Sunday, November 29, 2009

This Week's Harvest - From Fall to Winter

carrot harvest 3
Carrot (Nantes) harvest.

As I collected the last of November's harvest this past weekend, I began to realize that the next few weeks will serve as a kind of transitional period - my fall garden is slowly developing into a winter garden. Saturday was a particularly windy day. The northeasterly wind brought with it a rather ominous chill unlike what we've encountered so far this fall. For sure, I will have to add another layer of protection inside my mini-hoop houses sometime soon, maybe even this week.

rouge dhiver lettuce
Some Rouge D'Hiver lettuce grown in a pot. The slug responsible for the slight damage was found and quickly dispatched.

As I did a bit of work in the garden today, I wondered, when would be an appropriate time to start referring to your garden as a winter one? The obvious choice would be around the time of the winter solstice (December 21-22). However, this seems rather late to me (maybe because our winters tend to start early here in New England). I think the first of December would make much more sense since I hope to be well into spring garden planning/planting mode by March.

Clockwise from top: young pea shoots and pods, flowering Chinese kale, Easter-Egg radishes, baby Red Detroit beets.

It's not uncommon to feel as you through you're "scavenging" or "salvaging" rather than "harvesting" this time of year, which is partly what I did this weekend. In addition to the carrots and lettuce that I harvested, I pulled some baby-sized beets that I had growing in one of my carrot beds. Since I hadn't bothered to thin them so they never developed proper bulbs. Nonetheless, I'm sure they will be tasty. I also picked the remaining young pods and shoots (both were a bit frost damaged) before pulling up my pea plants. I had a surprisingly decent radish harvest as well this weekend. They were completely unblemished and the best tasting so far this fall - with only a hint of spiciness and none of the bitterness, which is just how I like them. I'm happy I decided to giving this late sowing a try. Finally, I picked some flowering Chinese kale that I had growing under one of my quick hoops.

Chinese Flowering Kale
As I was harvesting my Chinese kale, I realized that I had not discussed them at all up until this point. At first glance, they look almost identical to the Chinese broccoli that I had growing earlier this fall. However, the leaves on this veggie are a bit larger, meatier, and more round. I added these to a Chicken soup I made on Saturday and it tasted pretty good.

If you'd like to see what others are harvesting or would like to show off yours, visit Harvest Mondays at Daphne's Dandelions.


  1. That was some horrendous wind we got...did the hoop houses withstand it okay? I agree...winter is here I think!! But your veggies look great...

  2. We really are in the transition to winter right now. Usually it happens earlier, but we have had such a beautiful fall. I'm sure we will start getting some good freezes this week. I'll have to work on getting the garden picked and cleaned up.

  3. This past weekend was the turning point for us here in Maine. I feel now we are in winter now. Today is supposed to be quite mild, but the temperatures are definitely going to be colder, more winter like over the course of the week. We were quite lucky to have the mild temperatures that we enjoyed.

    Your harvest looks wonderful as usual. I really miss fresh greens from the garden. I had to purchase some this past week and they didn’t taste very good. I should say, they LACKED taste. I ended up throwing most into the compost bin.

  4. NENR - Our wind was horrendous as well but I'm happy to say that the mini hoophouses withstood them just fine. I had hem completely closed of course.

    Daphne - I agree. It'll be interesting to see what happens in the next few weeks.

    GrafixMuse - luckily, I still haven't had to purchase lettuce...the last time I did was probably sometime in August. I feel pretty lucky to have greens still growing but it's a bit disconcerting to know that at any minute, it can all be taken away from you by mother nature.

  5. I agree with the rest of the New Englanders that we're transitioning finally into winter. The wind we got was incredible, I'm going to have to go back and look at your hoop houses because the wind blew everything around my yard last week. You are are really having great harvests.

  6. What a lovely harvest! I've eaten (but not grown) Chinese broccoli, but I'm not sure I've tried Chinese kale before. I need to try growing more asian vegetables.

    Thanks for taking the time on Thursday to drop by and leave a Thanksgiving greeting :) I hope you and Marc and Jonathan had a wonderful holiday!

  7. It is a luscious-looking harvest you have there. I have not tried Chinese kale either, but it looks like I need to give it a try. I am stir-frying some pac choi tonight for dinner. There are so many wonderful Asian greens out there.

    Slugs are the worst on lettuce and other greens! I spread Sluggo (iron phosphate) on my beds and it helps keep them in check.

  8. Those carrots look mighty good. Carrots were a bust for me this season for some reason, I think mainly just poor variety selection on my part. If you are looking for some interesting carrots for your youngster you should pick up some Dragon carrots from the SSE. I grew them last year and they grow one strikingly purple carrot that tastes great, good producer too. I will be trying them again next season.

  9. Thanks for the suggestion, Dan. Coincidentallu, I have Dragon carrots circled in the catalog.

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