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

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.

July 15, 2012

Harvest Monday July 16, 2012: A Garden Rainbow

Filed under: Beets,Gardening,Greens,Onions,Potatoes,Tomatoes,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 9:22 pm

This weeks harvest was all about colors: a glorious rainbow of bright colors. Plus some firsts!

First harvest of Sungold Cherry Tomatoes

First Tomato: Sungold 7/12
These are from my 3 plants in my sunny plot at Vassar Farm. The same variety in my shady home garden has not even started to color up. Sungold is my favorite cherry. I’ve never tried a red whose flavor comes close. I’ve grown Sungold & Sun Sugar side by side and Sungold wins. Sungold’s flavor is more balanced: it has an acid under-tone that Sun Sugar lacks.

I continued harvesting potatoes this week, digging anything whose tops were dead. I was fortunate that a couple of friends offered me potatoes for planting. I love to try new varieties, but with my limited space I have only 1 -3 plants of these varieties. It’s enough to determine timing, yield and flavor.

These blue potatoes are an unknown variety from my friend Norma who got the original stock at a health food store. I grew them last year but accidentally ate the potatoes I intended to save for seed. When I got this year’s seed potatoes from Norma they already had 8-10″ sprouts which I buried up to the tips during planting. My three plants yielded 2.1 pounds. The potatoes are much bigger than those I dug last year.

2.1 lbs. Blue Potatoes – variety unknown

My friend Linda offered me samples from her order from Moose Tubers. I planted one hill each of Adirondack Red  and Augusta. While digging I also uncovered a couple of Blue Gold potatoes – but most of those are still underground.

L-R: Blue Gold .5 lbs., Adirondack Red .8 lbs., and Augusta 1.1 lbs Potatoes

This chard mix contains 2 varieties: Five Color Silverbeet and Orange Fantasia. I don’t know which of the orange varieties is the Orange Fantasia but one bunch has short, wide stems and the other long, narrow stems.

Chard: Five Color Silverbeet and Orange Fantasia, plus some Red Ace beets and a pepper

Cabernet Onions are an early variety and the tops were bent over. Normally I’d leave them a while but they were in the way of working with the potatoes, so out they came.

Cabernet Onions

It didn’t seem like I had much to harvest  until I added it all up.

Peas: 1 lb. Oregon Sugar Pod II; 1.3 lb. Sugar Snaps. Both varieties have been removed from the garden.
Zephyr summer squash: 1.9 lbs.
Carrots: 2 oz. Yaya and 1 lb. Bolero thinnings.
Onions: not weighed until dried and bagged.
Potatoes: 4.7 lbs Yukon Gold, plus the potatoes in the pictures.
Broccoli: a few side shoots
Scallions: .5 lbs
Beets: Red Ace 1.2 lbs
Swiss Chard: 2 lbs.

The rack holding the potatoes is an old dish drainer turned upside down. I  wash the root vegetables (carrots, beets & potatoes but not onions) before bring them home from my plot at Vassar Farm. Unfortunately, there are a lot of diseases in the soil at VF, and I don’t want to bring those home. The rack lets the veggies dry without sitting on the grass.

Did you notice how dead the grass is? Finally, we got some rain Sunday evening – a bit over an inch.

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