Monday, October 11, 2010

Carrots and Onions (and Shallot) 2010

Wow, the carrots really did well.  I got lots of them. I don't remember if i did weigh them. I can't imagine that i didn't- but i don't remember doing it.
They were sweet and crispy, the roots were thick and a bit on the short side- but i think the varieties i had weren't supposed to be the ultra long and thin type- so they may have been as perfect as they could be- which was great. I only had 4 or 5 that were bifurcated, cracked or shaped oddly, the rest were straight, smooth and not 'hairy'.  The color of both types was hard to differentiate, the skin on both was a vibrant garnet red. The cores were small, one type more tinged with green than the other, but otherwise the inside color was the usual carrot shade of orange.  They pulled up easily- a few broke from their stems but the soil had stayed so nice and loose they were easily pulled out.

I love how light my soil stayed in the planting rows. Even now, this late in the year after all the watering and recent rain, if i step into a bare spot in any planting row, my foot will sink at least an inch or two. I'm used to soil with a higher clay content so this is recognisably different than the garden soil i traipsed through as a kid.

Now the onions-  I decided at the beginning of the year that if i got one or two onions the size of a regulation baseball, i'd be happy enough.  I got my wish and then some,  i got at least a half dozen that were of good size and plenty of sizes close.  I got plenty of little tinkers too- and i like the range in sizes actually.  The little golf ball ones are great for the morning omelet.

I got plenty of white onions, and the red onions did catch up in size-  they seem to grow at a noticeably different pace than the white ones. I probably could have waited to harvest the red ones until the tops were more dried than they are, but we were getting so much rain for a while there i was afraid they'd just rot in the ground. So i pulled them.  They will get diced and frozen for convenient use through the winter soon anyway, they don't need to store well whole after all.   I never did get to the root cellar yet. Hubby has been working on the basement now and then but there was a lot going on down there and he isn't finished yet.   So not having a root cellar for storage this fall isn't a problem since i don't have a big need for it yet anyway.

Oh, and the Shallot...s....  Well, i don't know what was up with those things, the variety was named "Mirage" and i'm thinking that they were that very thing! lol.  I planted a number of seedlings, but it looks like i only pulled one or two up. The seedlings may have gotten slugged,  and the other thing that i think contributed was the volunteer pumpkin plant that hubby asked me to keep.  It was self-seeded in the center of one of my walking rows and it vined in the direction of my shallots. I think it shaded them too much despite my trying to keep those leaves down to a minimum and the vines out of the planting row.  So whatever it was, it probably wasn't all the fault of the variety of shallot.  I have them green-lighted for next year.

Corn and beans, 2010

Corn started out quite well once harvesting time came.  It was a small patch so i wasn't expecting a high yield or anything.  I don't eat corn (too starchy though i used to love it), so it was mainly grown for the rest of my family to have.
As a reminder to myself i planted:
Golden Bantam
Stowell's Evergreen

I had planted them in blocks in the order listed, the Stowell's in the back.  The Golden Bantam and the Incredible did quite well. The Incredible seemed more insect resistant tnan the Golden Bantam. I did try throwing around some Seven Dust early on to keep the darned earwigs out of the husks and i used BT sporadically in attempt to quell the earworms.  This seemed to help a bit- still got some nasties but not too terrible in the end.
The only real disappointment was the Stowell's Evergreen.  I think it germinates slower, matures slower and that put it at a disadvantage. I got some very large  ears on the stalks- but out of these 10"+ ears, only maybe 20 kernels were filled out.  I understand this is a pollination issue.  I'm not sure if it was because the soil in the back 4' of garden was cooler than the 8' in front of it that the rest of the corn went into (it was all under row cover at the time of planting IIRR- i'll have to go back and look)... i don't know if it was the lack of water---  the silks on the whole plot of all three types dried out as if they were ripe and ready well before they were- which made harvesting tricky.
The stalks of them all are browned out now so i know whatever was left on them is past now.  I knocked the stalks down the other day so they might break down better over the winter and early spring.

I had planted some of the purple podded string beans between the corn stalks for kicks, but i think the dry weather with the lack of direct sun didn't do the beans any favors.  I'm guessing that beans may be best grown with corn when the corn is planted in thin rows, not blocks.  The beans mostly ended up with woody pods even when they were small enough that they should have been tender.  I got about a 1/4 pound of the purple beans before the next batch came in almost inedible.

The Provider bush beans, however, were stellar. They are definitely on the list for next summer.  I lost count of how much i picked, but it was every other day about a pound for more than 3 weeks.  They got ahead of me eventually,  i probably could have gotten a few more whole pounds out of the planting if i hadn't lost track.
I'll possibly double the space for them next year so i can keep freezing them, get some canned and still share them out.