Wow, today and yesterday have been the worst harvesting ever. I was going to pull in potatoes, but that’s way too difficult in this stuff. It’s cold, wet, and miserable out there…stay inside and drink some tea or something (which sounds pretty good). All told, I do like bringing in fall crops…I just naturally feel like bringing in the end of the season harvest. Kind of like gophers or bears getting ready for winter, I think people get a natural instinct this time of year to pull in what they can.
Every year I do an end of season re-cap: th winners and losers of the produce season. I figure today is a good day to do that as I reflect on how the season went as I’m out in the machine shed cleaning up indian corn and winter squash.
In the winner category are all the cool season crops, which just loved this cool summer with a fair amount of rain. This includes kohlrabi, cabbage, broccoli, fall peas, leeks, spring greens like lettuce and salad mix and I’d have to throw in onions and beets as well. The grand champion of the year in my mind is celery…now I know this may seem like an odd one to you, but this is the third year trying to grow the stuff and typically it turned into a stalk 6 inches tall with the consistency of dental floss…so I was really excited about how it turned out this year! These crops grew well mainly because of the cool season, but there are some which did well just because I “got my act together”, which is evident in the long corn season this year–I think we got it in the box for 6 weeks, which is the most weeks in a season. This is because I got three plantings done in the spring, each 2 weeks apart, which allowed them to be spaced out. Another thing we did was cultivate onions well with the help of our new tine weeder, so we got good-sized onions because of little weed pressure.
In the loser category we have a list longer than I care to mention, some due to the weird season, but some due to me doing stupid things out in the field. The causualties of bad weather include some hot season crops. First and foremost is the eggplant…it didn’t even get into the box! It needed heat in a big way, but it also was under serious attack by the potato bugs this year…by far, the worst season ever with these guys. Our organic pyrethrin spray didn’t seem to do anything to these bugs…I don’t know if it’s a tolerance issue or I simply had my timing off. Anyway, they also devastated bad crop number 2: potatoes. I even put in these fingerlings for this season, but they didn’t get into the box either because they ended up being the size of small peanuts since the plants died back by the end of july, which is terrible. Still, the crop which just killed me this year was garlic. It was a comedy of errors on my part which destroyed this crop. I didn’t get it planted in time last fall, so I had to treat as a spring transplant; then I pretty much killed it by running it over with our tine weeder cultivator when I never should have…I’m still kicking myself for it. Others I wasn’t crazy about: strawberries, raspberries, spring peas, greens (swiss chard anyone?), edamame, and beans (although I loved the new variety we grew, Grenoble).
All told, it kind of evens out, although this isn’t any consolation to those who love eggplant or garlic and just didn’t get enough.
In the box:
Celeriac: some call celery root. You use whenever a recipe calls for celery…it keeps forever, just leave in crisper in fridge.
Rutebega: another standard root crop, some love it, others hate it. Try mixing in with potatoes and mash, about half and half proportions.
Cippolini onions: I had these for breakfast yesterday, sauteed with peppers and some tomato and put on eggs with some toast.
A sweet onion
Butternut squash: again, keep in a dry, sunny spot. The taste of winter squash actually improves with age…it’ll taste better in a couple weeks.
Buttercup squash: the dark green ugly one with a button on the bottom.
A couple pie pumpkins: can use for decoration or bake for use in pumpkin recipes like pie or anywhere you’d use that canned pumpkin stuff.
A small canteloupe: end of the line, I just throught I’d put in the last of them.
Sprig of Rosemary
A mix of peppers
A few heirlooms