Think Small, Young And Tender

cold-frame

South facing cold frame

Many vegetables are over looked, under used and often not harvested while still very young, tender and in my opinion at their peek flavor.

Beets, carrots, turnips, garlic, leeks and onions for my table are best harvested when the root is only 1/2 to 3/4 inch in diameter. While the root parts and tops are still very small and tender. At this stage of development the roots and tops are still small, tender and mild tasting and have not fully developed the strong flavors disliked by many cooks and gardeners.

beet1 They are perfect size to be used raw in salads, added during the last few minutes of cooking time in soups and stews or used as a stir fry vegetable. Use the roots whole or cut in half. Young beet and turnip tops work well as a side dish of mild tasting cooked greens. Young tender garlic and onion tops can be used much the same way you use chives.

Hint Don’t over power the delicate flavor of tender young vegetables with a strong flavored salad dressing.

Since they are intended to be harvested long before they reach full maturity, they can be sowed densely in large containers. Fertilize only if needed using an organic fertilizer or a general purpose fertilizer like 5-5-5, 10-10-10 or 13-13-13. Keep them well watered. Moist not wet soil. Dry stressed root crops will quickly become woody, tough and loose their delicate flavor.

leeks1 Plant beets, turnip, carrots, onion, leek seed and small garlic cloves 1 to 1 1/2 inches apart, carrots 1/4 inch deep. Turnip and beets about 1/2 inch deep in your soil mix. Potting soil mix, sandy loom top soil and well composted cow, chicken or rabbit manure.
After sowing and watering in your seeds cover pots with a sheet of clear plastic (clear trash bags work well) to keep soil from drying out to quickly for the first 5 to 7 days. Water if your soil starts drying out. Remove clear plastic as soon as you see your first seedlings have germinated and are visible.

Start harvesting some of the leafs when they reach the 3 to 4 inch size. Allow carrots (3 – 4 in length), garlic, leek and onions to reach 4 to 8 inch size before harvesting.

Now from my Department of Who Cares The area around my tiny garden received about a 1/4 (0.250)(2.5mm) inches of rain and lots of hail golf ball up to baseballs in size last night.

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Why is common sense so uncommon?
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4 responses to “Think Small, Young And Tender

  1. Pingback: Making The Cut | bunchofcilantro

  2. Once flew into Denver in big hail ..going to give planting table veg in big buckets a try having read your post. Thanks.

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  3. Hope you didn’t go outside in that hail. Could be painful. Love your gardening advice!

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  4. saw on the news that a lot of people got that hail… very scary. Hope you baby plants survived the weather…

    Like

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