Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Veggie garden evaluation

I just dug up the rest of the parsnips. I had procrastinated digging them up, thinking I could talk Jeff into it, but he's having knee surgery tomorrow and somehow I don't think the digging is going to happen. It was, however, ridiculously easy, thanks to the raised beds and nice, loose soil. I was impressed with the harvest, if I do say so myself. A couple of the parsnips were over a foot long. As babies, they got rave reviews when roasted with other root vegetables. They were one of my biggest successes this year. I'm already salivating over the mashed carrots and parsnips that we're going to have with the Thanksgiving feast on Thursday. Luckily, the Mustard Seed grew some awesome carrots, because mine were a little on the stingy side.

I also dug a few fingerling potatoes out of the clay pot. They look delicious. I deeply regret getting impatient and digging out the first pot of fingerlings. They were puny and unimpressive. Lesson learned: wait till the greenery dies back.

The grapes were another big success. I borrowed a steamer and we and the neighbours enjoyed many glasses of tasty grape juice and still have a few quarts put away for the cold days of winter yet to come. On a funny side note, I put some juice in a couple of jars for Bethany. She stored one in her pantry, thinking to save it to enjoy later, not knowing that it was not sealed. When she opened it, the juice was fizzy.

No, she didn't drink it.
We had more lemon cucumbers than anyone could have eaten, but Joshie and little Jeff sure enjoyed them, so it was worth it.
The kabocha and other mystery squash have been put to use in soups and sweet breads, with many more left for the winter.
The two kiwi vines survived the summer. Maybe next year we will get a few fruit.
The strawberries were hopeless this year, I'm not sure whether to dig them out and replace them or give them another chance. Laziness denotes another chance.
The kohlrabi were a mixed success. Jeff doesn't love them, but lots of guests were mystified and intrigued by them, and actually liked them. The bulb set was not high though, so I'm thinking they're not worth the space.
Tomatoes. What can I say? Usual problem in Oregon of not ripening before the frost sets in. We got a few, but once again, the Mustard Seed saved my bacon and I have lots of frozen pasta sauce to get me through the winter.
The banana peppers were very fruitful and will find a place in my beds next year.
The rhubarb wasn't quite as rampant as usual, maybe because they were transplanted last fall. Still, we got lots of desserts and I just swapped a bag of frozen chunks for a couple of dozen eggs from a friend, so its usefulness lives on.
The raspberries got way too big for their britches this year. We had a lovely big spring harvest which was blissfully eaten by grandchildren and children and Jeff alike, but the vines spread way into the flowerbeds and lawn. Jeff pulled a lot out but I think we'll have to do something drastic next year. The weather was unkind so we didn't really get a fall crop.
I'm sad to report that the enormous kabocha vine appears to have sucked all the moisture out of the bed and killed one of the blueberry bushes. So I have to either try to root a twig next spring or fork out the money to buy another one. Blueberries need two bushes of different varieties in order to pollinate. I seriously wonder if it's worth trying to grow your own blueberries when we are surrounded by blueberry farms.

So, other than a few renegade carrots and the pot of potatoes, that's it for this year.

Thank goodness for winter, is what I say!

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