By Alan on Feb 08 in Blog tagged carrots, china rose, china white, Chinese cabbage, Cold Frame, collards, Dennis Adamson, Florence fennel, in wintertime, Japanese Miowase Daikon, kale, leeks, Master Gardener, mustard greens, produce that can be harvested, radishes, red flesh, rutabagas, ruthabagas, Spinach, sprouting herbs, Swiss chard, tama hybrid, the winter garden handbook, turnips, winter gardening, winter lettuce | Comments Off
Week 57: Produce that can be Harvested in Wintertime
A couple of weeks ago you saw a photograph of carrots that I had harvested from my garden January 24th.
That same day there was an article in a local newspaper titled, ‘the warmth of a winter radish’ by Emily Horton, in a SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON POST. In the article she states, “Industrialization and its associated conveniences rendered widespread winter gardening unnecessary.” She quoted Ira Wallace, an organizer of the Heritage Harvest Festival at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, “When food became available and cheap, that is one of the things [winter gardening] that fell by the wayside.”
When I built my cold frame I purchased the book, “Four-Season Harvest” by Eliot Coleman, 1992. In his introduction he said, “The concept of a winter garden sits on the landscape like an undiscovered treasure”. He published “The Winter Garden Handbook” in 2009.
Winter radishes are planted in the mid to late summer and are slower to mature (3-4 months) than the spring radishes. They usually grow much larger, (some are as big around as a tennis ball) are crisper and can be kept in the ground or stored in moist cold storage for 4-6 months. They generally have a sharper, hotter and spicier taste. All radish greens are edible.
Winter radishes come in a variety of colors, including white, black or green. Black radishes are usually quite spicy. Remove the greens and fine root ends before storing black radishes. Chinese radishes are round, fat and have generally have a milder flavor. Remove their tops before storing and the fine root ends just before preparing. The daikon or “great root” is a Japanese winter radish. It can grow up to 1 ½’ in length and weigh between 5 to 6 lbs. There are several varieties. Some are thin and long, while others are short and round. There is a dark purple radish from Germany with crisp white flesh that can be eaten raw. It has long tapered roots and is perfect for storing for long periods.
Some of the specific winter radish varieties are: ‘Red Flesh’ Tricolor with bright reddish pink flesh and a green outside. Its taste is very mild and can be grown in the coldest of winters. China Rose and China White both a white or cream color, Round Black Spanish with white flesh and black outer color, Tama Hybrid (a daikon type 18’’ long with a 3’’ diameter, white in color and a popular old Japanese favorite, Japanese Miowase Daikon. A couple in Wyoming grows this variety in an unheated hoophouse (low tunnel) and are able to harvest them through the winter. They did add that the tops see damage when the temperatures go below zero degrees Fahrenheit.
Late or winter turnips and rutabagas are generally easy to grow. Rutabagas are larger, tougher and starchier than turnips. They are also sweeter and store better than turnips. Turnip greens are favored over the rutabaga greens. The seeds are placed in July or August and harvested from September to November. A Utah State University Extension Service article states, “Many gardeners overwinter some rutabagas and turnips under heavy mulches and soil in the garden. If soils freeze deeply, pull and store indoors. Wash the roots and store in cool moist conditions (35ºF and 95% relative humidity) for 3-4 months.” Rutabaga varieties include American Purple Top and Marian. Turnip includes Purple Top, White Globe, and Just Right Hybrid.
Kale and collards and mustard greens are excellent fall and winter vegetables. Kale is very nutrient dense and has a milder flavor than collards, mustard and turnip greens. Plant seeds in July or transplant in mid-August. Green kale varieties are usually best for winter crops. The flower shoots produced in spring on both kale and collard greens crops are delicious as well. I recently saw a piece on Kale ‘potato chips’, those eating them liked the flavor, but they all commented that they weren’t crispy.
Hardy spinach varieties do well in the winter and produce large leaves in mid December. Sow the seeds in August or September. If grown in a low tunnel or under a cloche they can be harvested even later. In a cold frame they can be harvested all winter long. The variety Giant Winter is true spinach with good flavor.
Winter lettuce will need to sown in the cool of the day in August and September and watered with cold water to get it to germinate. Some varieties are very winter hardy and others require frost protection. Some varieties that are fairly hardy are Winter Density, Valdor, Winter Gem and Winter Marvel. Any variety can be grown in a cold frame.
A fall crop of carrots will keep in the garden until used. Red Core Chantinay is said to overwinter without splits or loss of flavor. Plant carrots mid-July for fall and winter harvest.
Leeks are easy to start from seed and mature by fall. Most varieties are hardy and can be left in the garden during the winter to be harvested when needed.
Other crops to be considered for winter are Florence fennel, Swiss chard and Chinese cabbage.
Don’t forget sprouting as a fairly cheap and easy way to produce greens for salads and other recipes inside the house during the winter. Most herbs are also easily grown indoors during the winter.
Gen. 8: 22 “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”
Next week: Luther Burbank
Dennis Adamson – Master Gardener
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