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Final Garlic & Shallot Harvest

We harvested the last of our garlic and shallots from the garden this week. On Friday we will be moving on and starting some seeds for fall vegetables, although it still seems too early.

We didn’t have very many plants of the Elephant Garlic, but at least a couple of the bulbs were huge! The others were good sized, but not nearly as big.

The ‘Purple Glazer’ garlic had really nice sized bulbs that seem very consistent. We also had good germination, so there were lots of plants to harvest.

The ‘Killarney Red’ garlic also had some nice large bulbs, although they weren’t as consistent. There were a few smallish bulbs. I think either we didn’t plant as many or the germination wasn’t quite as good on these.

One of our farmers’ market vendors grows ‘Music’ garlic and loves it. I’ll say that the plants were vigorous and most of the bulbs also look large and well formed. There are a couple of smaller bulbs, but I suspect those were along the edge of the bed away from the drip lines.

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Tuesday Garlic & Shallot Harvest

Yup, you get another round of garlic harvests today!

You can see that the color of these two beds has clearly changed from blue-green to brown-grey-green. We are getting close on most of the garlic and shallots! Only a couple more weeks, I think.

We harvested 2 varieties of garlic this morning. The first was the ‘Persian Star’ that I really wanted to do well, but looked pretty insignificant from above-ground. Well, sadly, the below-ground bulbs aren’t much more impressive than the weak-looking tops were. They aren’t as small as I was afraid they might be, but the one bulb on the right here is pretty much as large as they get.

We also harvested the ‘Ferganskij’ garlic, the other variety that had pretty wimpy tops compared to other varieties. The bulbs are pretty small, but I think consistently larger than some of the smaller ‘Persian Star’ bulbs. Definitely not a winner compared to some of the other varieties we’ve already harvested.

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Friday PhotoEssay

Another Friday, another photoessay. Even though we are experiencing more normal summer temperatures, it hasn’t seemed so bad. Maybe because it’s in the 80s and 90s rather than 100s? As long as we don’t have those 100 degree temperatures stretching out as far as the eye can see on the long-range forecast, I’ll be happy.

Here’s the whole garden for this week, but from the other side this time. You get a better feel for how the tomatoes have grown from here. They are huge! There are some really nice green tomatoes set on.

This is a branch of green tomatoes on the ‘Golden Honey Bunch’ grape tomato in the vertical garden. Isn’t that truss of tomatoes neat? It seems to just keep getting longer!

Our bush beans and pole beans are both busily blooming away! This purple flower is from the ‘Emerite’ pole beans. We haven’t had great luck with pole beans in the past, so I really want these to succeed.

It looks like we have a touch of Early Blight starting on a couple of our tomato plants. This was on the ‘Jetsetter’ tomato. We pruned off the affected leaves, but I think we are getting just enough rain that it will keep spreading up the plant. Oh well, these are the trade-offs we make for a cooler, rainier year!

We are getting close to being ready to harvest the shallots, but it is pretty neat to see them growing. They are partially grown out of the ground, so you can get a sense of how big the bulbs are.

We jumped right in and planted some squash seeds in the area where we have been harvesting the garlic from the Pizza Garden. Since it is a small area, we also took the opportunity to try out the barrier method of preventing squash vine borers. I don’t know if it will work, because we had squash in this area last year. They overwinter underground and the moths emerge in the late spring or early summer, usually late May. Then they fly around and lay eggs at the base of the squash plants. Putting the row cover over the plants (in this case seeds) keeps the moths from getting to the plants. If the moths haven’t flown off yet, this method won’t work because I will have trapped them with the plants instead of away from the plants. Since we are planting late, I hope it works. We’ll leave the row cover on until the squash plants either outgrow the hoops or until they start blooming, whatever comes first.

Have a great weekend!

Cooking with Garlic & Shallot Scapes

A couple weeks ago when I had some garlic and shallot scapes from the garden, I used them in a very simple and very tasty shrimp dish that my family likes, Coconut Shrimp Stew.

I chopped up 4 or 5 of the shallot scapes, just like I would have the green onions/scallions. Yum!

Then I minced up 3 Garlic scapes and one clove of the fresh Maiskij from one of the damaged bulbs. (Isn’t that a gorgeous purple color on the clove wrapper?)

The shallot and garlic went into the saute pan, and I chopped up some cilantro. To that, I added about a tablespoonful of the minced lemongrass that I froze last fall and about 1/3 of a teaspoon of homemade Sambal Olek (a red chili pepper paste made with vinegar and salt) that I made two summers ago from bountiful red serrano peppers.

All of the flavoring ingredients also went into the pan for a quick stir. The recipes always say “saute one minute or until fragrant.” I think that’s an interesting way to gauge it. Then I put two cans of diced tomatoes in. I know. No fresh tomatoes yet, so we make do with canned. There is a time and place for good canned tomatoes.

After letting the veggies cook for a few minutes, you add the coconut milk. I had some 1 cup boxes, so I think I ended up using 3 boxes. If you have cans, you want about 1 can of coconut milk per can of tomatoes. It makes lots of yummy sauce! You don’t want to cook this too long after you add the coconut milk or it might start to separate. As soon as you add the milk, you want to add in the peeled shrimp. The recipe calls for 3 pounds of shrimp, which makes 6-8 servings. We typically don’t need that much, so I make a full batch of the sauce and only add in the right number of servings of shrimp. Then we have extra sauce for something else. Anyway, add the shrimp and gently simmer until the shrimp is cooked through. Then you can eat it as a soup or serve it over rice.

You can garnish the dish with some extra cilantro if you want to. This is a pretty quick, easy dish to make. It usually takes about 30 minutes, not counting the time to cook the rice. It’s a great, warm dish in the winter but also a quick, fresh dish in the spring or summer!


Checking Up on the Shallot Trial

Since I pulled up one of each variety of the garlic and shallots for the Garden Tour this weekend, I’m going to use the opportunity to share my observations of the different varieties at this stage of growth.

Shallot TrialWhen I was working on signs for the garden last week, I updated the maps for the garlic and shallot trial. Here’s the updated map for the shallots. I will be honest that as I’m looking at the varieties, I think we may have the wrong label on the (French) Grey Shallots and the French (Red) Shallots. Based on the growth habits and what they look like, I’m pretty sure the labels got switched somehow.

This is the ‘Sante’ shallot. It is the largest so far, and you can see that the developing bulbs are clearly red. The individual stalks also separated from each other easily. This was the first variety to start putting up flower stalks.

This is the variety we have labeled as the Grey Shallots, but I’m pretty sure they are actually the French Red shallots. The developing bulbs have a tinge of red to them, but they aren’t as large or colorful as the Sante shallots. There are also not as many stems in the clump, although it looks like they are still going to divide a couple more times.

The Dutch Yellow Shallots are clearly a different color than the two redder varieties. The bulbs are smaller yet than the previous variety, but there are more stalks. These were just starting to put on flower stalks.

This variety we have labeled as the French Shallots, but I’m pretty sure they are the (French) Grey Shallots. This variety is very different from the others! The leaves are much yellower than blue-green and there are LOTS of stems. They are much smaller and don’t seem to have started sizing up yet. They have not put up flower stalks yet either, which would make sense, since they seem to be further behind the others. Read the rest of this entry