Saturday, January 1, 2011

Harvest summary

I'm writing this some months after the actual harvest, but this is what I remember from last year:

Not much asparagus was harvested, but we planted some new plants, so we should see more in a couple years.

Tomatoes did well, especially the wild cherry, which seems to need truly hot weather to ripen properly, instead of simply setting more and more green tomatoes. The first frost was extremely late, but there were still enough green paste tomatoes to make into green tomato mincemeat -- my great-grandmother's recipe. I'd forgotten how much I like it.

Peppers also did well, in large part because of the late frost, which extended the growing season. I lost count of how many we harvested, or even how many pints of pickled peppers we consumed. The banana peppers were all consumed fresh or pickled. I dried some of the green peppers on trays in my car (using it as a solar collector), and they lasted through the winter. I also tried sauteeing some of them before freezing, for using in rice dishes. They were kind of mushy when re-cooked, but with fresh peppers at three bucks a pound, I can live with a little bit of mushy-ness, as long as I can get some pepper flavor into the rice.

Swiss chard did poorly; it was planted in a too-shady spot. Mini carrots did well in a planter, but we tended to forget they were there.

The onions were a little smaller than we'd become accustomed to. I don't know if it was because they were a different variety than the previous year or if it was due to a slight drought right when they needed water the most. Or, perhaps, to our less-than-stellar weeding. They lasted into spring of 2011 before sprouting.

Summer squash (yellow and zucchini) did fine. I finally managed to plant only one zucchini plant, so there was a reasonable amount. The butternut squash were a total loss. Many of the volunteers turned out to be some sort of weird hybrid of butternut plus spaghetti plus summer squash. And then the critters started eating them, and we let them.

Green beans were late but prolific. All the herbs did well.

The early variety of garlic didn't impress. The harvest was puny, and a lot of our wild-growing garlic was edible (albeit small) at about the same time the early garlic ripened, so it didn't really fill a particular need. We did save the largest heads (which were smaller than the average heads for the German Hardy variety) to replant for the coming year, just in case their less-than-stellar performance was a fluke of soil, weather, or non-weeding. They did get planted later than I'd have liked, in late October, when I would have preferred to get them in by the end of September. The pickled garlic did, indeed, last through the winter, with the bulbs remaining firm and un-sprouted after the fresh garlic had turned soft and sour. On the other hand, I pickled far more than I could possibly use before the next fresh crop comes along, so I'll make fewer this coming year.

Not bad, actually, for the investment of $125.

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