The fall gardening season is coming to an end, and you probably have plenty of delicious vegetables to keep you busy processing and freezing for weeks to come. From roasting squash to steaming kale, your family will be eating well! Here are some tips from the staff at Homestead Gardens on harvesting and storing those vegetables you grew this summer and fall:
* Squash and pumpkins – These vegetables are best harvested when the vine has dried up. If you’re threatened by frost, be sure to cover the vegetables with a blanket overnight. They’re delicious in soups, desserts and main entrees, and they can be processed immediately or stored in a cool, dry, dark environment for up to 8 months.
* Leafy vegetables – Kale, spinach, collard greens and cabbage are great growers during the fall months and often will survive a light frost. Pick the leaves when they’re young and tender, as they’ll taste better. Serve immediately or store in a cool setting for up to a week. Cabbage can be steamed and frozen or pickled for serving later in the year.
* Root vegetables – If you planted a second crop of radishes, carrots, beets or parsnips this fall, you can keep them in the ground until they reach the size you desire for eating. They’ll survive until the ground freezes hard, but typically are picked before then because they’re not as tasty when overgrown. These vegetables will keep in the refrigerator for a week, so be sure to plan them into your weekly menus shortly after picking them.
If you are already thinking ahead to your harvest for next summer, this is the perfect time to plant garlic. Wait until the first frost has passed, because you want the soil to be a bit cooler. The bulbs will thrive in the winter and produce beautiful large bulbs to be picked in the summer.
If you have any additional questions about harvesting or storing your fall crop, be sure to ask the staff at Homestead Gardens!