The extended season is upon us. To kick it off, the weather decided to hit oh say about 28F last night – much to the sorrow of the sensitive and tender. So – goodbye Peppers, most of the cut flowers, the lingering cucumbers and beans (well, those were almost totally gone already). It was cold enough to damage plants inside the greenhouse. Leaving the man-doors open was certainly not helpful, of course.
The hot pepper fruit itself was damaged by the freeze; there will be an almost certainly futile search for anything worth putting out this week, but the short story is that apple pie and winter squash are here and now. The secondary news is that the Broccoli and Cauliflower are here, and shrugged indifference to the freeze, as is their wont.
Lettuce, Chard, some Kale and Spinach – well, welcome to extended season. The big question is the availability of Sweet Potatoes. There are actually quite a few nice fruit (are sweet potatoes fruit?) to put out – larger plants and the two varieties (white and purple) which are thin and root-like, about 1/2 to 1 inch diameter. The Sweet Potatoes are a ‘starch to sugar’ crop. The first stage of curing is to put them at high humidity and about 80F for “from 3-10 days” or “from 5 to 14 days” depending whom you find. Once that initial stage is complete, the skin is dry and any wounds have ‘scabbed over’ the sugar level is off the peg. Thereafter, they need to be kept at room temperature or maybe down to about 60F. One anecdote talks about putting them in a box under your bed. That seems, well, untidy. In any regard, the fruit was dug and put in the curing area on Saturday, 10/9 in which case it is highly likely you will get a couple of smaller fruit in your box if the judgement here is ‘yep, that is cured.’
There are always a few drops from main to extended; it makes judging quantities at planting time a bit challenging. The rest of extended season is a combination of removing old and dead, gleaning what is still available (carrots, beets) and harvesting what was planted specifically for X season. The Broccoli and Cauliflower were planted just for you…
Back to the topic of winter squash – they are also a ‘starch to sugar’ crop. You will be getting them basically all the way through the end. Please remember that they will keep for literally months in a cool dry place like a garage; the peak of sugars is usually 4-6 weeks from stem cut. The pumpkin colored squash will be the earliest to eat, the Acorn next and then the cha-cha.
Nominally, you are getting 4-6 apples a week. That is enough for a pie, or to eat as a snack. The remaining six trees have four that are mixed eat/cook, and can be tart to some palates. The last two are really ugly (very scab prone, a russet color) and want desperately to be loved in a pie or applesauce. Add to that, there are several metric tons of yellow crab apples still left. The trend is that here at Shilofarm there will be jelly and applesauce produced over the extended season. So. When you read “ask” you may translate that as “Please! Take Some and Cook!”
Finally – there are buckets of green slicer tomatoes. The plan is to pick them, bring them into the house and set them on a shelf to ripen for you. That said, there are some excellent green tomato recipes. Cherries will keep going a bit, as they do not need the heat to ripen that the bigger tomatoes want.
Cut Flowers are going to be a challenge – but the Stock is With You.
week 1 Extended Season:
|Greens||Nice Lettuces. Some Spinach. White and/or Red Chard; Kale – not much of it, ask. Asian Mustard (ask) – 1-2 florets of Broccoli, one head Cauliflower, depending on availability. May let them go a week to grow a bit.|
|Crunchies||Carrots. R.I.P. Peppers, Adios Cucumbers.|
|Herbs||Garlic, Arugula, Green Onions, Chives if you ask, Basil, Cilantro (nice leaf structure), Hot pepper|
|Other||Yellow or Red Beefsteak, Slicer and Cherry Tomatoes, 1-3″ beets with greens, Flowers will be a miracle if they can be found as a survivor. The dahlias and their cousins are dead, dead, dead. Oddly, the Stock looks fine. That is one tough flower!
Yellow Crabs? Gallon or more?; Quince?
Pumpkin or Green skin winter squash.
Smaller sweet potatoes if they pass inspection. Almost for sure by Friday, perhaps Wednesday.
- More and bigger Sweet Potatoes, Cauliflower.
- Cabbage – 2-4 weeks out. Still. Happier in the cool weather. There is some doubt if this will happen before The End.