Harvesting root veg demarcates the border between fall and winter for me. Since September I’ve been watching the weather, waiting for the cold to come that would force my hand and make me get the produce into the cellar. It was an especially fun game this year with a remarkably temperate fall. I feel like I got away with something harvesting in early November, when many pulled their root crops back in September.
I have to focus on that for a minute, as it’s important. If you pulled root veg to cellar in September, you’ve already got 1-2 months more of storage on your crops than I do. That matters. Vegetables will only store so long. And if a vegetable will survive storage for 4 months, say, I’d rather start that 4 month clock ticking in November than September.
Which brings me to point #2. At the moment, my cellar is 6-8C. With the coming cold, it will soon be close to 3-5C. The veg I did harvest and put up in the cellar [a farm glean] in September got to enjoy some balmy 10-12C temps for a month or more. Not ideal. So the longer I can wait, the colder the cellar is when they go to their winter home, the better it is for the quality and longevity. A rare moment where procrastination pays dividends.
Although I haven’t weighed it, my potato harvest has to be about 3-4 times what it was last year. We have lots for the winter for the first time. Mostly a function of developing more annual veg beds where lawn once stood, partly due to better soil health as time goes on. My fall carrot, rutabaga, and parsnips [photo below] probably add up to 2-3 times what I had last year. Beets are about the same, maybe a bit more. My back’s done with forking. Time for a brandy.