What We Harvested from the OYR Garden in November (Zone 5)

There’s no doubt about it; our garden isn’t producing anything like it did over the summer, but we’re still harvesting a lot of crops in late November in zone 5. This year we had a warm October and November. Our first frost, which typically comes in mid-October, didn’t come until mid-November, Today I thought I’d share what we’ve been harvesting in November. I’ll start with the crops we harvested before the first frost, and I’ll wrap up with the ones we’ve harvested after. Early in the month, our romaine and black seeded simpson lettuce were just starting to produce bountiful harvests. We also regularly harvested other greens like collards, kale, sorrel, mustards, and chard, while still enjoying summer crops like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. At this time, all of our crops were still growing out in the open, without the protection of cold frames, low tunnels, or hoop houses. However, with freezing temperatures in the forecast in mid-November it was time to harvest the last of our summer crops and to protect some of our cold hardy crops from the cold to extend their growing season. We grew all of our peppers and eggplants in containers in the front yard this year. With freezing temperatures expected, we brought all of the pots out back, and harvested all the peppers and eggplants. We also picked the last of our tomatoes from the backyard. Here’s a look at our last harvest of summer crops for 2015. We sure will miss having fresh tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, but we’ll be starting next year’s plants in just 3 1/2 months. Though we’d love to extend the growing season for all of our cold hardy crops, about 2/3 of our garden is in total shade this time of year and covering those crops wouldn’t do much good. They wouldn’t last long anyway. So, we focus all our attention on sunny parts of the garden where covering crops will make a difference. At this point, we hadn’t finished our hoop house, but the low tunnels and cold frames inside were ready to go and provided more than enough protection from temps that were just below freezing. We also added a low tunnel to this bed where, among other things, we’re growing artichokes and Sea Kale, which are only hardy to zone 6. The low tunnel should allow them to survive our zone 5 winter. Our first freezing temps didn’t have much of an impact on our cold hardy crops, even those in unprotected areas. We continued to harvest a number of crops from unprotected areas, including kale and perpetual spinach, Swiss chard, beets, and celery, pak choy and tree collards. Our first frost was the first big game changer in November. The second one came last weekend. We got several inches of wet heavy snow that completely buried many of our unprotected crops. I harvested the last of our Swiss Chard the morning after the snowfall. I had to dig it out from underneath the snow but it was still in great shape. Within a matter of days, however, most of the crops in open areas were done for the year. Later in the week, for Thanksgiving dinner, I harvested perpetual spinach, Swiss chard, dinosaur kale, Georgia collards, tree collards, mustard greens, French sorrel, red veined sorrel, Good King Henry, carrots, and radishes. The carrots, radishes, and kale were the last 3 crops still thriving in open areas, but the rest of the harvest came from either the hoop house or a low tunnel. Please see the description if you’d like to see the complete list of all crops we’re still harvesting in late November in zone 5. In the upcoming months, I hope to continue to bring you harvest videos to give you a better idea of what can be harvested in fall and winter in zone 5. Of course, these harvests won’t be anything like our summer harvests and pickings will be pretty slim by January and February, but I think you may be surprised by the results. To close the video, I’ll share one last harvest. We keep this small bed covered with storm windows during the cold months to prevent the soil from freezing. This allows us to harvest sunchokes all winter. I’ll harvest just enough sunchokes to make one of our favorite sunchoke recipes – sunchoke soup. I’ll include a link to the recipe in the description. Well, that’s all for now. Thank you very much for watching, and until next time remember you can change the world one yard at a time.

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