Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Garden On December 2, 2009 - Part II

Across the main path from the former tomato bed are the lingering winter squash plants. Here's a Berrettina Piacentina squash that I'm waiting for (blue-green) and a very late Magdalena Big Cheese. The vines look pretty dead here.

But, further up the fence...

There's enough life left in the vines to make me wait to see what happens with the squash.

The vine that produced the first Magadalena Big Cheese squashes has been pulled and put in the compost. I've planted Olive Leaf Rapini in their place. They were started in paper pots and then planted out. The nursery flats are protecting the seedlings from the birds. I've got some thinning to do.

The cucumbers need to be pulled out, but I imagine the chickens will appreciate the seeds in those big bruisers. Yeah right, I've just been too lazy to get around to yanking them.

The beets are finally getting large enough to start harvesting. There's one Burpee's Golden hiding in there. I've had an incredibly difficult time getting that variety to germinate, much less grow. I love golden beets and haven't yet found a variety that I either like (forget the Golden Grex from Fedco, only the skin is golden and it doesn't taste good) or can grow (Burpee's just doesn't like me). Anyone have any suggestions for a sweet all golden beet?

And over here, a star performer this year, the Pimento de Padron peppers.

The beginning of December and there are delicious pods waiting to be picked! I'm not sure how many pounds of pods these plants produced this year. At the height of the season I was picking 2 to 3 pounds each week.

Aji Panca baccatum chiles. These are just starting to ripen. I picked the first ones yesterday and have started another post about tasting the baccatum chiles that I'm harvesting.

Here's a shot of the backside of the pepper bed. Most of the red peppers you see there are more baccatum chiles, Aji Angelo and Christmas Bell. The Amaranth looms in the next bed beyond.

At this point in the photo shoot, the fog started to make its dramatic exit.

Here's a couple of close ups of the amaranth seed heads.

The sweet alyssum growing along the back of the bean trellises is happy. This variety is "Summer Peaches" from Renee's Seeds. I encourage alyssum to grow all around the vegetable garden because it attracts a lot of beneficial insects and doesn't get pushy around the veggies, and it's pretty!

Petaluma Gold Rush beans drying on the vine. I very happy that I've managed to save enough seeds to grow these out next year and hopefully harvest enough for eating.

And next, Tarbais beans. If I'm really lucky some of these will dry so that I can try again next year.

There's plenty of parsley to fill my cooking needs, a few plants have started to bolt, I hope the rest holds off for a couple more months.

Carrots, full of ants and aphids on their crowns, but they seem to be doing ok anyway. They will be happier when I pull down the amaranth that is shading them for half the day.

Celery root, a new crop for me. They have taken forever to grow. There's one Diamante, the sole survivor, that's getting large enough to harvest. I dug up one clump of Dolvi seedlings, separated them and replanted them. The replanted ones seem to be ok. I'm not sure if they will size up before they bolt in the spring. I'll just have to keep trying until I figure out how to grow it, it's one of my favorite vegetables.

Scallions, big scallions, or perhaps small onions. For some reason I didn't harvest them when they were small. I pulled a couple of them recently and they were still tasty.

Golden Chard under a protective bottomless water bottle cloche. I usually plant chard earlier in the season so that I have mature plants to harvest from at this time of year. Actually, I did have plants in the garden this summer but they got attacked by powdery mildew and aphids, neither of which I did anything about. They were so yucky that I pulled them out and then didn't start new plants until it was a bit late. These plants would also appreciate it if I would chop down the amaranth.

And finally, ripening coriander seeds, another favorite seasoning. This is also a favorite plant for attracting beneficial insects. Some of these seeds will be scattered around the garden to become volunteers in the war against the bad bugs.


  1. Coriander, dill and parsley flowers all seem to attract nice beneficials in my garden. The coriander like you say is really quite good at it. I'm always amazed at how many kinds of wasp show up when they are in bloom.

    Do you ever use your Pimento de Padron for anything but the traditional dish?

  2. Daphne, I almost always prepare the Padrons as the traditional tapa. One time I used them in fried rice, which was quite good. And I keep thinking that I'm going to use some to make a fritata, but have never gotten around to it. In my opinion they taste best when they are fried or roasted to the point that the skin starts to blister and blacken, they don't taste good raw or undercooked to me. So, I imagine that they would be good incorporated into any dish that uses them cooked in that way.

  3. On beets - I may try Touchstone Gold from Fedco this year but do not hold out too much hope of having a decent crop as I have yet to grow a golden beet that compared to my others in size and dependability. So far my best gold beets are yellow mangles and they have a white flesh.

  4. WA is not so far from California, but what a difference! Your garden is still going strong! Cucumbers! We didn't have a lot of them this summer. Beets, my favorites! Plus such wonderful views!
    Michelle,I got the seeds! Thank you SO much! I am excited! I'll mail you Joe Pie Weed seeds, probably on Monday.

  5. Lots going on still in your patch. When I neglect to harvest late in the in season I just call it seed saving, hehe. Those are some pretty big cucumbers, they could probably be used for relish if they are still green. I have never grown golden beets before but have found it difficult to find nice tasting varieties in general. I really like Chioggia, they are not golden but do not bleed.

  6. Mr H.,
    I'll be interested to see how you like the Touchstone beets. I've tried the yellow mangles and wasn't crazy about them.


    Thanks! I'll keep my eye on the mail. Those poor cucumbers are far past their prime and the plants are dead. They plants finally hit the compost bin today.


    Sssh, that's the lazy gardeners' little secret. ;>

    A couple of those big cucumbers were fed to the chickens today, they love the seeds. Anyway, now that the weather is cold I don't feel like eating cool cucumbers. And they were turning yellow... Had they not been F1's I might have saved some seeds :)

    Chioggia beets are a favorite also, but I don't have any problem growing those! Those are the biggest ones in the garden at the moment.

  7. It's amazing how much life there still is in your garden....If only our winters can be like yours! Your chilies are prolific.

    What do you do with the amaranth?

  8. Thomas, I grow the amaranth for the leaves, they can be cooked like spinach, although they are best before the plants go to seed.

    And after last night, when the temperature in the garden got below 28F, things are looking a lot less lively :(


Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I value your insights and feedback.