It worked! It’s almost Christmas and the beets are still being harvested in great condition! A little hay and a fabric cover hooped over the row of beets have kept them just the right temperature through multiple snow storms.
The cold snaps the root vegetables experienced under the covered hoop tunnels actually made them taste even better! The carrots were so sweet and even the beets had a brighter flavor. Also, the texture of the beets were not as hard as they usually are during the summer.
The extra beets were eventually pulled just before a multi-day near zero temperature spell. We did not want to potentially lose them to the freeze. Are finishing the harvest, the beets lasted in the fridge into February!
Since there were so many beets we tried our hand at pickled beets which is something my mother used to feed me when I was growing up. This too was successful.
2019 was the best year to date for successfully storing and preserving excess vegetables!
Looks like we will be having an early winter this year but we still have a lot of carrots and beets! It’s time to put row cover over the hoops for these root vegetables and see how long they will last.
We are trying two different approaches. The carrots on the right will just be covered with the fabric. The beets on the left are covered with hay AND the fabric to double insulate. Beets are more susceptible to the cold than carrots so we thought they may need extra help to keep from freezing.
We had great success last year when we winter covered for the first time. We only covered the carrots and they lasted until almost Thanksgiving! In addition to surviving the winter weather they also lasted into January after harvested and refrigerated.
Let’s see how long we can make the carrots and beets last this winter!
We immediately planted all the seeds once the beds were ready. We did not want to lose any time since we have such a short growing season. The picture shows a new tactic we’re taking to prevent the birds from eating the peas this year. We hooped some fencing over the planted area as a deterrent. It would require a desperate bird to work it’s way through the fence to even realize what type of plants they are. There is plenty of greener plants around to peak their interest. Spoiler alert….it worked!
Next, the lettuce seedlings came up quickly. Since we never use weed block fabric on the lettuce rows it’s also the beginning of weed pulling! Be honest. Take a look at this picture. Can you tell me which are weeds and which are the lettuce? No? And this is why the woman of the house is stuck weeding the lettuce and root vegetables until they are 2 inches tall!
Beets and carrots take longer to surface. We hand water the carrots in particular as soil dries quickly here, seeds are shallow and they seem to take forever to take a hold and leaf out. Unfortunately they initially look like blades of thin grass. Another reason the man of the house will never weed the carrots this young. Bean seeds come up quickly and we can use weed block since they grow farther apart. Luckily another reduction of manual labor. We try to minimize it as much as possible. In the next few weeks we will be able to bring out the transplants we have been growing inside. Until then we have hand watering and weeding to do!
The beets finally reached selling size. The compost made a big difference. Thinning them out like every gardening book tells you makes a big difference. It didn’t hurt that we have a seeder this year. They aren’t as clustered as they used to be. We actually got a number of very large beets that were pretty impressive. They were harder to manage cooking, but they were still as tender and tasty as the others.
Beets were never a top seller but those customers that like beets love them. It’s the standard heirloom beet called Detroit. It’s the preferred dark red color that comes with a richer taste. Many people shy away from fresh beets because they aren’t sure how to cook them. There is really nothing easier. You just slice them about 1/4 inch thick, put them in a sauce pan just covering with water, cover and cook Med High for about 15 minutes or until its tender enough to push a fork into them.
We ended up with excess that we will either can or freeze. We will have to grow less next year.