Grocery Shopping The Winter Garden

In the summer I harvest daily. I have to, or the green beans crawl into my house and take over my couch and the zucchini turns into an uncarved canoe.

In the winter, the veggies more or less hang out waiting for me to get off my butt and come pick them. Many days, it’s too cold and rainy for my hunger to overcome my lazy inertia and get me out the door, so I munch on dilly beans and sauerkraut and cold cuts and wait for a clearing.
When the clearing comes, I go “grocery shopping” in the yard, gathering up a variety of produce to last several days. Sometimes I don’t even bring it inside, I just move it to the porch overhang right by my back door. I know it will stay cold but unfrozen there, much as it would in my fridge, but I can postpone the washing and scrubbing a bit longer if I leave the veggies outside for an evening or two. I just can’t forget them!
A warning about harvesting in winter. A good many plants will survive temperatures several degrees below freezing. Some veggies can manage further cold, even down to the teens. However, no plant that is picked to be eaten fresh (i.e, not cooked) should ever be picked while actively frozen. You must wait until the plant thaws and rebounds from the chill before harvesting or the leaves will turn into a mushy mess as they thaw. Not appetizing.
The five front yard beds. I try to keep these a bit tidier than the free-for-all of plastic clocheing in the back, and I throw in more “decorative” elements like the kales and the chard in practically every bed.
The potato bed is a mess, but it was easy to pull up a handfull of spuds.

They’re nice size potatoes, too.

Beets have been under straw. The greens are a bit ragged from low temps but the roots are in good shape.

My charming little helper. 14 seconds after this picture was taken he threw that beet at the cat and then tried to crawl under the car to get it. The cat, not the beet. That was left to me.

This cabbage is small, but will shred up nicely to a good main salad for one or side slaw for two.

No memory of planting lettuce in the front beds, but apparently I did and it looks pretty great!

Celeriac – disappointing but I will keep trying because I adore celeriac.

I am down to my last two kohlrabi. Next year I will plant more.
Luckily, one makes quite a meal.

Mixed lettuces and a small savoy cabbage, harvested from the backyard garden.
That ought to hold us for a few days. Then again, maybe not….the lettuce is already gone. I made this for lunch:
Steak salad with chickpeas, pomegranate arils, almonds and lemon dressing.
It was delicious. I love grocery shopping harvesting.

Comments

  1. Beautiful! Well done, you! I'm down to a bit of chard and arugula, but planning a better winter garden for next year! It gets colder here, though, so I'm not sure I"ll have as much variety as you do.

  2. Fantastic winter garden! Something I will be striving for after we set up shop in a new house next year. Great to see your lettuce surviving despite the chilly temps..I bet your lunch was a tasty treat.

  3. Every year, I vow to plant a fall/winter garden (zone 7) but have a hard time starting seeds in our late summer heat. Tips for planting?

  4. You are so amazing at what you do. I bow before you. :-)

  5. That lunch looks delicious! I have a hard time getting excited about salads in the chilly, wet wintertime. I like a big bowl of nice, hot soup, though! I tried growing celeriac my first year here, mine were even smaller than yours. At least you can still use the dwarf celery greens that grow on top.

  6. Lady Banksia says:

    I wish we could post a return picture or two here – I'd love to share my cheddar cauliflower pics… they really are orange.

    Beautiful veggies – nicely done!

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