Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Winter Garden Harvest

This was my third year growing Lennox Organic Cabbage, needless to say I'm thrilled with the quality of this variety and would highly recommend it. I start seedlings for both summer and winter cabbage harvest and this is the second year that I've made my Garlic and Dill Pickle Sauerkraut in January before the weather turns cold. For the full story and process check out my post from January 2019, 'January Harvest and Sauerkraut Hack'.  
Second day of snow ~ Jan. 16th, 2020
This year our crazy cold snap and 22" of snow came early. I didn't mind the first few days with -8C temps, the snow was fluffy and light. By the third day we were looking at clearing heavy, wet, BC snow that was about a foot deep!! I picked my winter cabbage on the 12th of January and unfortunately the core was already frozen. 
Frozen core and cabbage tip burn
I also found a new problem called 'cabbage tip burn'. This is new to me and my research shows it is the result of mineral uptake, watering and high temperatures. Which explains why the cabbage isn't fully affected, it seems only on the summer growth. A whole new learning curve for me... Interesting, the smaller cabbages were not affected.

Lennox Cabbage harvest ~ January 12th, 2020
I had 23 pounds of cabbage to start with, and all the waste and trim was left out for the hungry resident deer. It was a very time consuming process to clean the cabbage and remove as much of the black tips as possible. It isn't harmful, I just did not want it to affect my kraut fermentation and storage in any way!

When all was said and done, I had over 6 quarts for the first ferment with dill weed and minced garlic added. After 8 days I dumped all the kraut into a very large, sterilized stainless steel bowl and mixed in 2 quarts of thinly sliced, fermented dill pickles I made last summer. Then the mixture was packed again into jars and topped up with a new brine ... a mixture of the original kraut brine and dill pickle brine. 
These jars were then left to ferment
8 Quarts of finished Garlic & Dill Pickle Kraut
for another 4-5 days. After that time the flavor and texture were right, so the fermenting lids removed, storage lids put on and the jars stored in the fridge.
I had just finished eating last years batch so timing was good. This is a long and time consuming process but always worth the effort.
1st winter carrot harvest ~ January 25th, 2020
The cabbage was brought in before the snowfall and cold temps. The rest of the garden (kale, carrots, beets, strawberries and garlic) were covered with straw and maple leaf mulch to protect from the cold and snow. 
Just 3 days ago I removed the mulch from a small section of the first planted carrot bed and pulled the first winter carrots ... amazing!! Not sure if you recall, I had stopped growing carrots and parsnips because of the problems with carrot rust fly. Last summer I was determined to experiment and go through the arduous process of keeping the carrot beds covered with remay until late October. I'm thrilled to announce it worked! The carrots are clean, insect free, sweet, juicy, crunchy goodness!

After growing up in Alberta, I'm always so amazed and grateful for the food we can grow and harvest 12 months of the year here on the West Coast. The kale is small but so sweet after the cold weather and the garlic has poked through the mulch with shoots about 3" tall now. I've still got lots of carrots and some beets in another bed that were planted the end of June 2019. If the weather warms up too much, they will start to get 'hairy' and tough so they'll have to be pulled, washed and stored in the fridge. Not a problem, these carrots are worth the effort ... I love my winter garden harvest!

Until next time... Happy Winter Gardening and Bon App├ętit!

Photos by Sally Rae
Garlic and Dill Pickle Sauerkraut by Sally Rae 


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks JP, every batch is a little bit different but this combination is pretty special!!