Category Archives: family traditions

November Harvest

I never would have believed I could be harvesting vegetables in early November.  I did a lot of gardening with my grandfather when I was young (or should I say, my grandfather did a lot of gardening and I futzed around, screeched at the sight of tomato worms, and occasionally helped weed) and all my memories of gardening have the season ending in late September or early October.  But we almost exclusively grew warm weather crops (cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins) that die off with the first frost.

Not so much with the root vegetables.  I must say, I like the plant-’em-and-forget-’em aspect of putting seeds in the ground and walking away.  I put the carrots and parsnips (first year for those) in the ground in April and have been watching the greens grow merrily all summer.  I was particularly excited when the greens got big enough to crowd out weeds in the bed, meaning no more weeding.  The French Breakfast radishes were a second crop in that same bed, planted after the potatoes were harvested and the soil amended. 

This past Sunday I decided to do a crock pot roast with root vegetables.  The recipe called for turnips and rutabegas, but I substituted parsnips.  This is what I picked out of the frosty ground early Sunday morning:

Very impressive.  Of course, when you cut off the greens, it’s not quite so overwhelming:

And you’re left with an entire basket of greenery for the compost bin:

I am pleased to say the pot roast was a hit, too.  Right in line with the do-it-and-forget-it aspect of the vegetables that went into it.  I also used a few of the potatoes I harvested from our garden back in August. 
The recipe is by Robin Miller, courtesy of


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 small red potatoes, quartered
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 turnip, peeled and chopped
  • 1 rutabaga, peeled and chopped
  • 1 (3-pound) chuck roast
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder


Arrange onion, potatoes, carrots, turnip, and rutabaga in bottom of slow cooker. Season beef all over with salt and black pepper. Rub flour all over beef. (I skipped this step out of sheer laziness.)  Place roast on top of vegetables in slow cooker.  Whisk together tomato sauce, brown sugar, chili powder, cumin, mustard powder, and garlic powder. Pour mixture over beef. Cover and cook on LOW for 12 hours or on HIGH for 8 hours.  Serve 1/3 of beef and all of the vegetables with this meal. Shred and refrigerate remaining beef until ready to use.


This year was the best year for pumpkins that we’ve ever had.

Sadly, it did not meet our expectations.

I am delighted by the Jack-Be-Littles (23) and Orange Smoothies (7) that we picked, sad that we only got 2 Howdens and no Luminas.

While in New York at the end of September, we purchased five Jack-o-Lantern pumpkins for carving, which we did last night.  (Due to a damaging weekend Nor’easter that brought 10″+ of snow and massive power outages in the area – thankfully, we were not among them – Halloween was postponed from 10/31 to tonight, November 4)  They came out even better than last year:

My haunted house with the ghost looks a little lame.  J’s monster is much better, mostly because he has the patience to spend an hour carving it, where I whipped mine off in about 35 minutes.

And we got (X number) trick-or-treaters to appreciate our hard work.  And then they were set on fire, as is now a household tradition:

The Nor’easter finally did what a hot summer, Hurricane Irene and benign neglect did not – finished off the garden.  We ripped up the eggplants and peppers (although we just had our last meal with eggplant on Monday; there were enough left to do an Asian-style roasted eggplant side dish) and I cut all of the parsley, which was still growing merrily, just as the snow started to fly last Saturday afternoon.  We gave half to our neighbor H, who will be selling her house and will probably have moved by next year, which is sad for us but good for her – she’ll be moving closer to her daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter.  Hope the new neighbor(s) like fresh vegetables…..