Tag Archives: harvest

Final harvest update 2014: Mid August to mid October

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It is getting well into autumn and the summer season is well over for most os us gardeners. There is still a little to be found in gardens at this time and if you are a winter gardener, you will be harvesting through winter as well. I don’t have any plans for winter gardening this winter except for the herbs I have brought inside to shield them from the winter frost and to use during the dark months here in Denmark. The sun comes up at 7.50 and it gets dark around 16.30 and the day has shortened by 9 hours. The day will get even shorter with just 7 hours of daylight at winter solstice.

I had a pretty decent harvest with most things this year. For some reason my tomatoes only did alright and not great or maybe we just ate them to quickly and it just seemed like that. This is what my 7m2 balcony garden has yielded from mid August to mid October.

August

August was a lot of tomatoes, herbs, spinach, peppers and apples. I used a lot of time this season to nuture my small apple tree. I gave it a bigger pot in spring, played bee with a small brush to spread the pollen around, removed 2/3 of the apples that came as the tree can’t support that many apples. In the end I got about 50 apples or more from my 2 meter tall tree so a great success. I will be repeating the success next year to get a good yield of apples.

Spinach and herbs
Spinach and Herbs
Apples from my small apple tree.
Apples from my small apple tree – a good harvest.
Tomatoes, herbs and salad.
Tomatoes, herbs and salad.
Tomatoes, peppers, salad and spinach.
Tomatoes, peppers, salad and spinach.
Spinach, tomatoes, pepper, salad and apples.
A harvest of spinach, tomatoes, pepper, salad and apples.

September

September was about harvesting the green tomatoes for ripening inside, harvesting spinach for the freezer and enjoying what is rapidly becoming the last produce and harvest of the season.

Tomatoes, peppers, salad, spinach and herbs.
Tomatoes, peppers, salad, spinach and herbs.
Tomatoes.peppers, salad, beetroot leaves, apples, spinach and oregano.
Tomatoes, peppers, salad, beetroot leaves, apples, spinach and oregano.

On the 23 of September I went through my tomatoes and picked almost all of them as the frost was peaking its head through. Ironically that was the only frost we would see for a while and now in November we are having one of the warmest Novembers in a long long time. I used apples and bowls in the sun to ripen my tomatoes. I have heard that only tomatoes just on the verge of going red can be ripened inside. I have found that to be false. All the tomatoes on the table ripened fine with the use of apples and bowls in the sun. The apples give of a gas that ripens the tomatoes, you can use organic bananas as well. So remember to harvest your green tomatoes as well both for ripening and for pickling.

Lots and lots of tomatoes.
Lots and lots of tomatoes – harvest of the green tomatoes.
The tomatoes look so beautiful in their different colors-
The tomatoes look so beautiful in their different colors-
The tomatoes put in bowls make you realize just how many there are.
The tomatoes put in bowls make you realize just how many there are.

My New Zealand spinach got really big this year as it does every year. I always seem to forget just how big and this year was no different. I brought it inside to harvest the leaves, seeds and stems to use at later date for cooking broth. I only harvested half in this go but I got 7 bags for the freezer.

The New Zealand spinach before the big harvest.
The New Zealand spinach before the big harvest.
Harvested about half of the spinach.
Harvested about half of the spinach.
7 bags of spinach for the freezer and stems for cooking broth.
7 bags of spinach for the freezer and stems for cooking broth.

October

October has been about getting the last of the produce out of the ground and of the plants before getting the garden ready for winter. That means saving the last of the salad seeds, getting the beetroots and carrots out of the ground and picking the very last tomatoes as I chopped down the plants into small pieces and put them in bags.

Salad seed pots for drying.
Salad seed pots for drying.

As the weather stayed mild it turned out that there was a lot more tomatoes on the plants, than I though. Yummy as you can’t harvest enough tomatoes-

The very last tomatoes on the plants.
The very last tomatoes on the plants.
The rest of the green tomatoes.
The very last of the green tomato harvest.

The beetroots gave a really good yield this season. At the start of the season I transplanted the seedlings that stood to close to spaces where there were none and I wasn’t sure it would work. It worked really well and I had harvested some of the big ones during the season. The end yield was still more than 800 grams. I decided to harvest some of the leaves for the freezer as well as they are taste and good for you.

The rest of the beetroots.
The rest of the beetroots.
Just over 800 grams of beetroots.
Just over 800 grams of beetroots.
Beetroot leaves for the freezer.
Beetroot leaves for the freezer.
About 200 grams of beetroot leaves.
About 200 grams of beetroot leaves.

The carrots did better than expected though they generally don’t get that long and the peppers were a surprise. I did not expect them to yield so well. I did find that you have to start picking your peppers as early as you can. The plant can only support a certain number of fruits, so if you want it to keep flowering and setting more fruit, you have to pick the peppers.

A god yield of carrots.
A god harvest of carrots.
The rest of the pepper harvest.
The rest of the pepper harvest.

Happy growing – Sara

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2 Harvest update 2014: potatoes, beetroots, carrots, peppers, spinach, onions, herbs, zucchini, strawberries and lots and lots of tomatoes

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This is the second harvest post and my oh my the balcony garden has yielded a lot since the last harvest post. This is the most productive period of the garden and I am able to harvest something almost every day.

I had a friend over a couple of days ago and we made a lovely salad out of the produce from my garden. She was very amazed that the produce from my garden has its own smell. The different tomatoes smell different; some have a sweet smell, others have a spicy smell and even the pepper has its own smell. She had brought a couple of store bought tomatoes and a pepper and she commented that they don’t smell. I thought that was quite fantastic.

Harvest: lots of tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, beetroots, peppers, spinach, beetroot leaves, strawberries, onions, zucchini and a lot of herbs

23rd of Juli

Harvested potatoes, beetroots, carrots and tomatoes for a steak dinner with potato salad and a beetroot, carrot and tomato salad. It was very yum… You can see the recipe here: From garden to dinner 2014: Steak with potato salad and a carrot, beetroot and tomato salad 

Potatoes for potato salad
Potatoes for potato salad
Beetroots and carrots
Beetroots and carrots
Purple beef tomatoes
Purple beef tomatoes

1st of August

Harvested lovely tomatoes of various sorts; a couple of Black Russians (large dark ones), Brown Beery and Chocolate Cherry(drop shaped ones), Tiny Tims (small red ones), Yellow Currants( small yellow ones) and ‘Costoluto Genovese’ beef( large red ones). This is the first big harvest of tomatoes this season. Despite the very warm weather it feels like the tomato season has started late. I started the season planting inside in early spring but on the good side the season will last longer.

They made a fantastic salad.

Tomatoes of various sorts
Tomatoes of various sorts

3rd of August

I have 2 window boxes with forest strawberries. I managed to kill of one of them by overwatering, but the other one is producing well. About once a week I collect a handful of berries; sometimes more and I am collecting them in my freezer to make something of when I have enough.

Forest strawberries
Forest strawberries

5th of August

Some of my peppers are finally ready to eat. I have been watching them closely and waiting for them to turn red. They finally have. I have 2 sorts; ‘Alma Paprika’ and ‘Sweet Banana’. There are a good number of tomatoes, mostly the cherry varieties. This is Tiny Tim, Yellow Currant, Brown Berry and Chocolate Cherry

2 sorts of peppers
2 sorts of peppers
Tomatoes
Tomatoes

7th of August

Harvested a bit of Basil, a couple of purple beef tomatoes and Spring onions. If you leave spring onions they will grown into a bulb like normal onions. They have a lovely flavor and are very pretty for an onion. All this went into the chopper to make a sort of relish to use in homemade burgers. Another yum…

Spring onions, beef tomatoes and Basil
Spring onions, beef tomatoes and Basil

 8th of August

Harvested a good bunch of my chocolate mint and Lemon balm to make into cordial. I will make a separate post with the recipe at a later date.

Chocolate mint and Lemon balm
Chocolate mint and Lemon balm

I also harvested a good deal to make into a lovely pasta sauce. I will make a separate post with the recipe at a later date. This is ‘Costoluto Genovese’ tomatoes, a zucchini, spinach, peppers, Basil, Lemon Basil and Oregano.

Ingredients for the pastasauce
Ingredients for the pasta sauce

12th of August

Harvested tomatoes; Brown Beery, Chocolate Cheery and Black Russian with a Little bit of Lemon Basil and Spinach for a nice salad.

Tomatoes, Lemon Basil and Spinach
Tomatoes, Lemon Basil and Spinach
More tomatoes
More tomatoes

14th of August

Harvested Tiny Tim tomatoes, peppers, beetroot leaves, spinach and spring onions to use in pita pockets with ground organic pork seasoned with curry. Yum yum.

Ingredients for pita pockets
Ingredients for pita pockets

What am I waiting for?

There are a couple of things I am watching and waiting for:

1. More peppers – there are of lot of yellow ones just waiting to turn red

Peppers waiting to turn red
Peppers waiting to turn red

2. More tomatoes of the cherry variety

Tomatoes on my tomato wall
Tomatoes on my tomato wall

3. Beef tomatoes – most of them are just now starting to get color and I can’t wait to use them

Beef tomatoes
Beef tomatoes
Beef tomatoes
Beef tomatoes

4. Edemame beans – I am waiting for it to flower. They have to be planted late in the season when the ground is warm and only 3 of 20 survived a downpour a couple of days after I planted them.

Edemame beans
Edemame beans

5. Harvest New Zealand spinach – it has grown so much and is taking up a lot of space. It is seeding and I need to collect them.

New Zealand spinach on my balcony
New Zealand spinach on my balcony
New Zealand spinach on the walkway by my front door
New Zealand spinach on the walkway by my front door

 

Happy growing – Sara

 

 

 

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From garden to dinner 2014: Steak with potato salad and a carrot, beetroot and tomato salad

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Being able to go out onto my balcony and harvest produce for dinner is one of my main reasons for having a balcony garden. There is just no better feeling than going from garden to dinner.

I harvested potatoes, carrots, beetroots and a couple of tomatoes for dinner and turned it into a potato salad and a carrot, beetroot and tomato salad to go with a lovely organic steak. There is only two of us so the recipe is for 2 people but you can double or triple easily.

Potato salad

For this recipe you need a very Danish thing called remoulade. We can get it at the supermarket, but in most other countries you have to make it yourself. So I have added the recipe for it. Other uses for remoulade are: with fries, on cold cuts, with meat and what else you like.

Recipe for remoulade:

  • 4 tablespoons of mayo
  • 2 tablespoons of yoghurt natural
  • 4 tablespoons of pickled vegetables

– this can be any pickled vegetable (large/small cucumber, peppers, cauliflower, beans, celery, carrots ect. or a mix of different vegetables

  • 1 tablespoon of capers
  • Sugar
  • Curry
  • 1-2 tablespoons of turmeric
  • Salt and pepper

Mix mayo and yoghurt. Chop the pickled vegetables and capers very finely and mix with mayo and yoghurt. Season the mix with salt, pepper, sugar and knife tip of curry. Add turmeric until you get a good yellow color. Leave in refrigerator for a couple of hours or overnight before use.

Recipe for potato salad:

  • 500 grams of potatoes
  • 1 cup of yoghurt natural or the Icelandic Skyr
  • 2 cups of remoulade
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning

I have my potatoes in a potato pot designed by a Danish company. There is an insert that allows you to pick the potatoes without harming the plant to much and you can harvest multiple times from the same plants.

Potato pot with an insert

Potatoes ready for picking
Potatoes ready for picking

I picked about a kilo of potatoes from 4 pots and used 500 gram for my potato salad and saved the rest for later.

Freshly picked potatoes
Freshly picked potatoes

I lightly boil the potatoes with a bit of salt in the water. I only boil them for 10 minutes as they are so fresh and I want a bit of bite to them. Leave potatoes to cool.

Boiling potatoes
Boiling potatoes

Mix the yoghurt with remoulade and season with salt and pepper. Remember to taste before adding the potatoes as it is very difficult to mix in more with the potatoes in the bowl.

Yoghurt mixed with Remoulade
Yoghurt mixed with remoulade

Chop the cold potatoes into small pieces.

Cold boiled potatoes in small pieces
Cold boiled potatoes in small pieces

Add the potatoes to the bowl and mix until all the potatoes are covered. Eat as is or leave in the refrigerator until needed. It only gets better with a little time.

Finished potato salad
Finished potato salad

Carrot, beet and tomato salad

Recipe:

  • 2 carrots
  • 3 beetroots
  • 2-4 tomatoes; depending on the size of the beets and carrots
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Honey

I harvested a small portion of my beetroots and carrots for this salad. They are still quite small but taste really good. These are normal beetroots, golden beetroots and rainbow carrots.

Beets and carrots from the garden for the salad
Beetroots and carrots from the garden for the salad

The leaves of the beetroots can be used in the same way you use spinach, so I save the leaves in the freezer for later use.

Leftover leaves from the beets
Leftover leaves from the beetroots
Beet leaves going in the freezer for later use
Beetroot leaves going in the freezer for later use

I like to boil the beetroots and carrots for about 5 minutes and use in a cold salad. They become really sweet and flavorful when you boil them lightly.

Ready for boiling
Ready for boiling

Remove the skin and the ends before chopping them into small pieces.

Beets and carrots after being lightly boiled
Beetroots and carrots after being lightly boiled

I used two tomatoes of the Russian Black variety. It is a bush tomato but the texture of the tomato is meaty like a beef tomato.

Russian Black tomatoes freshly picked
Russian Black tomatoes freshly picked

Chop the tomatoes into pieces and add to the bowl with the carrots and the beetroots.

Tomatoes chopped
Tomatoes chopped

Add a bit of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. The salad is done.

The seasoning of the salad
The dressing

The finished result

Finished meal
Finished meal – from garden to dinner

 

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1 Harvest update 2014: Spinach, Rhubarb, Chamomile, Mints, Parsley, Chives, Stevia

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How much does a balcony garden yield? That is a very good question and of course it depends on what you grow, how well you take care of your plants and how the weather turnes out. This is my first harvest post of 2014 and my intention is for you to see how much you can harvest from a balcony garden and what I do with it.

Harvest: Spinach, Rhubarb, Chamomile, Mints, Parsley, Chives, Stevia

Spinach

I grow New Zealand Spinach as it has a good yield, quite a long growing season and most importantly it does not get the same pests as I have experience that normal Spinach does. I harvested about 1/3 of my Spinach

1/3 of my Spinach
1/3 of my Spinach

I turned it into leaves for the freezer – about 50 grams to a bag, 300 grams in total, seeds – as it is seeding now and stems to save and use when I make stock.

Spinach leaves, seeds and stems.
Spinach leaves, seeds and stems.
All neatly wrapped up for the freezer.
All neatly wrapped up for the freezer.

Rhubarb

I have a big pot with Rhubarb I planted from seed last year. This is my third harvest from it this season. I need to keep harvesting as the pot can only support so many stems, so in order to get more stems I need to harvest the ones that are there first. I always leave a couple of stems to provide strength to grow.

Rhubarb.
Rhubarb.

I turned it into stems and leaves. My Rhubarb does not yield enough in a single harvest to make much so I collect the pieces of Rhubarb in a plastic bag with a loose knot, so I can untie it and add more. The leaves I am saving for the next season to use in an anti aphid spray. The leaves contain oxalic acid which is bad for the aphids. I had a LOT of aphids this year, but my Rhubarb had not grown enough leaves when I needed them, so I am saving them for next season.

Rhubarb stems and leaves.
Rhubarb stems and leaves.
Rhabarb pieces for later use and the bag with the Loose knot.
Rhabarb pieces for later use and the bag with the loose knot.

Herbs: Chamomile, Mints, Parsley, Chives, Stevia

I keep a good amount of different herbs on my balcony and I harvest regularly to put in my freezer. Of course I use my herbs when I cook during the summer, but I like to save some of that green gold for winter. There is nothing better that taking a bag of fresh herbs from the freezer and adding them to whatever you are cooking; it just makes such a difference. Other herbs I dry for tea or seasoning.

Before harvesting.
Before harvesting.
After harvesting.
After harvesting.
Harvested herbs.
Harvested herbs.

This is Chinese Chives, ordinary Chives, Mint and Parsley. I harvested some Moroccan Mint as well. I turned it into bags of herbs for the freezer and frozen cubes of fresh Mint to use in tea during the cold season. I love making tea of fresh Mint, but I love it mostly during the cold season where the only fresh Mint you can buy is from the store. So I make cubes of chopped Mint mixed with water and keep them in a plastic bag with a loose knot so I can always add more cubes. I don’t like wasting plastic bags and I am always pondering how to use less.

Cubes and bags of fresh herbs.
Cubes and bags of fresh herbs.
You can store 2 portions of herbs in a single 2 liter bag and just cut of the one you need.
You can store 2 portions of herbs in a single 2 liter bag and just cut of the one you need.

I planted Chamomile this year to make into tea. My husband loves Chamomile tea. So as soon as there are enough flowers I harvest and dry them.

Chamomile flowers.
Chamomile flowers.

I also have a large chocolate Mint. I don’t use this one fresh for tea as I find the flavor to rich. Instead I dry it to mix with other herbs for tea or on its own. Last year I planted a Stevia and this year it has gotten really big, so I am going to dry it to use in tea mixes; to add a little bit of sweetness. I haven’t tried it before so I am going to experiment with the dosage; Stevia is very, very sweet and has a slight anis taste as well.

Chokolate Mint.
Chocolate Mint.
Ready for drying.
Ready for drying.
I use an elastic band to hold the stems. The stems shrink when they dry and if you use string they sometimes fall out. The elastic band contracts and keeps holding tight.
I use an elastic band to hold the stems. The stems shrink when they dry and if you use string they sometimes fall out. The elastic band contracts and keeps holding tight.
Stevia ready for drying.
Stevia ready for drying.
Chokolate Mint and Steviadrying.
Chocolate Mint and Stevia drying.

Happy growing – Sara

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