Mary's Veggie Garden

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.


  1. That sounds like a better arrangement for the community garden, so you can have things growing year round. That red cabbage is a real survivor to make it this long! I didn’t sow any radish seed this fall and I miss them now.

    Comment by Dave @ OurHappyAcres — December 21, 2015 @ 6:52 pm | Reply

  2. I guess a “warm” December is a relative thing, around here 41°F would be considered quite cold! How nice it is though that you can continue to harvest some veggies. And the new program for the community garden sounds great, it’s much better to have control over when you can plant and to have the ability to grow perennials.

    Comment by Michelle — December 21, 2015 @ 11:44 pm | Reply

    • During the 18 years we’ve been in this house, we had Decembers when the temperature ranged between -5° and 25° and years (like last year) with 12″ of snow on the ground. This is the warmest December I’ve ever seen in NYS.

      Comment by marysveggiegarden — December 22, 2015 @ 8:20 am | Reply

  3. It’s been warm here in Michigan as well. I’m still harvesting fresh kale weekly. We had one snow fall but it melted the next day and the kale still flourishes. Never seen it this warm, that’s for sure.

    Comment by Tilly Frueh — December 22, 2015 @ 5:11 pm | Reply

  4. Mary – soooooo nice to hear from you and what a cool update about your most recent harvest. I want to wish you and your Family a very Merry Christmas!! Judy

    Comment by Judy Killmer — December 23, 2015 @ 12:42 pm | Reply

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