Monday, September 27, 2010

Prairie Fall --- Harvest 2010

Dusk outside the kitchen window
The squash is ready and I've picked over 120 total of Waltham butternut and Table Queen acorn! Friends stopped by yesterday and I sent them home with bags of tomatoes, carrots, squash and sweet potatoes that we all picked while they were here. This crop will go into the root cellar after hardening off for a couple weeks. We'll continue to share with friends since we have SO many!
85 squash picked on Sunday - that's a LOT
of squash no matter how much you love it

Here are today's squash - OMG!
another 36 for the cellar

potato harvest

The potato bed was overtaken by the squash so I think they may have compromised the potato crop. I didn't get as many as I had hoped. We have been eating fresh potatoes this summer in potato salad, baked and steamed and they are delicious. I have to admit it is nice just lifting the straw and picking the clean potatoes; so easy to harvest just before dinner --- so I will plant them on top of the ground again next year. I planted yellow German Butterball and white Caribe potatoes from Seedsavers Exchange. The German Butterball has yellow skin and buttery yellow flesh with a creamy texture. The Caribe has beautiful lavender skin, white flesh and is simply delicious. Both are gourmet heirloom potatoes and I will plant both again.

Long straight carrots as a result of the raised
beds. Perfect!

Sweet potatoes are the last thing in the ground. The vines are dying back so the sweet potatoes are ready. It's one of those crops that grow underground so you don't know your yield until you dig them up but I'm betting its big. We dug a few yesterday and they are fabulous!  We love sweet potatoes and eat alot of them so this is good news for our winter storage. I planted Georgia Jet sweet potato slips.

I planted a tank with succession plantings of Swiss chard, lettuce, arugula and spinach. Fall greens is such a treat and with the cooler weather they are coming along nicely. For lunch I had steamed potatoes, carrots and Swiss chard with a splash of olive oil, salt & pepper and 2 poached eggs on top. Luscious and simple.
Our fall green crops - delish!

Now we'll be working on tilling the beds and getting them ready for the winter. Gardening is just about done for 2010. I can say that the raised beds (stock tanks for me) were a back and knee saver and had the added benefit of reduced weeds and greater moisture retention.  It was the best idea of all in our garden this year.

The last dill pickles from the last cucumbers
in the garden

Have you ever seen a hedge apple? This was
found on the road north of our ranch. They are
inedible and according to folklore, they are natural
bug killers. They are also known as Osage Orange and
are native to the US.

Foggy morning on the ranch

Autumn color is beginning

My favorite image of the ubiquitous Nebraska prairie---by Michael Forsberg


Janet said...

Wish I was closer so I could buy some of your squash. Especially love the acorn squash. You will so enjoy all your harvest and hard work this winter when the snow is flying. Just hope that isn't any time soon. Loving this weather and was perfect for my first buffalo roundup yesterday, and last one. Need to do some things once.

Anonymous said...

We can always buy the "hedge apple" here in the grocery stores in the Fall, but they call them Hedge Hogs. I have put them in the garage before and they eventually dry up like an old apple. Your harvest is amazing.