my harvests this week?!
|I ate the cat.|
oh and that there wee laddie of basil, on top.
Unlike the ones in the first two pictures, these fava greens came from prime, healthy, un-tripped-over-and-stepped-on stalks. I only took the top two inches or so, and here were the parameters:
- They'd already set beans lower on the stalk, however small. Apparently cutting off the growing tips encourages them to ripen what they have, instead of focus on putting out more flowers. And we need to hurry this along.
- They'd put out lots of flowers in the past, but had never set any of them into beans. Time's ticking - no slackers allowed. Ain't got time for just a pretty face.
- They hadn't started putting out flowers yet. So i definitely wouldn't have gotten pods from them before those beds need to be cleared for 'summer' stuff.
The recent cold snap we had (my zone 9b garden hit mid thirties at night -- yet across town, Jane's zone 10 birdbath was frozen - go figure) has made all the hot loving crops I planted in January go bug eyed and cross. They're not dying, but not growing either. Just staring at me accusingly and shivering. So I'm unsure what my next 'bee bloom' vegetable will be now... as a result, I'll try to keep at least some of the blooming favas around as long as possible.
Now, normally I'm not a big 'food photo' poster, but I did use up some of my 'stores' from last year's harvest:
I cooked up some extra Mayflower and Calima seed stock that I had surplus of, and what remained of the Purple Teepee beans which were useless and I'm not growing again. I thought I already got rid of the Purple Teepee beans, but then found another little bag of seed I'd saved from last summer. Apparently, leaving seed in baggies to randomly discover later is a trend with me.
All together, that gave me only a cup of beans... wow. So I had to combine them with a cup of store bought white northern whatever beans. Boo. People always comment on how many plants it takes to harvest a decent amount of dry beans, but yeah... nothing puts that into perspective quite like a measuring cup.
Which is the opposite of corn, I swear. I'm pretty sure dry corn multiplies when you're not looking. I've been eating from my corn stores for weeks now. The volume of the bowl has gone down, hm, maybe a centimeter.
Here's a tiny bowl of the end result of the slow cooker bean corn meat onion baked bean soup shlop thing.
I've made it before, and I love it.
Buuuuuut I screwed up this time... I forgot to soak the corn overnight with the beans. Oops. Suffice it to say, the above bowl was a bit... chewy. But luckily, good shlop gets better and better than longer you cook it, ad infinitum.
And the quickest way to my food heart is through quick cooking leftovers that get better with age.
So I put it all back in the slow cooker the next day and did my run, chores, yadda yadda, then in the afternoon I cooked up half of the fava greens from above with some store bought mushrooms and whatever random spices I was craving... (I think turmeric? I've been on a turmeric kick lately. That, or I've been feeling masochistic and enjoy trying to scrub clean my once white spatula again and again).
Anyway, when the favas and shrooms were ten seconds from being done, I added a couple ladles of shlop to the pan, mixed, bowled, whallah -- food. The rest stayed in the slow cooker, getting more and more tender in time for dinner.
And tomorrow's breakfast...
And tomorrow's dinner....
and overmorrow's breakfast...
GHOSTS OF HARVESTS PAST:
So the first cutting of golden sage (one of the jars I've been using fresh) has recently grown skeleton legs and now wishes to rise from the dead. Normally my necromantic powers pale in comparison to my other forms of garden magic, but it seems this week I had a mind to reincarnation. Perhaps after killing all that chard. Hm.
Suffice it to say, I definitely don't need more sage in the garden. But they are lovely. Tasty and decorative. So I think I'll stick a few of these herb zombies into solo cups and see how they do. If they live, great -- they'll get gifted to the neighbors who wouldn't take my chard >_>
On the contrary, the second cutting of sage is staying dead, as it's supposed to, and drying nicely on its perch above the back of the fridge.
Oh, and just in case you were wondering...
|Wee man the pea man still going strong.|
That's it for this week at the Shandy Dandy! Harvest Monday is hosted by Dave @ Our Happy Acres: make sure to swing by and see what's he's harvested, and link up if you have harvests of your own.