Given the weather forecast for the next week (rain/snow/cold/frost), we knew we'd better harvest cabbages and dig carrots today.
Remaining in the garden were 21 heads of cabbage, some red and some green. The red cabbages didn't get as big as the green ones this year, but that's fine with me. I've been planting both varieties that don't get as big as Rhode Island because 1) they're easier to work with, and 2) unless I'm making sauerkraut, a giant head is sometimes hard to use up before it goes bad.
This year we're going to try hanging the cabbages by their roots in the root cellar. I'm also going to cover the heads with a perforated plastic bag. We'll see how this method works to keep them fresh for an extended period.
Our main crop of carrots is always Scarlet Nantes which did much better (hooray!) than the pencil-thin roots I got last year. Last year and this year, I also planted a 4' row of the Deep Purple variety and a 4' row of the Dragon variety. They are both "purple" carrots, but the Dragon is dark only on the outside with a more regular orange color underneath the skin. The Deep Purple is a dark color all the way through. Looks great on a relish tray, but I've learned not to put them in a soup or stew because they "bleed" and turn most everything an unappetizing gray. Yuck.
Those few in the wheelbarrow above are in the process of getting the tops cut off leaving about an inch of stem.
Then we hose them off before storage. Don't these look almost glow-in-the-dark? (Anybody have an idea what that renegade light colored one is?)
Here's about half of the purple carrot harvest in a five gallon pail. They are HUGE this year. Or as Papa Peas says, "Almost scary." Many of them are a full 12" long. I'm eager to taste test them and hope they didn't get too big and are woody or have a bitter flavor.
After experimenting with storing our carrots in all kinds of ways (in sand, in sawdust, in a pail with a moist towel on top), we've found what works best for us is to package them in perforated plastic bags and stack the bags in a container in the root cellar. I know some people say washing the dirt off them before storage shortens their keeping quality, but we haven't found that to be so.
As of this moment, the cabbages, carrots, beets, potatoes and apples are all resting in the very cool feed room so next on the list is to carefully sort through them, toss (to the poultry) any with outstanding bad spots and then get them down to the root cellar. We were going to get that all done today (hahahaha!), but after working outside in the 32 degree weather (with water) for a few hours, we decided to stagger inside and call it a day. At least it's all harvested now which is more than half the battle.
I tell ya, this gardening fun stuff just never ends, does it?
Sewing Room: Lots of Progress
5 hours ago
Mama Pea, your carrots are amazing! :) Do you have a rogue parsnip going on there? ;) Oh, I LOVED your gray stew with the purple carrots...like I said, add some red wine and nobody will know it's the carrots lol...
I'm looking forward to seeing how your cabbage does! I wouldn't know what to do with all of those heads!
PS: I know, it's 10:20pm here and I should be IN BED getting more sleep!!! ;)
Could you do another post with pictures showing the carrot storage method? I haven't dug mine up yet.
Don't know what variety but I often get the mixed varieties of whole organic carrots and a few look just like the rogue one in your harvest.
I can fix it for you Mama Pea . All your gardening woes will disappear when your shipment of ground squirrels arrive. The unfortunate side effect is because the darn vermin make the garden disappear 🙃
Looking forward to next year for so many reasons.
Great post, Mama Pea. I like the idea of the hardware cloth frame - is that how you wash them down? The bucket wash method isn't fun when the air is cold. And I really like your board walk! I need one of those. Finding places to let the garden harvest dry and cure tends to be a bit of a challenge for me.
Rain - Parsnip is what I was thinking, too. Do you know I still cringe when I think of that chicken and dumplings dish that turned gray because of the purple carrots I put in it?
We love boiled cabbage and I put it in several of my soup recipes. And like it made into coleslaw for a raw veggie all winter. Also making sauerkraut will take quite a few heads.
Rain - Ha! I never would have noticed you were up past your bedtime! A bedtime of 10:30 is late for us. Especially after working outside yesterday in the brrr-chilly-cold! I fell asleep trying to read on the couch before nine last night. :o\
tpals - I will do a post for you after we get the carrots bedded down in the root cellar. Thanks for the idea!
Goatldi - Yes, either a rogue seed from a mixed variety of carrots . . . or a parsnip as someone suggested. Most likely your suggestion. (Do ya think it will kill us if we eat it?)
When the shipment of ground squirrels arrives (who needs enemies with friends like you, my friend), our feisty little red squirrels won't be happy. There will be a big battle waged!
Got anything you want to share that is in store for this new year for you???
Leigh - Yes, our little washing frame made with hardware cloth (which is on it's last legs) has been so handy. We lay the veggies out on it and spray them with the hose.
Finding the right place for most any garden produce (onions, potatoes, garlic, bulbs, herbs, etc.) to dry and cure is always a problem. Even if you had a dedicated drying/curing shed, each variety wants different conditions. (I'll bet Martha Stewart doesn't have these kind of problems.) ;o)
Looks like a good harvest. I can't wait to enjoy our homemade sauerkraut. We didn't plant cabbage this year.
I am so envious of your root cellar, also of your success with your carrots, which we can't grow in the veg garden because of the stones in the ground. But wow, what a wonderful harvest you have had!
Yes I do besides terrorizing unsuspecting gardening friends with unauthorized shipments of ground squirrels?
Garlic going in ground next week and I will and succeed with a barrel of sweet potatoes.
Since Geoffrey won't eat them I will have them all to myself she says in her best demonic laugh 😂
A post about the greenhouse including the good the bad and the ugly is brewing in my overages over used brain. So be on the lookout for that with pictures to boot.
Goatldi - Yay on all counts! :o}
Kristina - We did have a bountiful harvest for which we're very grateful! Both hubby and I are of German heritage so appreciate good sauerkraut! Hope you can get into it next year . . . ?
Hi, Vera - I really don't know what we would do without our root cellar. How would we store all the garden's bounty? Lots (and lots) of spare refrigerators?
Could you sift the stones out of one raised bed which you could then use to grow enough carrots for your own use?
I haven't dug my pitiful few carrots yet; the tops never grew much so I'm not sure if there is much to harvest. I'd love to have cabbage for homemade kraut! One year a client of Rick's gave us two HUGE heads; heaven!
Mmmmmmmmmmm sauerkraut!! I live for sauerkraut. My mom and dad had a giant oak barrel in our basement when I was growing up and they made sauerkraut in that. It was so, so good. Your harvest is outstanding! All that incredibly hard work payed off!
MrsDM - Oh, that sauerkraut made in that oak barrel must have been THE BEST!
Even though I had a couple of failures this year, we were blessed with abundance, that's for sure!
Michelle - Hmmmm, maybe Rick better make a courtesy call on that certain client. Just to say hello, ya know. ;o) Fingers crossed for your carrot harvest.
Looks great! Was that a parsnip mixed in the carrots? Looks the right color...
LHinB - Sure looks like a parsnip, doesn't it? We haven't taste tested yet. :o]
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