January 5, 2012

My Winter Garden in January

Cabbage-collards (front) & turnips (back)

My garden hasn't changed much since the last time I showed it to you. I've mulched a few more beds and some things have grown a little, but even that has been slow. We've been eating more out of it than we did at this time last year, because the weather has been milder, much more so than our first two winters here. Not that I'm complaining about this, it's actually been more typical for this part of the country. Last year by January, we'd already had several snows, and the garden was pretty dormant. This year, plenty of rain but nary a flake in the sky and the temperatures have only dipped below 20 F a couple of times. Most daytime recoveries are in the 40s at least.

Front to back: Scarlet Nantes carrots, Detroit Red beets (reddish in
color, hard to see), both from saved seed, and Siberian Dwarf kale

That's means we're still enjoying various greens such as lettuce, beet, collard, cabbage-collard, and kale.

Dwarf Siberian Kale

The kale is Dwarf Siberian, last year's freebie thank you seed packet, from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. A number of years ago I grew a curled Scotch kale, but no one in the family was very impressed. Dan and I really like this variety however. It's great raw in salads, as a steamed green, or ingredient for soup or stew. The goats like it too.

My radishes have grown huge.

Probably China Rose & Pink Beauty Radishes

Surprisingly, they are not pithy nor too hot. They make a very tasty salad with that fresh kale.

We're also enjoying beet roots and plenty of turnips...

Purple top white globe Turnips

We share the turnip greens and trimmings with the goats. We like turnips a variety of ways: roasted, steamed, boiled and mashed (with or without potatoes), and mostly as sauerruben.

Lacto-fermented turnips, a.k.a. sauerruben

Some things are slower to grow, so I'm still waiting to harvest, like carrots and my parsnips.

 All American Parsnip
Last year I planted Harris Model, but nothing grew

Other slow growers include broccoli ...

Waltham 29 broccoli from saved seed

Waltham 29 is supposed to be ready in 85 to 90 days, but I planted these the third week of September and the largest head was only about the size of a quarter. I harvested them all just the other day, when we were forecast to dip into the teens with a high of only 30. Frost kissed is one thing, frozen is another. I got enough for us to have in a broccoli, kale, dried cranberry salad.

This cabbage too, was slow....

I don't remember the variety

This is one of the nine purchased plants I planted last April. I harvested it along with the broccoli. It will make a tasty sauerkraut.

Lastly, the winter wheat is growing well,

Winter wheat

and the seed catalogues are arriving in droves. I reckon it's time to start thinking ahead toward spring. :)

23 comments:

  1. Your winter garden looks fabulous! How do the purple turnips compare to regular turnips in taste?

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  2. Wow. :) I am so jealous. I wish I had thought of planting in the fall. :)

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  3. It's pretty amazing to see how much you still have going on in the garden...those turnips look great. Glad you are enjoying a mild winter this year, so are we, with very little snow and plenty of sunny days so far.

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  4. Stephanie, these are actually the only variety of turnip I've ever tried. I do have a seed packet of "Golden Ball" turnips, that I plan to try this spring. I'll let you know!

    Aleisethefunny, there's always next year! It's taken me awhile to do well with my fall garden, but it's definitely been worth the effort.

    Mr H, key words are "so far"! LOL

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  5. FANTASTIC Leigh ! We are experts at livestock (tongue in cheeck) but always behind with gardening. THIS YEAR will be different and you will be our role model

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  6. your garden looks fantastic, I planted brocolli and then added some brussel sprouts. Hmmm guess it would have been a good idea to mark the calendar when I planted. Brocolli plants are growing good even tho over half of last month temperatures were below freezing last month. One of the sprout plants has little tiny sprouts about the size of a pin head, will have to keep checking it's progress.

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  7. Your fall garden is beautiful , everything looks so nice and healthy ..I know your enjoying the flavors..are you putting some of those greens away? I found my fall garden better than my Spring one..

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  8. Good job on the winter garden! The bees are still enjoying my broccoli. You're winter wheat looks great too.

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  9. Hi Leigh and welcome to the new year. Reading your blog post reminds me that i need to start a garden next year in the back of my home, so i will start with a small one i think. I can not blame the soil because ours here is some of the best in the world, so i really need to take advantage of that. Richard

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  10. You constantly impress me Leigh. I'm envious of your garden, but it does inspire me to do a much better job in ours. We'll try for a spring/summer garden again this year. I'm curious as to what you do with sauerruben . . . it must be similar to sauerkraut only with turnips?

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  11. The garden looks great...I just love the stand of wheat..you are really going to be happy with that harvest! I haven't spent as much time in my winter garden as last year...new job and all...but I just put in my order of seeds and will really ramp up the spring/summer garden.

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  12. Donna, thanks! I feel the same way about your expertise regarding livestock and soapmaking. :)

    TL, glad to hear your broccoli is doing well in spite of the cold. What variety did you plant? I tried Brussels sprouts one year, but the aphids got them!

    Ginny, actually we're just eating them. One year I canned about 40 pints of Swiss chard, but we rarely eat that. Of course, that isn't our favorite green, it was just the one I had plenty of. Frozen would be nice but my freezer is almost overflowing as it is!

    Candace, hurray for your bees. So glad they are active this time of year.

    Richard, happy new year to you too. I do hope you get at least a small garden in. It's so rewarding! And of course you'll blog about it, right?

    Janice, well, this is the first year it's actually looked that good. I say it's the compost! Yes, sauerruben is exactly like sauerkraut only turnips. We eat it as is. I usually serve it as a side dish for sandwiches or burgers.

    Lynda, some years are like that. I've spent less time than I ought, mostly because of the kitchen!

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  13. Everything looks so nice, not like winter at all. The hubby and I have been talking about making it a top priority to figure out how to keep the Kale year round without losing it to rabbits, etc..It is nice to know that there is a variety that is good in salads also..some wouldn't be good at all for that. xo

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  14. Your winter garden is very exciting! Mine is under snow right now. I've got a few leeks left that I can harvest during the next mild spell. I got the garlic planted, but it won't come up until the weather warms and the ground thaws. Wow, your winter wheat is huge! Winter wheat here doesn't do much until the spring. I discovered that Kale is a pretty darned good veggie not long ago. My childhood memories of Kale was a very, very tough, very bitter green but What I've been finding lately is quite tender and tasty.

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  15. Leigh,
    Boy, the only thing I have in the garden right now is Garlic! But your right the weather is better this year! 64 degrees tomorrow! sounds like laundry day to me.
    Again, make sure you read my latest post, question for you!

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  16. I still have onions and carrots in my garden...but when I went to harvest some this past week the ground was too frozen for me to get the shovel in. So I had to repack dirt around them. brrr!

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  17. Sherri, it doesn't feel like winter either! I agree not all kale is the same. If Baker Creek hadn't sent me the free packet, I never would have ordered it based on previous experience. Critters are a challenge. We do have rabbits, but deer do the most damage.

    Nina, seems like kale is going through a rediscovery! The scotch curled was bitter too as I recall. I really like this variety.

    I have to confess I'm a tad concerned that the wheat is growing too fast for this time of year! Last year the cold and snow slowed it down. Hopefully it will make it through whatever heads our way.

    Tom, your blog post answered one of my questions as well, thanks! And if I had to have one thing in my garden right now, it would be garlic. :)

    Bummer Renee! I'm hoping to avoid that with lots of leaf mulch. Of course, our weather hadn't actually been that cold. :)

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  18. OMG Leigh! Your garden looks so lovely. I called Cliff in here and had to show him how beautiful it was!

    Like we said...lovely weather we are all having right now! :)

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  19. Oh, your winter wheat meadow is like a poem!

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  20. Your stove is beautiful. Will it be your only cook source?

    I love the winter wheat. I am interested in what you are going to do with it.

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  21. Even my big male cat Tucker liked dwarf Siberian blue kale! All you had to do was hold it up to him, and he would nosh it like a goat.

    I'm really regretting with our mild weather that off-homestead family commitments kept me from getting more crops in the ground this fall. I'm so happy for you that you have such great bounty!

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  22. I dream of having a winter garden like yours. We're in a little colder climate, but not too much colder I think. With the right use of hoop houses I think we could do very well. Yours is truly beautiful. Very nice work.

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  23. Wow, what happened, I didn't respond to quite a few comments!

    Pam, this is the best winter garden I've ever had. Of course, the mild weather helps. :)

    Kaat, what a beautiful thing to say!

    Trixi, thanks. I still have my electric stove, but we moved it out onto the back porch. That will be my summer and canning kitchen, so I can keep all cooking heat outside!

    Ozark Homesteader, how funny about your cat! I've seen cats that loved broccoli, so why not kale. Riley, he's not so interested in greens, but he does love cantaloupe.

    Jody, well we've had a mild winter so far so that helps! I have to admit that past winter gardens haven't done so well. Maybe persistence really does pay off. I think you're right about a hoop house. Definitely something to try.

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