With the forecast of frost, we’ve been conducting vegetable triage, sorting which will survive and which need immediate attention. Like eggplant and tomatoes, peppers are frost-sensitive (31° – 34°F), and we harvested a mix of red and green Shishitos.
There were plenty of Shishito peppers at the in-between stage still left. We brought them in and, after a couple of days, they reddened up. It took growing peppers for the first time to learn of this trick, rather than waiting for them to color on the plant.
Also frost-sensitive are winter squash. The Delicata and spaghetti squash were already brought in several weeks earlier, not nearly as many compared to last year but welcome all the same.
We left the largest of the Tromboncino squash out on the vine as long as possible, in hopes they would have enough time to mature. They ranged in size from the smallest at 2 pounds and 24 inches long, to the largest (above, bottom) at 16 pounds and 48 inches. We carried them slung over our shoulders and wrapped around our bodies, more like tubas than their namesake trombones.
We count on the frost tolerance (28° – 32°F) of salad greens to keep us supplied far into the season, and a floating row cover gives them an extra measure of protection.
Though not as sturdy as kale, we’ve found that the chicories also have a certain amount of frost-tolerance. Above, left to right: Puntarelle Brindisina, Italiko Rosso, and Puntarelle Stretta. In a take-off of Fave e Cicoria, the Pugliese dish of pureed favas and braised chicory, these greens will make a fine counterpoint to a bowl of savory Christmas Limas.
Onions are considered semi-hardy (to 25°), and could have been left longer in the ground. Given how little daylight they’re now getting, it seemed a good time to bring them in and clean out their beds.
The Daikon are also semi-hardy, though were getting so large we were afraid they would become pithy. The largest one, next to the scissors (above), weighed in at 2 pounds, which, as we later learned, is small for this variety.
It’s always a toss-up between leaving things in the ground and the need to get the beds ready for winter. Like the onions, the rest of the winter radishes could have remained longer, though with uncertain benefit. Above: Watermelon, Green Meat and Daikon radishes; the red ones are rogue Watermelon radishes.
This is the time of season when we appreciate any harvest, however small, including these baby Green Meat and Watermelon radishes.
Rattail radishes are grown for their edible seed pods rather than their roots. The tops of ours were eaten by deer before they had a chance to develop. The foot-long roots were almost large enough to be carved into Jack O’Lanterns.
The first frost arrived during the week-end, and hardy (at least 20°F) carrots are among the vegetables still left in the garden. Also remaining: Celeriac, leeks, kale, chard, chicories, tatsoi, and salad greens.
Carrots, winter radishes, shishito peppers, favas, chicories (puntarelle), tatsoi, onions, kale, chard, and salad greens.
Preserving: Fermented sauerkraut and frozen peppers.