vegetables of autumn in the garden

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small yellow hakurei turnip flowers, end of October 2020

Many vegetables can still be in the garden, even this late in the season. Several webpages and blogs tell about winter gardening and harvesting experiences – such as leaving some root vegetables right outside underground where grown, and in winter, digging down through deep snow to unfrozen ground to pull a carrot or potato, for example. Others say best to keep root veggies in a root cellar for winter.

Here is a site including much information about fall and winter gardening a great website on winter gardening.

I recently found some hakurei turnips that had sadly not yet been eaten, and had been living in summer in a dark refrigerator – perhaps to them as though winter. Though plants do not speak in ways evident necessarily, they have lives, so though late in the season they were planted (furthermore, they no longer looked delicious to eat – they were no longer farm fresh or even close to farm fresh), and it was exciting to see them grow and flower. It turns out that a turnips turn is maybe during nippier weather – it is said they need protection on days that are too warm, as well as when very cold (that is, I’ve read that they are not as cold hardy as some vegetables – mulching helps. )
hakurei turnip plants - leaves and stems and flowers from the turnips
Animals must like turnip greens to eat also, as one stalk in flower is now gone. Good to know we have some healthy critters about.
turnip greens and flower were munched
Hakurei turnip are not as winter hardy as other vegetables, and as the nights have been close to freezing they have been covered some nights, bending them, however, they otherwise grow straight.

Now is also a time , among many times, to collect seeds. (There are probably many times of the year in New England when seeds can be collected in the garden, depending on when plants are planted, and whether some are allowed to fully mature with seeds.).

Some squash should not be eaten right after picking, such as winter squash. This is really cool. Johnny Seeds has a graph about this.

Some squash therefore can last a very long time – 6 months being a very long time for fresh food to last – last while unrefrigerated and unfrozen.

This butternut squash from a local farm is from autumn 2019 – and it is now fall 2020! It was never refrigerated or frozen. Actually, if it had been refrigerated, it might have not lasted as it has, in quite good condition already about 12 months later – its seeds though do not look good to eat as they have a brown line around their edge. Seeds are very nutritious and so that is unfortunate – having fresh seeds is a reason to eat the squash during the suggested timeframe that they are supposed to be at their best.
A butternut squash split open to reveal the seeds inside. The squash was last autumn's squash.

A 2019 butternut squash in the autumn of 2020, upright, on a granite rock.

Many people enjoy gardening for their family in addition to going to local markets. Some people would rather just go to farm markets. Thank goodness there is this diversity of interests within communities, as a diversity of interests helps communities to produce great food. That is, farm markets need people who are interested in buying food from people who specialize in and enjoy growing food for their community. And communities need farmers. Farmers also need people interested in gardens, as it is very likely that some of their customers come to their farms because they like to see plants and animals grow.

Though this blogger is not interested necessarily in large gardening – and there are great local markets so that is ok – it is true that it is tempting when planting 10 seeds to plant many more yet. The gardening of smaller plots is especially interesting though, and it might add to a region’s food security for various people in the community to grow a few of their favorite vegetables to grow (probably those vegetables that grow well in the places planted), and have that know-how. Then, in times of need, there is knowledge and food to share.

Here are the peas I started from seed. Or, at least what was planted here were peas. If these plants grew any peas though, I did not see them. They are annuals and native to warmer climes, and did not have enough light where I put them near trees. Trees leaves drop in fall, but by then it is too cold for peas for vigorous growth. Do they re-grow if mulched well in New England after a winter? There is probably good reason to start peas in the spring from seed, especially if during the winter they might be eaten by non-hibernating animals.
a very tiny pea plant in shady location on a slope in a straw bale placed there
To be mulched this fall, and maybe seen again in the spring.