Monday, November 30, 2015

Harvest Monday - November 30, 2015


Looks like the winter jackets and boots are out for good...it has been rather chilly.  Cold is relative, however - it's -1C (30F) right now which always feels a lot colder in November than in February.

We had a beautiful, crisp day yesterday and it was completely still - not even a slight breeze.  That prompted me to get out with the camera in the morning to get some frosty shots.

Frosty mint


Frosty cedar


Frosty Asparagus Ferns


Frosty Diable Nine Bark Seed Pods


Frosty Mizuna


Frosty U-Post
Doesn't it look like metal shavings on a magnet?


Frosty Sweet Woodruff


Frosty Spruce

So with all the cold temps, the only actual harvest last week was the lettuce.  The Agribon did an amazing job of keeping it protected from the snow & frost.  This is a 1/2" thick chunk of ice that I pulled from the top of the Agribon that covered the lettuce:

Chunk of ice removed from lettuce bed Agribon

If you recall, the lettuce was frozen solid the week before last, which is why it didn't show up last Harvest Monday.  This past week, we had a bit of a warm up for a couple of days and everything thawed out.  Our temps had gone down to -6C (21F) and even colder if you took into account the wind chill, so I wasn't sure what condition the lettuce would be in once I pulled back the cover.

The lettuce, after sustained -6C (21F) temps - not too bad :)

I was pleased, to say the least, especially as none of the varieties are noted for being particularly cold hardy (Simpson Elite, Royal Red, Sierra MI).  There was some cold damage, but mainly on the lower leaves:

The top leaves on this Simpson Elite head are perfect


The lower leaves showed obvious signs of cold damage

I decided to harvest all of the undamaged leaves and clean out the bed.  The lettuce wasn't growing much at this stage and I didn't want to risk any of the healthy leaves being damaged.

One of two baskets full of lettuce

Lettuce does last an incredibly long time in the fridge when stored properly - over 2 weeks for leaf varieties and up to 3-4 weeks for romaine & Batavian types.  And now that the cold cellar is actually cold - it's only a couple of degrees above fridge temp - I have lots of room to store it.

Also on my tally this week are favas - dried favas that is.  If you recall, I was late in harvesting the Ianto favas back in August, so most of them were relegated to drying instead of being used fresh.  I also dried some of the Extra Precoce Violetto fava beans to use for seed next year:

Ianto's (left); Extra Precoce Violetto (right)

I've never used dried fava beans before, so this should be interesting.

That's it for the harvests this past week - I still have a few veg in the garden but I've been so busy getting ready for Christmas (I like getting all my shopping out of the way early - I can't stand Christmas crowds!)  that I keep missing my window of opportunity to harvest.  Yesterday, for instance, I was hoping to pick some mizuna for a salad, but by the time I went to pick it in the early evening, it was frozen solid.  I have to be more on the ball this coming week & keep an eye on those temps - first bit of a warm up & I'll be out there with my bowl.

One end of season task that I did finally complete is also my least favourite (which is why I kept putting it off even though it's been on my to-do list since October):  Cleaning & disinfecting all of the cell packs, trays and pots:

All ready for next year

It's a big job, but well worth it as it is my #1 line of defense against damping off.  Doesn't mean that I still don't have the odd seedling keel over here or there, but that's a far cry from the dozens that succumbed a few years ago.

My harvest totals this week were:

Lettuce – 1,172 grams (2.58 lbs)
Fava Beans (dried) – 476 grams (1.05 lbs)

Total for Week –  1,648 grams (3.63 lbs)

Total to Date –  213 kg (471 lbs)

To see what everyone else has been harvesting over the past week, head on over to Our Happy Acres where Dave is our host for Harvest Mondays.

Till next time…

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things” ~~ Robert Brault

24 comments:

  1. Yay for the lettuce! Mine isn't growing a lot but the temps here are mostly above freezing day and night so I'll leave it for awhile longer. Those frosty photos are pretty enough for a postcard!

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    1. I think I may finally have the timing down for fall lettuce - or at least this year it worked out. Our fall weather was unusually mild, though, so who knows if the timing would work out in a "normal" autumn. There's always so much trial and error when it comes to seeding fall crops, it seems.

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  2. It totally feels a lot colder in November than in February. I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels that way. We had a heavy frost over the weekend, so I spent Saturday morning running around with my camera just like you!

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    1. Oh, the cold...I was out this morning and couldn't shake the chill for over an hour after I came back inside. I hope you post some of your photos - frost always looks so magical.

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  3. I love the frosty photos, especially the mizuna. Wow, the lettuce came through the cold amazingly well, it looks so tasty. We finally got our first frosty nights here, but it's been pretty tame by your standards.

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    1. The lettuce is amazing - I'll be so sad when it comes to an end. It's such an underrated vegetable and so many people who grow veg can't be "bothered" to grow it. But usually, once a variety or two finds it's way into their garden, they are singing a different tune!

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  4. Funny thing about Simpson Elite. It is touted as not being bothered by heat, slow to bolt, and can be planted late. It must have one of the greatest ranges of tolerance of all lettuces. The phrosty photos are most enchanting.

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    1. Thank you Jane! Simpson Elite is a real trouper all right. I also love the Sierra MI, a Batavian variety, which has many of the same qualities, but a completely different texture.

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  5. I love your frosty photos! It's been cold here as well... cold and very gray.

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    1. Thanks Jennifer. Cold and gray pretty much describes our morning today...I'm off to the farm today and it's above zero now, so at least that's one good thing. Stay warm!

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  6. I am always amazed that lettuce can last through the cold ... probably just because I've never tried it (seeing is believing, am I right?!). Gotta try that next year.

    I love the frosty pics, so pretty! I think that's my challenge over the winter ... figure out how to use all of the functions on my camera (I'm not very good with close-ups).

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    1. Lettuce does seem like such a fragile veg, doesn't it. I didn't think it would be a good candidate for late fall/early winter either until I saw how it bounced back from being completely frozen a couple of years ago.

      That's the great thing about winter - it gives you lots of time to catch up on all those things that got put on hold all summer...and I for one have a mountain of those!

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  7. These are among the most beautiful frosty images I've seen. Frame-worthy, really. How awesome to have healthy lettuce still to harvest. All our snow is melted now, and everything is green again. Happy (almost) December!

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    1. That's high praise coming from you, Beth....you're making me blush! I'm very happy with the lettuce this year - the timing worked out well so that it was pretty much fully grown by the time the cold weather really hit. Hopefully I can replicate my success in the years to come! And now it IS December...so Happy December to you too!

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  8. Hi! Great harvest on the lettuce and lucky you to have a cold cellar. The pictures are so pretty! One nice thing about cold weather that we can appreciate is it's beauty! Nancy

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    1. For sure, Nancy - as we get older, I think we tend to appreciate these "everyday" things a lot more. I love my cold cellar - we never had one until we moved to this house and we are definitely making good use of it!

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  9. Awesome shots with the frost, especially the woodruf looks so beautiful.

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  10. Brrrr, it does look chilly there, though the frost makes for some great photos.

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    1. It was chilly, but so still that I barely felt it...which is something of a rarity around here.

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  11. Great lettuce harvest. I'm definately going to do fall lettuce next year---I told hubby NO TRIPS AT ALL next year---I want to really garden hard!!

    The frost pics are beautiful-especially the sweet woodruff.
    Stay warm and enjoy all the wonderful lettuce

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    1. Fall lettuce is definitely worth it - the less you have coming out of the garden, the more dear whatever you do get becomes. Not to mention it is SO good! I've got my fingers crossed that the Sierra MI variety will keep for a few weeks as I've got my eye on Christmas...homegrown lettuce at Christmas? Now that would be something!

      I can't imagine if you went all out on your garden - it is so phenomenal already - you got the veg, you got the ornamentals, you got the clandestine snap pea vines...I mean, what more could you want? Other than fall lettuce, that is ;)

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  12. Last year we had a late spring frost and the one thing least damaged was the lettuce. Yours did amazingly well given the cold. The fall lettuce in my container has finally given up. But I'm thinking of growing some indoors under my grow light setup since I won't be needing it until February for seedlings.

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    1. That sounds great - I've often thought about growing lettuce and other such greens under the lights over winter, but am usually too preoccupied with other indoor projects over the winter. And with building up the garden, I'm ready for a break from gardening as well. I would be very interested to see how you fare with it if you do end up giving it a go.

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