Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Harvest report

Busy few weeks and not much going on in the garden as we have been having freezing temps lately. Things in the hoop house are barely making it through. But that's for another post.

I was excited to be able to include my garden harvests in our Thanksgiving meals.

Potatoes - used in mashed potatoes
Celery - used in stuffing
Herbs - used for flavoring the Turkey and Gravy
Butternut Squash and Carrots - used in roasted veggie medley
Horse radish - used as a condiment for Turkey and Kielbasa

There was also a very exciting harvest - LIME!!!! I had no idea when it was ready to pick, but it has been on the plant for several months at this size. I understand that overripe limes are inedible, so I certainly didn't want it to go to waste by waiting for too long. Well, it turns out we seemed to have picked it just at the right time. It was delicious and juicy!

It really made our adult drinks very special!

I have one more lime on a different plant, and a meyer lemon that is slowly turning yellow. Cannot wait to taste them!

Friday, November 9, 2012


Life has been a bit hectic and we've been doing a lot of take-outs in the last few weeks. Yikes! It's slowly getting back to normal and I managed to can some apple cider and apple sauce this week.

Every year, I tell myself I need an apple peeler, but somehow I've survived without one for years. I don't even have a manual apple coring tool. So I just cut the apples around the cores with the skin on. Put them in a pot with a bit of cider, boil, and put it through a food mill. I do love the color though. Pretty pink from all the skin.

It was a perfect accompaniment to our ham steak dinner.

Here is a picture of the last of the "Spring" carrots.... These were sowed all the way back in March! I have harvested some carrots from the same bed a few months ago, but they were much thinner. We live in the woods and PA is especially famous for its rocky ground. Well, when we decided to dig up a garden earlier this year, it was nothing but frustration! We could not dig 4 inches without hitting a massive rock (not to mention the little rocks) - and this was after running through a heavy duty tiller. This was going to be especially a problem for root veggies. So we decided to remove all the big rocks manually and sift soil to remove little rocks at least 1 foot deep in one of the beds that I was planning for carrots and potatoes. That was HARD work. My husband - after hours of digging, lifting, more digging, and sifting the soil - said "carrots are a dollar a bag at the store. These carrots better be damn straight and best carrots that I'll ever eat!!!"

Well, all that hard work really paid off! He admits, these are the best carrots he ever had. As far as the rotation is concerned, I guess we have no choice but to dig up another bed for next year....

I also harvested all the remaining celery. They did survive the hard freeze with thick blanket of straw, but I decided to take them in. I don't want to risk losing them to these cold nights. I still have several plants in the hoop house though. I will try to keep them as long as they can survive.

They are not very good to eat raw, but wonderful in soups etc. So I chopped them up (leaves and all) and froze in bags. I'll be using them in my stuffing for Thanksgiving!

I love nappa cabbage! They grow so fast. The regular green cabbage was planted at the same times, but they are still very very small.

 This is the first head that I harvested from the fall brassica bed, but it's going to be given away. I have 5 more for ourselves. I can't wait to make Kimchi!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Harvest Monday

We were extremely lucky and experienced no power outage or damage during Sandy.

After the storm, though, the temperatures have been very low - almost freezing. Tonight, it is supposed to go down to 27F!! I covered up my brassicas with plastic, carrots and celery with straw. Will see how they hold up.

Since the storm, we haven't seen the sun... It's been cold, gloomy, windy, and sometimes rainy. That means, there has been no growth or heat in the hoop house. Plus, things are constantly getting attacked by crickets or caterpillars in there. I think I may have to wait till the Spring to start seeing most of these grow big enough to harvest.

I need to plan better for the fall/winter garden next year. I thought I was timing things right when I direct sowed the seeds where the hoop house was going to be put up. But most of them did not germinate or the little seedlings got eaten. My garden is infested with crickets and I know that they are mostly responsible for chewing up everything.... Next year, I need to plan ahead and start seeds inside and transplant them.

A few of my broccoli and cauliflower just started forming, but with this chilling temps, I am not sure if they will have a chance to get much bigger. They'll at least be one yummy bite!

We also have a problem with Moles - they are tunneling through the hoop house and damaging the roots of some veggies. Always, living and learning....

My celery all of a sudden looks healthy with this cold weather. (which is kind of strange, because they are called Ventura - I thought they would like hot CA weather?) I know it's going down to below freezing tonight, but I'm not going to pull them out because they look really happy right now. I started the seeds last winter and transplanted the seedlings all the way back in March! Some got sick, but most of them just did not grow to the size that I was expecting. Now after 7 months later.... some stalks are getting a bit fatter than pencils. They are great in soups though. That is what I am making tonight - kitchen sink soup - with a few celery stalks that I snapped off, a couple of carrots, parsley, stewed tomatoes that I canned, maybe beans, and whatever I can find in the house.

I planted garlic a few weeks ago. I'm amazed by how fast they grow!

I'm linking up to the host of Harvest Monday, where gardeners all over the world share their harvests.