This weekend saw a flurry of harvest activity! We decided to let the potatoes go one more week, but we started pulling onions, some of which we have available as fresh onions this week and some of which are curing to be available later as storage onions. We have been picking snow peas daily, and will continue to do so as long as this continued warm weather allows. With no respite from the heat in sight, we also decided not to take a risk on losing the lettuces, so we harvested the remaining heads and the rest of the arugula and radishes while we were at it. We harvested Swiss chard too, that heat-tolerant champion among our greens, which continues producing abundantly. We started harvesting our extremely popular rainbow medley carrots, which are a gorgeous mix of red, orange, yellow, purple, and white carrots.
My big beet experiment came to a very successful conclusion this week. We have been growing both fall beets and spring beets with some limited success, though often both beet seasons end with the harvest of a handful of small beets. This winter, we harvested our fall-sown beets early, as baby beets only, so that raised beds could be built where the beets had been growing. Several days after that harvest, I noticed one baby beet still laying on the ground. On a whim, I picked it up and tucked it into one of the new raised beds that had just recently taken its place, as an experiment to see how beets handle the winter, then pretty much forgot about it. But in early April I noticed a few beet leaves had emerged from the little beet root. The leaves steadily grew bigger and bigger, but I still didn’t give it too much thought. Finally, this week, I got curious about whether it had been steadily developing a beet root as well. Um, it was! I pulled it out right away, laughing, when I saw just how large it was. With greens, the plant weighed in at ever so slightly less than 2 pounds! After cutting the greens off to saute them, the beet itself was 1.3 pounds. I roasted it for dinner that same evening, and it wasn’t pithy or woody at all like radishes get when they’re allowed to grow too long. So, while we probably won’t let them grow to monster proportions like that, it’s great to know that we can leave our fall beets in the ground over winter to mature a little more, rather than harvesting them small as cold weather approaches. The leaves die back when there’s a hard freeze, but everything underground keeps chugging right along and new leaves come out with the arrival of spring.