Skip to main content

The harvest of neglect: lost veggies

We've always struggled to grow simple things like carrots and radishes.  Children are given these seeds as an introduction to gardening because it's so easy to succeed with them.

But we never succeed.

For one thing, we have so many tree roots in our garden plot that long-rooted vegetables like carrots grow into shapes like tuning forks or bad plumbing.

For another, we're eager and start pulling them up to see if they are done yet. They never thrive after that.

This week, coming back to the garden after a long, long hiatus, we started clearing out the overgrowth and discovered some forgotten veggies that we planted long, long ago.

In case you're wondering, that beet-like root and its companions in the photo are different kinds of radishes.  Not a beet among them. I suspect they are exotic rainbow and watermelon radishes.

We couldn't harvest without tasting. Woody -- I expected woody from such a big, old radish, but it wasn't particularly.

The flavor was fierce and fiery.  Not the light zingy, tangy flavor of a radish at its peak. These radishes taste angry. It made me think of something an up-and-coming West Hollywood bar chef would to infuse vodka with for a signature cocktail.

Assuming, of course, he could find his way to the Neglectful Farmers Market for a supply of slow, soil-aged radishes.

Popular posts from this blog

Hand-Knit Trellis Now Ready for Climbing Foot-Long Beans

Just as the "June" gloom is starting to burn off, I finished my knitted trellis for the garden.

It completely surrounds one of our bamboo tripods, with space at the bottom for tending the romaine lettuces growing within the tripod.

It's knit out of nylon twine on US 35 needles. While the nylon has no stretch (the way a wool yarn does), the huge gauge has loads of give. The piece was knit flat with ties attached along one edge.  It is tied to the tripod along one leg.

One some early samples for a knitted plant trellis, I experimented with lace patterns.  They look lovely, but I realized two things. One, once the plants grow up the trellis any knitting pattern is lost. Secondly, the plants and leaves need space to grow in and out of.

I used a pattern for a shawl: k1, yo, k2tog and then repeat. I got lost a number of times: the yarn-overs drifted over other stitches on occasion. As this was a speed project that won't be visible ones the beans grow over it, I didn't w…

Harvesting the butternut squash

We worried about when to harvest the butternut squash. There's no greening, yellowing, reddening, deepening or other particular sign of ripeness once the squash grow to a certain size. Google Extension Service suggested harvesting before the first frost.  In California, that would be the day before Never.
In Nature's wisdom, the plants told us. The huge green vines that had sprung up on their own, just turned brown and shrank back on their own, leaving six heavy butternut squashes dangling from their red and yellow net bags. (We'd strung them up to keep them away from the wetness of the earth and the mouths of the snails.) We cut them down and divided the harvest.
My first butternut squash, I simply seeded, roasted and scraped the flesh from the shell. Butternut is bland, a lovely gold color, but -- yawn -- not much flavor.  But it was fresh and home grown. That imparts something wonderful to it, if you have the stillness and focus to be aware.

Winter planting in the garden

My first gardening experiences were in northeastern Oklahoma. There, the gardening season ended when the tomatoes quit producing.

By then, there was a nip in the air. The zinnias were stained brown and crispy. The nastursiums were shriveled and starting to be hidden by falling leaves. Crisp, juicy apples were filling the bins at the local grocery and it wasn't pleasant to hang around outdoors unless you were moving -- fast.