It was a chilly night last night, with temperatures dipping below freezing. As I write this, we’re at 3C/37F – just under our predicted high of the day.
It was actually very pleasant out there!
With a few frosts already past, I decided it was time to harvest the carrots.
This is all of them.
Plus the Purple Prince turnips – the only turnip variety of the three we planted this spring, that survived. Barely. Their greens were constantly munched on by insects. I’m not sure why I even bothered to harvest them. They’re so small, a lot of them got left behind in the bed, then still more went into compost when I trimmed their greens. Not much of a harvest there.
I’m surprised by the Uzbek Golden carrots, which were from a free seed packet. A lot of them were much larger than I expected.
The Black Nebula carrots where more difficult to harvest. Even with several years of amendments, the soil still gets pretty compacted, and these guys get long. It took quite a bit to dig them out!
Well, that didn’t take long… 😅
We are expected to dip to -4C/25F tonight, so these needed to be set up indoors to cure – and the only place we had available in the sun room was covered with tomatoes, still.
Thankfully, they are all laid out on screens.
I was able to stack the screens with the tomatoes and gourds, then lay out the trimmed carrots. After a day or two, we’ll brush the dirt off and go over them. Several of the biggest Uzbek Golden carrots have split, but the Black Nebula look like they were a slug favorite. Quite a few had damage at their tops. The size variety among them is pretty surprising. Quite a few of them are really big around! From the photos, I expected long and narrow.
Once we’ve assessed their condition, we’ll decide how best to store or preserve them. I suspect blanching and freezing will be the best option for most of the Black Nebula carrots, while the Uzbeck golden will be kept in the kitchen for fresh eating first.
I haven’t actually tasted any of these yet! We did harvest a few Uzbeck golden for meals over the summer, but almost no Black Nebula, because even the little ones were hard to pull. I hope they taste as good!
We were out of potatoes and I wanted some for supper, so I decided to see what I could get out of the garden.
I chose to dig under plants that I remember had come up the earliest, and were the farthest from the most flooding.
First, the good: the soil under the mulch and cardboard is SO much softer, instead of the usual rock hard. It was cool in the 27C/81F heat, and moist. There were lots of worms, though there were also lots of crab grass rhizomes. A single season under an “instant garden” made a HUGE difference in the soil.
Now, the not so good:
There were almost no potatoes. I dug up three of each type of potato, and that’s all there was.
I didn’t pull out the plants completely, leaving the remains of the seed potato and the soil around the base, digging them down a bit deeper than they started, returned the mulch and watered them well. Who knows. They might survive and still produce more potatoes. Unlikely, but it’s worth a try.
With the condition of the plants, I didn’t really expect much, but I still thought I’d find more than one or two potatoes per plant!
I then thinned out some of the Uzbek golden carrots, checked out the Black Nebula (there’s one in there, hidden by the yellow carrots), and they’re still really skinny but getting bigger. I also picked some of the smaller onions. Over the next while, if we want fresh onions, we’ll dig up the little ones, leaving the bigger ones to get even bigger for winter storage.
For supper, I used these, plus some of the beans I picked this morning, and the turnips I’d picked before, along with some thinly sliced pork to make a sort of Hodge Podge.
I love being able to cook with food almost entirely out of the garden.
At the time this scheduled post is published, I should be on the road, headed to court. Because I have to leave so early, I won’t be able to do my usual stuff in the garden until later, but I wanted to have something positive to start the day with!
So here is an evening harvest to share in the morning. 😊
I was checking on the ground cherries while doing my evening rounds when I noticed one that had ripened since I checked them this morning.
I ate it.
Then I started weeding and found several others that had ripened enough to fall to the ground.
I brought those in for the family to taste test. 😁 I know they’ve had them before, since we grew them in a container in the city, but when the first of my daughters tried one, she sounded really surprised when she commented on how good it was. Looks like I’ll be fighting over them, as they ripen! 😂
There were a couple of Magda squash I could have grabbed, but I left the smaller one to get a bit bigger.
I picked the red onions because they were starting to fall over. Though they look the same, the bigger one is a Red of Florence onion, while the other, smaller one, is a Tropeana Lunga.
The yellow onion is from sets. Somehow, a few Black Nebula carrot seeds ended up around the onion, so I pulled all of them. The carrots were just wisps, so I tried pulling the biggest one I could reach, and… well… that’s what you see in the picture. Really long, really skinny.
The pale yellow carrot is an Uzbek Golden carrot that we got as a freebie. The two orange ones are napoli carrots using seeds left over from last year. I tried pulling a Kyoto Red, too, but it turned out to be really tiny. There are so few of them, I didn’t want to try another.
The shallot is one of the “spare” sets we planted in the retaining wall blocks of the old kitchen garden. Sadly, we lost most of the shallots in the bed by the chain link fence. Though the bed was raised a few inches when we added the bricks around it, it wasn’t enough at one end. There was just too much flooding this spring, and they rotted out. The ones planted in the retaining wall blocks aren’t doing much better, but that probably has more to do with cats rolling on them. The one I picked had lost most of its greens, so I decided to pick it before it started going soft. The other that was planted with it had lost all its greens and had gone mushy.
A nice little variety of things to try! Still lots of growing to do, though. 🥕🧅
We got some gardening done! There was a break in the rain and we quickly headed out.
My daughter had the bigger job to get the peas in. We’ll be using the pea trellis we used for the purple peas last year, as we still need to do some work on the other trellis frames. The ground was prepped in the fall, but she had to work through it to pull weeds that were trying to reclaim the space, first.
Now it just needs to have some of the wood shavings, or maybe the stove pellets, added to protect the soil surface from crusting. It’s a light enough mulch that the seedlings won’t have trouble pushing through.
The edible pod pea packet turned out to have very few peas in it. Those are between the two labels on the front left side of the trellis. The rest has pod peas in sown. There are still some seeds left of those, which will probably be planted in with the corn.
This should be the last year this trellis, and the nearby beds, will likely be used for gardening. If all goes to plan, next spring, we’ll be planting food trees here. 🙂
While she worked on that, I seeded the bed that was already prepped and mulched with the stove pellet sawdust.
My priority was to get more carrots planted, as they should have been started a while ago. I marked out short rows (making things more like square food gardening), as well as a perimeter line. I started with the Black Nebula carrots. The packet had a nice amount of seeds, and it filled about half the bed, which is about 14-15 ft long. Next, I planted the Uzbek Golden Carrots, which came as a freebie from Baker Creek. There were very few seeds in the freebie packet, and I was only able to plant 4 short rows. For the rest, I planted the Gold Ball turnip, which we got as a freebie from Heritage Harvest seeds, and the Purple Prince turnip at the far end of the bed. I still have some Purple Prince seeds left, but the others in the bed got used up.
We planted the last of our onions started from seed already, so for this bed I used the onion sets I picked up at the grocery store as back ups. I got two boxes of yellow onions – no variety name is on the box – and it took almost all of them to fill the perimeter at 3-4 inches apart. The bed got hosed down to settle the soil over the seeds and onion sets, then support posts were hammered into the ground to hold the netting, after cord is strung through the holes in the posts, and crisscrossed over the middle. This bed will not be getting anything else added to it, so it can be covered sooner rather than later. The other beds have room for transplants in their middles, so they will get their net covering once that is done.
In planting the onions, I naturally was able to grab the biggest sets, since they tended to be on top, so when the bed was completely surrounded by onion, I had a pile of tiny onion sets left behind.
Well, we can’t let those go to waste!
They went into the retaining wall blocks. Two already have shallots in them. After pulling weeds and roots from the empty blocks (the others that look empty had mint transplanted into them in the fall) and adding the wood shavings, I had 6 blocks ready. I was able to fill 5 of them; 4 with 4 onions each, and one with only 3. That one block at the side is still empty. There is a matching block at the other end that doesn’t have anything planted in it, but it looks like it has chives coming through!
We have one box of red union sets left. Depending on where they end up being planted, if we have any left over, I’ll be finding space of them here, too.
The bunching onions planted in the bed along the retaining wall are still looking wimpy after transplanting. Hopefully, all these onions will make things too stinky for the grogs to want to go after the lettuce and beets. A groundhog could easily tear through the net, if it really wanted to. It’s going to be the big garden area that will be the most difficult to protect, however.
~~~pause for real world interruption~~~
My older daughter and I just finished bringing the transplants in. We have so many strong, healthy tomatoes! It’s going to be a challenge to plant them all, since they’ll mostly be going into new beds. Maybe that’s where those grow bags and fabric raised beds will be the most useful!
We’ve got our work cut out for us, but I don’t know how much I’ll be able to do tomorrow, as I’ll be heading to my mother’s to help her run errands. She is suddenly taking her back no longer hurts – I guess it took that long for the meds to have their effect, but she still says that when she takes them, they do nothing. She feels up to going out for her errands, though. She has her telephone doctor’s appointment, so I will probably go over there early enough to be there for her appointment, in case she needs things explained to her.
The question for me will be, can her car make it through that one muddy spot on the road? I might have to take the van, even if my mother will need a stool to get in and out!