I realize our growing season came and went long ago. There are some of us zone stretchers when it’s nearly December still cheating seasons a bit. Fresh vegetables anyone? It has been a very cold year in Kansas but you can see turnips are very cold hardy. Some painters plastic and a little time is all you need. Anybody doing this with other cold hardy plants?
Yes! I’m in 6B with a row of Turnips on the South side of my house that will give me greens all Winter and small Turnips in late Winter. With a row of Spinach in front of them, I have greens all Winter. I need to start using a cover though, to help them size up. Last Winter they lived thru single digit temps without protection and recently a coat of freezing rain.
Very nice to see others out there are still making a go of growing things even in colder climates. We haven’t started to cool down proper here yet but I bought some broccoli and cauliflower starts today to try in containers.
The rest of us will have to make do with pictures from BahamaDan, Richard, and a few others to get those of us in cold climates through the Winter. Dan I never have any luck with Broccoli, and it’s a favorite of mine. I had a Brussel Sprout that grew well into the Winter last year, but that was a fluke I l believe.
Our lowest temperature in November 2018 so far was 18 degrees according to the thermostat. I left some turnips without protection and some with and the ones without were killed backed to the roots but still survived. The turnips with protection had greens live but showed some damage on tips of ones on the outside. In Kansas I grew up around winter crops such as winter wheat that we used to graze cows on when the grass was dead. We grow early spring crops such as lettuce, carrots, spinach, potatoes, mustard, collards, cabbage, and peas. My grandpa taught me to grow garlic and other crops such as walking onions used in soups in the spring when I was still a small boy. He loved alliums. Started growing Jerusalem artichokes about 10 years ago I think. Very impressive what others are growing and how they are growing it. I think of these cold crops as being to cold loving for warm places and yet people are growing them which is amazing! Warm weather can be a friend and an enemy which we know well in Kansas when our lettuce turns bitter by May 1st due to hot weather. The English were avid gardeners and zone stretchers and used and do use glass cloches like this picture from the internet to grow lettuce and other things. Hot houses and cold frames are other tricks I see a few people using
I’ll try my best to keep your winter blues at bay with garden pictures Wolf, and sorry to hear about your broccoli troubles. I haven’t much experience growing it myself, but read that it can be quite productive with secondary heads once the main one was harvested so I thought I’d give it a try. The cauliflower was on display next to the broccoli so it was bought by association, you know how that is.
I realize this is bordering ridiculous but it’s working! Those are our turnips hid under all that snow! At this point it’s more of an experiment.
Just trudged through melting snow to cut some fresh kale. Some of it looks a bit browbeaten after weathering snow, ice, and single digit temps uncovered, but I’m pleasantly surprised how many sturdy green leaves we’ve still got - and, as an added bonus, no cabbage moths in sight!
Better check under my plastic for cabbage moth! Lol I suspect your right and they froze long ago.
Harvested more turnips this weekend. As we have found more ways to harvest foods such as this year round it becomes more obvious how much more we can do. My family has always lived close to the land but there is a lot of room for all of us to improve our techniques. These turnips were grown just using a simple sheet of plastic during a pretty average Kansas winter. You might be saying to yourself yes but who wants to eat turnips all the time? Certainly not me turnips get old quick but this test crop opens up a lot of possibilities. What i thought would be cheating the growing season a little turned into cheating the growing season a lot! Due to lack of sunlight I figured the turnips would not bulb up much but clearly I was wrong. I did have about half the greens die back but they did recover. Once my greenhouse is finished the possibilities are limitless!
II always confused turnip and radishes. How do you eat turnip?
I cook them down into soup with other vegetables.
I find them easier to eat just washed and peeled then sliced . The flavor seems to intensify when cooked which I don’t care for. Mom used to boil them and mash them up like you would potatoes.
These are very mild turnips as well since the sun is not hot this time of year
Thanks, I was going to ask if it can be eaten raw for I have never liked mashed veggies that much. glad you shared.
I bet you are right about that , those turnips have been growing in some cool conditions!
I’ve tried a number of cultivars here, and the best, season stretching-est turnip I’ve grown is Gilfeather. I highly recommend it. It’ll keep in the field all winter (in 6b), especially when well-mulched, and is the sweetest, mildest turnip I’ve ever tasted. It’s actually as good as kohlrabi raw! They get quite large, but never woody, with excellent, smooth texture. Superb mashed with potatoes. Technically, I guess Gilfeather’s not a pure turnip, as it has some rutabaga heritage (British seed companies call it a “turnip-swede”)—but close enough for me!
Thanks for the excellent tip!
Here’s a Gilfeather, taken from the garden today (Dec. 22). It’s as sound as can be; and I’ve yet to run into a strong or woody one. This one is destined for carrot-turnip stew, I believe. It marries beautifully with carrots—also potatoes. These were direct-seeded in the garden around July 11; they need a little longer season, like rutabaga. It’s definitely one every gardener should try. Tops are large—and reportedly mild and tasty—but I’ve not tried them yet.