November Harvests

We are finally in a slower period of the harvest season here at Happy Acres. Cooler temps and shorter days have definitely slowed the vegetables growth down, even as the frosts have made some of the harvests sweeter. Like the kale, for instance. I’m growing 3 varieties here this fall: Lacinato, Beedy’s Camden and Rainbow Lacinato. We’re also growing the hybrid Winterbor at the Impact community garden, and it always seems to do well around here. A few frosts have certainly sweetened up the kale, and more freezes are in the forecast.

Lacinato kale (click on any image to enlarge)

Lacinato doesn’t always survive the winter here, but last year it did, and we enjoyed harvests from it well up into April before it started bolting. This year I plan on saving seed from it, if it makes it to spring. I’ve really grown to like the sturdy and flavorful leaves of this heirloom kale. I remember when my wife and I went to Italy several years ago, it was autumn and almost every little backyard garden I saw had some of this ‘black’ kale planted. It’s been grown in the Tuscany region for centuries, but I saw it in other areas as well. I braised a mix of the Lacinato and Beedy’s for dinner one night, and the tender leaves were done in a little over 5 minutes.

Beedy’s Camden and Lacinato kales

Kale isn’t the only game in town though. The fall planted lettuces are still going strong in November. I’ve got one 4×4 foot cold frame bed planted all in lettuce, and they’ve been feeding us for a couple of months now. I have been harvesting mostly individual leaves up to this point, but now it’s time to cut whole plants since I would like to replant some more for winter use. Anuenue (ah-noo-weh-noo-weh) has done great this fall, and the red romaine Outstanding has really lived up to it’s name.

Outstanding (red) and Anuenue (green) lettuces

At Happy Acres we love our wilted lettuce. I always plant several varieties that have big, thin, tender leaves that do well when wilted. My favorites are Simpson and Simpson Elite, Red Sails and New Red Fire. We had some last night with hamburgers. My wife has a great recipe for wilted lettuce and I need to get her to share it sometime!

Red Sails and Simpson Elite lettuce for wilting

I planted lots of turnips this fall, including one bed where I intend to give it all away. I harvested over 10 pounds this week to take to the food pantry. There are lots more left in the beds for us and for donating. The ones in the photo are a mix of Purple Top and Hakurei. Fresh food donations are sparse this time of year and I know a few folks will enjoy these turnips and greens.

turnips for food pantry donation

Radishes and carrots are doing well in the fall garden too. The carrots were camera shy this week, but one of the Daikon radishes did pose for a photo. I’ve got a mix of Asian type radishes growing this year. The one in the photo below is a huge Shinden Risoh. I’m thinking this one will get pickled. China Rose has been great on salads, with a taste that mixes sweet and spicy in the same bite. I’ve only recently started growing the Daikon types, but so far they are quite easy and very productive.

Shinden Risoh radish

And last but not least in this November update are our Asian persimmons. The two trees are still quite young, and not very big, but they managed to bear 15 lovely persimmons this year. The Ichy Ki Kei Jiro tree was planted in 2008, and Gwang Yang in 2009. These trees are barely head high, and I couldn’t be more pleased with their output this year. And unlike many tree fruits, these grow just fine with no spraying necessary. We have really been enjoying these ‘ripe when firm’ non-astringent persimmons for eating fresh. The trees are bare of leaves by now, and the hanging persimmons are a pretty sight indeed.

Gwang Yang persimmon ripe for harvesting

That’s a look at what we’re harvesting here this November. To see what gardeners from all over the world are bringing in, visit Daphne’s Dandelions, host of the Harvest Monday series. And Happy Growing to all you gardeners out there!

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15 Responses to November Harvests

  1. Patsy says:

    Oh, that lettuce is very nice looking! Next year I definitely have to have a plan in place to use the coldframe and get some late fall lettuce going. Your turnips look wonderful too.

  2. Norma Chang says:

    Thanks for the idea to braise a mix of the Lacinato and Beedy’s kale, both are still doing well in my garden so am going to make some this week. I am so jealous of your persimmon, wish I could grow them in my neck of the wood.

  3. Daphne says:

    Beautiful harvests. I’ve tried lacinato kale, but for some reason it doesn’t grow well here. I do want to find some that will survive in bad winters. I like having kale as a winter and spring crop when there is so little else to eat fresh. Last year was hard since it was so warm, I never did get a good test of what will survive. But I did find the dwarf curly kale will survive one of my normal winters. Or at least did once. Hopefully we will get a normal winter this year and I’ll have more info.

  4. maryhysong says:

    wow everything looks sooo good! I didn’t get things going when I should have so will have a hungry gap for a bit. Love those persimmons! On my list of trees to plant as soon as I can get to it!

  5. kitsapFG says:

    I need to harvest kale soon as our patch is growing along beautifully too. I love the look of the Lacinato kale growing in the garden. It adds some real winter interest to the landscape.

    Beautiful harvests this week. Your turnips are particularly nice and I know they will be appreciated by the recipients of your donation.

  6. Bee Girl says:

    What a wonderful variety you have this week! That persimmon looks absolutely divine! And that radish!? Holy cow!!!

  7. Andrea says:

    Kale preforms well in my garden too and over the winter months even the chickens enjoyed the daily ration. Lovely looking lettuces, the different colors just look fantastic in the salad bowl and I’m sure that’s why they taste so good.
    Using wilted lettuce sounds interesting………………..

  8. Mary N. says:

    Your kale looks lovely. Please share a pic of the Rainbow Lactinato next week; I’ve never seen it. My winterbor kale usually survives my winters but this year it looks limp already – I think the aphids have done it in.

  9. Liz says:

    Yes please for the wilted lettuce recipe – I am terribly conservative when it comes to lettuce – I seem to only ever eat it in salads, or sandwiches. Wilted sounds like a great change. I have a lot of lettuce here at the moment.

  10. Nancy Davis says:

    Wonderful looking lettuce and kale. Think I will try planting a little kale in my cold frame this week! Nancy

  11. Mmm…persimmons and kale, what more could you ask for in fall? Our little persimmon didn’t set fruit this year, but we had a strange dry winter and spring, which seemed to set a few of our fruit trees back. I went so crazy planting kale this year that I’m not sure I left enough room for lettuce 😉 I have a few romaine types in the garden, but it’s definitely time to think about growing a little more. Love the look of your turnips. I didn’t plant any this year, but I do have some seeds for the purple top. Have you noted much difference in flavor between those, and the Hakurei?

    • Dave says:

      The Hakurei and other Asian types like Tokyo Cross seems to have a sweeter taste and better texture when raw. They also tend to have smoother and better tasting leaves. But I can’t say I notice much difference in the roots when cooked.

  12. Persimmons, how wonderful! And your fall root crops look terrific! Can’t wait to hear more about cooking wilted lettuce…

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