November 22, 2010

November Garden Tour

We finally had our first frost on November 7th. It was predicted for Nov. 6, so the evening of the 5th, I went out and diligently covered all my tomato and pepper plants. Last year, by covering the plants every time frost or freeze was predicted, I was able to extend my harvest of these by about 6 weeks.

This year I planned to do the same thing. I woke up on the 6th, no frost. OK, so I uncovered the plants. The next night was predicted to have a low in the 40s. So did I cover my plants? No. Guess when the first frost was. Yup. I woke up that morning to frost covering the rooftops, the ground, and the garden.

My first chore of the day was to pick all the green tomatoes and remaining sweet peppers. As you can see, I had lots. I froze 2 quarts of peppers, and still had plenty left. Some of the tomatoes I laid out on a pantry shelf to ripen, but I also wanted to try Michelle's suggestion of Farmgirl Susan's green tomato relish.

I was able to put up 21 pints, using not only our own green tomatoes, but also our sweet peppers and onions. I had to buy some of the other ingredients, but these are all things we will eventually grow ourselves. Michelle is right, it's really more like a salsa than a relish. Very tasty with tortilla chips and I can't wait to try it in my Americanized enchilada recipe.

So that's it for the summer garden except for the Swiss chard....

... and calendula. Both have withstood frosty mornings so far and continue to produce. I'm saving seed from the calendula, and we're still eating fresh, steamed Swiss chard plus...

... I've been dehydrating quite a bit. I have some 33 pints canned, so had been thinking about trying to dry Swiss chard, but wasn't sure. Then I read Mr. H's blog post about making his own dehydrator. One of the links he provided showed old photos of folks drying, what else, Swiss chard! I have close to two gallons dehydrated so far.

Of my fall crops,

the beets continue to thrive.

And the broccoli is starting to head. We've had samples in salads.

Cabbages are finally making heads as well. I have nine planted, and am hoping for a big batch of sauerkraut from them. 

Carrots are doing well.

So is my garlic! I bought only one bulb to plant last spring. Rather than eat any of that harvest, I divided the bulbs into cloves and replanted. We eat a lot of garlic so I need to be planting plenty.

Lettuce with a backdrop of carrot greens.

And mesclun mixed with radishes.

I thought I planted my turnips too late in the season, but obviously not. They are getting huge. Besides one batch of sauerruben, I'm trying to store some. It's still too warm in my pantry for that though, so these are sprouting. Another batch of sauerruben is probably the answer to that.

Then there are the parsnips and rutabaga seeds I planted not too long ago.  So far no sign of the parsnips. I understand these are a little fussy to grow, but I'm hoping for the best.

Something is coming up in the rutabaga bed however. Do you see the sprouting plant on the left? Does anyone know if that's a rutabaga? This is my first year to grow them so I don't know what the seedlings look like. I'm hoping these are them.

We also planted annual rye in the lower half of the garden, where Dan tilled in the chicken litter.

It's coming up kind of clumpy, but it's coming up. We'll till this in as green manure come spring. And that's how my garden grows this November. How about you?

Text and photos of November Garden Tour © November (of course) 2010 by Leigh at


Geodyne said...

Your little sprout: not a rutabaga. The rutabagas, when they sprout, will look like turnips as they're related.

Parsnips are said to be hard to grow because they're like parsley: the seeds only sprout when they're really, really fresh. When you do finally get some, let one or two go to seed and use that seed quickly (or allow to self-seed!). You'll have parsnips forever more!

As always, thanks for sharing. It's so nice to see a garden going on and producing surplus for winter, as I busily go about breaking mine down an giving my surplus away to whomever will accept it.

Leigh said...

That's what I was afraid of. Actually, I began to notice similar sprouts elsewhere, so this confirms it.

I had read that parsnips are difficult to grow and no, this is not the freshest seed. Our other challenge is that our summers get really hot, which I doubt parsnips care for. They hold a special place in my heart because of childhood memories! I'll keep trying though, because it took me a number of years to get the hang of growing beets. So hopefully, there's hope!

Geodyne said...

Parsnips are definitely better after a frost!

Theresa said...

I love parsnips! Just had to get that out. The fall garden looks wonderful and really, we will need a pic or two of that wonderful magical pantry once it's all filled ( stuffed?)!
We went right from light frost to snow!

Leigh said...

Geodyne I've read that. I just want to experience it myself! :)

Theresa, another parsnip lover! Funny because it really isn't that popular of a vegetable any more.

You're right, my pantry is getting fuller. :) I'm trying to work on a future post with all my preservation records for the year. I'll have to add a pantry pic or two.

Nina said...

Your fall garden is great. What wonderful abundance. There is nothing but a few leeks left in my garden now. They're not really growing at all, but it's convenient storage for the moment. We've had some very light snow fall, hard frosts and it's getting cold here now. I'm just thankful that we've not had a major snowfall yet! That sort of weather does cut into the gardening time!

Mama Pea said...

It's near amazing to me that we all garden, but have such WIDELY divergent climates! My garden is done, done, done and this morning is covered with snow that got freezing drizzle on it all day yesterday. Forecast today is for 3-6" more of snow possibly mixed with freezing rain!

Really enjoyed all the pictures of your fall garden. Also admire that you find a way to use everything the garden gives you.

I've dried Swiss chard as "green" feed for the poultry in the winter. Not sure all the work was worth it, but it was snarfed up by the birds!

Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

It looks so nice to still have stuff growing in the garden. If you coat that swiss chard with a sauce, say homemade ranch dressing and dry it, you can eat it like a healthy chip. It one of my favorite snacks.

Laura @ Getting There said...

I love to read posts like this, Leigh, seeing as how I am a city person with no garden to speak of, and far to the north of you at that. This time of year, I see mostly shriveled dry leaves and bare branches when I look outside, so it's lovely to see a garden that's still full of life.

The tomato relish recipe was interesting--I made a similar one this year, but it was truly a relish instead of a salsa. My recipe left out the jalapeno peppers and included brown sugar, cinnamon and cloves. It's supposed to be lovely mixed with cream cheese and spread on crackers, but I haven't gotten around to trying this yet! Cream cheese hasn't been on sale and I refuse to pay full price. :)

Laura @ Getting There said...

Oh by the way, I love parsnips too! :) I love to load up my beef stew with them, the taste is so much more interesting than carrots. Of course my kids don't like them too much, but that's to be expected. :)

Mr. H. said...

I still have not tried drying Swiss chard but am happy to hear that you have. It should be a great way to use it in soups or even casserole dishes.

Your turnips look really great, I am always amazed at how fast they grow. Geodyne is right, rutabagas look more like little turnips when they emerge and parsnips are oh so slow.

Fresh broccoli sounds nice, lucky you...ours is finished for the year.

Leigh said...

Nina, so that means I can grow leeks and leave them to overwinter in the garden too! Good to know.

Weather does make gardening iffy. We can go either way this time of year, with mild temps blown in from the southwest, or be hit by a bitter cold front from the north. No telling!

Mama Pea, it never occurred to to me to use Swiss chard as feed. Either fresh or dried. It's done really well in my garden this year so I'll definitely have to plant lots again next year.

Jane, thanks for that idea! I love ranch dressing and any tip for eating more veggies is always welcome. :)

Laura, consider making your own yogurt and yogurt cheese! The salsa was absolutely yummy that way. I really liked the recipe, down to using apples for sweetener. DH's only complaint was that it could have been hotter. Even though I used hot peppers (serrano) I saved the seeds for planting instead of letting them heat up the salsa. Next year, spicier.

Parsnips in beef stew sounds great! I use them in my grandmother's chicken stew, and love that.

Mr H, good idea about the dried chard in casseroles. I'd already planned on soups, but it would add bulk and nutrition to casseroles too.

I've been reading that parsnip seeds should be soaked before planting and kept moist afterward. I didn't soak them and I know the soil was starting to dry out before our last rain. I'll remain patient and hopeful though, as I watch over that bed.

Elizabeth said...

Great post. Especially appreciated the link to dehydrator. Needs to be a winter project this year. And the idea of drying chard was great. May have to try drying some of my collards for the goats later when even that's not available for them green.

Laura said...

My sister was telling me about "baked" kale, which I'm sure you could do with chard, too. You spray the leaves lightly with oil, then bake them on a cookie sheet until crisp. She say's they're better than potato chips, and you can put different seasonings on them too.

Katrien said...

Looking good, both virtually and for real!

Leigh said...

Elizabeth, your goats like collards? Hmm, I've never been inclined to grow them but if goats like them, I should give them a try.

Laura, wow, baked kale? That's something else I've been meaning to plant. I should definitely try it with the chard. I have a lot, so I need a lot of ways to use it. :)

Katrien, thanks!

Robin said...

Your winter garden looks great. I have to say that I feel a sense of happiness when I walk by our garden and I actually have something growing in it even though it is winter. Too bad about the peppers getting hit by the frost. Everything that was a summer vegetable has been long gone over here so you are lucky.

Leigh said...

Robin, I am continually grateful for such a long growing season. This is only the second fall garden I've had, but I've learned a lot in two years and hope only to improve on what I can grow. I hope to have a hoop house next year!

bibliotecaria said...

Swiss chart dried? How do you cook it? You mention casseroles in the comments -- could you do a post with an example recipe?

I'm generally interested in casserole recipes anyway. I've got one I'd like to use, but it uses the campbell's soups as part of the substance of the casserole, and I'd like to find something to replace that. What did cooks use for casseroles before there were condensed soups?

Leigh said...

Actually I haven't cooked any of it yet! We've still had it fresh in the garden until last night, so I prefer to eat that. Soups will be easy, just toss some in and let it cook with the rest of the pot. Casseroles I'll have to experiment with. Will post recipes as I find good ones!

I agree about soups. One thing I've recently learned is that many of the pre-Campbell's creamed soups are made with roux: up to equal amounts of flour and butter (or fat or oil of choice. Mix and cook slightly, add milk to make a cream base for any casserole or soup. My scalloped potatoes layer potato slices with flour, then milk is poured over all and baked. This makes a nice cream sauce with very little extra trouble. You've got me thinking I need to experiment with this more.