End of the Terrible Turnips 5/7/2018

Turnips are not for us. I kept hoping we would stumble across a recipe that made them taste good that we both liked. I wanted to be excited about growing more turnips next fall. We kept an open mind. We really did.

We’ve tried them:

  • Mashed Bacon turnips – Blech! We both wanted to like it but couldn’t. What a waste of perfectly good bacon!
  • Broiled/home fries – Soggy tasted too much like mushrooms for the husband.
  • Soup Turnip, Carrot Onion & Beet – Honestly this was only made just for me. I froze it for when desperate times call for desperate measures (IE: husband is out-of-town and I need a meal). Maybe the second most palatable option but nothing you would request on purpose.
  • Fries with Garlic Aioli -This was the best by far but still not something either of us enjoyed enough to make again. They never were crispy.
  • Gratin – Basically turned out to be a dairy/cheese delivery system which still was soured by the turnip taste/texture. Husband saw my reaction to trying it and didn’t even want to give it a taste.

So it is not for lack of effort in trying. We have concluded they are horse food. I will not be growing these again for human consumption. Pity. They were fun to grow and fast to produce. But what’s the point if you don’t like to eat it? NEVER AGAIN.

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Today out at the garden the harlequin beetles eating the greens and they were starting to get powdery mildew so they have to be pulled out. The temperatures have gotten too high for them to be happy. I have a fridge full of turnips and NO good ideas on what to do with them. They might just end up in the compost bin.

3tlsmYy

 

 

 

Cold Snap and Turnips 4/8/2018

Cold Snap

Friday was 85 degrees and humid. Yesterday was 43 degrees during the day it dropped into the 30’s last night. Just as the warm season things were starting to flourish a cold snap blew through the area dropping temperatures in a matter of hours. It was so uncomfortable outside. All I was able to do at the garden patch yesterday was stake the remaining sweet peppers that were getting whipped around in the wind, put up an unwieldy frost blanket tent over the peppers and pick a few turnips that were loving the cold weather. I also had to cover my tomato plants that I just got in the ground last weekend at home.

Turnips

The first crop to produce for 2018!! Baby turnips are ready for the picking.

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Note to self: Nagasaki Akari Kabu Turnips were sowed on 2/17/2018 and last week and April 1st Baby turnips were ready for picking. 1.5 ish months of growing time before they are ready to start picking. Luckily they are all growing at different rates too which is making it so I can pick a few of the largest ones each week. The purple top white globe turnips have finally started bulbing also. Just not as reliably. They have a lot more foliage and the skin is tougher. They also have a much harsher peppery taste more like a radish.

IMG_0583After spritzing them down with a hose they’re ready to bring home.

Turnip recipe trial and error

Turnip Greens

Last weekend I tried making collard greens with their tops which was pretty good. I think I need to experiment with different recipes a little. This is a possibility for future experiments.

Mashed Turnips

I tried mashing the turnip bottoms with some bacon and chives following a recipe I found on Pinterest. This was TERRIBLE. NEVER AGAIN. Part of that might be my fault. I used turnips we got from a farmers market the week before. I boiled the turnips with their skins on which was probably most of the problem. The skins of the farmers market turnips were bitter and very harsh tasting like super spicy hot radishes and I think maybe that flavor boiled into the turnip even though I peeled the skins off after. Anyways, the results were Blech. That and.. Turnips don’t mash. I had to get out the stick blender. My husband and I both agree that was bad and not to be repeated.

Roasted Turnips

Today I lightly coated them in olive oil and broiled for 15 minutes until golden stuck them in a bowl and put a tiny pad of butter on top and sprinkled some fresh dill from the garden on it. Basically following another Pinterest recipe I had found. I was extra careful and taste tested the skins both varieties. Nagasaki Akari Kabu don’t even have a hint of that terrible bitter harsh flavor so I left the skins on for roasting. The purple top white globe turnips are less superior by far in their early maturing and in their taste. The skin had that gross hot-radishy flavor again so that one was peeled. Chris HATED this dish He said that it tasted like he just put a mushroom in his mouth (which he hates). I on the other hand did not think it was terrible, but it was kind of disappointing because its pretty tasteless. It seems like turnips are not meant to be the star of the show. Maybe I need to look at recipes where they play a support role to something more interesting.

Right now in my mind turnips are valuable as an early producer but not because they taste amazing… I need to hunt for more recipes.

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Staking peppers plot progress 3/31/2018

Pepper Beds

The hot pepper bed has really been taking off. I got some advise from my plot neighbors to stake the peppers because it gets extremely windy.

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They’ve already doubled in size since they were put in the ground. Most have little buds in their growing point and a few are already flowering.

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I planted them extra deep but now I’m wondering if that was a bad idea, The buds are fairly close to the ground. I might have to devise a way of keeping the peppers from growing down into the dirt.

The sweet pepper transplants are still dinky so maybe in a week or two they will get staked. There was not much change since last week.

Onions Carrots/Dill Beds

Look how wimpy the onions along the border to the left are compared to the right. The spacing is the same, They were purchased and planted at the same time. This is the difference between Texas Sweet (left) and Georgia Sweet (right). Both have the same watering schedule and have been supplemented with the same nutrients. I realized about two weeks ago I really messed up with the onions. These are all non-storage onions. Yeah. There’s about 200 of them total. My husband and I are not going to be able to use them all within 30 days…. I think I’ll be bringing them in to work and giving them away to friends if they actually produce. This prompted me to do research on short-day storing types. I was shocked at how limited the options were. I’ll be figuring out what to do about those here shortly to order seeds for fall.

the Carrots and Dill look like they are chugging away just fine. I’ll be starting to cut back the dill for salads here shortly.

Beets Turnips Rutabagas

This is the turnip and beet bed. These turnips have yet to produce a visible bulb but they are sure churning out the greenery. I’ll probably thin the greens and use some in a collard green recipe experiment here shortly. They are already shading out the marigolds! I’m not sure if they will bulb or not. It seems like they should have started by now.

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The Bulls Blood beets on the right had side have red leaves which was unexpected. They seem to grow slightly faster than the Flat of Egypt beets. Neither variety is bulbing yet.

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These are the turnip Nagasaki Akari Kabu which are giving me beautiful bulbs already. These are my favorite so far. They are surrounded by a most likely failed experiment of Rutabagas. The Rutabagas grow so slowly by comparison I doubt I’ll be able to keep them alive through the hot summer here. I’ll try planting them again in fall if they do not pull through to see if maybe they are a fall crop. Same thing with the really leafy turnip variety. Maybe I’m figuring out what will work in spring and possibly something different will work in fall.

Both of these beds were covered with shade cloth. The sun is getting so warm its 80 degrees and these plants like the 60’s.

Bean Beds

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The dry bean bed is doing great so far. The plants need to be thinned pretty soon but I saw some pricked out so I want to keep my numbers large until they are big enough to not be bothered by cutworms or birds.

IMG_0533The fresh bean bed is progressing nicely also. This is the first time I’ve done succession planting of the same crop. I don’t know if it works well for my situation yet but right now there are three fresh-eating beans in three different stages. full on little leafy plants, new sprouts and seeds just poked in the ground. The winged beans are planted in the middle row with the trellises in the center. They are the most sorry-looking of all the beans right now. I’m fairly certain they require more heat to really get moving than what we’ve had so far. They may have been planted a little bit early but I’m not familiar enough with the variety to know for sure.

Other beds

There’s some flower seeds that are starting to leaf out in their first true leaves, same with the parsnips. The hamburg parsley has yet to make an appearance. I don’t know if any of them germinated or ever will. Sunchokes have awoken from their slumber. I’m trying to decide if I want to plant flowers or a melon at the only unclaimed raised bed.

Things are really starting to take off. Its amazing how fast everything has grown this month!

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Crepe Myrtle

 

 

 

Planting Seeds 2/17/2018

Results of Planning

I skipped garden activities for a few weekends. The husband and I were off traveling a little bit. Beds also needed to be weeded more before they would be useful. This put my seed planting behind schedule by two weeks. Better late than never!

There has been another 8 hours of weeding done at the community garden plot. All but one of the large side beds have been cleared. Most of the middle beds are still a mess.

The other night my master plan we worked out. Ultimately I want a beautiful functional kitchen garden space. A lot of googling and pinterest-pinning later I’ve determined the elements of potagers that I love that are:

  • boldly defined raised beds with clean lines & clear pathways – Lucky me my plot already has this bold line design, it’s just needs some tidying still
  • Flowers in every bed – these could just be for beauty or serve a purpose, use them as cutting flowers, have them attract beneficial insects or have them repel insects I don’t want. They can even be edible.
  • Even spacing – I actually used a measuring tape to make sure my spacing of seeds and flowers were evenly spaced
  • Straight planting rows that frame another type of vegetable – I used a string that i had measured the placement of and planted along the string to get straight rows and planted the same type of plant all along the outside of the bed so that eventually onions will frame the carrots all the way around for example.

So my super rough sketch of what goes where is as follows:

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Planting time

The time for planting bulbing onions was two to four weeks ago. Here’s hoping it still works. I picked out two varieties. They are now bordering four varieties of carrots to experiment with primarily because they come from India or other warm places and this is the year of experiments!  There is so much more work that needs to be done. Other than weeding the remaining beds and the pathway I’ve started to lay down a thick layer of mulch over cardboard to hopefully help suppress the grass in the pathway. So what you see below is a lovely combination of half-finished projects. Partially weeded beds, partially mulched pathway and wonky supports haphazardly stuck in the ground. But, it is the truth. Nothing looks beautiful when you just start out.

Allium/Umbellifer Family beds:

Onions: Spacing 4 inches apart 2 rows per foot staggered.

  • Bulbing Texas Sweet
  • Bulbing Georgia Sweet

Carrots: spacing oxheart 3 inches per short row 1.5 inches per short row all others

  • kyoto red,
  • Pusa Asita Black,
  • Pusa Rudhira Red,
  • oxheart

Dill: one line of thinly spaced seeds in will be thinned.

  • mammoth and dukat

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Brassica family beds:

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The bed to the right has turnips in the middle of the marigolds and has rutabagas around the outside. The bed to the right has different turnips in the middles and beets surrounding the outside.

Turnips: – every 4 inches two rows

  • nagasaki akari Kabu (purple)
  • Purple top white globe

Rutabaga: – every 4 inches two rows

  • Collet vert (yellow and green)

Beets: – every 4 inches two rows.

  • Flat of egypt
  • bulls Blood
  • Colorful beet mix

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Now I hope it keeps raining so the seeds are well watered.

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