Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Garden That Keeps On Giving

My garden has more than made up for its disappointing performance this past summer. This has been my best fall/winter garden ever! I can't believe it is almost December and I am still heading out almost every day to harvest something.

Last weekend I dug up some parsnips and carrots and we had delicious oven-roasted veggies. One of the drawbacks to fall/winter gardening is the dirt is very cold when you put your hands into it. After I dug up these parsnips I hurried inside for a cup of tea.




The herb garden has been amazing. I have never had herbs last this late in the year. I think I accidentally stumbled on to the secret for keeping them alive later in the season. Don't cut them back. I meant to prune them in early October, then that whole nightmare with Alexandra's surgery happened, and I just never got around to it. I love it when procrastination pays off.


Parsley


Sage

Rosemary

Thyme

Best of all is the kale.




I planted several different varieties this year. The curly variety is perfect for making kale chips.




Kale is easy to grow. For a fall/winter crop you need to plant your seeds around mid-July. Kale is best harvested after several good frosts. It gets much sweeter tasting once it has been exposed to the cold. Most people think kale tastes awful because the only kind they have ever tried is from the grocery store. If you are from Canada or the US, unless you are buying from a local market I can almost guarantee you that the kale you get is from California. A state known for its warm climate.

14 comments:

  1. At -25 isn't the ground frozen? I miss roasted veggies.

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    1. That's the other thing that has helped. So far the coldest it has gotten is about -6. I just got back inside from harvesting the rest of the carrots before the ground freezes over completely. The remaining parsnips will be a treat next February when it thaws again so I am leaving them in.

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  2. I grew up eating kale... potatoes and kale, cooked together, then mashed and served with farmer's sausage, gravy and yellow mustard, YUM!... my parents would harvest the kale and throw it in the freezer for a day or two before stripping the leaves from the stems and bagging it. We were always taught that kale was not to be eaten until it had been touched by frost.

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    1. I want to try your kale recipe. I need to remember to pick up some farmer's sausage at the store this week!

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  3. That's a nice assortment. Harvesting so late in the year is surprising. I remember digging yams with my dad in early November one year (after dark, it was a challenge), but never anything this late. It's like getting a bonus, but in this case one you planned for.

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    1. I have been wanting to try yams for the past couple of garden seasons. I didn't realize they could also be harvested in the fall. I really must order some from the seed store next spring!

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  4. Parsnips! My Dad LOVES parsnips! I never got the taste for them but when I see them I think of him! Thanks! (I love thinking about my Dad! Gives me another reminder to pray for him as well!)

    I do love most root veggies - and appreciate that they just keep on giving.

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    1. I'm glad I was able to remind you of your dad. :-)

      Have you tried parsnips roasted in the oven? I think lots of people have only ever had them mashed, and they are much, much better roasted. (I feel like a parsnip pusher.)

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  5. Replies
    1. Thanks Nadia! I harvested the last of the carrots today, and there is only a little bit of kale left so soon my garden will be empty.

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  6. We fill up our vegetable patch with summer produce and then there is no room for the winter crops. Your produce looks wonderful.
    Sarah x

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    1. Have you tried double cropping? When the early crops like peas and spinach are finished producing I rip them out and put seeds for fall vegetables in their spot. If your timing is right, and the year, it works wonderfully.

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  7. None of this surprises me except the rosemary...what variety is that which can survive your winters outside? Once I quit with my intense field jobs in oh, 7 or 8 years, I'll definitely be gardening year round on some level. Your efforts look great!

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    1. I am not sure of the variety of rosemary, but it won't make it the whole winter here either. But this is the latest it has ever gone, and I am sure it has been helped along by the fact I didn't cut the oregano next to it down and it is protecting it somewhat. It was one of those good accidents!

      I would like to do more year round gardening too, but first we have to move to a place that doesn't have the extreme wind we get here. There is no way floating row covers and some of the other tricks of the trade would stay in place where we are now.

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