Harvested: what I expected, and what I got

Today, I finally got to harvesting the garden beds we planted where the old wood pile used to be.

This is what we started with, in the spring.

You can read about how the garden plots were doing by August, here, so I won’t repeat myself in this post.

One of the things I’ve been thinking of, while working in the rocky soil of the old garden area, is that we need a soil/compost sifter. That would make clearing the rocks and debris out much easier.

While looking up different design ideas to build one, I suddenly realized…

We already did build one.

The screen “door” we made for the old basement doorway is basically the same idea as the steel mesh sifter my dad had made for gravel, decades ago. It just uses 1 inch mesh instead, and has a support bar across the middle. I’ll just need to reinforce the mesh before using it for something bigger or heavier, since it’s basically just stapled on in between where the wood holds it in place.

Last night, I realized it would also be great to use to lay out the carrots and beets after I harvest them.

It turned out to be perfect for the job.

Here is how I set up to start.

The saw horses were too narrow to support the screen, so I laid out a couple of 8 ft boards we didn’t use when building the goat catcher this past summer, to support the frame. I set up near the new compost pile, as I figured there would probably be a lot going into there!

It turned out to be less than I expected.

The few kohl rabi plants went straight in. That was a disappointment. So few came up and, between the bugs and the deer, only two got big, and then they got eaten. For those, I knew there would be nothing to harvest, so there were no expectations in that regard. I do want to try growing it again, but I’m not sure we’ll try again next year. I think it would benefit from a cold frame to plant earlier, and definitely something to protect from deer. Nothing we grew got attacked by insects the way these were, so we’ll need to keep that in mind before we try growing anything in the cabbage family again.

Of the one remaining musk melon, the frosts killed that off, and it didn’t even make it to the compost pile. It just shriveled away to almost nothing! When clearing away the bricks that were supporting the cloche that doubled as a slow watering container, I found some … friends…

Slimy friends!

That left the carrots, beets and parsley.

As far as expectations, I figured we would get a decent amount of carrots. We’ve been nibbling at them all summer, so I had a good idea of what I would find. I wasn’t expecting many, though, and not very many large ones.

With the beets, I was expecting nothing. Not long ago, the girls picked the biggest ones they could find and cooked them, and with the deer continuing to eat the greens, I didn’t expect any worth keeping at all.

I was pleasantly surprised!

We actually got quite a few decent sized carrots. Not the full size the varieties had the potential to grow to, to be sure, but still more than I expected.

As for the beets, I did actually find some of each variety that were big enough to not go on the compost heap. The smaller ones, this late in the season, were pretty leathery and not salvageable. I expected that of all of them, so getting the few we did was bonus. There’s basically enough for one meal, if we combine then all together. 😀

The last thing to harvest was the parsley.

Parsley is something that I could have left alone. They would come up next year, and I do plan to do that eventually. When I do, I will choose a permanent location for the plants. We don’t actually use parsley all that much, so these will be dried.

Since these were not hidden underground, I got exactly what I expected. A whole lot of parsley! I had to do some cramming to get them in that crate!

These all got left outside while I worked on cleaning up the garden beds – which ended up being completely different than planned, so that will get its own post! At the end of the day, because it’s been getting pretty chilly at night, we brought the entire screen into the old kitchen. The beets will be cooked soon, but we have to figure out what we want to do with all the carrots. 🙂

The parsley, on the other hand, will have the greens picked over and trimmed, washed, then laid out on trays to dehydrate in the oven overnight. The new oven has a “warm” setting, which should be the perfect temperature for the job.

Once everything was harvested, the beds needed to be prepped for when the fall garlic finally comes in – hopefully, not too late!!

And… I went a bit nuts on that.

You’ll be able to read about that in my next post…


The Re-Farmer

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