Growing season is basically over here. My leeks, carrots and celeriac are all sitting dormant in the garden waiting for me to harvest them. I have a wide assortment of greens waiting too – I’m harvesting some, but most I’ll over winter and harvest in the spring when they put on new growth. In a patch I was about to weed along my back fence I discovered a thicket of self-seeded arugula which was a nice surprise and a tasty addition to our sandwiches.
The oca is the next harvest I’m excited about. I started with three tubers last spring which has resulted in a nice looking mound of leaves reminiscent of clover but with more substance. Apparently the leaves are edible, but I’ve been waiting to try the tubers. Oca don’t start setting tubers until after the fall equinox, so I’m going to wait until frost kills the foliage before I go digging for tubers. I did peak and there are lots of tubers forming.
I should be eating radishes – but something with them went wrong. It’s like they exploded. I don’t think a pest did this, instead my hypothesis is they took on too much water with all the rain and just burst. I’m disappointed.
I’ve not been happy with my previous garlic harvests – I want more garlic! Bigger cloves! So I’ve set aside a much larger space for next year, which I covered with rotted manure a couple of months ago. I just planted a new set of cloves. Three are hard neck varieties, that is, I can expect scapes to form next spring – a second harvest (the scapes are really the garlic’s flower and if you let them bloom the plant won’t put energy into big cloves). I’m trying ‘music’, ‘German white’ and ‘Siberia’ varieties and I’ve sorted myself out enough to mark which variety is planted where so I can compare how they do and taste.
For the first time I’ve also planted a soft neck variety – ‘inchelium red’. The garlic in grocery stores are typically soft neck types because they store better than the hard necks. These are the garlics that can be braided into wreaths and other decorations/vampire protection devices. Reputedly, they aren’t as tasty as the hard neck types (I’ll test this), but if they store well I hope to extend the amount of time I have my own garlic to eat.
I’ve been rethinking how to best use the space in my backyard. By turning my beds into a more keyhole shape, I’ll gain a bit of gardening space and cut back a bit on weed-wacking. A plan which has resulted in a lot of digging and moving of bricks. I’ll think it’ll be worth it in the end (I should go and gather up my shovels).
My original plan included having the greenhouse up by now, so I started some delicate heat lovers. Pepino melons were one of them (they aren’t actually a melon, instead they come from the continuum between eggplants and tomatoes). After doing nothing all summer, the plant put on a growth spurt this fall and is now flowering. I have protection over the plant to keep heat in, but I suspect the flowers will amount to nothing. They are pretty though and I’ll be starting next year’s plant super early so hopefully, I’ll get to try some fruit next year.