"The tragic reality is that very few sustainable systems are designed or applied by those who hold power, and the reason for this is obvious and simple: to let people arrange their own food, energy and shelter is to lose economic and political control over them. We should cease to look to power structures, hierarchical systems, or governments to help us, and devise ways to help ourselves." - Bill Mollison

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Lazy Fall Harvest

Nothing too exciting to report from our Northern Idaho garden as the lackadaisical tranquility of autumn slowly takes hold. Surprisingly warm, above freezing, rainy weather has allowed us an extended grace period in which to finish harvesting the few remaining root vegetables. Purple Top turnips planted in late August have turned into nice little egg-shaped orbs that we have stored away for winter fare. My flock of red headed step children seen in the background were beside themselves waiting in eager anticipation for the nutritious tops to be shared.

The rutabagas have also been packed into totes. We only grew a few this year as they always end up wormy but this season we planted them a bit later, sometime in early July I think, and ended up with a smaller sized but mostly blemish free crop. We planted both the turnips and the rutabagas late in order to avoid issues with root maggots that so often haunt our brassicas during the early spring months.

We also potted up about 15 containers of celery, 3-4 plants per pot, to be used for soups, salads, and stir fry during the cold months. They keep surprisingly well in the root cellar as long as they are not allowed to dry out...you would be amazed at what good use we make of celery around here.


We saw this wonderful video, posted as a reminder to myself, on how to make kimchi this morning. I liked the way she prepared it and am looking forward to trying out this method...I love how she dices her carrots. Unfortunately, with a couple gallons already made it will be sometime before we get around to this. I would like to use turnips in place of radishes and I will probably pass on the squid as we don't have any in our lake...as far as I know.:)

34 comments:

Oxray Farm said...

My turnips always ended up wormy and thus became chicken food....but they loved it. I planted a late harvest of turnips, beets and carrots that I never got around to getting out of the ground. Now that I'm laid up for the month, it seems likely they won't be harvested until spring. :o)

Dani said...

Mr H - Stepchildren indeed LOL!

What on earth are rutabagas? Your turnips look yummy - they're one of my favourite ingredients of chicken soup.

Do so wish we had a cellar to store crops over winter... (Cellars aren't the norm in this country.)

Would love to read some of your uses for celery - like to share?

vrtlarica said...

I enjoy reading about all the different ways you store food. Just like Dani, I wish I had a cellar.

I love the video! I will have too google about kimchi some more, as this is the first time I'm hearing about it.

Engineeredgarden said...

I sure do enjoy seeing your harvests and how you store them. It's really cool how you and your wife get most of your food from the land itself. Very impressive...

Geno said...

I was really enjoying your post until I got to the kimchi. Then I began drooling. This is the first year that we have not made it and the loss is acute. Ah, but the memories...
The weather has been warmer than I expected. Glad it is letting you get a bit more done, although it is keeping business really slow here.

LynnS said...

Do you eat your turnip greens or just use them as supplemental feed for the hens?

I've got to try that celery trick! It would be wonderful to have it fresh all winter long.

The Persimmon seeds are telling me that we will have a mild winter around here. Guess we'll put it to the test. Hope your winter is a warm one too!

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

I read somewhere that we can make stir-fry with the turnip top. I wonder how it taste. I never heard of rutabagas before or seen it in any seed catalog in OZ. Marvelous idea with the celery. Its difficult to get a juicy stem here as we don't have much rain so I grow more chinese celery now.All of your veggie look so nice and healty.

Lorena said...

My husband is a big fan of kimchi, I basically eat it because it's supposed to be good for you, I bet homemade tastes the best

Sense of Home said...

Love the red-headed step children comment. Your celery is beautiful, I have never had good success with celery. I am impressed with your food storage techniques.

-Brenda

Mr. H. said...

Oxray Farm - I planted turnips in the fall one year for greens and by spring had a few nice little bulbs so with any luck you will also have an early spring harvest.

Dani - Rutabagas are a cross between cabbage and a turnip and also called a swede, neep, or yellow turnip. We love to use our celery in any stir fry dish that goes with rice. Also they are a vital ingredient in many of the vegetable soups that we make...like ribollita soup - http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/ribollita-recipe.html

Vrtlarica - Kimchi is a very nice dish and can be made many different ways. The kohlrabi you are growing makes a good addition to kimchi. Here are some other variations - http://www.lifeinkorea.com/culture/kimchi/kimchi.cfm?xURL=types

Engineeredgarden - It is what we love to do. The fun part is in the winter when we get to play around in the kitchen with all of the foods we have grown.:)

Geno - Isn't kimchi great.:) The ski resorts in your area should start to get busy soon I would imagine. The snow is supposed to really start hitting the mountains heavy this week. We went hiking the other day looking for chanterelle mushrooms and got up high enough to get snowed on a bit...no mushrooms though.

Lynn - We love to eat the turnip greens and I do grow some just for that purpose but when harvesting I like to share some with those crazy chickens. I think you would love having celery in a pot, the old stalks get used up in a month or two and then the plants start to send out many new ones for us to enjoy.

Malay-Kadazan Girl - Rutabagas would probably be called a swede in Australia...I think. Both the turnip and rutabaga tops make wonderful additions to any stir fry dish.

Lorena - I have never tried store boughten kimchi, I really need to do so to see if ours tastes similar. Simon & Simon and kimchi, you are so lucky.:)

Mr. H. said...

Brenda - Yes, those crazy chickens are really something else.:) The thing that finally worked for me with celery is to give it lots of space and lots of water. Celeriac on the other hand, I still struggle with.

Silke said...

Well, way to go in distracting me from my housework with this video! Now I am hungry for kimchi!!! Your root veggies look great! Did you also grow celeriac? It's one of my favorites... Hope you are doing great! :) Silke

Heiko said...

These purple turnips look delicious. I must have a look at that kimchi video when I have a moment. I love kimchi and always wanted to know how to do it. We're having a bit of hectic week. It's olive harvest time.

The verification word today is 'taste' :)

Ohiofarmgirl said...

wow look at that celery! i got mine going late and was afraid they would go to waste.. hum... where are my pots?

great work! and dontcha just love turnips in the fall?
:-)

kitsapFG said...

We actually had a nice harvest of turnips mid summer but every single one of them (tops and roots) ended up as treats for our own flock of hungry hens! My husband discovered they loved them and there was no holding him back after that. :D

It's amazing how a little experimentation on when to plant things can change up the results so significantly. That's one of the reasons I used my calendar and blog on my site to keep track of when I do things - because often I find referring back to it will tell me what I did differently that got the different result (good or bad).

Mr. H. said...

Silke - Sorry about your housework.:) I love to serve a small side of sauerkraut and kimchi together with various meals. They are both fermented and salty but very different in flavor.

Yes, I grew celeriac but the roots did not fill out very well for some reason so we only have a few worth using. I have only been growing it for a couple years now and am still working on figuring it out...next year they will do great.:)


Heiko - The word taste goes hand in hand with kimchi to be sure. Kimchi is very easy to make and there are numerous variations...there is even a cucumber kimchi that sounds interesting.

Wish I was there to help with the olives, I would love to see them.

Ohiofarmgirl - I do love turnips in the fall...such a crisp veggie. Pot those celery up, eat on them a bit, and then replant them in the spring. They will go to seed and before you know it celery will be a weed around your place just like it is in my garden...but a good weed.

Laura - My chickens are welcome to share the tops with us but are not going to get any of the bottoms. Your hens are much more deserving of the whole veggie as they at least lay lots and lots of eggs.:)

Yes, the blogs are a good resource for many things. The main reason I posted this kimchi video is so that I can go back next year when I am making some more and reference it.

Mrs. Mac said...

good tips on growing turnips .. and those lucky chickens. I think turnip greens are better than spinach when cooked.

Matron said...

Now that is some triumph to produce food from your garden this time of year! I just love the warming Winter veggies, especially in soup!

The Gingerbread House said...

I love this post and it's surprising that there are so many people not aware of how good Rutabaga's are, we even eat the leaves< they taste and look a lot like collards and we find they are sweeter. I loved thevideo about Kimchi and would love to try it..Thanks for sharing. Ginny

Mr. H. said...

Mrs. Mac - We are growing a nice little section of seven top turnip greens under a row cover for winter and also love them cooked. They certainly grow better (quicker) for us than spinach. We just ate some of the best tasting cookies.:)

Matron - We are also looking forward to a many diverse variations of soup this winter....I think my favorite part of winter is the food.:)

Ginny - You are so right, I think that one of the best tasting greens one can grow in the fall are those of the rutabaga...we often grow them just for their wonderful greens. I'm glad you enjoyed the video and nice to meet you.:)

foodgardenkitchen said...

What good looking celery. I would have never thought they would keep in the cellar so long as you water them. Very interesting.

Daphne said...

That is a nice trick to know. I'm going to grow celery next year for the first time. I might just freeze for the winter, but keeping it in a pot is an interesting alternative.

Mr. H. said...

Foodgardenkitchen & Daphne - It is very nice to have fresh celery on hand and if I bring one of the pots upstairs into the light from time to time they really take off and grow.

Laura said...

I looove kimchi - thanks for sharing the video on how to make it!
Somehow we missed planting celery this year, which is very unfortunate as we both really like it. That looks like a great method for storing it, though, so I shall have to remember that for next year when I am going to make sure we grow plenty!

Leigh said...

I didn't know that about celery, so thanks for that tip. I've never grown celery before, but my husband loves it so maybe I should give it a try.

I'm trying to store my turnips like you do, but my pantry is too warm and they're sprouting leaves!

I'll have to give kimchi another try because that looks good (I'll pass on the squid as well.) I tried it once, but the recipe wasn't all that great. I'm willing to give it another chance though.

Do let us know if you ever find those squid in your lake :)

Mr. H. said...

Laura - We started growing celery about 4 years ago and absolutely love it. I hope you do get a chance to add some to your garden next year. Glad you enjoyed the video.

Leigh - We often have to do a little re-trimming on any of our root veggies that end up in the cellar before it gets cold out and have started to sprout. It looks as though I am going to have to do so with a few of our beets, we had a pretty warm fall but it's starting to get cold out now...brr.

The fun part about kimchi is that you can totally make it to your own liking. We always go a little light on the pepper powder and add crazy things like red dandelion (Italian chicory) leaves and amaranth to the mix.

el said...

Mike, you make me tired!

Not to say that I am truly lazy, but when I see all your digging and repotting and sorting and storing and all of that I continually think about how much less sweat you'd exert if you two put up a high tunnel/greenhouse. Celery, for example, gets dug up and stuck in mine once the tomatoes come out and the turnips and kale and cabbages get seeded in August right in there to continue to grow all winter.

But then I think about it and what I just really dislike about root-cellaring is...finding food gone bad, or on its way there! Maybe I am just a bad root cellar food-checker (in fact I know I am). Wrinkly beets, squooshy cabbage, all cold and nasty...next to none of it goes bad outside in the greenhouses is all. I just need to shovel a path to get the food sometimes :)

Yours in the fight,

Mr. H. said...

EL - You know I envy you your greenhouse and believe it or not we are still making plans for one. We even have the location figured out just not our water situation. Just you wait, one of these days/years, with any luck, you will come to my blog and see a picture of a nice hoop house full of goodies...I hope.

Ms. Adventuress said...

So glad you're not iced in - and I LOVE celery, so it's extra fun to see yours and hear how you keep it.

I've recently learned, if buying celery at the store but wanting to avoid plastic bags for storage, I can bring celery home in a reusable bag, trim the bottoms (I also trim the tops fresh then, too), soak the ends in filtered water for a good while (I place them in my blender container and fill the bottom of it with filtered water), then wrap the stalks up tight together in 2 damp towels, place the bundle in the fridge...and that celery stays fresh and crisp much longer than any other method I've tried.

Mr. H. said...

Ms. Adventuress - Thanks for the great tip. I will keep that in mind for the next time we want to keep it in the fridge for a few days. People are always amazed at how much celery and parsley we grow but we love to include both, daily, in our meals as they are both so very healthy...especially the parsley..

meemsnyc said...

I really must grow some celery after seeing that photo of yours in containers. Absolutely awesome to the max!

Mr. H. said...

Celery is fairly easy to grow in pots as long as they get plenty of water so that the shoots remain tender. I highly recomend Ventura celery as it seems to be a very productive variety that does not bolt during hot weather as easily as some of the others do.

Brenda said...

Could you please explain more about potting celery. Are you growing already potted in the garden? If not, how do you move it into the pots and not damage it?

Mr. H. said...

Brenda - On a normal year I carefully dig the celery up with as much soil around the roots as possible and gently pack them into pots, usually 3-4 in each container. I then trim about 20% of the stalks off the plant to help compensate for stress.

Because we are disrupting the plants root system, it helps the plant to recover if we remove some of the foliage. The smaller the plant, the easier it will be for it to sustain it's leaves and branches while the root system is establishing itself from being moved.

This year I did actually grow a few of the plants in containers just to see how they would do. Some of them did well and could just be moved as is into our root cellar without having to re-pot them. I did notice that the potted celery required about twice as much water as those planted in the ground though.

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