October Harvests: Greens, Roots, and…Green Beans?

By this time of year the pace of the garden here has usually slowed down quite a bit. And that slower pace is always a welcome relief to me!  Greens and root vegetables often play a starring role at this time of year, but this October they are joined by an unlikely companion: green beans.

I don’t usually grow green beans here in fall but this year I had plenty of seed and a bare spot in the garden so I decided to give them a try. I planted some Derby seeds in early August, and the beans came on just in time before a fairly light frost did in the plants. I got 2 pounds of beans from my little planting, so the gamble definitely paid off. In past attempts my fall beans have fallen victim to either mildew or pest issues, but this year they did fine. I’ll have to give them a try again next year. We have a lot of beans in the freezer from the spring planting, but it was sure nice to have a taste of fresh ones once again.

fall green bean harvest (click on any image to enlarge)

We’ve also been enjoying all the greens the garden has been giving us. The Beedy’s Camden kale has been tasty, as usual. I’ve got Lacinato kale that’s ready to eat too. I’ve started cutting some of the cut and come again lettuce I have planted in my mini-salad boxes (aka Lettuce On Wheels). There are lots of salad greens planted in the cold frames and greenhouse, so we should be set for the next couple of months.

bowl of salad greens

And even though we’ve had a couple of light frosts, some of the tomato vines are still giving us fruit, most notably Sun Gold and Juliet. Those two just keep on going and going around here. I harvested a whole quart of Sun Golds this week, some of which wound up on a salad. The rest of them went into a baked cherry tomato dish I made, and I’ll share the recipe later this week. They’re not as sweet as they were this summer, but they’re downright tasty for a tomato this late in the year. It looks like Sun Gold might well be the first tomato and the last tomato we enjoy in 2012.

quart box of Sun Gold tomatoes

In the root department, I started pulling turnips a couple of weeks ago for the roots and the greens. My wife and I both love turnips in every way they can be fixed, which is usually quite simply. We’ve also eaten some of the small white Asian ones raw, with some yogurt/mustard dip. I planted extra turnips where some of the 2011 garlic crop grew – mostly the Purple top variety, and I plan on giving these away. I also started a jar of lacto-fermented turnip pickles last week, and I’m thinking about trying to make a small batch of turnip kraut before all the turnips are gone.

Hakurei and White Lady turnips

The fall planted carrots are sizing up nicely, despite the fact the local deer herd munched on the tops about a week ago. They’ve now been sprayed with deer repellent, so hopefully that will be the last attack. The deer also ate our almost-ripe rose hips. Frankly, I would love to ‘harvest’ some of the deer myself, which would help make up for all the misery they cause us, but that is a topic for another day. It is safe to say that hunting the deer will ultimately be the only way to thin their numbers down. There are way too many deer in our suburban area, and no real food for them except for lawns, backyard flowers and vegetable gardens. It is a sad, no-win situation for all involved, deer and humans.

fall carrots

A crop I’ve been harvesting pretty much all summer is celery. This is the first time I’ve grown celery in a number of years. I only have four plants, but that has been more than enough to keep us supplied with celery as we need it. For all that I’ve read about celery being difficult to grow, I have to say it has not been that difficult so far. I lost a few plants before they got well established, but once they were growing they did quite well, and survived the heat and drought nicely. It is nice to have the fresh celery available, and I do plan on freezing some before the cold weather does them in. This year I grew the hybrid Tango variety.

Tango celery

That’s an update on what we are harvesting here in October. To see what other gardeners from all over the world are harvesting, visit Daphne’s Dandelions, host of Harvest Mondays. And Happy Growing to all of you gardeners out there!

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18 Responses to October Harvests: Greens, Roots, and…Green Beans?

  1. Daphne says:

    I was very happy with my fall beans this year too. I’ve never planted them for the fall before, but they worked out beautifully. I’ll be doing this again for sure. And your celery did much better than mine did. Mine was pretty unhappy this year. I hope next year it is better, but I think I’ll have enough for soups, which is the important thing.

  2. kitsapFG says:

    My fall beans were good through our extended period of dry conditions but as soon as the rains started up they went to mildews and rots almost immediately. I had a good run this year on beans though so not complaining at all. Your post has reminded me that I really need to start harvesting turnips. I spotted a few looking obviously ready the other day and have just not gotten back to them yet. I have beets to harvest too that I should get to.

  3. Jenny says:

    The turnips and carrots look wonderful! And way to go with green beans in october! We lost our beans to frost but I have 4 plants under plastic so I hope it will keep producing. It’s blooming now.

  4. Your garden harvest always make me drool. We have such a tiny plot, and so many snails that our garden production is very modest.

  5. Lou Murray's Green World says:

    Wow, those are some good looking fall beans. Mine always go knobby and mildewy in the fall, so I gave up on them. Those Sungold tomatoes look perfect too. You are such a good gardener, a real inspiration.

  6. Wow, that is a fantastic outcome in just a few months of beans! Also love the Sungold´s, the turnips, sallad-leaves, carrots, and – of course the celery! Have e nice week! 🙂 Mia

  7. Michelle says:

    I’ve still got a week or two before the garden lets up and gives me a break. But I don’t have to deal with harvesting beans any more, my fall beans didn’t grow well and only gave me a small crop and the scrawny plants went into the compost yesterday. It is wonderful when you take a chance and it pays off.

  8. Nancy Davis says:

    You have a wonderful for this time of year in IN. I live in northwest IN and didn’t know we could grow fall beans so want to try that next year. Fresh green beans are so yummy. I also want to try growing celery next year. When do you plant yours and can I plant the seed directly into the garden? I will definitely be checking back later for more ideas. Thanks. Nancy

    • Dave says:

      I set out my celery plants in May, from seeds I sowed indoors in March. I am not sure about sowing directly in the garden. The weather does need to be warm before setting out. And the seedlings need to be kept well watered until established. I’m going to try digging up a couple of plants and overwintering them in a container indoors. We will see if that gives us some stalks this winter.

  9. Shawn Ann says:

    What a nice variety for this time of year! Everything looks perfect. My beans did not last too long into fall. I got a few the past few weeks but not many. They must of not liked their spot.

  10. Norma Chang says:

    I too am impressed with your green beans. I tried a couple of time and got no harvest so just gave up. My Beedy’s Camden kale from the seeds you sent me are looking good, haven’t harvest any yet. How do you prepare yours?

    • Dave says:

      Norma, I love to make kale chips with all the kale varieties. I also like to braise the kale in a little water until just tender. They will taste even better after a few frosts and freezes.

  11. TS says:

    Your celery is so beautiful! I think I will have to try this Tango variety next year. I planted Ventura, but I don’t think they like my climate…

  12. bavaria says:

    Recently read a book about gardens during the Gold Rush days and saw they used newspaper wrapped around the celery plants for blanching. Have you tried that?

  13. Liz says:

    I find late Summer/early Autumn sown beans do alright here too – not as big a crop but still worth growing. Based on this I am going to have to try growing turnips this year, they’re not something I’m in the habit of eating but based on your comments I think I probably should be.

  14. Nancy Davis says:

    Thanks for the celery info! Hope you are successful in overwintering them! Nancy

  15. Jody says:

    Great looking celery. I’m still figuring that one out. We harvested fall beans too. We’re just leaving the left over plants in the garden. We’ll turn them into the soil next spring. Your carrots look great too. Ours got the white flies. I hope that won’t be a recurring issue. We don’t have the cold-frame salads you describe, but we’ll get a few leafy greens in the coming weeks (we hope!).

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