This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. But Skippy always stood by me and was a great friend. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps and garden with me. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot, a backyard vegetable garden, fruit trees and berry bushes, chickens and bees. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.

Friday, August 14, 2009

this week's harvests

harvest
carrot harvest beet harvest
onion harvest

I pulled a bunch of beets this week: Chiogga, Lutz and White Detroit. Also carrots: Oxheart, Mokum and Bolero (a lot of funky shapes!).

And my onions grown from sets: variety is Stuttgarter. Onions will stay in the garden 3 or 4 days to dry for storage. Its a good time with several days of dry weather ahead.

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13 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, I read and enjoy your blog almost daily, and I was wondering, how do you know when your onions are ready for harvest? I am new at this whole gardening thing and am afraid to pull up the onions...I pulled one up a while ago and it was small and soft. Are they always soft when they first come out and is that why you leave them out for a few days? Thanks in advance!
~Felicia~

August 15, 2009 10:06 AM

 
Blogger kathy said...

Pull onions when the tops fall over and start to turn brown. Then leave them in the sun a few days to dry.

You can pull them earlier, too, anytime you want, if you want "spring onions". Especially if want to eat the greens. Just make sure to store in the refrigerator as they don't last very long (like scallions) and may not be full size. The skins on these won't be brown.

I often plant my onions close and pull every other one early and let the rest go for storage.

August 15, 2009 10:19 AM

 
Blogger kathy said...

PS. These are onions I grew from sets. They size up faster than onions from seeds. I have some onions from seeds that are still growing and it looks like they'll be a while yet before they're ready to pull.

August 15, 2009 10:22 AM

 
Anonymous Lisa A. said...

The onions look great! I'll be planting some of those this fall for spring harvesting in Missouri. I also pulled a bunch of carrots this week. I love the funky shapes!

August 15, 2009 10:37 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful, thank you for the advice Kathy. I too used sets so I think I will visit my garden today and pull some onions up! Thanks again!
~Felicia~

August 15, 2009 1:53 PM

 
Blogger Dan said...

The harvests look excellent. I have pulled all the small onions so far, I am thinking they will be excellent to leave whole in stews this winter. The bigger ones I am thinking about braiding like they showed in organic gardening mag. Time will tell if I can braid... :-)

August 15, 2009 11:21 PM

 
Blogger Garden Dreamer said...

Do you thin your carrots? I havent thinned them and they seem to be only about 5-6 inches long. Also how do you know when to pull the carrots? Thanks for your lovely blog Kathy.

I have a 10X10 community garden plot and planning to request the city for more plots. You are a real inspiration to me. Thanks once again.
Sapna

August 16, 2009 12:21 PM

 
Blogger kathy said...

I started planting my carrots one seeds at a time, spaced far enough apart that I don't need to thin. Then I fill in the spaces that don't sprout. So I get a patch that gradually matures. I just don't seem to be good at thinning.

But I think my odd shaped carrots is partly from planting too close. I don't know if planting too close makes them short. It may just be the variety. My Oxhearts are very short and fat.

To tell when they're ready you can dig down around the top a bit and check. Or just pull a test one. I just pulled all the biggest plants. The smaller ones still need to grow more.

August 16, 2009 11:20 PM

 
Blogger pjkobulnicky said...

On carrots (long time carrot grower here):

Thinning is like pruning, you have to be brutal. Figure out the spacing you need and then just pull everything in between. It is kinda like fitting a line to data in a graph ... can't be perfect spacing, just best fit. Carrots will NOT mature properly if they are spaced too closely. As for weird shapes in carrots, it is usually that the soil is too rich that causes forking. Plant carrots in a bed that is due, in your rotation, to be manured AFTER the carrots mature and are pulled. Carrots, and other root veggies, are the last in the rotation.

Paul

August 17, 2009 4:26 PM

 
Blogger Karen Anne said...

Back when Organic Gardening mag was a fun mag, when Mike McGrath was the editor, he used to run photos of odd carrot shapes from time to time, some bordering on the X-rated :-)

August 19, 2009 12:54 AM

 
Blogger kathy said...

Yes the carrot bed was manured in early spring. I will remember this next year. I had a couple weird beets too (giant, rootless and tough) from this bed.

I had some x-rated comments on the entwined carrots at the end.

August 19, 2009 4:12 PM

 
Blogger Kim said...

Do you think the flavor of carrots diminishes as you leave them in the ground? I've been pulling up my carrots at regular intervals to enjoy at dinner and give to family members. This last time, I pulled mature, nice looking carrots - but they had a very earthy taste. Should I always pull them at their maturation date?

August 20, 2009 9:54 PM

 
Blogger kathy said...

Kim,

I think that's a great question. I don't know. I've noticed carrot taste is different with different harvests, but not sure if its variety or maturity.

Once I left them in the ground for a while and a beautiful crop ended up with root maggots (the ugliest thing!), so I tend to pull them as soon as they are big enough.

It seems to me they get sweeter with age and that earthiness is more pronounced with baby carrots and carrots that are growing slowly for some reason (e.g. cool weather, shade). I have a sense that lots of rain makes them loose flavor (grow too fast?). I will have to look into this.

By the way, the carrots from this harvest taste great. A nice carroty flavor, but not too earthy.

August 20, 2009 10:15 PM

 

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