Mary's Veggie Garden

November 18, 2013

11/18/2013: Leaves, Leaves, and more Leaves! and Some Food

Filed under: Beets,Carrots,Leeks,Radishes,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 10:27 am
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Monday 11/4 I awoke to see a steady fall of yellow leaves. The temperature was several degrees below freezing and overnight our eight mature Norway maples all decided to release their leaves. This was the view from my front door – there are even several falling leaves silhouetted against the street.

A golden day - Norway maple leaf fall

A golden day – Norway maple leaf fall.

Saving these leaves is the most important thing I do each autumn to insure the success of the next year’s garden. I use the shredded leaves as mulch in all my gardens. Over the last several years I’ve experimented with applying the leaves closer and closer to planting time and each year I’m doing less and less weeding. The leaves also preserve soil moisture, prevent the clay soil from baking hard, and prevent splash-back, keeping veggies cleaner.

So my husband and I set to work, me with a rake to clear edges and he with the massive gas-powered blower that came with our house.  Next, he feeds the shredder while I bag leaves or haul them to the ex-dog-pen (it also came with the house). We work together for a couple of hours with nary a word, a perfectly synchronized team. Leaf clearing was unusually easy this year. We’ve have only 2″ of rain since Oct. 1 so the leaves are crackling dry.

Saturday 11/16, after clearing the roof gutters, we declared “Leaf Season is DONE”. The few remaining leaves will be allowed to lay where they fall. Here is the result of our labors.

Twenty nine full leaf bags for  which I'll use at the community gardens.

Twenty nine full leaf bags which I’ll use at the community gardens. (Half the bags are invisible behind those in front.)

The dog pen containing the leave I use in my gardens at home.

The dog pen containing the leave I use in my gardens at home.

Don’t have a shredder? Use whole leaves. They work great on paths and under large plants like tomatoes, squash, corn, peppers, and even under beans.

When not clearing leaves, I harvested some crops. I had mulched the watermelon radish roots because freezing changes the texture of vegetables. Then the freeze killed the foliage so I decided to harvest and store them in my root cellar. We’ve been eating slices of watermelon radish on our romaine & spinach salads. It’s flavor is mildly spicy radish with a surprising sweetness. Surprising because I’m used to salad radishes which are not sweet.

Watermelon radishes.

Watermelon radishes.

Also harvested the only two summer planted beets to size up.

Red Ace and Cylindra beets

Red Ace and Cylindra beets

Yesterday I harvested leeks for Leek & Celeriac soup. The leeks are growing in my home garden so I’ll mulch them well and harvest as needed all winter. I planted the leeks in the sunniest part of the garden (which is still somewhat shady) so they are bigger than past harvests.

Tadorna leeks

Tadorna leeks

And last, but certainly not least, I spent six days harvesting carrots. I’ll post about the carrots next week. But here is a teaser:

Yaya carrots: 19 pounds from  my 6/25 planting.

Yaya carrots: 19 pounds from my 6/25 planting.

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3 Comments »

  1. Oh, great looking carrots! I envy your quantity and sizes. Beautiful leeks too. I grow Tadorna as well, they are a very nice variety.

    Comment by Patsy — November 18, 2013 @ 12:29 pm | Reply

  2. Leaves are one of my most important harvests in the fall. I store mine too.

    Comment by Daphne — November 19, 2013 @ 5:40 pm | Reply


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