Thursday, October 23, 2014

The End

Before you start digging potatoes, you'll need some place to put your harvest because you won't be putting it away right off. I recommend you build a large wooden box in a warm, dry corner of your house. Yeah, I know. This will be a dirty project. If you planted the full three rows, it is possible you might have a couple hundred pounds of potatoes.

If not this week then one day real soon, frost will knock the potato plants down and then it will be time to bring your crop in. Don't feel too guilty about leaving the smallest potatoes out there. Even what with spring row preparations, you will be pleasantly surprised at how many will come up next year. However, don't count on these leave-behinds to be enough to make your next crop. Always plan to plant full rows every year. These extras are just bonus.

After you've brought your potatoes in. Don't plan to do anything else with them for several days. They need to harden a might before they can endure much handling. During this time, you'll have to decide what you are going to do with them. Once again, a cold room or root cellar would be nice. My option is to can them.

In the mean time, go back out there and take a look at your garden. It's all done. Nothing else to do there. You are ready for winter to settle in. Now is the time to reflect on your summer bounty. What was too much? What wasn't enough? What wasn't so popular? From this information, you'll want to adjust your seed purchase and how many of those little six-packs you want to plant. Oh, and by the way, in case you like to buy those flats and things every year, I hope you saved them. They hold up just fine for a long time; they're plastic, after all. So just replace the ones that break. Cheaper that way.

I have canned potatoes with some success. Keep some for fresh use. Plan your canning for things like stews and pot roasts and other such dishes. I've also just heated them for mashed potatoes. To that end, it might not be a bad idea to have some canned up in pint jars and some in quart jars - maybe 2/3 pint and 1/3 quart.

  • Wash, peal, and cut up however you like (I don't recommend whole unless they are small)
  • Add 1t salt per quart to the water you will add to the jars. This will prevent darkening.
  • Fill jars to within 1 inch of the top
Cook pints for 35 minutes at 10 pounds
Cook quarts for 40 minutes at 10 pounds
> Always follow the directions for your canner.

I have added onions to the potatoes, but I will not do this again. It was okay but I wasn't impressed.

So how does it feel? 
All done until next year
The best preserving book I've ever seen

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Has it Frosted Yet

If it has dipped down into the 20s at all, that means it is the end of the garden. Even your covering won't protect your plants if it's getting that cold. If you're lucky though, you might be able to squeak out another week, but for the most part all your second crop of beets and carrots, and all of your parsnips and salsify should be done now. Get them in. Get them canned up, and then plan on coming back out here and putting this row to bed for the winter.

If it hasn't frosted yet, the potatoes can still keep going. They're pretty durable. If it has, and you find yourself a little swamped, lay sheets of plastic over these rows and get them dug up as soon as possible.

My trusty preserving book says that parsnips are not recommended for pressure canning. It says it's better to keep them is cold storage. However, it does give canning instructions. I really wish I had a root cellar.

Pressure Canning:
  • Wash and peel.
  • Cube or slice.
  • Cover with boiling water and boil for 3 minutes
  • Drain, reserving liquid.
  • Pack into jars and cover with the hot liquid, leaving 1 inch at the top.
Cook for 25 minutes at 10 pounds
Remember what I said about following canner directions.

  • Choose smooth and tender roots
  • Remove tops, peel and wash
  • Chop or slice
  • Blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes or in steam for 3 minutes
Pressure Canning:
  • Scrub and slice
  • Immediately drop into 1/2 gal water with 1T of vinegar and 1T salt
  • As soon as harvest has been added to the water solution, rinse quickly and place in a pot
  • Cover with boiling water, boil for 2 minutes
  • Drain and reserve liquid
  • Pack in jars to within 1 inch of the top
  • Cover with reserved liquid
Cook for 30 minutes at 10 pounds

My trusty preserving book did not have directions for freezing. Might not be a good idea.

It's almost over

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Second Planting Plunder

If you planted a second crop of beets, now would be the time to start looking for something to can up.

Refer to July 17 post for the canning and freezing directions.

Is this a long post or what
You know the drill

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Another Light Day

In case you were wondering, I did not miss a post. Nothing of note happened last week.

I'm pretty sure by now that the nights have been hard on the Zucchini so I would be surprised if there was anything new there. So, time to put another row to sleep for the year.

You might want to start thinking about covering your beets, carrots, parsnips, and salsify (or just the parsnips and salsify if that's all that's in that row. Cover them at night if the temps are getting below 40 degrees, but be sure to uncover them during the day.

Don't worry about the potatoes. Let them go until frost takes them down. I'm sure it will happen soon enough.

The end is almost here

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Don't work too hard

All that is scheduled for today is to turn over that Spinach row, unless you didn't plant that second crop, in which case this task could have been done weeks ago. It's good to do it late though. keeps the weeds down.

Enjoy the Fall Weather
Hope the sun is shining

Thursday, September 11, 2014

And Another One Bites the Dust

I would be utterly surprised if there was anything left in that row of Broccoli, Cabbage, and Cauliflower, so it is time to turn that row over and put it to bed.

You still have the row with your beets and Carrots (if you decided to plant a second crop), and the Parsnips and Salsify to take care of, and those potato plants should be lush and thick long since.

If you're lucky, there's still some zucchini to grace your plate. You never know.

And that maybe second crop of spinach, yeah, it's probably all done by now.

Are your shelves getting full of jars yet?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Colors of September

Yep, it's that time of year, or almost. Broccoli should be about done by now, but there might still be some Cabbage left. Peas should be done too, and if they are, go ahead and turn that row over and put it to bed for the year.

There's still the potatoes to look after, and the zucchini might still have something to offer.

Don't forget to look after those long-winded parsnips and salsify.

Sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor
You earned it