Monday, November 9, 2015

Harvest Monday - November 9, 2015


This past week I finally harvested the carrots.  I had picked a couple earlier in the month and they seemed quite small – much smaller than they should have been considering I sowed them 4 months ago.

Sprint
Small/normal sized carrots (left) were separated from the tiny ones (right)
 
I grew 6 varieties – Sprint, Mokum, Amsterdam Maxi, Chantenay Red Core, Scarlet Nantes and Napoli.   Mokum came out on top when it came to taste – sweet & crisp.  I must say, however, that all of the varieties were fairly close as they all had a certain amount of sweetness to them.  Napoli was the least favourite, although even it was still ok.  I'll be doing a more detailed comparison in my end of season review.

Just as a side note, once the garden is put to bed for the winter, I go through all of my notes for each veg that I grew, compare their performance with that of prior years and really think about what went right and what went wrong in the past season.  I then write my end of season review based on what I find.  It's a great exercise and really helps me to zone in and focus on what I want to improve upon or change the following year.

When I harvested the carrots, I separated out all of the teeny tiny ones.  These were trimmed and given a good rinse before being placed into a huge zip lock bag which went in the fridge to be used as snacks.

Baby Carrots
 
Other than the carrots, not much else was harvested this past week.

Another Lancelot leek:

Lancelot Leek
 
The white portion of the stem is not very large but I also use the light green part so little will go to waste.

The last of the white lady turnips:

White Lady Turnips
 
These were not as pristinely white as the earlier harvests - they had a bit of a yellowish tinge to them.  I’m wondering if this was caused by frost and/or low temps.  Not a big deal, however, as the yellowing was only skin deep & they still tasted delicious.

Lastly, we shelled the Cherokee Trail of Tears beans:

Cherokee Trail of Tears
 
I set aside perhaps 1/2 a cup of beans for use as seed and this jar is what was left over - I haven't checked the numbers but I'm fairly certain the yield was down quite a bit from last year.

I didn’t harvest any greens this past week as my fridge was full of cabbage & kale harvested at the farm (they did their final picking).  I tried my first napa cabbage and LOVE it!  I’ve probably had it before in stir fries etc., but never actually used it in the kitchen.  I’ll have to see if I can squeeze a couple of them into the plan for next year.

Getting those extra greens from the farm has worked out well.  Even though I have several greens left in the beds, once I pick them that will be it.  The temps are getting quite low now and they are unlikely to put on any more growth.  I think I have about 2 weeks worth of pickings left before the season is officially done.

My harvest totals this week were:

Dried Beans – 514 grams (1.13 lbs)
Carrots – 5,574 grams (12.29 lbs)
Leeks – 118 grams (0.26 lbs)
Turnips – 424 grams (0.93 lbs)
Turnip Greens – 94 grams (0.21 lbs)

Total for Week – 6,724 grams (14.82 lbs)

Total to Date – 208 kg (458 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

35 comments:

  1. Nice haul of carrots. I, too, find it takes months for them to size up. The "days to maturity" on the seed packages is wishful thinking in my experience.

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    1. It's funny you should say that because I'm fairly sure I have had this issue every single year I've grown them, although this time round it was even worse than usual - I thought it was something I was doing wrong, but maybe that's just how they are.

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  2. Very nice harvest of carrots! Mine didn't grow this year at all :(

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    1. Thanks Jenny, and I feel your pain...I had the same experience a couple of years ago when the slugs or earwigs got to all of my seedlings and I ended up carrotless.

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  3. We leave our carrots the ground of the winter and just harvest as we need them but I guess you can't do that can you?

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    1. You know, I'm not sure - the ground freezes rock hard over the winter and I can't imagine that any amount of mulch would keep it from freezing. I have, however, heard of a farm that is only about 30 minutes or so from us that does just that - I'm thinking that may be worth an experiment at some point.

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  4. Your carrots look great. I tend to sow carrots and leave them in the ground most of the season whether they're supposed to mature quickly or not, they always seem to take a long time to get to a decent size.

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    1. Every year something seems to go wrong with my carrots, whether it's sowing them too late, sowing varieties that mature during the heat of summer and don't sweeten up or disappearing seedlings. Lots of trial and lots of error so far but I'm hopeful that I'll eventually figure it out ;)

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  5. There must be some trick to growing good sized carrots in a reasonable time, but I've not figured it out yet. Those lovely little white turnips, on the other hand, are so wonderfully easy. I'm hoping that they are forgiving of late sowings too, I have very little started for my winter garden so I'm going to take a chance on sowing them in November.

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    1. So three votes for completely disregarding the packet date to maturity - maybe I should just do the same thing as when I try to figure out how long a project will take me....estimate the amount of time & then double it. That usually gets me pretty close :)

      I have no doubt that your turnips will do just fine - this was my first time growing them and, unlike the carrots, the challenge was actually harvesting them before they got too big!

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  6. Your carrots are great! I am going to try carrots again here. I have not had much luck in the past. Will try a different variety. Those turnips are so pretty! I love turnips!

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    1. I would definitely give carrots another try - it seems many people have issues with them at first but usually they do end up figuring it out (take a look at Dave's post - http://davessfggarden.blogspot.ca/2015/11/harvest-monday-9-november-2015.html) - a fresh, sweet carrot is worth the effort!

      I love turnips too - pretty, super easy to grow AND delicious...can't beat that!

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  7. Hooray for the Mokums---my personal favorite. So snappy and crisp and sweet! Glad you like them too.
    Did you feel it's worth it growing the dry beans? I did it once, but found that shelling was such a pain in the #$$, I won't do it again. And yet, when I see other's harvests, I get jealous. Sigh.

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    1. The secret is this, Sue - grow & dry the beans, then get your grandson over to your house & just leave the dried beans nonchalantly on the kitchen table. My kids were literally fighting over who got to shell more beans. Truth be told, though, I also don't mind shelling - just put on a good show and shell away. A bucket of beans is done in no time.

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  8. Wow, that's a ton of work! But you'll have snacks and tasty meals for weeks to come. Congrats, again, on a successful harvest!

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    1. Thanks Beth - sometimes it's easy to forget that harvesting is not just picking a veg and shoving it in the fridge. Cleaning, trimming, etc., takes much more time than the actual picking. But once it is done & your fridge, freezer and pantry is stocked, you will be enjoying the fruits (or veg!) of your labour for months to come...so satisfying!

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  9. I think your carrots are lovely, even if it did take them a long time! I wish carrots were as easy as turnips are for me. I was so frustrated with my spring sowing I didn't even attempt it for fall. I can find other ways to be frustrated without seeking it out in the garden!

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    1. Ha ha...so true! I still think that I haven't found my carrot groove, so to speak - I know that Daphne did two sowings and seemed to have the timing down pat. I should take a look at some of her old posts...

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  10. I like the fact that you have grown 6 varieties of carrots all at the same time. This allows a proper comparison, since they all experience the same conditions. The same variety grown in different years often produces a very different result. My carrot-production has been very much improved by the addition of sand to their soil, and by protecting the plants with Enviromesh.

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    1. You are right - nothing beats a side by side comparison as so many things can influence a crop, not the least of which is the weather which is so unpredictable lately...no two years are alike, it seems.

      I also realized just the other week that the carrot bed was in the shade as of noon, whereas it had full sun until 4pm earlier in the summer. I'll likely grow all of the varieties again next year to see how they do in a bed that receives a full dose of sunlight for the entire season.

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  11. Nice mound of baby carrots for snacks! I'm curious how you do your taste test - do you explain that in your end of your review? I mean do you sit there biting some of each or is it just an overall impression of taste - to be honest, I can tell when a carrot is sweet and when it is tasteless but not sure I could identify subtleties in between the two extremes.

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    1. You got it right in your first guess - When I harvested, I literally set aside one carrot from each variety and tasted them, one after the other. You are right in that the taste differences are subtle - my comparisons were mainly in realation to each other (i.e. Chantenay Red Core was sweeter than Scarlet Nantes). But they all had a certain degree of sweetness so my only "decision" was that Mokum was the best and Napoli was the worst, but the others were too close to make any definitive statements on.

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  12. You did a good job on the carrots. I agree, they seem to take forever, starting with germination. But the flavor is worth the effort and the wait.

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    1. Very true, they are definitely worth the wait - I was so dissappointed a couple of years ago when I lost all of my seedlings to slugs/earwigs. And I've already made a note of your deep planting method and will be trying that out next year!

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    2. I think Dave planted his seed about 1" deep & I'll likely do about the same.

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  13. Great that you are able to keep track of your 6 carrot varieties, you obviously are a very organized and methodical person. Going to try mokum next year.

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    1. It is a bit more work in both sowing and harvesting as you have to pick only one variety at a time instead of just digging up the whole bed - but I think it's worth it as there is nothing that drives me crazier than harvesting a veg that is really good and then not knowing what variety it is!

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  14. So nice to have those carrots! Mine are all gone by now! I am envious of how you keep such good records. Guess I am just not that type! Nancy

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    1. I've been a bit lax this year so I'm hoping there are no big gaps in my notes when I go over them. My memory is pretty bad, so they help a lot!

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  15. Oh yes, I agree those carrots look really good, I'm rubbish at carrots. I'm just imagining you washing them all, a job it's nice to come to the end of but worth it. I wish I had those crunchy snacks in my fridge :)

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    1. You sound like me and squash ;) It wasn't as much of a bother to wash them as you would think as I just let the trimmed carrots soak in a big bowl of water for a few minutes and then rubbed them together with my hands. I did that with a couple of changes of water and there you go. The great thing about homegrown carrots is that the skin is so fine that there is no need to peel them. You must give them another go at some point - they really are quite satisfying to grow.

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    2. Haha, yes you're right, I don't like scrubbing veggies, especially carrots and potatoes. But it's quite satisfying to wash 'clean' veggies like your lovely carrots, if you get what I mean. I pulled up a few teeny carrots today, I think they mainly escaped carrot fly but will have a closer look.

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  16. Your carrots look fantastic and the turnips are so pretty. I'll be happy if I get your haul of carrots. Maybe carrots are finicky like peppers, they don't like it too hot, they don't like it too cold, they like their soil sandy but moist, etc.

    The tops on the carrots I have in the ground are still small, nothing like the huge ferns at markets. But pushing around the soil it looks like baby carrots are starting to form.

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    1. Carrots have been a bit hit or miss for me, either because of pests eating the seedlings or timing - and you're right, everyone seems to have their own carrot issue, be it weather, soil, etc. I think carrots are one of those veg that most people can grow, it just takes a bit of time to figure out the best way to do that in your particular garden.

      Judging from everyone's comments, carrots take quite a bit longer to mature than those seed packets say (and I thought it was just me!), so I wouldn't worry too much about your small ferns - patience is what we need when it comes to carrots. I definitely would have let them go a bit more if our season was longer.

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