Thanksgiving is officially cancelled!

Because look what arrived in the mail today, our earliest arrival ever:

Ok, so we’re not really cancelling Thanksgiving (in fact, ALL of our vegetable sides will be from our garden tomorrow – some will be pulled fresh from the raised bed in the morning) but it sure is tempting.  I’ve already been through the entire catalog, and circled more than a half-dozen seeds.  But I would have more time to look at the catalog if we served pizza tomorrow.

Fortunately, J is on the case already for the turkey seasoning:

Fresh from the garden tonight!  You can’t beat that.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

We should really watch more television

So by now you are undoubtedly familiar with our obsession with Halloween and burning pumpkins.  We only sacrificed two pumpkins this year:

We actually burned the second one on Halloween night, as our (meager) trick-or-treaters were tailing off.  If I’d had marshmellows, I would have roasted them over that fellow.

A few posts ago, I talked a little bit about how some of the vegetables got completely out of hand this year, particularly the radishes out back that were mixed in with the pumpkins and watermelons.  A few of the radishes in the front also got away from us, but our determination to leave them in the ground was deliberate in the main kitchen garden, as opposed to just missing them out back.

This past Sunday J turned over the gardens with the rototiller since frost was predicted for several nights this week.  Turning the ground just before a frost helps kill off any bacteria or bugs that might be found in the soil.  It’s not a guarantee, but most farmers follow that rule of thumb.  So finally the last of the radishes had to come out of the main garden.  This one doesn’t even look like a radish at this point, it’s so monsterous:

And because we cannot leave well enough alone, we decided to allow the radish to express its true personality.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you……Count Radicula:

Yes, we are completely ridiculous.  Hello, we have a blog about gardening.  What will be worse is when we do it as part of the decorations next year, because we have lots of sets of fake vampire teeth.  You probably don’t want to know the story behind that.

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 Foodnetwork.com:

Ingredients

  • 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


Directions

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.

Big Plans

 Well, the tulip bulbs are now in.  While other people battened down the hatches for Hurricane Sandy (which thankfully did nothing to us) we dug up an area of approximately 50 square feet in the front yard around our crabapple tree.

First we cut away the sod and hauled it off to another part of the yard:

Then we dug down about 6″ into the dirt.  We uncovered a few shallow tree roots, which we cut off.  If the tree dies, we won’t be upset because it only blooms every other year and when it does bloom, it lasts about a week, then 8,432,452,917 crabapples form, weighing down the branches and leaving a mess on the lawn.  Also, the tree is crooked, as you can see in this photo:

I added bulb fertilizer to the entire area, then I placed all the bulbs in the pit according to the plan I had developed.  There are 11 types of tulips, ranging in height from 10-12″ up to 24-26.”  So I needed the plan.


Trust me, it’s about 6 inches deep



And now we wait, and hope they come up, flower, and actually look good.  Here are some of the types we planted:



Apricot Impression



Blue Parrot
Burgundy Lace

Golden Artist

Ice Cream
Professor Rontgen


You’ll have to wait until spring to (hopefully) see the rest!