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Harvest Transition

November 16, 2011

This time of year in the garden can be an interesting proposition.  Sometimes we have had killing frosts by this time and tender greens are shot, other times we shuffle through fall into winter just getting a taste of the cold that is to come.  We’ve been having regular frosts, but the greens look surprisingly good.

We have hardy greens going strong, and lots put up in the freezer, but any greens I can salvage while I am harvesting roots is icing on the cake.  Fresh is best, if I can get it.

Clockwise:  Golden Eckendorf mangel, Detroit Dark Red, and Lutz.

Since our weather has been mild instead of wild, I have been harvesting several times a week.  Jane isn’t eating too many roots yet because our grass is still in pretty good shape, so mostly the roots have been for us.   Jane gets blems and odds and ends, and the good specimens go to the kitchen.

Superschmelz kohrabi.

Trimming and scavenging for greens.

Mangel, beet, kohlrabi and rutabaga greens in good shape go to the kitchen.   Discarded greens go to the chickens except parsnip and carrot tops which go back to the garden for carbon to replace a little of what we took out in vegetables.

Drying in the sun before bucketing up…it may be the last sunny day for a while.  Snow is predicted for the end of the week!

14 Comments leave one →
  1. November 16, 2011 9:16 pm

    Why put the carrot and parsnip greens directly back onto the garden? Doesn’t giving them to the chickens and then putting the compost on the garden replace the carbon?

    I can’t imagine what it would be like to have to manage a garden around snow. Our frosts are enough to be annoying, having my garden unusable for several months of the year would be an interesting challenge!

    • November 16, 2011 11:04 pm

      Mel, the parsnip greens can cause skin blisters, and the chickens don’t particularly care for the carrot tops. When the plants freeze, the tops go back to the garden anyway, we just haven’t got a hard enough freeze for that yet.

      Actually, the snow is a good insulator, and our ground doesn’t really freeze very deep here, I am able to leave most of the roots in situ all winter.

      • November 30, 2011 12:31 am

        Just found out about the parsnip greens the hard way – I’ve just pulled up some and have a red rash up my arm where the leaves touched. Forgot all about what you said until it was too late! Doh!

        But hey, I’m happy just to have parsnip to eat. These are self sown, in claypan, and I let them go wild to break up the clay. It’s very rare that they will pull out – three days of heavy rain has softened the clay enough that they came out!

        They’re not big, and some are forked and twisted, but there are enough for a meal for me (I’m the only one here who likes them) and the rest will stay in to keep digging the clay.

        • November 30, 2011 7:12 am

          Mel, ooh, not fun. I have to say your clay has nothing to do with the ease of getting parsnips out of the ground! I use a spading fork. They’re a hard sell here too except Jane or the dogs, and I never liked them as kid because my mom had to drench them in brown sugar (yuck.) I’m finding them a welcome change from other roots though.

  2. November 16, 2011 9:53 pm

    have you got any tips for cooking kohlrabi? I had never heard of it and bought it from the market this year, but didn’t really know how to cook it. It just tasted like over cooked broccoli! Also do you grow root crops specifically to feed your house cow? This winter just gone our grass died off and I was worried about our cow’s vitamin intake, I didn’t think of growing root crops.

  3. November 17, 2011 5:23 am

    What would you say are some easy things to grow for chickens? We give ours all of our garden scraps to pick through but we have extra room and could plant things just for them in the future. Any suggestions? (We do free range but they do not have access to our gardens).

    • November 17, 2011 12:21 pm

      Krisann, Gosh, I think kale is about the easiest, hardiest and most prolific to use for chicken feed. I gets lots of mileage out of my broccoli, if side shoots bolt, I leave them for the bees, and then when the seeds set I pull the whole plant for the hens. They love any brassicas and they grow well here.

  4. Sheila permalink
    November 17, 2011 8:33 am

    How does kohlrabi do in the winter? We live a ways down the river…almost to the ocean, but not quite. We don’t get too much below freezing (as far as I am aware). So I am wondering how long will the kohlrabi last in the ground? The seed packet said to plant until the first frost so I had assumed it would do okay through the winter. But, maybe I didn’t read the packet correctly, highly possible. The last seeds I planted were in September, and those are not near ready. This year was my first trying kohlrabi. We roasted them with the Brussels sprouts and then shredded it in coleslaw with celeriac, which my husband thought was the best coleslaw he ever had. BTW – thank you for your blog, I learn so many things from you.

    • November 17, 2011 12:24 pm

      Sheila, it does pretty well actually without much attention, however it does need to size up before the fall, at least here anyway. It’s a good candidate for root cellaring, or cool storage like a porch or garage too. I love it! Your plants may surprise you and make it through winter and bulb in the spring. The fun thing about gardening is you can experiment, and if your kohlrabi doesn’t bulb you can eat the greens 🙂

  5. michelle permalink
    November 17, 2011 9:53 am

    what do you mean by bucketing up? Do you leave root veg in water in the buckets? Or do you just store in buckets dry?
    For the person wondering about kohlrabi, we also like it raw, but grilled or sauteed is good too.

    • November 17, 2011 12:27 pm

      Michelle, I make a bucket for the barn (sometimes two) and one for the house. No water, and as dry as I can get the veggies. I store the house bucket on the porch, easy access and if it is going to freeze I can grab the bucket and bring it in or cover it. Cheap refrigeration!

  6. November 17, 2011 10:52 am

    What a Harvest – lots of goodness to get you through the Winter months:)

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