More Early Harvests: Kale, Peas, and Beans

At this point, calling these harvests “early” might be a bit misleading. It is, after all, late June, which is a proper harvesting time for many of our plants, and which is quite hard to believe. Seems like only yesterday we were putting seeds in the ground. But here we are with plenty already to fill our plates! This past weekend, we skulked around the garden looking for more stuff the grab, and we came away with a number of goodies, namely kale, peas, and some very pretty beans.

This year’s kale is of the same variety we planted last year, Blue Curled Scotch.

Sorry for the blurriness, but it's kale. Promise!
Sorry for the blurriness, but it’s kale. Promise!

Blue Curled Scotch is a basic, hardy variety that’s often found in the grocery stores, and it’s proficient producer. The leaves can be picked when they are young or mature, with the older leaves having a much stronger flavor. With this initial harvest, the leaves ranged from small to medium. Once we got them washed and cleaned, the next question was what to do worth them? As it was too warm to think about our favorite use for kale — in soup — we opted to make some yummy kale chips. Coarsely chop the leaves, sans spines, spread on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a tad of garlic powder, bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, and ta-da! Delicious kale chips.

Kale prepped...
Kale prepped…
...and baked! Delicious!
…and baked! Crisp and delicious!

After grabbing some kale, we checking our other two raised beds for peas, and we found plenty. More than plenty, in fact!

Just a handful from the full harvest.
Just a handful from the full harvest.

We planted several different pea varieties this year –snow, sugar snap, and garden, and…well…in one bed they all kind of grew into each other and are now something of a tangled mess. But! That has only made for something of a harvesting challenge — the plants themselves have been very prolific! The picture above shows two for the four varieties we planted. The larger, dark green ones are Snow Girl snow peas. They are extremely crisp and are great in stir-fries. The smaller ones are new to us — Alaska garden peas. We took several of these pods a bit early, but the larger, light green ones are ready to be hulled. Our hope for these, as well as another garden pea variety we planted in another bed, Laxton’s Progress No. 9, is that we’ll get enough to save to make a great split pea soup. We also planted another snow pea variety (Avalanche) and a snap pea variety (Cascadia), but have yet to harvest those. (This week, maybe!)

And finally, we picked some lovely purple bush beans! Two varieties: Purple Teepee and Velour Purple Filet.

They look good enough to eat. (And they are!)
The Purple Teepee beans. They look good enough to eat. (And they are!)
The pretty Velour Purple Filet beans. Almost elegant, they are.
The pretty Velour Purple Filet beans. Thin, elegant, and tasty.

Having had great success with yellow wax beans (Golden Wax Organic) in the past (which we planted again this year), we decided to branch out to planting several different types of bush beans this year, including two purple varieties. The Purple Teepee beans are wonderful. They have a great, fresh flavor. On the other hand, the Velour Purple Filet beans are delicate and have a more subtle, refined taste. Both are excellent when sauteed in a little olive oil and garlic!

It’s great starting out the official summer season with fresh produce. Good thing too, cause there’s lots more to come. We’ll be posting our second update in pictures next week, and boy oh boy, how everything has grown!

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2 thoughts on “More Early Harvests: Kale, Peas, and Beans

  1. fmajewicz 06/24/2015 / 4:23 pm

    I hate to say this but your purple beans look like worms. We planted a variety of purple beans last year and waited too long to pick them. The got huge, very stringy, and tough. Not popular with the kids. This year we also planted kale and it looks like a few plants survived, they are about 2 inches tall at this point. I am going to try the chips if I can harvest enough leaves.

    • Garden State-ments 06/25/2015 / 10:10 am

      Haha, guess it would have helped if we hadn’t washed the beans! (Also, good thing they turn green when cooked, otherwise they might look really unappetizing!)

      We’ve been harvesting handful beans each day for the past week, and they are really delicious — very flavorful and tender. (The plants are nearly done producing now, but if Mother Nature cooperates, it’s possible they’ll come back for another harvest in the early fall.) Maybe someday we’ll plant the regular ol’ green variety, but these’ll do just fine.

      Good luck with the kale chips – we finished ours in a day, but there’s plenty more to harvest.

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