Farmer's market stand? Produce section at Whole Foods? No, just a small part of what I harvested out of my garden on Friday morning. Time to make way for the warm-weather crops!
Left to right: Danvers 126 carrots, "baby" oakleaf lettuce, Easter egg radishes, late flat Dutch cabbage, the world's tiniest Brussels sprouts, Detroit Dark Red beet greens, and "baby" Catalina spinach. (I don't know why they call 'em "baby". They got plenty big, and still plenty tasty, too.)
This was my first effort at a fall vegetable garden, and I think it all went very well! Now, I didn't do it alone. Jack built the frames for the beds and hauled in tons of compost, but I planted the seeds, fertilized and mulched. With one hand, mind you.
All the various lettuces and greens I planted were very prolific producers, thanks to the rains and cool temperatures. This is the lettuce bed after harvesting and giving away 5 heads of lettuce this week, and eating salad 3-4 nights a week for a month.
I hope we'll be able to eat or give away the rest before it all bolts like the arugula and mache have. Yes, this is the same bed I blogged about in this post in January.
I harvested almost all the spinach on Friday--nearly 2 pounds worth--and there's still more out there. Luckily, we lurve spinach. I'm thinking spinach omelets for breakfast, spinach salad for lunch, and spinach enchiladas for dinner! Wonder what Jack will think?
That's a broccoli seedling in the middle. I'm not sure it's going to achieve much before it gets too hot. Oh well, it was worth a try.
But wait, there's more! I haven't even harvested the Fordhook Giant swiss chard yet. These three plants are holdovers from last spring, and they are still producing.
I guess they like the shady spot under the coral honeysuckle.
The Easter egg radishes did well. Most of them were nice and sweet, but a few were very peppery, especially the tiniest ones. Go figure.
I was surprised at how well the carrots did. Mostly straight, crisp and sweet, with just a hint of an aromatic herbal note to the flavor. Wonderful!
Of course, there's always a few oddballs, from seeds planted too close together or on top of a stray rock.
And it looks like a few stray seeds of other carrot varieties made their way into my seed packet.
Now for what didn't do so well, starting with the beets. Very odd, as they were planted in the same bed right next to the carrots. Lots of nice lush green tops (which I saved), but the beets themselves were no bigger than radishes. They were in the ground for plenty of time; if I'd left them alone any longer, they might have gotten a tiny bit bigger, but likely more woody as well, and I might have lost the greens, so I pulled them.
The Brussels sprouts also did not do well. I only planted one plant, because Jack doesn't like them and the plant gets very large. Alas, the sprouts on top of the stem went to seed this week, before the bottom sprouts matured.
I harvested the tiny sprouts off the stem anyway; they were no bigger than a dime. I got about a cup--plenty for a serving for me.
What did well (or not so well) in your veggie garden this past season?
Words and photos © 2009-2010 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.