Thursday, November 30, 2017

November's Garden (2017)

November's Garden as seen from the roof of the house.
The garden has changed quite a bit since last month and now looks barren.  The beginning of the month was a fast-paced panic to get everything harvested before cold weather.  As of today, there are dead plants still sitting where they died; nothing has been cleared yet.  After everything was harvested, I spent my time preparing for Thanksgiving.  Now that it is over, I will be able to give it more attention.

This year we are not throwing all the dead plants on the compost pile, instead, I am throwing the compost pile on the garden.  I learned my lesson. When Spring arrives I will not have time to dig it all out so I am putting everything in the garden now.  

We have already had some nights where the temperature dropped into the mid-twenties and it has damaged the winter plants a tiny bit.  The collards will be put under hoop houses soon and then they will begin to improve due to the extra protection.

This is the area by the back fence, it too will be put under hoop houses.  Everything looks ratty from the bitter cold nights.

This area is on the east (yard) side of the garden shed and I broadcast an assortment of seeds I had saved from last year's winter garden.  Soon this will also be under a hoop house although they seem to be well protected by the side of the shed.

After the leaves on the frozen dead plants withered, I was able to see many beans that were hidden beneath. They were shelled and eaten for Thanksgiving dinner.

More Lima beans, so thrilling!  As I began to pull up the plants, many more beans were hidden everywhere.  There is no such thing as too many Lima beans.  Some were put in the freezer but many were eaten on Thanksgiving.

We dug the peanuts last month but they needed a few weeks to dry before being stored for the winter.  They are spread out on newspaper and towels on the front porch. WOW!  I am impressed with this harvest.  Last year's garden yield was much lower even though I planted many more peanuts.  Few were eaten because most were saved to be planted this year.

Last year's November's garden (2016), was so much different.  We had suffered through a long drought and armadillos were digging up everything.  Even though it was a much bigger garden, it produced less than this year's smaller garden.  Rain and no predator damage made a huge the difference.

The sweet potato plants could not take the cold weather and quickly turned black after the first frost.

When looking down close to the ground under the damaged leaves, it was possible to see the vines were still alive.  If the weather had turned back warm, I think they would have continued to grow.

Back in the Spring some of the sweet potatoes from the previous year began to sprout vines while in storage.  The sprouts were removed and placed in water so they could grow longer roots.  These "slips" were then planted in the garden in May and they began to spread.  The vines will root wherever they touch the ground and form more potatoes.  The area under the sprout will grow the most potatoes so we carefully dig there first. 

My husband does the digging while I crawl around on my hands and knees in the mud brushing the dirt away.  It is backbreaking work but worth the effort.  Sweet potatoes are an easy crop for me because I plant them and then they spread and choke out any weeds.  The only hard work is when we harvest them after a heavy rain in the Fall.  It took Bill and me two afternoons to do the work because we had to stop and rest.

After they were dug and washed, I sorted through them and choose only the best to go into storage.  Last year I explained how to store them so they would last through the winter. These were culled and eaten first.  If you would like to compare this year's crop with last year's sweet potato harvest and see how to store them click here.   

So how much did we get? We got 85 pounds of potatoes!  Yes!  You read that right, 85 pounds!  I am more than thrilled.  We have not been able to stop eating them because they are delicious; the flavor is different when first dug.  Since there are so many, I will be sharing some and then canning many of them later in the winter.

This year we had too much rain and last year we didn't have any.  It is amazing how rain makes so much difference. 

"So what about me?" whined Scooter.  "No one ever thinks about me. There is no room on the porch because of all the stuff from the garden.  Where can I snooze while on guard duty?"

"Oh, Scooter," moaned Mom, "improvise."



  1. That is a very respectable crop! Now winter can come.
    Sweet potatoes are not grown here. But they are sold in the shops and even at Aldi´s for a very reasonable price. Next time I go there,
    I will look where they come from. You wrote, you will can them for winter. In which way? Are they cut in cubes or do you puree them?
    Can they not be stored like potatoes, cool and dark? For me it is

    1. When I can them I boil them first so the thin skin will slide easily away. Then they are pureed and put into jars and pressure canned. I will can some to give to Mom; she loves them. She will open a jar and microwave only enough for her meal. Also, there is way too many to store before they go bad. Bill and I can't eat that much in one year; the boys could...and they are coming back home...hmm. Perhaps I will wait and can them later because they may eat all of them. (When Mom reads this comment she will call and say, "Don't let them eat all my sweet potatoes!")

      Yes, they can be stored like white potatoes in the dark but not in the cool. They prefer room temperature. Dark is necessary or they will begin to sprout.

      Now Christel, when you go to Aldi's buy one and give it a try. Be brave! If I can search all around the mid-state hunting for your favorite cereal coffee (and now I love it), you can try one sweet potato.

      Sweet potatoes come in different flavors just like potatoes taste different. Some are dry and not sweet, but I prefer the kinds that are moist and very sweet. Just be sure to add hot butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

  2. Wow! That is quite the harvest. I'm impressed Jeannie.

  3. Great crop of sweet potatoes!

  4. The amount of sweet potatoes is just amazing.

  5. I love looking at your garden, as usual:)