This weekend I decided it was time to pull and dig up my root veggies. Luckily I picked sunny Saturday to spend time in the garden. When I was originally starting my seeds last spring I remember thinking I had a LOT of carrot seedlings. Then as I transplanted the seedlings into the garden I thought again "My, I have a LOT of carrots!" And for the third time, as I'm pulling the suckers out of the ground I remarked again "Good night, I've got a LOT of carrots!" I planted globe and multi-colored varieties; so the pile looks very colorful! I estimate I have about 12 gallons of carrots.
I pulled up all of my remaining beets at the same time and noticed that I did NOT have as many beets as I've had in past years. This year I think I got about 2 gallons of beet. Last year I had more beets than I really needed as evidenced by the 2 jars of pickled beets that are STILL in my fridge from pickling last summer. So I guess a smaller harvest of beets is ok. I also saved the beet greens. They area little tough to eat raw, although we've done it, but cooked with some garlic and parmesean cheese, they are wonderful! I'm going to freeze them for now and eat them at some point in the winter when I want a little taste of summer greens to cheer up a meal.
I dug up my whole row of potatoes and was pretty disappointed by the small number of potatoes that I found. I guess if I look at the investment in those potatoes, I should be happy with what I got. All of this year's seed potatoes came from potatoes that were in my pantry and started growing legs. We're not huge potato eaters, so sometimes they sit in the pantry for a bit too long. The ones I planted were tiny shriveled up little things so I guess if they produced anything at all I should be grateful.
I think the true winner in the garden this year is the rutabaga. One of those guys was as big as a cantalope. I can truly see how they carve those at halloween in England, although I wouldn't really want to try.
If I had to pick one job in the garden/kitchen I hate more than any other it would be washing carrots. My back aches, my mind goes numb and my hands cramp standing at the sink scrubbing all of the dirt off of my gnarled multi-legged carrots. So this year, on the advice of my friend Kathryn, I dumped all of the carrots in a Rubbermaid tote and hosed them down a few times. That seemed to do a pretty good job, but they'll still need a little scrubbing when I bring them in to eat. Right now they are drying on newspaper in my garage. I read that you can store carrots in boxes layered with newspaper and plan to give that a try this year. I have way too many to put in the crisper, so it'll have to go with it. Now to go look up carrot recipes!