Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Last winter's vegetable garden

Yes, I know it's nearly summer already, but I forgot to post some pictures on how my winter vegetables fared. Since our winters are pretty mild here in Southern California I planted a few seeds last November or December in some large pots.  And one really big benefit is that you don't have to deal as much with the usual pests of summer, although I still had some problems with caterpilars.

Who knew carrots came in anything but orange? They grew slowly, but grew nonetheless. I picked up a packet of seeds from Renee's Garden Seeds with orange ("Mokum"), purple ("Purple Rain"), and white ("White Satin") carrots. The longest were about 6" or 7". Unfortunately, the purple color was only in the skin, and if you peeled them they looked just like regular orange carrots, but they tasted very good. The most surprising one for me was the white carrots, which were sweeter than regular carrots. I planted another purple variety ("Purple Dragon") this spring which has the purple color almost to the center, but I really want to try some more white ones (and yellow, too).

I also tried parsnips, but they were even slower growing than the carrots. The first batch I planted didn't sprout very well so I soaked some more seeds overnight and they germinated much better.  I harvested a few of the bigger ones (above, and they really weren't very big) but left the rest in the pot and planted some more carots with them. I don't know if they'll be any good by the time I dig them out but I figured it couldn't hurt to try. (And if you've never eaten parsnips, you're missing out!)

I also planted some snap peas ("Sugar Snap" I think) on the small trellises I had left over from last summer's beans. They did better this year than the last time I tried them but still not as well as the first time. (Maybe I need to use an inoculant?)  The kids like eating them straight off the vine but I think I'll try regular garden or "shelling" peas instead next winter.

I planted some green "bunching" onions as well, and they did very well, although I forgot to take a picture. But they sure tasted good chopped up with twice-baked potatoes!  (Actually, I should have taken a picture of the twice-baked potatoes!)

This summer, in addition to the carrots I'm also trying some turnips – I don't think I've ever eaten a turnip before – as well as a different kind of green beans and zucchini.

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