It's hard to believe it is 2016 already. Time sure does fly. Now that it is finally winter here in Tennessee, the weather has turned much colder. We even have snow! Prior to the weather turning colder Mr. Fix-it and I harvested most all of the cool weather vegetables from the garden. I would say it is a fairly successful year and I am quite pleased. I've learned a few lessons and hope to improve next year but this year was not so bad.
First of all the kohlrabi. I have never grown this vegetable before but one of my blogging friends (can't remember who) said it is easy to grow. I managed to toss out some seeds and the plants grew like crazy. The mistake I made is I did not thin the plants out. I got lots and lots of greens (the rabbit and chickens love them) but only a few of the bulbs. I commit to doing a better job of thinning them next year. I cut the two bulbs (pictured above) up and cooked them in a homemade turkey stew. Kohlrabi is really good and I'll definitely grow these each year. I also tasted the kohlrabi raw. The taste and texture is most similar to a radish-albeit a mild one.
We harvested all of the Brussels sprouts we could whether they were small or large. This is a rather tough job. You have to twist off the little heads from the stem. It does take some force to twist them off. I managed to freeze a batch and we also ate a fresh batch of these and they were much better fresh! The red cabbage I had planted in this bed would never have a chance to grow larger due to the incoming cold, so we picked all of the baby cabbages. It's enough I can make some coleslaw. The radishes we ate in a salad and they were actually quite mild. This was in comparison to harvesting some radishes earlier that were quite hot. I like the mild version better.
A long view looking west.
This is the cold weather bed I started predominantly from transplants. It is also where most of the crops I recently harvested came from. The cauliflower (in the foreground) was harmed by the recent cold snaps. There were several heads ready for picking but we did not get to them in time so they turned to mush. The foliage of the cauliflower still looks good.
The garlic on the far end is doing well. It will be harvested sometime in late May to early June. Stay tuned for that. I am not sure what I'll do with all that garlic but I bet some of my friends might find some on their porches so if you don't like garlic let me know.
This bed is empty. I will soon be planting onions and potatoes in it in another month or so. This is the time to plan your garden for the year and to order your starts and seeds. I am excited because I think I have a good plan to maximize my space and provide for succession planting of a large variety of crops in amounts that can sufficiently feed us. This particular bed will start with potatoes and onions then transition to corn in June. I hope the potatoes and onions are ready by then, but if not I will plant the corn around them.
The strawberry bed has all turned shades or red with the winter cold.
Come spring it should be loaded with lush juicy fresh strawberries.
The herb bed is a delight and I often cut rosemary and sage for dishes.
This bed has pretty much been cleaned up. The carrots planted this past summer are weathering over just fine in the ground. I sometimes harvest a few. This summer will see this bed full of vining plants such as gourds, watermelons, cantaloupes, and cucumbers.
This last bed will become our tomato bed. Instead of five tomato plants I plan to double that number and will grow all the same cultivar. I think I have decided on 'Bradley' tomatoes that I plan to start from seeds. I rotate crops in each of my four beds each year so that I never grow the same crop in the same bed two years in a row.
The cover crop in the foreground is dying off and has done its job well. If it is easy to till the dead vegetation into the bed come spring I think I'll continue with cover crops.
This end of the same bed has some more cold weather crops I started from seeds. Lettuce, spinach, radishes, beets, carrots, and kohrabi all share space here. There were some sugar snap peas growing on the trellis but the cold weather has killed them back to nothing. This bed has been a productive bed.
The outside of the vegetable garden is beginning to wake up with its multitude of irises. This one spot of the outer bed has allium bulbs planted in it instead of irises. I have overseeded the alliums with poppies. I have never ever had success with poppies but am hoping this time the seeds work. Time will tell. One of my cats (Tiger) got in on the action. The other two were nearby but never stop moving enough to get into a picture.
Generally my vegetable gardens are not as productive this time of the year as this one has been. It can all be attributed to the mild fall. That has changed because by the time I post this Monday morning the temperature will have dropped to the 20s and a good amount of this garden will finally go dormant...
in the garden....