Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fall Radishes - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

These pictures are from a few weeks ago while I was in California.  It was my first chance to harvest the Cherry Belle radishes since first planting them about 35 days ago.  I knew that was about 10 days past their normal days to maturity, but I was hoping that cooler temperatures and shorter daylights of late fall would work in my favor and not negatively affect the radishes too much.

Well, I can always hope, right?

While a bit on the small side, here are The Good.

Then we have The Bad.

And we have The Ugly.

I have read that uneven watering and being left in the ground for too long can cause radish cracking.  I've also read that under- or non-development of roots may be caused by overcrowding, temperatures being too hot or soil deficiencies.  But I'm still puzzled because all these radishes were grown in the same part of the garden sufficiently/evenly spaced away from each other.  Whatever water/light/soil nutrition these radishes might have been lacking, they all got exactly the same treatment, yet some fared much better than the others. 

Oh well, I guess it's just another proof that vegetable gardening is anything but predictable.

I am happy to report that whatever problems the radish roots were having didn't affect the green tops at all.  They all grew beautifully and were rather delicious tossed into some soup.  It was my first time eating full grown radish greens, but I'm sure it won't be the last time.

Monday, December 13, 2010

12/13 Harvest - December Peppers

Hello again everyone!  Somehow I let a whole month get away me from since my last blog post.  It was partially because my gardening has slowed down considerably due to wintry weather and partially because I've been enjoying some downtime with my family in California and with Keith in Indiana since my last work project in Texas ended.

But now I'm happy to be back.  For today's Harvest Monday, I don't have too much in the way of harvest, but I do have a wee bit of excitement to share.

Do you see what I see?  New pepper blossoms, in mid-December!  My cayenne pepper plant that I brought indoors about two and a half months ago has been not only surviving, but actually thriving, flowering and starting to make little baby peppers again.  I'm really surprised that the plant is producing new flowers even though we left most of the ripe red peppers on the plant for "looks."  I remember reading somewhere that picking ripe peppers will keep the plant from slowing or ceasing new flower/fruit production, but apparently the reverse is not necessarily true?

This is the top-ish view of the pepper plant.  It's a bit hard to see in this picture, but there are dozens of new blossoms on this plant.  Outside the window, you can see some dusting of snow from early last week (all these pictures were taken last week).  We've gotten a lot more snow this week to a point where I can barely see the raised boxes (10 inches high) outside under the snow. 

Compared to less than two months ago, this pepper plant has grown a lot more foliage to support new blossoms.  If you think that we crank up the heat in the house to greenhouse conditions - we don't.  We keep the thermostat set at between 66 F (night) and 68 F (day).  When I first brought this pepper plant in to winter indoors, I had hoped that it would hunker down and survive the indoor conditions without dying so that it could start to grow again next spring.  But this plant is still actively growing and definitely exceeding my best expectations.

Okay, one last picture before I sign off.  Oh, and in spirit of Harvest Monday, I did harvest four cayenne peppers from our growbox pepper plant (unfortnately no pictures) yesterday to use in our slow-cooker beef stew.  Whoa, we had some spicy stew!

Happy winter gardening!


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