Mary's Veggie Garden

December 28, 2015

12/28/2015 Harvest Monday

Filed under: Carrots,Celeriac,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 11:29 am

December’s unseasonably warm weather has continued for another week, with new record high temperatures recorded up and down the east coast of the USA. Dec. 24 I biked in shorts. On Christmas day we took a family ride over the Walkway over the Hudson. The rail trail was almost empty but the Walkway was crowded with families enjoying the warm weather.

Returning from the Walkway, I stopped at the garden for a final harvest.  The forecast for the next week is for cold and wet, so I took advantage of the warm, cloudy day to harvest the remainder of  my celeriac.

Celeriac 7.5 pounds

Celeriac 7.5 pounds

Here’s the celeriac, after considerable trimming and scrubbing. There are two varieties, Brilliant and Large Smooth Prague. My friend Norma, at http://gardentowok.com/ started lots of Large Smooth Prague for the gardens at Locust Grove and I ended up with the extras. The leftovers were the smallest of her plants, but they were still bigger than my Brilliant plants.  Last winter was very cold and my plants got a very slow start in the basement. So the larger roots are Large Smooth Prague and the smaller ones are Brilliant.

The warm weather isn’t so good for the vegetables stored in my ‘root cellar’. I dug my carrots in early November. Bolero, a storage variety, is doing OK but the Yaya’s are growing vigorously. The Yaya variety is better for eating fresh from the garden, rather than for storing.

Yaya carrots,12/16/17 after about 7 weeks of storage

Yaya carrots on 12/26, stored about 7 weeks

The condensation on the inside of the bucket is from the carrots. Yayas are quite juicy. There is an upside down plate in the bottom of the bucket to hold the carrots out of the condensation. I trimmed the foliage from all the carrots while moving them to a dry bucket.

Bolero carrots, stored about 6 weeks

Bolero carrots on 12/28 stored, about 6 weeks.

Notice there is much less condensation in the Bolero bucket: the Boleros are not as juicy. There are also a lot fewer Boleros sprouting. Next summer I should plant fewer Yayas and probably few carrots overall.

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December 21, 2015

12/21/2015 Harvest Monday

Filed under: Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 4:16 pm

I haven’t posted much lately, but a December harvest is so unusual that I decided to write it up.

This crazy, warm December weather is continuing. This morning at 10:30 it was 41°F so we decided to bicycle out for groceries. A morning trip avoids the much heavier afternoon traffic. We only bought  a single bag, all stuff I can’t grow: bananas, oranges, grapefruit, pears and a roast. On the trip home I stopped at the garden to restock my vegetable drawer.

In  past years my community garden plot was completely harvested and the fence removed by Thanksgiving. They’ve gone to a new model – the area will no longer be plowed in the spring and each gardener will be responsible for turning their own soil. We can leave the fences in place and crops in the garden.

I’m happy with this arrangement. I keep a very clean garden and I never walk on my planting beds, so the soil is very loose and easy to turn with a garden fork. We will be able to plant earlier because we won’t be waiting for the gardens to dry enough for plowing. Plus we can plant perennials.  I planted strawberries last spring and garlic in the fall. I mulched the parsnips and celeriac deeply and left them in the ground for harvesting as needed.

I was thinking about a tatsoi & radish stir-fry for supper. Here is the last tatsoi, on the right, definitely not enough.

A meager handful of lettuce & tatsoi

A meager handful of lettuce & tatsoi

The outside leaves of the tatsoi were completely eaten away to nubbins and there are aphids on the remaining leaves. One of those lettuce plants was a transplant stunted when it got overgrown by the parsnip next door. The other lettuce was self-sown. I let one plant go to seed and now there are lots of babies. I’m wondering if any of the babies will survive the winter or if I’ll get a very early crop next spring from seeds  that haven’t sprouted yet.

I combined the lettuce with a couple small kale leaves, parsley, and mache foraged in my home garden. It was a small salad, but probably had far more nutrients than a much larger iceberg lettuce salad.

Cabbage Rudy Perfection 1.7 pounds

Cabbage Ruby Perfection 1.7 pounds

This is the last, and the smallest, of my four Ruby Perfection cabbages. I started the seeds April 29, under lights, and transplanted the babies into the garden June 12. The texture is still crispy even though the cabbage suffered through several hard freezes in the garden.

Long Green Meat radishes and round Watermelon radishes

Long Green Meat radishes and round Watermelon radishes, 2.75 pounds

The winter radishes were an experiment: I had no idea how much cold they can tolerate. So far we’ve had several nights when the temperature got down to 24°F. The hard first freeze was in mid-October, before I’d mulched the radishes. The Green Meat radishes are long and they have as much root above ground as below. The tops of most of the Green Meat roots were rotting. I trimmed them  back to healthy white flesh.

The round watermelon radishes are mostly below ground and did not suffer from the freezes. They look good for root-cellaring.

Parsnip Hollow Crown 1.4 pounds

Parsnip Hollow Crown 1.4 pounds

It will take a month to eat that parsnip, so the crop should last until spring.

BTW its been warm enough that a few weeds are sprouting so I got a little exercise weeding.

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