The almost-last garden harvests of 2010: Beans, radishes, and a carrot.

Save for brussels sprouts, the months of October and November mark a close of the growing season for Wisconsin gardeners. (Unless you have a hoop house, but that’s another story. Next year!)

(Brussels sprouts are usually the last thing that I bring in. They are not harvested until the day after the first frost. The frost mutes the sprouts’ bitterness, making them much more palatable. This year I decapitated the stalks at about a knee-high level. This to prevent them from growing high, thus devoting growth to the sprouts. We’ll see in a month or so how they turned out.)

Anyhow, I harvested several pounds of bush beans today, and accidentally pulled up a ball carrot in the process. While the placement of the carrot in that spot was accidental, its leaves stood tall among the bean plants.

(Bush beans grow about a foot high, and have several pods on each plant. Bush bean plants require no support, while “pole” beans do require a trellis, a teepee, or even tall plant to wrap around and grow on. All of the beans that I have grown were of the bush bean variety.)

While the big sack of beans isn’t that impressive, I did want you to see the ball carrot:

A homegrown ball carrot.

I have several more in a different bed, and I may harvest them tomorrow.

Last month, I pulled up a bunch of radishes.

Homegrown radishes

Not bad considering that I just threw a bunch of seeds at the soil, then thinned the sprouts out about two weeks later.

Today I also brought in another red chili pepper and one sad-looking eggplant. It got about three inches long, and had a big hole in one side where something had eaten it.

The beans, radishes, and carrots, along with lettuces, a previous round of radishes, and a variety of herbs were all grown in my newest raised bed, which I built in May of 2010. That bed is filled with (free!) leaf mulch (leafmold) from the city of Greenfield. I have never had any plants grow so well as did the plants in the leaf mulch. And I think they were bigger and tasted better, too. It’s a bonanza for urban gardeners. Thanks, Greenfield!

So, soon as the frost hits, I’ll be out in the garden, trimming back the plants and harvesting brussels sprouts at last.

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Author: Jason Haas

Jason is an elected member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, occasionally moonlights as an amateur gardener, and is a proud father of two, or three, depending on how you do the math.