By this time of year the pace of the garden here has usually slowed down quite a bit. And that slower pace is always a welcome relief to me! Greens and root vegetables often play a starring role at this time of year, but this October they are joined by an unlikely companion: green beans.
I don’t usually grow green beans here in fall but this year I had plenty of seed and a bare spot in the garden so I decided to give them a try. I planted some Derby seeds in early August, and the beans came on just in time before a fairly light frost did in the plants. I got 2 pounds of beans from my little planting, so the gamble definitely paid off. In past attempts my fall beans have fallen victim to either mildew or pest issues, but this year they did fine. I’ll have to give them a try again next year. We have a lot of beans in the freezer from the spring planting, but it was sure nice to have a taste of fresh ones once again.
We’ve also been enjoying all the greens the garden has been giving us. The Beedy’s Camden kale has been tasty, as usual. I’ve got Lacinato kale that’s ready to eat too. I’ve started cutting some of the cut and come again lettuce I have planted in my mini-salad boxes (aka Lettuce On Wheels). There are lots of salad greens planted in the cold frames and greenhouse, so we should be set for the next couple of months.
And even though we’ve had a couple of light frosts, some of the tomato vines are still giving us fruit, most notably Sun Gold and Juliet. Those two just keep on going and going around here. I harvested a whole quart of Sun Golds this week, some of which wound up on a salad. The rest of them went into a baked cherry tomato dish I made, and I’ll share the recipe later this week. They’re not as sweet as they were this summer, but they’re downright tasty for a tomato this late in the year. It looks like Sun Gold might well be the first tomato and the last tomato we enjoy in 2012.
In the root department, I started pulling turnips a couple of weeks ago for the roots and the greens. My wife and I both love turnips in every way they can be fixed, which is usually quite simply. We’ve also eaten some of the small white Asian ones raw, with some yogurt/mustard dip. I planted extra turnips where some of the 2011 garlic crop grew – mostly the Purple top variety, and I plan on giving these away. I also started a jar of lacto-fermented turnip pickles last week, and I’m thinking about trying to make a small batch of turnip kraut before all the turnips are gone.
The fall planted carrots are sizing up nicely, despite the fact the local deer herd munched on the tops about a week ago. They’ve now been sprayed with deer repellent, so hopefully that will be the last attack. The deer also ate our almost-ripe rose hips. Frankly, I would love to ‘harvest’ some of the deer myself, which would help make up for all the misery they cause us, but that is a topic for another day. It is safe to say that hunting the deer will ultimately be the only way to thin their numbers down. There are way too many deer in our suburban area, and no real food for them except for lawns, backyard flowers and vegetable gardens. It is a sad, no-win situation for all involved, deer and humans.
A crop I’ve been harvesting pretty much all summer is celery. This is the first time I’ve grown celery in a number of years. I only have four plants, but that has been more than enough to keep us supplied with celery as we need it. For all that I’ve read about celery being difficult to grow, I have to say it has not been that difficult so far. I lost a few plants before they got well established, but once they were growing they did quite well, and survived the heat and drought nicely. It is nice to have the fresh celery available, and I do plan on freezing some before the cold weather does them in. This year I grew the hybrid Tango variety.
That’s an update on what we are harvesting here in October. To see what other gardeners from all over the world are harvesting, visit Daphne’s Dandelions, host of Harvest Mondays. And Happy Growing to all of you gardeners out there!