I managed to get a few images of the pre-freeze harvest Friday after critiquing student essays and heading to Sioux Falls to pick up M. Usually there’s a bit more than 24 hours between the first killing frost and hard freeze, but that wasn’t the case this year.
Thursday morning I went out to harvest for market, and all the peppers and eggplant and tomatoes were fine. Friday afternoon, they were limp and soggy-looking. But there were still some frost (but not freeze) hardy crops to pull in before the temps hit the mid-to-lower twenties, as they did Friday and Saturday nights.
This is the first year I’ve grown Brussels sprouts. They were one of the few vegetables I absolutely hated growing up–mostly because all I ever had was the frozen kind in some sort of fake butter sauce. Blech!
I grew the heirloom purple variety called Rubine, and while I’ll probably grow sprouts again, I won’t grow this one. I’m generally not super-picky about uniformity in a crop, but after seeing how incredibly variable this one is, I think I might try something different next year. But they are pretty!
Storage of Brussels sprouts was something I’d read about, so I proceeded according to that info–hacked off the top with a machete, then swiped the blade down the side to remove the remaining leaves (without hitting the sprouts). Then I pulled the plant out of the ground, shaking soil from the roots, and removed the remaining leaf stalks.
The “sprout logs” are now on a tarp in the basement, hopefully to ripen/enlarge the remaining tiny cabbages. My basement’s a little warmer than they’d probably like–I’m wishing I had a root cellar for these and the roots crops.
I also dug out the few carrots I managed to get in this season. They went in a few months ago, after the salad mix was done, and after row covering them, I pretty much left them alone. What seed was good germinated and grew well with all our summer rains this year, so I ended up with a little tub full.
Lastly, I dug all of the celeriac out of the mixed row of that and parsnips. I would not recommend planting your celeriac and parnsips together, by the way, because their foliage looks almost exactly alike. I only transplanted that celeriac into the parnsip row because I’d thought the parsnips didn’t germinate.
Well, they did–it’s just that they take forever. So, when I got a little ways down that row, I saw the little parsnip plants here and there, and since I’d already gotten some celeriac in, I just filled in the empty spaces.
Luckily, the celeriac crowns look different than parsnips’ as the roots swell and enlarge. So, I’m pretty sure I got all the celeriac, and I only pulled one parsnip by mistake–and only because it was so close to one of the celery roots. After whacking off all the leaves, I ended up with a couple buckets full of the mild-flavored vegetable.
Once the soil on those roots dries a little, I’ll be able to shake them off a bit and get a better idea of what’s there. I also kept a bucket of the choicer, more tender leaves–they have great flavor for soups and stews.
Now all that’s left in the gardens to harvest is leeks and parsnips–and a few greens that may or may not handle the frigid temps under their row covers. I’ve still got a lot of clean-up to do, but coursework and cold have limited that work for the past few days.
Next week looks cold and rainy (maybe snowy) as well, so I hope I’m able to get out and work a little more yet this season before the gardens get snowed in for the winter.