Last week we a really bountiful harvest week. It wasn't because I was trying to pick a lot, but it was time. Things needed to be harvested. I love that week in the spring when it switches from "I need something to eat" to "I have to pick this because it needs to be picked". That is the week that the garden really starts to produce.
The first harvest was last Monday afternoon. I wanted to plant up that bed with flowers and the kale was still in the bed. In addition it was bolting. It had to get harvested. 14.7 oz.
Wednesday's harvest was my typical one from the previous week. I needed salad makings so picked some leaves here and there. You can't see the lettuce since it is buried under the Asian greens I use for salads. I also harvested a bok choy that was getting too crowded. 13.1 oz.
Friday I noticed the spinach had gotten big again and needed to be picked. The leaves are still large, but not quite as giant as they used to be. The plants might be starting to tire out a bit. 6.6 oz.
My romaine lettuce is starting to fill in. They are too close together to really make good heads. I need to pick every other one eventually. This is the first. 3.5 oz.
Last week Granny asked me if I would have any trouble picking the lettuce and breaking the pretty pattern outside my kitchen door. The lettuce is just as ornamental as practical. I thought there might be a touch of trepidation. It turned out not to be the case. I snipped it out without a second thought. Well I did have a second thought. I thought the other ones in the middle will need to be picked soon. They are also getting crowded out.
On Sunday I noticed the Asian greens were trying to burst out of their row cover. They needed picking and/or thinning. This made for a huge harvest which barely fit into my harvest basket. I took a photo of them in the basket but then decided you wouldn't be able to see any of the harvest except the top layer. So I spread them all out on my back steps. Top row from left to right: mizuna 2oz, chard 9.1 oz, Komatsuna 11.4 oz, Chinese broccoli 1.8 oz. Bottom row: Fun Jen 7.5 oz, bok choy 19.4 oz, tatsoi 4.1 oz.
I rarely get the perfect bok choy in the spring. They grow much better in the fall. But this one was perfect. It was huge for a baby bok choy and unlike some of the others that were picked it wasn't bolting yet.
- Weekly total (all greens) 5.11 lbs
- Yearly total: 9.13 lbs
- Yearly tally: -461.09
This total seemed early and large to me. I wanted to check last year and see if it was comparable. Last year's garden was about 1/3 the size of this year's garden and the weather was abnormally warm last year. This year the weather was abnormally cold at the early part of spring. Then our temperatures moderated to close to normal. I checked the same week last year and had 1.8 lbs of harvest. Which is about a third of what I got this week. So it seems pretty comparable. Until you look at the real numbers. I wasn't harvesting any Asian greens yet. My harvest was my overwintered kale (just like here), radishes (which I'm not picking yet here), and my overwintered spinach. My first bok choy harvest last year was in next weeks harvest, but my first bok choy harvest here was two weeks ago, so we have a three week difference. The lettuce last year was picked one week later. The only thing that I picked earlier last year was my radishes. I'm sure that is because the ground was frozen for so long in the spring - weeks later than the previous year. And they had to be direct seeded.
So the question arises, even though our highs were colder this year, why am I harvesting so much earlier? I even had to put out my lettuce late this year because the beds weren't defrosted at their usual time. One answer is even though our highs weren't very high in April early on, the average over all temperature was higher for the month. We had very little temperature swing between day and night. Our last frost was April 9th which was very early. I think the plants really liked that.
In addition my soil is remarkably different than my last garden. I had heavy clay in the last garden which stays colder longer in the spring. The soil here drains a lot better. In the last garden I also had half raised beds. The garden was terraced slightly down the slope. So one side was raised and the other was at the level of the beds. Having both sides raised warms the soil much faster in the spring. Future years will tell if it is the real raised beds and soil or if it was the even weather.
But whatever the reason, I'm ecstatic that I can harvest enough to give me the vegetables I need for my lunches and dinners. Yes I supplement them a bit with things like mushrooms and peppers, but mostly what I'm eating is salad for lunch (either in salads, or on open faced burritos, or in sandwiches) and two different green things for dinner. Last night was cooked spinach with balsamic vinegar and bok choy steamed with just salt and pepper.
Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to show off, add your name and link to Mr Linky below.