Monday 26 October 2015

Harvest Monday: October 26, 2015

Welcome to my Harvest Monday posting.  Carrots were the main item this weekend as I pulled everything I had (just over 4 pounds in total).  The majority are from a Rainbow Mix and the darker ones are the Nutri-Red; not sure why the Nutri-Red are so much smaller, maybe just a poor job thinning them out.

And this laughable harvest of cauliflower.  If I have seeds left, I might give it another go next year but I think I've pretty much given up on cauliflower.  These are as big as the heads got ...the rest were still very small when the freezing temperatures hit a week or two ago and they didn't survive.  These two little heads were the only bits that were still firm.

I also harvested some horseradish but haven't done anything with it yet.  Most of my time in the yard these days is spent cleaning up, putting pots away, etc.  I'm reorganizing the beds but not sure I'll have it all done before winter hits.

Hopefully I'll still have something to share next week.  In the meantime, I'll head over to Our Happy Acres and see what others have going on this week.

Monday 19 October 2015

Harvest Monday: October 19, 2015

Freezing temperatures (and a bit of snow) hit over the weekend.

To be honest, I am happy about it as it means I can finally pull out the flowers and (now) dead plants to prepare the garden beds before winter.

It's temporary - it's going to warm up again in the coming week.  Last Wednesday night was another frost and I decided to just harvest all of the beans and let the plants die.  I can't be bothered to keep covering them up every day or two.

Same thing with the last pumpkin plant.  Unfortunately, I still didn't get a ripe pumpkin! I hope this pumpkin is riper than the last one I harvested prematurely - it turned out to have almost no flavour at all.

I have nothing from the greenhouse this week as I'm intentionally not going inside ... I don't want to let out what little warmth there is.  I'll check it out mid-week when the temps are a bit warmer.  So my main harvests this week are root veggies: Albion parsnips and Nantes carrots.

And that's my weekly submission for Harvest Monday.  Pop on over to Our Happy Acres to see what other gardeners are doing this week.

Monday 12 October 2015

Harvest Monday: October 12, 2015

This is my submission for Harvest Monday, now hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres.  It's a light week but there is still plenty on the go.  I still have a lot of parnsips and carrots in the ground and just giving them more time to size up.  I also have some beets but don't anticipate getting anything than some marbles based on the size they are now.

The pepper harvest in the main photo is from the greenhouse again.  Clockwise starting at the top:  One single Hungarian Hot Wax, a few Hinklehatz, one small King of the North, Sweet Pickle Peppers and a few Jimmy Nardello.

The rest of the week's harvest came the day before the light frost when I picked the chard and arugula.

And that's it for me this week.  Otherwise, I've been keeping busy cleaning up the garden and getting the garlic planted (see previous post). 

Sunday 11 October 2015

New Garlic (Sub) Varieties for 2016

After growing Red Russian garlic (the most common in these parts) for a number of years, I decided to try Music (along with the Red Russian) for this past season.  I thought the Music had a milder flavour, but I still liked it and the bulbs were larger than the Red Russian.  I also had some challenges in 2015 with leek moths doing some pretty serious destruction to both varieties so this wasn't the best growing year to use as any baseline measure.

I went to the Perth (Ontario) Garlic Festival in August.  I had planned to write a post about it, but found it rather dull (friends who have gone most years have said it seems to have suddenly gotten smaller).  However, I did pick up some interesting new varieties which I'll try this year.

All the garlic I'm growing is Hardneck which includes three varieties: Rocambole, Porcelain and Purple Stripe.  Since I've always grown Red Russian, I am already familiar with Rocambole.  What I didn't realize was that the Music I grew last year was of the Porcelain variety, not also a Rocambole.  That is likely why the bulbs were bigger - it seems that is typical of the Porcelains.

I've planted 4 of the 5 types into 2 raised beds.  The raised bed frames were moved from elsewhere in my garden and have just been filled with the topdressing soil I had ordered in the spring (yikes, I still have about 8 yards of soil on my driveway that should be dealt with before the first snow).  Just so I remember myself next summer when I begin the harvest, they are planted as follows:

Leftmost Bed - two rows each (L to R): Majestic Porcelain, Mennonite Porcelain and German White Rocambole. All three of these varieties were purchased at the Garlic Festival from Ken Best of Norwood Ontario.  And such huge cloves.  I had two bulbs of each variety with 4-5 cloves per bulb.

Majestic Porcelain: Creation of this garlic is credited to Paul Pospisil whose Beaver Pond Estates was just a few minutes from my previous home in Lanark County.

Mennonite Porcelain: The origin of this one is a bit more confusing but seems to have been named by Railway Creek Farms after receiving a bulb from a Madoc resident (okay this is weird, because I also used to live in Madoc so this year's garlic is like a tour of my previous residences).  They called it Mennonite to remind them where it came from - farmers in London Ontario area named the Bass Brothers.

German White Rocambole:  Can't find much about the origins of this one.

The second raised bed was filled with the Music.  I didn't have enough of my own to plant so just bought some more seed garlic (also at the Garlic Festival).  The Music is from Arran Hill Garlic Farm of Allenford Ontario.  There are too many references to the origins of Music garlic to know which is accurate but it is quite popular in colder climates.  I should have about 25 of these next summer.

I haven't planted the Red Russian and hope to get to that by next weekend latest.  All of the Red Russian came from my friend Dan (grown in Lanark County).  I'll probably put in at least 50 of these to bring me to close to 100 garlic in total.

The two planted beds were covered in straw - a must for me right after planting as my cat likes to dig into fresh dirt and I don't want the cloves getting moved around.  Within a few weeks they should start to get some good roots.  The roots and the mulch (I'll add more before the first snow) will help avoid heaving from frost.

And so that's one more garden chore (almost) crossed off my list for the fall preparation.

Wednesday 7 October 2015

First Frost Warning


That time of year has arrived in my corner of the world - the first frost warning of the season.  The outlook for the upcoming weekend (Thanksgiving weekend in Canada) is much more to my liking.  So as soon as I got home from work I ran around covering everything up and harvesting some of the more delicate crops (then ran around again taking a few photos!).

I don't have a lot left although more than I did at this time last year as I did a "fall planting" of a few greens including the arugula that I harvested tonight along with some swiss chard.

I left most of the brassicas to deal with the frost as they should be fine ... including the remaining two batches of tuscan kale (below) and the mature brussels sprouts.

I did cover up the small cauliflower in a pathetic attempt to have them mature but unlikely there will be time.  And I covered my one remaining pumpkin plant and the fall planting of beans (but I'm a bit lazy so did a lousy job).

I covered the carrots (not sure why, I'm pretty sure they can handle a light frost??) but I left the parsnip uncovered as I've been told they taste better after a frost.

And I thought I'd take the opportunity to share an update on my greenhouse plants since there is NO risk of frost inside!!

Earlier in the year, I believed several of my pepper plants from inside the greenhouse had finished their growth cycle and I basically tossed them outside to die.  After several rains and a bout of hot weather, I noticed flowers on a few of them.  I brought them back into the greenhouse and they've started an entire new round of peppers!!  The plants themselves look a bit weak but lots of peppers coming my way.



Blurry King of the North

And these hinkelhatz never left the greenhouse and still have a few left - this is only possible because of my greenhouse as my outdoor pepper plants died off several weeks ago.

And this is one of two remaining sweet pickle pepper plants - these are honestly the best looking peppers of this variety that I've had all year.

The chocolate cherry tomato plant is still flowering (this is one of two of these variety in the greenhouse).

As for fall plantings, I just have this one swiss chard batch in a container ...

And these beets that I may have got in too late, but hoping the greenhouse keeps things warm enough for some to mature - worst case scenario, I will enjoy some beet greens!

Keeping my fingers crossed that the plants I covered up will make it through the frost (or better yet, the frost doesn't actually happen tonight!!).

Monday 5 October 2015

Harvest Monday: October 5, 2015

It's about that time of the year when we usually get our first frost in these parts - I've covered a few spaces the past two nights as the temperature got a little too close to freezing for my liking.  But it's warmed up a bit today.  I really hope the weather holds out a bit longer so I can harvest a few more beans (Royal Burgundy and Delinel) from my fall planting.  So far I've harvested just the small handful shown above along with some radishes.  The radishes were planted specifically so I could make my potato salad but the green onions haven't sized up yet and likely won't make it before the frost hits. I guess I'll pick some up at the farmer's market.

I was holding off on harvesting parsnips as I read somewhere that they taste better after a frost.  But some were getting pretty big so I pulled this bunch along with more Nantes carrots.  I really like the Nantes carrots and will grow them again next year for sure.  They grew much faster than other carrots I've grown and I like the taste.

I also harvested the remaining cabbage.  I've had to peel away quite a few leaves to make sure there weren't any little slugs left.  After soaking the heads for a while, I still found a worm.  I was so paranoid about the one little head, I just cut it right open to check (guess I'll have to cook that very soon!).

A previous harvest of cabbage was sauteed with leeks and bacon then stirred into some homemade mac and cheese.  Sooooo good!!

Thanks to Dave at Our Happy Acres for taking up the torch for Harvest Monday's so gardeners around the world can continue to share their goodies each week (and a few "baddies" now and then).