Thursday, January 23, 2014

Vicarious Gardening in January

Although I'm truly not ready for spring yet, nor am I the least bit eager to start seedlings in the house, I do have a garden related project that needs to be done.

What I am wanting to do may be dry as dust of little interest to anyone else, but it is time for me to finally pull my notes together from the 2013 gardening season for my own records.

So here goes the first of a couple of posts regarding last year's garden and the harvests from same.


Let's start with the onions.  I don't have much trouble growing onions and last year, as usual, gave me a good crop of both yellow and red.  I have them in an area of the basement that has been staying between 45° and 50° this winter.  Forty-five might be on the low side for optimal storage for onions, but so far, so good.  I find perhaps one soft onion in each bag.  I still have four of these containers full of onions.

Rhonda over at Glory Farm sent me some wonderful garlic in the fall of 2012 which I planted.  Those cloves developed into some of the biggest bulbs I've ever seen.  I probably wasn't too smart in that I used every last one of them and didn't save any for planting.  Yep, not the brightest move.


Down in the root cellar (where the lighting leaves a bit to the desired so the following pictures are kind of hit and miss), the remaining cabbages aren't very pretty.  But on the other hand, this is the longest we've been able to keep heads of cabbage and have them usable.  If I peel off a couple of outer leaves, they're still sound and flavorful.  These few are all we have left.  I wish I had planted more, especially the red.  They never seem as bothered as the green ones by insects in the garden, and I really like having a purple vegetable on our plates.  (How often do you see that?)


We have carrots in this over-sized pail covered with a damp towel and they look great.


Also some in plastic bags with holes poked in the bags for a little ventilation.  I think the ones in the pail are keeping much better.   I purposely didn't plant as many carrots this year as I usually do.  The total harvest came in at 21-1/2 pounds and I think we're going to make it well into spring with the ones we still have left.


The beets are in a couple of 5-gallon pails each covered with a damp towel.  I never got around to processing a bunch for the freezer, but I still might do that because when wanting to serve beets as a veggie, they sure are a lot more convenient right from the freezer.  I didn't use any beets to make pickled beets either because the last time I did, I got way carried away (what was I thinking?) and we still have enough for 10-12 years.  Or more.  The beets are keeping exceptionally well.  In sorting through them, we found only a few small ones that were beginning to feel a little soft.  Those went to the chickens.


The remainder of the turnips in the root cellar are not doing well.  These few are all we have there, but I do have a bagful in the spare refrigerator . . . which aren't faring any better.  Don't know if I'll even plant turnips next year.  Well, maybe just a short row for eating fresh.  I do like them for crunch in summer salads or on a tray with dip.  If I do plant some, I must remember that the green tops grow huge and over-power anything within 5 feet of them.  (Not quite, but almost.)  Also, I know they are best harvested and eaten at 2-3" in diameter, and I let most of them get too big this past year.


Our potato harvest was fantastic last season, and we couldn't ask for more flavorful potatoes.  Solid, hard and crisp.  They're in the root cellar, some in 5-gallon pails covered with a damp towel, some in a big cardboard box covered with a damp towel and some in burlap bags.  So far, they all still look really good.

This covers vegetables in the basement and root cellar so I'll end here for this post.  

16 comments:

D said...

We grow turnips and then can them with our mustard greens. Really good. We don't like the turnip greens.

tpals said...

Excellent glimpse into your root cellar methods. I grew lots of cabbage last summer, but don't care for it much myself so it was all to treat the chickens.

Sparkless said...

I've never heard of covering them with a damp towel. Do you have to keep wetting the towel and do you get any mold on the towel? I don't really have a good place to store any root crops or canned foods yet. I'm hoping that we may be able to dig out our basement and finish it.

Candy C. said...

Wow, you still have lots of stuff left! :)
Here in AZ, it is very difficult to store root vegetables. Even in the winter, it seems to be too warm...especially this winter!!

The Weekend Homesteader said...

I would love to have a basement or root cellar, but they aren't as common in the south.

WordsPoeticallyWorth said...

Good luck with your gardening. I don't have a garden, I have a courtyard - not through choice!

Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

Susan said...

I am going to have to work on creating a storage space for my root veges. I've only had minor success with various parts of the house. What red onions do you plant? Yours look wonderful! How nice to have all that lovely food available.

Mama Pea said...

D - Sounds like a good southern dish!

Mama Pea said...

tpals - Oh, I know chickens would love any cabbages that came their way!

Mama Pea said...

Sparkless - We do have to dampen the towels about once a month . . . but haven't had to since the weather has been so cold. The temp in the root cellar was getting close to freezing (34°) so we put a light bulb down there which has helped. No mold has shown up yet. Probably too cold?

Mama Pea said...

Candy C. - Yes, I do know those of you in warmer climates (and near the oceans) don't have the option of having and using root cellars. Lots of spare refrigerators??

Mama Pea said...

The Weekend Homesteader - See? We do have some advantages along with this frigid weather! ;o}

Mama Pea said...

WordsPoeticallyWorth - Thanks for the good wishes.

Mama Pea said...

Susan - This is the first year we've really had ours operating as it should . . . and are pleased as punch that it's working! The red onions were planted as sets (the little round bulbs) that I picked up at a Menard's store. I can't remember the variety. Sorry.

Kelly said...

Wow! You did have quite the harvest! It's amazing how much you still have stored! I'm wanting a tornado/root cellar dug into one of our hills. Some day :)

Mama Pea said...

Kelly - For all the wants and needs on a homestead, we have sometimes have to wait a long time.

I work really hard at gardening (good thing I love doing it!) and try to have a year's supply of everything I can raise up here in Zone 4. Root crops almost always do well.