Monday, April 15, 2024

Harvest Monday - 15 April 2024

We don't normally have any fresh harvests to show until the asparagus comes up, which it isn't, yet. But last autumn I tried an experiment to overwinter some leeks and carrots. We had harvested all of those we could use and still had some. Rather than pull them all and freeze them (trying desperately to not add to the freezer), why not see if they can make it through the winter in the ground, with some protection?

So I hilled them up, then covered with shredded leaves. After that, they were on their own. They didn't put on any growth, which was to be expected, and the carrot tops all withered, but the crops themselves did pretty well.

Overwintered leeks

Overwintered carrots

The leeks are on the small side, with the largest about thumb-sized. We haven't sampled them yet, but will soon. The carrots are all sizes and shapes. We have had them, and they are just as good as from a normal harvest. So the experiment is a success!

Of course, this was another mild winter, with not a lot of snow. We got another early spring (April 4-5) snowstorm, over 1 foot, and accompanying high winds left us without power for 30 hours. Naturally, the generator wouldn't start, but we got through fine. The wood stove does a great job of keeping the house warm. But overall the ground never really froze solid for too long a period. I'm sure that helped for these crops.

So, no more posts until the asparagus pops up. Thanks for reading, and thanks as always to Dave at for hosting Harvest Monday.

Monday, February 19, 2024

Harvest Monday - 19 February 2024

As we have done for so many years now, we tapped two of our sugar maple trees to make pure, natural maple syrup. This year we started earlier than ever before, utilizing a warming trend that started Feb. 6. Ideal conditions are when the days are above 40 F. and nights below freezing. We had a good 6 day run before it cooled off again.

For those interested, I'm linking to posts about our small-scale production here and here.

We netted over a quart of product.

Pure maple syrup

 The result is a uncharacteristic yellowish color, and very thick and rich. This was a happy (but messy) accident, as it boiled over during the final production inside on the stove (my fault). Note the cute syrup dispenser like you find in diners. We bought it at a country store in Vermont last fall, and I love it.

One quart is half of what we typically make, but we really didn't need to make any more, having some sealted jars left in storage from last year. But this reflects what will prove to be a theme with us this year. We have decided to drastically scale back much of what we grow and produce. We find we can't get through what we've gotten, and we are out of storage space. It's fun to give stuff away, but is it really worth the work?

One example: I typically grow 16 indeterminate tomatoes. This year, I'm only planning on 4, and none will be of the sauce variety. Another example: I'm growing no super-hot peppers. I love to make hot sauce, but again, we have so much, even after giving away 50 or so bottles.

And here's an (illustrated) example. I started the first batch of seeds at the end of January. Normally I'd grow 3 flats of alliums, but this year, only one.

Onion seedlings

So this year will be interesting, and hopefully not as much work. I do hope I don't regret this. I'll keep you posted as it progresses, but for now, there won't be much to write about until spring. Thanks for reading, and thanks as always to Dave at for hosting Harvest Monday.