Monday, June 20, 2016

Harvest Monday - 6/20/2016

Summer has burst into the North Texas areas now. Temperatures are soaring during the day and nights are getting pretty warm too. It is typically an expected occurrence here and temperatures are already at the 98 / 99 F range with the worst of the summer yet to come.
Although I had sowed my seeds well in advance and prepared my beds by working in compost, the big mistake I made was not getting protection in place for my tiny gardening space. The rabbit population has increased drastically in my neighborhood and they need to get sustenance from somewhere! My unprotected raised beds are, therefore,  fair game. My okra plants have been all but decimated, only small twigs remaining in place of lush leaves. The green bean plants have been trampled over and several are broken. Its nobody's fault but mine! Lesson learned the hard way, that is all!
I do still have several growing plants in the beds, so all is not lost!

                                                                      Green amaranth

I harvested another big bunch of amaranth leaves and shared them with a neighbor.

I also pulled up two of my garlic plants. Having planted them in November last year, I was very curious to see what was going on underground. I have never grown garlic before and as an experiment, planted 12 cloves of ordinary store bought garlic. The only amendment I added to the soil was compost and I watered the plants with liquid sea weed once in a while.
I am very excited about the results. Granted, they are not huge bulbs, but I have seen bulbs this size in grocery stores and considering what I started with, I think its a fair harvest!!  I still have about 8 more bulbs in the ground and I am planning to let them stay there for a tad longer before taking them out.
                                                             Raw horsegram beans  - image courtesy Wikipedia

I also made sprouts last week. I am not sure if they are considered typical harvests. Instead of the usual green mung beans that I use, I sprouted horsegram (Macrotyloma uniflorum) beans.  Horsegram beans are legumes of the tropics and the subtropics and are known by several different names . Wikipedia tells me that these legumes were primarily grown as cattle feed, but they are very commonly consumed as sprouts in several regions of India. Like other beans, these little gems are high in protein and fiber and are also an excellent source of iron. This is a very drought tolerant vine. It can withstand prolonged duration of drought. The stems and leaves are used extensively as cattle fodder and once the crop is harvested, the plants are worked back into the soil to improve the  soil quality. 

sprouted horsegram  

I soaked a cup of these beans overnight and then let them sprout in a sunny corner of my kitchen for about 3 days, rinsing them periodically. Even after sprouting, these beans are pretty chewy. They can be easily cooked on the stove top or in a pressure cooker to make them softer. I used them to make a curry to go with rice and also used them as sprouts for a simple sprout salad with cucumbers and tomatoes. If you would like to try these, a quick trip to the nearest Indian grocery store should suffice! You can find some more information about these beans here.

Simple sprout salad with horsegram sprouts, chopped cucumbers, tomatoes and red bell pepper dressed with lemon juice, salt and cayenne pepper. Since this will be consumed for lunch at work tomorrow, I didn't add onion, else a little chopped onion would add more flavor.

For bounteous harvests from other gardeners around the world, visit the Harvest Monday roundup at Our Happy Acres.