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Jun 5, 2010

An Unexpected Harvest & Reviews!

Not sure why it was unexpected, other than it was 90 degrees at 8:30 am and I had only planned on watering the garden and then hiding out the rest of the day! Alas, the heat and humidity over the past week had other plans in store for me! Since my tomato issues had me preoccupied the whole week, other things were left on auto pilot and went unnoticed until today! Here they are, along with my personal observations since they are mostly all new varieties to me this year:

Today's Harvest

1.0 lbs carrots (Purple Haze, Cosmic Purple, St. Valery), 1.0 lbs Dragon Langerie Beans, 11 oz Heirloom Yellow Wax Beans, 4.5 lbs Peas

'Purple Haze' Carrots - hard as a rock, horrible tasting, my dog who loves carrots wouldn't eat them, will not grow again!

'Cosmic Purple' (don't have a close-up) are purple splashed with orange - while moderately interesting, had a tough core and not enough good about them to make me grow them again

'St. Valery' grew very well here, crunchy yet tender, carrot-ey, passed the Finnegan taste test so it must be good! This was free seed I got last year from Baker Creek, otherwise I wouldn't have grown it - will order more next year. I grew it last year, but didn't get a decent germination or harvest, Granny's seed mats made the difference this year!

I do understand that these may perform differently in other areas/zones, but for me, they are the hits and misses!

Dragon Langerie (Dragon's Tongue)

I know a lot of us jumped on this bandwagon this year, and how could I refuse the delightful photos in the seed catalogs? They must be hugely popular this year since mine were backordered for a long time. Other than their beauty on the vine, these fell short of expectations in my garden. They are beautiful however! Tip for picking, they lose color and get huge VERY quickly! The color is most intense while small, also more tender and tasty then. They do of course, lose color after cooking and in my opinion there are other beans that taste far superior. My summation: grow these if you want to have beautiful things in your garden during a outdoor dinner party as people walk around and ooh & ahhh over things, but in the kitchen they fell short for me.

Dragon's Tongue after blanching

Now on to what I consider the superstar bean of the century! Why have I never grown these before????

Heirloom Golden Wax Bean

I can't say enough about these - slender, pretty, great bean flavor, tender, the easiest bean to snap the ends off I have ever encountered. Bush bean that produces like a pole bean. I will be picking these daily from just 1/2 of a raised bed's worth. After blanching, no color loss, still snappy, I will definitely use these to mix with my green pole beans when they come in for beautiful bags of frozen beans in the winter, and they will make for great Dilly Beans once I am ready to start canning. For those that want to know, I got this seed from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, and I will be ordering more pronto. On the website, their picture looks like the beans are a little too mature for me, harvested skinny like mine they are extremely tasty and pretty! Tip for harvesting, don't wear polarized sunglasses, that's how I got some that were still light green, LOL!
(they still taste just as good this way)

Heirloom Golden Wax Bean - still gorgeous after blanching!

I could not have done all 5 lbs of peas today without my child laborers!

Marley underfoot while we are working, she had little green peas all over her by the time the kids were done shelling, I'm just glad they didn't spill the whole bowl on her, she might have actually woken up!

For those of you who wanted to see the Food Saver in action, here it is!

I put the entire harvest into the freezer today since the chances for me cooking a decent meal this weekend are non-existent! It is in the upper 90's so we will probably go to the beach tomorrow evening once it cools off and eat sandwiches.

What about tonight? The USO is putting on free concerts for a Military Appreciation Festival on the beach all weekend and tonight I will be toes-in-the-sand watching Hall & Oates! I am showing my age now, but I am excited to see them, and although they are old now guess what? So am I, LOL! And yes, the kids are coming with me! Should be a fun evening, even if a hot one!


  1. I love, love, love yellow wax beans. We always grow a mix of yellow wax, purple and regular green beans. They are a pretty blend- even though the purple ones lose the color after blanching. But they're all tasty.
    Have fun at the concert.

  2. Thanks so much for going into detail about the varieties. That is the crunch isn't it, it has to taste good, the best even. Your blog is quickly becoming very important reference material. Peace

  3. Judy, glad I found those wax beans! Rose, the more I garden, the more I want to try new things, but it's important to make notations of what works and why and to always have those things first!

    and I HATE all these blog templates! Anyone know how to use up both sidebars? Seems a big waste of space always having a blank left sidebar... I am tired of trying to fix it and it will have to stay like this for awhile, LOL!

  4. I had a packet of Purple Haze carrots (freebie from Hometown Seeds), but having been so disappointed with the Rainbow Blend I grew last year I decided no more colored carrots for me, orange is just fine. Daphne had the Purple Haze on her wish list, so I sent her my packet. I hope she didn't plant too many. I've never been fond of wax beans, I may have to give in and try this variety. I grew Royal Burgundy bush beans last year, and really loved the flavor. Grandkids got a kick out of watching them turn bright green as I cooked them, and it was a built in timer for blanching.

    Thanks for the Food Saver demo. The jury is still out on whether I'll spring for one (due to $$$$ bags), but I did have some freezer burn using Ziploc freezer bags. I hate throwing out food, especially home grown frozen food.

  5. Our purple haze carrots are really doing well. They're not getting as fat as yours, and they're sharper than our other carrots ,but they're really good cooked in with our roasted vegetables.

    We grew a white carrot this year that's our champion.

    I'm doing the DT beans also and so far I haven't gotten any so my jury is still out. Dan seems to like them a lot, however.

  6. Thanks for the bean tip! I'll have to try them. I know my kid really voted for the yellow snow peas, so maybe tenderness comes with the color.

  7. If you do a search for blogger templates with three columns, you'll find some good ideas. Check with Kate too. She can probably give yah some good tips.

  8. What a great way to start the harvest season! The piles of good food, even if it isn't all as good as you had hoped, are still impressive. Thanks for the details. It is always interesting to know what works in different parts of the country!

  9. I finally got my dragon's tongue beans to germinate properly. Hopefully I'll get a harvest as lovely as yours!

    I noticed that a couple of your purple carrots in the top picture (the ones in the middle) bolted. Are those the ones that were hard as a rock? That might be the reason why they were so tough. I few of my carrots bolted too (white ones) and it was like biting down on a tree branch!

  10. I have those wax beans if they are the pencil pod, and Sultan's Golden Crescent as well from SSE that make a nice bean salad....YUM!

    Hmm...so you were not loving the dragon's Tongue aye?

  11. Gran, I am amazed at these wax beans! Although they might not be as good if I harvested them any bigger, but they are so tender and beautiful.

    Ribbit, glad yours are doing well, I think alot of it has to do with where you are!

    Thomas, yes those had bolted, but I pulled a few out earlier and they weren't much different, at least they didn't come close to the St. Valery I grew so I won't be doing them again. It is quite possible that they might do really well in a cooler area, carrots are hard for me in the heat and humidity so I just have to find one that works and stick to it I guess!

    Kelly, don't get me wrong, the Dragon's Tongue are BEAUTIFUL! And they taste decent, too, but those Golden Wax Heirlooms blew everything else away! Also, when I posted that day it was 100 degrees and I was dripping sweat and cussing myself out for planting so much again this year with one less adult to help me harvest and eat it all, LOL... so take that with a grain of salt maybe... this week it is supposed to be lower humidity and in the upper 70's, so maybe a cheerier mood will help me out with a better review next harvest, LOL!