Friday, October 30, 2009

A Tour Around the Fall Garden

I probably have two or three weeks before a big freeze in the garden. Usually in the middle of November I get all excited thinking I can pick lettuce for Thanksgiving dinner. It never happens. We always seem to get a freeze by the third week in November which effectively ends the gardening season (though this year I have kale which will extend it a bit). I still have plenty of vegetables that are going strong.

I have two sections of brassicas. This is the biggest. Still growing strong are: purple mizuna, tatsoi, komatsuna (one is flowering - but I can eat the flowers so it is good), Chinese cabbage (the one by the fence never headed up - deep shade), broccoli and one kale. My other bed has broccoli, one Chinese cabbage (the other two were picked) and one kale. The brassicas in this bed grew much better then the bigger one. The bigger one was in mostly full shade for the last couple of months. The other got at least some sun. It really appreciates what sun it does get.

The chard is always a favorite of mine. You might notice that something is munching the leaves. I think I'll have to go out and strip the plants tomorrow to prevent more damage. I mentioned to Dan the other day that his red chard had really dark leaves and mine were more green. Well the weather sure has changed that. Now the red leaves are dark red.

I still have some alliums growing. Bunching onions like this are scattered here and there around the garden. Wherever there was a touch of space they got put in. These are in front of the few leeks I have left. It is really sad when your bunching onions are larger than your leeks. The bunching onions are huge and the leeks are smaller.

I've been picking my carrots every week now. I'll keep doing that. I still have about 7' of carrots left. They aren't as big as my spring carrots, but they are still tasty. The Danvers didn't like the conditions much. They grew about one or two inches long at most. Plus they don't taste all that good. They have a bitter edge to them. I won't grow them ever again. The Sugar Snax were great though. These were shorter than the spring carrots too, but most were between 6-8" long.

Last but not least are two crops that were sown very late. My spinach is growing OK. They did much better in the spring. I have a lot of empty spaces here. It is hard to get them to surive the slug attacks, but some did. I haven't made up my mind yet whether to eat them this fall or see if I can get them to survive the winter. The mache has started germinating in patches. I'll have to fill it in next spring. Right now they are tiny little things.


  1. Looks fantastic. I agree on the carrots, I have never liked Danvers. Maybe its just the type of soil. My chard and leeks are about all I have left and a few parsnips hanging out as well.

  2. It looks like we have a lot of the same fall crops. My kale and chard are still tiny. I'm thinking I might wait at long as possible to harvest my spinach under my hoops. I'd like to see how far along into the winter I can push them.

    My carrots carrots are still baby sized but tasty too!

  3. So beautiful, Daphne! I harvested all my Chinese cabbage, but I have some red still growing and a ton of leeks. The Brussels sprouts are hanging on for Thanksgiving...The beets will probably come out this weekend.

    I love fall in the garden, partly because I'm preparing the empty beds for spring while surrounded by the lovely colors of chard and cabbage and beet tops.

    Seeing your garden through the seasons is such a treat!

  4. Awesome, Daphne! Tell us how you eat your beautiful chard, please! I love to look at it, but have always found its taste so earthy I end up giving it to the chickens. Yet I know that everyone else loves it! There must be some secret in the preparation...

  5. We love chard too even though, yes, the taste is quite earthy. I read that you could eat the stems as a gratin and tried the recipe, but the taste of them was just too strong. But chopped into a casserole they're fine. Lots still growing in your garden... more than in mine.

  6. The Mom, well Danvers was bred to be strong enough to grow in clay soil. Not that it grows all the well in mine, but I'm guessing they sacrificed taste for a stronger carrot root. I'll stay away from it and just make sure my soil is very well prepared.

    Thomas, except for your radishes and turnips. You have convinced me to try to grow turnips yet again. I've yet to have a successful crop. The roots never form. It is the same issue with my radishes, but if I grow radishes under the row covers they grow fine so I'll try that with turnips. I think I'm going to try Oasis which is very similar to Hakurei.

    June, I keep thinking about Brussels sprouts, but they take up so much room for so long. They were one of my favorite vegetables as a child.

    our friend Ben, the funny thing is that I hate beets, but love chard. I can't stand the stems though. Don't add the stems to the dish, just use the leaves. Sometimes I save the stems for soup, but otherwise they go to the compost pile. I don't do anything special with them. I often saute them with olive oil and garlic then add balsamic vinegar at the end. When I'm lazy I just do a quick steam and throw on balsamic. One of my favorite dishes is to have it in quiche. In a pie shell I layer a lot of it on the bottom (after it has been steamed already), add chopped green onions, add shredded cheese (I like cheddar with chard better than Swiss), then top off with an egg and milk mixture seasoned with salt and pepper (a ratio of 1 egg to a quarter cup of milk - usually three eggs and 3/4c milk but depends upon the dish). Then if it is tomato season I slice a tomato and put those on top. The tomatoes make it really pretty and tastier. Chard and eggs go really well together. But maybe you just hate chard? I hate beets. No matter how you prepare them I won't like them. It would be sad to hate chard though. It is such a powerhouse producer in the garden. It lasts all year long and is one of the prettiest plants.

    Jan, I hate chard stems. They remind me of beet roots. Ick. I do add them to soups since I think it adds a bit of flavor but I don't add much.

  7. Looks good under those covers. Enjoy what you can while you can!

  8. I will keep my fingers crossed for you that this is THE year that you get lettuce for thanksgiving from your garden. :D

  9. Oh Daphne... I'm so jealous!!! You're such an inspiration!!!

    Been cold here... frosty... nothing growing in my garden sadly...

  10. Stefaneener, I am.

    kitsapFG, that would be really nice. I'm not counting on it though.

    Toni, we have had some frost and snow, but no freezes yet.

  11. Wow, your fall crops look amazing. It would be a shame to lose them, but you can’t fight Mother Nature. Luckily, we seem to be experiencing some unseasonably warm weather here in New England. Let’s hope it continues and you can have fresh lettuce for Thanksgiving.

  12. Thanks, Daphne! Next time, we'll try chard leaves without their (sob!) beautiful stems. We love beets, but find beet greens taste muddy just like chard. Maybe this is the big secret!!!

  13. Daphne,
    I have seen you comment on so many people's blogs, and have never checked yours out. Well today is the day.

    I was so completely blown away by your blog. Your garden is amazing! As soon as I saw it, I called my mom over and had her look at it too. I have recently come to rediscover my love for planting veggies, and am very excited about it!

    Love your garden,

  14. GrafixMuse, yesterday was beautiful if a bit windy. I think my trees lost most of their leaves all in one day.

    our friend Ben, they are pretty aren't they? I hope it works for you.

    Zach, thanks! I've found other gardening blogs to be very inspirational to my own gardening. It is nice having a community of gardeners.

  15. You ever try growing any of those winter lettuces from Wild Garden Seed in Oregon? I am having pretty good luck with them this year. We had a frost this week and the lettuce looks good still. It was just a light frost. Zapped my fig tree though so it definitely was a frost.

  16. You still have lots going on this fall as well. I see a couple deer tongues poking out in there, I should have planted a few for the fall. Your chard looks about the same size as mine, I always picture it as a huge plant in my mind. So how do you prepare your chard?