Final vegetable harvest

vegetable harvest

Yesterday, we harvested the last of the leeks, beets, cabbage, carrots and parsnips. My concern was that we’re headed for quite a freeze soon and once that happens, it’s impossible to dig the root crops out of the soil. They will be doomed to spend the rest of their lives frozen in time, only to turn to mush whenever we get a thaw again.

As I mentioned in my garden wrap-up, the carrot crop was pathetic. I don’t know why the plants didn’t get off to a good start. I even re-seeded the carrot patch a couple of times, but to no avail.

The parsnips crop, however, was the complete opposite (which is why I’m scratching my head). As you can see in the photo, the roots are robust and abundant. If you have never tried parsnips, or if you think you might not like them, you’ve really got to give them a try! They have a sweet taste, especially after being roasted in the oven. I have a recipe for a potato and parsnip gratin that is delightful; it’s what we’re having for dinner tonight. I’ll try to post it in the next day or so. Maybe consider picking up a few parsnips at the grocery store and giving them a try.

OK, where was I? Oh yeah, today’s harvest. We pulled up the last of the beet crop and if ever there was The Year of the Beets, this was it. Most of the roots were really large. We’ve been roasting them — mainly to add into green salads — and last night, my husband Bill made a big pot of Borscht soup that was out of this world.

The cabbage crop did pretty well. We really liked the smaller, more conical heads of ‘Early Jersey Wakefield’ cabbage. The seeds came from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (www.rareseeds.com). They were easy to grow but we did have a problem with slugs. Next year, I intend to grow this variety again and will buy some organic slug bait to see how well that works. The other thing that occasionally happened was some of the cabbage heads “exploded” when we’d left them in the garden too long. That was certainly a unique problem! I think they didn’t much care for the late summer heat. Fortunately, the heads were still salvageable.