Being self-sufficient is easy during the summer months and fall but becomes less so when temperatures start dropping bellow freezing. Little will grow now, when it’s cold and the days are short and gloomy, which is why our winter crops have to be started months in advance – some, like carrots, parsnips or leeks, as early as March or April. Having an abundant garden in December requires an intimate knowledge of your climate and a lot of planning ahead. Every year we experiment with new crops or different sowing times and even though there are always failures and things that do not go as planned, our winter harvests become more varied each year.
To document the abundance we decided to film a harvesting video on the first day of December. Apart from the before-mentioned carrots, parsnips and leeks, we are still picking florence fennel, beets, oriental radishes, chard and two varieties of kale. There are leaves for salads, too: claytonia (winter purslane), corn salad and different varieties of leaf mustard. And even though we only grew 3 yacon plants, they gave us an ample harvest of juicy tubers.
Add to this all the winter squash and sweet potatoes that we have in crates in our unheated bedroom, dried herbs, chillies, porcini, corn and borlotti beans in jars in our living room and some potatoes in the cellar and life is good.
I am going to document what dishes I’ll make this week and write a ‘Week of Eating from the Garden‘ post shortly. But I’m also curious how you would use these vegetables?