We have our first Whole Farm basket of 2017, and it also may be the last one for the fall crops. This basket contains a head of cauliflower, a bunch of baby beets, several watermelon radishes, and green onions. This will be our only harvest of beets during the fall season, and the last harvest of cauliflower. Both will hopefully return in April.
This weekend was devoted to winterizing the garden for our biggest winter punch of the season so far. Most of our planting rows or raised beds already had floating row covers on them to protect from bug damage, but in order to provide a little more winter weather coverage we took the floating row covers that had been protecting the turnips and broccoli, now gone, and used them to add another layer to all the raised beds. I peeked under all the row covers today, and it looks like everything came through fine. Hopefully we’ll be able to say the same tomorrow! Even without severe winter weather, it is clear that our fall season is winding down. Soon the only veggies that remain in the ground will be collards, arugula, lettuce, kale, mustard, green onions, and spinach (hopefully ready for harvest in a few weeks), and we’ll hold on to them as long as the weather allows. Precocious spring veggies should be ready for harvest in mid-March.
If you live in this area, and even if you don’t, you likely know about the severe storms that pushed through southwest Georgia last Monday night. We were thankfully spared any damage from the tornadoes and straight line winds that did so much damage to our north and south.
Nonetheless, we made sure to inspect for any damage on the property here. As we were making the rounds, I noticed an oak tree with lots of shelflike, creamy white mushrooms growing on it. I was immediately excited, thinking they might be the oyster mushrooms I had written about (just the day before!) as something we might cultivate this year. Despite looking at many, many pictures of oyster mushrooms, this was my first real live encounter with them, and I wasn’t 100% sure of their identification. If they were oysters, I was definitely going to collect and eat them. But mushroom identification is something you have to be certain of if you plan to consume them. I consulted friends, the internet, and finally a book (Mushrooms Demystified by David Arora) that enables you to key out a mushroom to be certain what it is. I ran my mystery mushroom through the key and, lo and behold, Pleurotus ostreatus (the scientific name for oyster mushrooms) is where I wound up. And they were delicious!
Oyster mushrooms on a partially dead water oak