Monday, November 8, 2010

The last of the red hot harvest

The chard was cut and trimmed, washed and drained.

Blanched, cooled and drained again.

Then it was packed into freezer bags and tucked into the already-bursting-at-the-seams freezer.  All that lovely chard only made about 2 cups' worth at the end.  Better than nothing, I suppose.

I also harvested the carrots.  I planted Chantenay carrots, which are supposed to be short, and orange.  But as you can see, they are neither short nor orange.  They are long and yellow.  I bought the seed from the local nursery, in a bulk bag.  So now I am suspicious of all their bulk seeds.  But the carrots are tasty, so it is not a big problem.  

Some of the  carrots snapped in half in my efforts to tug them out of the cold clay soil.  After each audible 'snap' I would curse a blue streak, and resolve to be more careful.  I couldn't just yank them out -- I had to dig deep with my trowel, excavating each root near to the bottom, before pulling them from the ground. 

I had given half a thought to leaving them in the ground longer, piling on tons of mulch, and harvesting on an 'as needed' basis.  But I chickened out, and pulled them all.  Besides, there aren't that many of them.  We will probably go through all of these by Christmas.

I still have rutabagas in the ground.   I haven't bothered with them in awhile, because the few I pulled out and cooked this summer tasted bitter.  I'm not sure why.  They weren't overly large, or woody.  Any ideas?  But the goats really like them, sliced thin.  I think I will pretend that I grew them as a forage crop all along, and congratulate myself on a job well done.  There, that feels better!

With my blight-ridden potatoes, unidentified carrots and bitter rutabagas, my root crop harvest hasn't been the best this year.  The beets did well, though.  But what was lost to roots was won by leaves -- lovely lettuce, chard, broccoli, cabbage and sprouts.  And great garlic, peppers, squash and tomatoes.  You win some, you lose some.  Gardening goes on ...


Mama Pea said...

You're a better woman than I am! I don't even fool with freezing chard as you get so little by the time you're done with the process. We just enjoy it out of the garden as long as it lasts. A couple of years ago I did dehydrate a whole bunch of the stuff to feed to the poultry over winter. Looking back, I don't classify that as one of the brightest things I've done.

Um, those carrots are a little strange. I've never seen such yellow-colored ones. They do taste like carrots?

Carol Ford said...

If you've got a potato fork, next time you go to harvest carrots, try using the fork to loosen the carrot bed soil. I place the tines a few inches away from the carrot tops, slide it straight down and then pull the handle gently back towards me. Mine slide right out, with minimal breakage. Using Nantes varieties seems to help, too. I think the blunt ends pull out more easily, but no real physics to back that up, just observation. Oh and good news on the root crop front!! I got a response from that company that offers turnip rooted chervil and they DO have the seed!! You want in? I can order up to 10 packets and will look around to see if anybody wants in so we can split the shipping cost. Facebook me if want some! Adventures in root crops!!

Erin said...

Yellow or not, those are some nicely shaped carrots! Mine are always terrible, I didn't even plant them this fall.

Mr. H. said...

Those are certainly no Chantenay carrots but they sure are a fine looking bunch nevertheless. One of my favorite carrots that we grew this year was a yellow variety called "Solar Yellow" and it looked very similar to yours. I am excited to grow more of them next year as they tasted suprisingly good.

Lucky Lizard Ranch said...

Beautiful, colorful harvest!

Karen said...

Don't get discouraged, sweet pea!! Oh, wait...your sweet peas didn't do so well either, did they?!!! Love ya, Sis!! Looking forward to seeing you at Thanksgiving!

Jo said...

Hey Mama Pea -- I am definitely not a better woman than you -- just less smart! It probably wasn't worth all that work for only two cups of chard. Oh well. Yes, the yellow carrots do taste like carrots! And we've almost eaten through the lot already! Must plant more next year.

Howdy Carol -- Thanks for the tip. Sounds like a much smarter way than we were doing it. Is a potato fork the same as a pitchfork? That's what we use to dig up our potatoes, but we usually spear through 1/4 of them in the process... Yes, I do want the chervil seeds! I'll send you an email soon.

Hi Erin! A lot of the carrots forked under the soil. My ground is pretty rocky, and very clayey. But you do what you can with what you have!

Hey Mr. H -- Thanks for the tip. I must go look up Solar Yellow carrots now! And make sure not to get them in bulk from a nursery...

Thanks Liz!

Hi Karen! My peas did just fine, thank you very much! It was the bean harvest that stunk. As I've said before, Oh Well. See you at Thanksgiving! Tell Phill I love his brown butter peas! And Owen is soooo looking forward to the sweet potato casserole. Yum!