December 2, 2012

The Winter Harvest Garden

CHINESE CABBAGE AND NAPA CABBAGE STILL BEING PICKED ON THIS SNOWY, FRIST WEEK OF DECEMBER IN OUR RAISED BEDS WITH NOTHIN MORE THAN A FLOATING ROW COVER.


Even without a hoophouse, we are able to harvest fresh vegetables through most of December directly from our raised beds. Napa Cabbage, lettuce and other greens such as arugula and Swiss Chard are still being harvested with plenty left. This surprises visitor since we have had a couple of weeks of very cold weather, where temperatures reached far below 32º F, and as low as 22º F on Friday night. With little protection, these late crops show no damage, aside from some squirrel damage, since now the critters have discovered how crispy and sweet this Napa Cabbage is. Sown in late August, the plants grew quickly into small heads of crispy Chinese Cabbage which we have been using in Chinese Winter Sesame salad ( with a dressing made with mayonnaise, toasted sesame seed oil, rice wine vinegar, siracha tossed and then served with cilantro, cucumber, lime and a sprinkle of brilliantly red pomegranate seeds.).



UNDER CLOCHES, LETTUCE MATURES EVEN WITH TEMPERATURES DIPPING AT NIGHT DOWN TO 22º F.
 Fancy French lettuce varieties are so crispy and freeze resistant when grown outdoors, that I am amazed at how low they can go, where if grown in the spring or summer, they would die if exposed to freezing temperatures. These Lollo forms are choice in fancy markets, and hard to find around here since the closest Whole Foods is an hour away. They are so curly that they look like curly parsley which is why they are popular in European markets and garden centers. This varieties make perfectly perfect salads especially when paired with our homemade dressing which is made with garden fresh heirloom Russian violet garlic, home made cider vinegar and our own honey.





EARLY DECEMBER IN THE GREENHOUSE - IT SURVIVED THE FURNACE RUNING OUT OF GAS YESTERDAY


In the greenhouse, it's still a mess, as plants from the autumn where quickly dragged in, and still not sorted out. It takes some fancy stepping to naviagate around the paths without breaking ones neck. early Camellia and Cyrtanthus are in still providing most of the color, and a few Nerine sarniensis are blooming. In a couple of weeks I will have two weeks off for the Holidays, which traditionally is my time to putter in the greenhouse, and organize things. Until then, I don't even want to show pictures to anyone for there are species gladiolus next to tropaeolum, and narcissus species next to nerine. Cyclamen species are scattered about everywhere, and massive tubs of "clipped" agapanthus look as out of plance as a shaved dog in the springtime. They are waiting to be moved under the benches. Other plants I have left outside to freeze, including many agapanthus which are just too heavy to move this time.

MANY LACHENALIA ALOIDES SPECIES AND SELECTIONS ARE COMING ALONG NICELY, SOME MAY BE IN BLOOM BY EARLY JANUARY. THE SOUTH AMERICAN BULBS ALSO KNOWN AS CAPE COWSLIPS, WERE ONCE COMMON IN 18th CENTURY GREENHOUSES IN NEW ENGLAND, BUT TODAY, ARE RATHER UNCOMMON ANYWHERE. JUST FINDING FORMS  TO COLLECT IS CHALLENGING.

2 comments :

  1. Do you keep the cabbage covered overnight or if the temperature remains very cold during the day?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your greens look beautiful. Here in Israel we do very well growing kale during the cooler winter months.

    ReplyDelete

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