Bringing in the Last of the Winter Crops

I took this week off to work in the garden, but I didn’t realize how much time it was going to take. Other than taking time off for the Sabbath and Passover, I have worked 8 to 10 hour days in the garden; and I still have yet to start spring planting! (That begins today, though.) However, my garden beds look beautiful and ready to plant now that I’ve harvested the last of my winter crops, weeded in and around the beds (filling TEN four-feet-tall lawn & leaf bags!), supplemented my soil with Azomite (rock dust) and compost, and top dressed the cypress mulch around my beds. (I’ll share pictures in my next Sanctuary Gardener Update post.) It’s been a lot of work, but I have everything ready for seed and seedlings, and a refrigerator full of root veggies and greens.

I didn’t realize just how much I had left in the ground until I harvested everything. In addition to the pound of asparagus I harvested this week (I forgot to take pictures of that), I harvested 3 3/4 pounds of kale, 2 1/2 pounds of mustard greens, a half pound of spinach, 4 pounds of lettuce, 3 1/3 pounds of escarole, 3 1/3 pounds of beet greens, 5 4/3 pounds of carrots, almost 5 pounds of turnips, and almost 6 pounds of beets!

ROOT CROPS:

I had only a handful of Parisienne carrots left (I thought I harvested them all – what a surprise).

Parisienne carrots

Parisienne carrots

I harvested quite a few Nantes carrots. Many of them were twisted and stunted. It seems my raised bed is now full of roots from the nearby sweet gum tree. (I pulled quite a few of those suckers while I was harvesting.)

Nantes carrots

Nantes carrots

I didn’t get any radishes because they had bolted and the root would’ve been too woody to enjoy eating. However, I did have quite a few turnips left – including small ones the size of radishes.

Golden Globe turnips (top) & Purple Top turnips (bottom)

Golden Globe turnips (top) & Purple Top turnips (bottom)

After two years, I’m noticing that Chioggia beets grow much better here than other varieties I’ve tried (Red Detroit, Early Wonder). I actually left several of the Chioggia beets in the ground too long, and they got huge! I’m going to roast these, then marinate them in red wine vinegar.

Chioggia beets (top) & Early Wonder beets (bottom)

Chioggia beets (top) & Early Wonder beets (bottom)

GREENS:

One of the extras that came with the beet harvest is the greens. I filled three gallon-sized baggies with them!

Beet greens

Beet greens

Although my mustard greens had started to bolt, I still got quite a bit of greens from the plants.

Mustard greens

Mustard greens

I harvested Scotch curled kale from one of my raised beds and Scarlet kale from the walkway to my front door. I’ve never tasted scarlet kale before, so I’m looking forward to cooking that up.

Scotch Curled kale

Scotch Curled kale

Scarlet kale

Scarlet kale

I almost lost my escarole in the frequent frosts we received in February, but it grew back so well, I harvested over three pounds of it. I’ll be cooking most of this up and packaging it for the freezer for use in chicken soup. The rest I’ll cook with garlic, olive oil, and cannellini beans. Yum!

Escarole

Escarole

I lost most of my Red Romaine and Black Seeded Simpson lettuces to frost, but enough grew back to give me this harvest.

Red Romaine (left) & Black Seeded Simpson lettuce (right)

Red Romaine (left) & Black Seeded Simpson lettuce (right)

This is my new favorite lettuce, and I harvested this all throughout the winter. Most of it grew along my front walkway, among the scarlet kale. Very pretty, and very tasty. This was all I had left of it in the garden.

Reine des Glaces lettuce

Reine des Glaces lettuce

Still a favorite, this Red Sails lettuce is as pretty as it is tasty.

Red Sails lettuce

Red Sails lettuce

I didn’t have much luck with spinach this year, but I was pleased I got at least a half pound of it. This basket is mostly Bloomsdale spinach (with a bit of Giant Noble).

Bloomsdale spinach

Bloomsdale spinach

Now, after I finish planting 17 raised beds tomorrow, I’ll be spending the rest of the weekend cooking and freezing this great garden bounty.

What’s happening on your homestead this week?

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