The garden trug sits by the back door, mostly unused as of late. With an inch of snowfall this past week-end, we considered bringing it in and retiring it for the season. Monday, though, brought a bounce in the weather, warm enough to get out in the garden, poke around, and see what’s survived thus far.
Temperatures were in the high 50°F’s, bright and sunny. We opened all of the covers over the raised beds to air them out. Given how short the days are this time of year, being able to putter in the garden was an instant mood enhancer.
After the extra row cover was slipped off, the greens beds soaked up the sun and began to recover from the effects of the cold. Above: chicories, fun jen, kales, chard, arugula and salad greens.
Last season’s chard and kale were left standing in the corner of their raised bed, their bare stalks looking like a Dr. Seuss drawing. It was time to pull them up in order to finish mulching the bed with seaweed.
There’s really not much left to the old planting of chard and kale. They’d been left uncovered through the fall, and suffered from the exposure.
Despite snow and freezing temperatures, though, they tenaciously continued to push out new growth.
We salvaged what chard and kale we could, and were surprised how much it amounted to. There’s certainly enough here for a meal or two.
We’re still learning how to use the fun jen, and harvested half the heads to cook this week. When we went to clean them, we found a fat caterpillar tucked down between the leaves. It was deposited in the kitchen scrap bowl, however, after we’d finished washing, we went to look and the caterpillar had disappeared. It moved surprisingly fast for something we thought half-dead, and we’re hoping it took refuge amongst the compost and not our kitchen cabinets.
The celeriac, a variety called Brilliant, are being stored in-ground, snugly covered with a blanket of leaf mulch and protected by hooped plastic.
As we’re discovering, it’s difficult to harvest once things are covered with snow. We pulled some of the celeriac to store inside, and have on hand to cook with as needed.
Same with the tatsoi and King Seig leeks — there’s still some left stored in-ground, while these are destined for the kitchen.
The Napoli carrots were the prima donnas of the harvest, timing their shot for the magical light that comes as the day wanes. We’d pulled up about half of them and, at this point, they’re as sweet as can be. The rest we left in-ground with the parsnips, as a test to see how they’ll over-winter.
The chard and all the greens look wonderful and are obviously doing very well. I love being able to open up the covered areas during a brief sunny day and watching how they soak up the sun. Your celeriac looks great too. I have not had much success growing that particular item. I tried it again this spring and was disappointed with the results of my efforts.
The celeriac take FOREVER to grow, which is why they’re difficult to find at the farmers’ market. They’re smaller than in previous years and have no idea why, but blame it on the inconsistent weather we had coming into fall.
Nice to know you’re still having some garden puttering time. It looks like you still have plenty to keep that trug busy. I love that tatsoi. And, I hope we’ll be hearing more about the fun jen! I always learn something in your garden.
Hello, Eleanor! We’ve been gardening much later into the season this year, an uncomfortable benefit of climate change… Still, it’s nice to be able to spend time outside!
Next you’ll be writing about the new vegetables you’re able to grow with rising temps—or maybe that’s happened already. Mixed blessings.
One cannot have the light without shadow…
Your winter garden is so bountiful and looking marvelous. You will have garden fresh produce throughout the entire winter.
Our goal is end of the year, after that we’ve learned to take a break…
Congratulations on figuring out how to successfully garden here right up through December. Your produce looks wonderful.
Thanks! It’s taken a couple of years of trial and error but has been worth the effort.
What a marvelous harvest. And in December too. And so far north. You put me to shame, with our glorious Southern California weather. I have no harvest to report.
Our harsh winters force us to learn to be self-sufficient, though the advancements of local growers now allow us to pick and choose what to grow.
Beautiful bounty! I hope, hope, hope next year I will be able to find a garden space that gets enough sun – trees, trees, and more trees on this land, but you inspire me to keep looking.
It’s a difficult to choose to take down trees in order to gain growing space, but not out of line with New England tradition. On the other hand, I’m always astounded how much Liz at Suburban Tomato’s is able to cultivate in containers.
I planted out some celeraic today – I hope it does as well as yours. Your still planted bed looks amazing for something that has recently been covered with snow, even if protected by a row cover.
We stuck with planting things that are meant to be cold hardy, including the winter salad mix from Fedco, which seems to be holding up better than the others.
Your garden looks so well maintained. You deserve to have such a bounty for all hard work you put in it! :)
It’s a combined effort, we’re lucky to have two of us working on it!
Do you think the cold helped the carrots to sweeten? My carrots are hardly ever sweet but I grow them into the summer and fall, not now.
Hey Sam! Yes, if they can tolerate it, cold and frost causes carrots and other root crops to convert their starches to sugar. It’s why spring-dug parsnips are such a delight!