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December 22nd, 2011

Christmas Salad, Fresh From the Coldframe

kathy_tnI’ll be cutting the remaining red-veined mizuna along with mustard and other greens from our coldframe (shown below) for a festive Christmas salad. For the first time in many years it looks like we will be having a brown Christmas in Wisconsin. Being able to walk through the yard without snowshoes has given me the chance to make more and more grandiose plans for next year’s garden. Boy, am I in trouble if I actually try to accomplish all of the projects.

mizunaI received a new journal as an early Christmas present and will be using it to keep track of some of my garden notes. I have multiple Excel spreadsheets that I use as annual logs and maps of what we grow but have never kept a wish list or a list of projects and things to do seasonally. I am making a New Year’s resolution to use the journal for all of that.

Happy holidays!  —Kathy Shaw, Neenah, Wisconsin

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December 6th, 2011

Late Harvests

john_tnIt appears global warming is at work in the Northeast. As of today, we still haven’t had a heavy frost in southern New England. Usually we have a hard frost by the middle of November. Yesterday I harvested carrots, peanuts, and a really nice broccoli.

broccoliRegular readers of this blog may recall the giant head of ‘Green Goliath’ broccoli I picked last July. The broccoli head shown above is actually a side shoot from that same plant! The head is over 7 inches across—bigger than many main heads. I have been picking broccoli side shoots since August and it looks like I may actually be able to keep picking into 2012.

carrotsAlthough the carrots didn’t get planted until early July and were never fertilized or weeded, I’m pretty happy with them. I planted them under my tomatoes and they really didn’t start to grow until the tomatoes died in September. The variety is ‘Big Top’, an Asian type of carrot. I planted ‘Scarlet Nantes’, a variety we are trialing this year, at the same time but they did not germinate (maybe too hot or dry?).

peanutsThe last photo is of something I have never tried to grow before: peanuts. These were planted very late, in mid-July, but due to the warm fall they produced a small crop. Now I know if I plant them a bit earlier and fertilize I can get a good crop of peanuts.

I still have tons of kale, collard greens, celery, as well as Brussels sprouts in my garden to harvest. I also have to check the celeriac to see if they produced roots. It used to be that after November it was just garden cleanup, but now it seems gardening is a year-round job in New England. —John Lewis, Newport, Rhode Island

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