December Harvest from a Kitchen Container GardenDecember 12, 2008
It’s going to snow, or at least that’s what all of the weather people are telling me today. Yesterday I wrote a post telling you what to do to get ready for a freeze. Today, I woke up and did many of those things myself. As I was harvesting from my winter edibles, I thought this might be a good time to share an update on the kitchen garden in a container post I wrote in early October. Why? Well, the photo on the right illustrates just a few of the yummies I harvested from it today.
I encourage you to go back and read the original post to get the list of everything I packed into the planter. Okay? All caught up, well here’s an update on what’s working now that we’re into December.
- Herbs: I’ve been harvesting from all of the herbs, especially parsley since just a few weeks after I planted the pot. I have more established installations of oregano, thyme and rosemary in my garden beds, so I tend to go to those first and am letting the container herbs fill in beautifully. But, the parsley has been going gangbusters even though I take cuttings from the two plants several times a week.
- Chard: Can you tell from the photo that the chard loves this pot? I’ve taken three or four rounds of side-dish sided cuttings from the 4 plants in the pot over the months, and it’s still going strong. I anticipate what remains in the container will survive the freeze in the days ahead. Today I harvested plenty for a great saute later this week.
- Cabbage: The purple cabbages were going slow for a bit, but with the cold weather kicking into gear they’re starting to tighten up and form tiny heads. Perhaps we’ll have cabbage by January? Check back for an update. Regardless, they’re looking lovely!
- Lettuce: The red sails lettuce that I started from seed and popped into the container are also loving the cool weather. I have several heads in my garden beds as well. Today I cut out quite a few as they’ll likely get a bit burned next week when the weather dips into the teens. Plus, they were planted close to the cabbage, so by removing them now the cabbage has some more breathing room to spread out.
- Snow peas: The snow peas climbed up the bamboo stakes and twined themselves into a beautiful mass. They are in full bloom now and don’t seem to mind the weather. Here and there pea pods are forming, but I think more than 3-5 plants are really necessary to get a decent harvest. Still, when I’m out in the garden I can grab a snack now & then. If the current blooms get pollenated and set fruit despite the freezing temps, we should get a pretty heavy harvest at some point. One note, the ends of some of the peas are developing fungal infections, but I haven’t worked that out yet.
So, am I still sold on the kitchen container garden? Yes! Today, I harvested enough lettuce for a huge salad, enough chard for a big saute, a few snow peas to snack on, and I have loads of herbs for soups and stews ahead this winter. And, by harvesting all of these edibles I didn’t damage anything growing in the container (except maybe the full head of lettuce I removed). Instead, I simply reinvigorated the other plantings giving them room and encouragement to provide me with another meal in the wintery weeks ahead.
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