Fall garden update: carrot and beet surprise!

One last garden update to post, interrupted by having to make a run to the post office to pick up a package before they closed! 😀

With the kittens mashing down the netting on two of the beds in the old kitchen garden, I finally gave in and removed the mesh completely.

With the beets along the retaining wall, there isn’t much we can do about them anymore. If the deer eat them, it’ll be no more of a loss than it already is. I’ll be cleaning that bed up for the winter soon, and if there are any beets to harvest in there, that’s just bonus. The L shaped beet bed, however, will remain covered. The kittens haven’t been going after that one, and they are doing well enough that we don’t want the deer to eat them.

After removing the hoops and netting from the carrot bed, I found my first surprise. I did not plant this bed. My older daughter did. Two types of carrots, with kohlrabi down the middle.

Well, nothing came of the kohlrabi – I finally decided the big leafy plants that did show up were a weed of some kind, as I found them growing in other areas where kohlrabi has never been planted.

What I did notice is that there are three carrot labels, not two. Which I sort of noticed before, when I weeded the bed and added the hoops, but for some reason, never stopped to actually read the label. Along with the Deep Purple and Lounge Rouge Sang, there are Kyoto Red! If you look at the photo, towards the far end of the bed, you can see carrots that have gone to seed. Those are the Kyoto Red. Like the ones planted in the main garden bed, after the groundhogs ate the greens, they got tricked into acting as if they were in their second year and started to develop seed heads. The other two varieties didn’t.

This morning, I decided to pick some, and ended up up quite a few. The ones on the far left are the Kyoto Reds. There were very few that haven’t gone to seed, so I only got a couple of them. The purple ones are obvious the Deep Purple variety, but when I’d picked from that bed before, they were not this dark purple, and I thought they were the Lounge Sang Rouge!! I hadn’t picked any from the other row, as they did not need any thinning.

Which means we got to try two new varieties of carrots today! My daughter decided to use up the summer squash we had in the fridge and make a soup, and she included a few carrots as well. After they were sliced up, we tried each of them. The Kyoto Red, unfortunately, was bitter. They may not have been going to seed, but tasted like they were ready to. The other two tasted fairly similar. We’ve had the Deep Purple before, and they tasted much the same as I remember from last year. The Lounge Sang Rouge seemed to be a bit sweeter.

When cut, the Kyoto Red was that deep reddish-orange colour, all the way through. The Deep Purple carrots were purple with a pale orange, almost yellow, ring inside. The Lounge Sang Rouge was a solid pale orange.

After picking the carrots, I used the rain barrel to water the old kitchen garden, then went on to water the loan beet bed that we made in the spring, next to where the fall garlic beds. This bed was planted with Merlin beets, only. That bed is covered with netting, too, tacked down on the long sides with tent pegs, and the excess netting on the ends rapped around boards to weigh them down. After watering it, I decided to lift the boards at the ends to see how the beets looked.

I ended up picking a couple from each end!

I should have held these differently; there was one quite large beet, but it’s underneath. It’s about the size of the other three, all together!

I’m rather pleased with these – and I know there are larger beets in the middle, from when I last tended it. I’d found a groundhog had managed to squeeze it’s way under the netting, when it was only weighted down with rocks and bricks.

We don’t plan to harvest the beets for a while; possibly not until after first frost. When we do, however, we should have enough to make it worth doing some canning!

Aside from the deer and the groundhogs wanting to eat them, beets have been among our most successful vegetables. We planted a LOT of beets this year, which we may not do next year, but I’m sure we will plant them again. We’ll just have to decide on what varieties we want, and if we want to try some new ones.

And that’s it for our fall garden update! The other parts of the garden were pretty much unchanged, so there’s nothing to really say about them. 🙂

I am so incredibly grateful that our growing season has been extended this year, and am glad our drought and critter ravaged garden has had a chance to recover and continue to produce as much as it has!

The Re-Farmer

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