Monday, January 10, 2011

1/10 Harvest - back from the (almost) dead

I remember the good old days (i.e. last year) when I got really excited about every single plant in my garden and monitored for the slightest visible evidence of vegetative growth on each of my plants.  Well, I still care and I still think that growing plants are exciting, but I'm going to admit to you all that I've been getting a bit... lazy.  Even though my winter gardening responsibilities involve only indoor plants, I haven't spent nearly as much time or effort on taking care of what few plants I have.

One of the near-casualties of the diminished gardening effort on my part involved the potted basil.  Remember when I planted some basil cuttings to winter them indoors?  They grew really well for a while, and then they almost died because I stopped watering and harvesting them.  The plants got too heavy and tall for the grow box, and they they started wilting and drying up from lack of water.  I know, I know, I was a totally bad plant mom.

About two or three weeks ago, I felt bad enough and decided to clean up my act.  I took a pair of scissors gave my basil a much needed trim.  After cutting off all the dead branches and leaves, I was left with a basil plant whose main and most side stems were dried brown.  There were very few leaves left on the plant and I didn't think it would make it.  I wish I had a picture to show you, but I didn't take a picture of this almost-dying basil.

But now it's alive again!  The miracle of consistent watering!

I'm thoroughly pleased to report that the top of this basil plant is busy growing new branches and leaves.

Here (pictures above and below), you can see how the main stem and most of the side branches are dried and brown.  I really thought that this basil was toast.  But surprisingly enough, there's somehow life in there, and new leaves and young branches are growing out of the dry and brown ones.

I've been harvesting a few basil leaves here and there for things like homemade pizza, pasta and salads.  It's not much, but it still allows me to eat something that I've grown myself, and that makes me happy.

Check out Harvest Monday for other winter gardeners' bounty!

Monday, January 3, 2011

1/3 Harvest - Daikon Radish

Happy New Year to everyone! 

I really want to shout out "Let the new gardening year begin!" but ironically enough, this first post of the new year presents my very last harvest of 2010.

After waiting for what seemed like forever for these daikon radishes to size up, I, uh, forgot to harvest them before a ton of snow started falling in December.  Yeah, blame it on the snow, right?  The side garden where these radishes were planted was covered with over a foot of snow and looked like this (see below) for the most part of December.

I was a bit worried that the daikons wouldn't survive a whole month of snow and bitter cold temperatures.  But the weather finally warmed up a bit while we were out of town during the last week of December, and I had one day window of opportunity to pull the daikon radishes out of the ground on December 31.

The green tops looked pretty wilted and some of the stems were rather squishy, so I didn't know if the radishes themselves would be any good.  But I harvested them anyway and was pleasantly surprised to see that some of them actually looked edible.

Somehow I was under the (false?) impression that daikon radishes would get really big, like the size of my arm, but these were only on par with small/medium carrots.  Many of these daikon radishes had really long taproots, though, so I wonder if they would grow bigger in better soil that's not as clayey like the soil in this side garden.

Anyway, these radishes had a slight spicy kick to them but they still tasted fresh and crunchy.  Even the green tops were still edible after I trimmed off all the wilty and squishy ones.  Keith and I are not big fans of eating them raw, so I chopped them up (both green tops and the radish roots) and tossed them in a stir fry with some chicken and broccoli.  They were good!

Visit Daphne's Harvest Monday to see if what other winter gardeners are still harvesting.


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