Saturday, October 22, 2011

But Wait, There's More!

Just when you think the garden had given up its final ghost, you remember the sweet potatoes that are lurking under the row covers.  I had dug a sample from the sweet potato bed back when I dug my other spuds this fall, and the scrawny little roots left a lot to be desired.  So, I essentially wrote them off as a lost cause and not something I would plant again.

But Tuesday when I got home from work, I decided to dig the rest of them up.  Maybe, just maybe, there would be a sweet potato or two worth the labor.

Boy, was I mistaken!

It's hard to appreciate the harvest there in the wheel barrow.  I had planted just shy of a dozen slips, which were not in the best of shape when they arrived from Maine this spring.  My first sampling did not improve my impression of these veg, but when I stuck my spading fork in and forked up the first plant, I was shocked and amazed to see sweet potatoes of colossal size (pictures do not do them justice):

The harvest directions I found for sweet potatoes say to leave them out in the sun on a screen for a day or two after you dig them so their skins can harden, and then let them sit at about 80*F for a few days to continue developing tough skins for storage. Yeah, right.  It started to rain as I forked over the last bits of the garden, so I dumped the buckets of spuds into the wheel barrow and rolled the whole thing into the covered back porch, where they have sat all week as it rained and barely reached 50*F - forget 80.

Still, this was a nice surprise.  I wonder if really big sweet potatoes are woody and awful, like big radishes, or if size doesn't matter with taste and texture.  I guess the only way to know will be to cook 'em and have a taste.  Until then, I've decided that sweet potatoes may not be so bad to plant in the garden here after all.  I wonder how I save slips for next year...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Late Season Gifts

Just when you think you won't have any more tomatoes, despite the many green ones still clinging to the tomato plants, you get a week of warm weather, and your row covers add a touch more warmth, and voila! you are swamped with ripening tomatoes!  (The apple is just there for scale.)

I don't recall which variety this tomato is, but many of the bright yellow fruits (I know, they look orange here, but they are really yellow) are quite large, and unlike Brandywines, they don't split!

I decided to pull a few more carrots, too, this weekend, not that I had time to actually process them or anything.

This one was so big, and had such a grip on the soil, that I had to use the spading fork to dig it out - it wasn't going to let go on its own.

Neither was this one...or is that two?  Possibly three?

Most of these carrots are still in the bowl on my kitchen counter, with a damp paper towel draped over them to keep them from going limp.  A few (including Brutus, two pics up) were diced into a pot of chicken soup I made later that day to combat the cold I've been fighting for about a week now.

And just to prove that miracles do happen, here's what I saw yesterday afternoon:

Yes, that's Pumpkin on the left, and Idefix on the right.  Sleeping.  Together.  Unbelieveable.  No fur flying, no claws swiping, no hissing or spitting or growling.  Amazing.

Of course, later that night things reverted to normal, but now there is a glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, these two will eventually get along.