Sunday, May 18, 2008

Didn't really think this one through...

23 March
Originally uploaded by carolyn.will
So I've grown stuff before, like tomatoes, and lemons - the kind of stuff that grows on a tree or a plant, right out in the open where you can see it. I know what a tomato or a lemon should look like when I eat it.

I am growing several things this year that I haven't tried before, including beets, radishes, garlic, and potatoes. What do all these things have in common? Well, the part that we eat from these plants is hiding under the ground.

Is it odd that it never occurred to me before that I'd have no way of observing the progress of these roots? I've looked online for instructions. They all tell me to harvest before they get too big or reach a certain size. Hmm. Except I can't actually see what size they have reached. Do I just dig them up and sacrifice the little guys if they aren't ready to eat yet? Can I replant them if they're too small?

I only have a small container of each of these things, so I don’t want to pull too many out trying to figure out if they’re edible yet. For example, I have exactly two garlic plants at this point. It looks kind of big, but I’ve never seen what garlic looks like except for in the white bulb form I buy at the store.

The websites I’ve found all emphasize how critical the correct harvest time is, explaining that radishes, for example, will be hollow and cracked inside, not to mention super spicy, if I wait too long to harvest them. I know if I wait for them to flower, it’s too late...

So, how do you know when to harvest root vegetables? Any tips or hints are appreciated!


AJ said...

I can sort of see the top of my radishes just poking out of the ground, so I can see when they are about the right size. I guess you could sort of dig around them a bit and then recover them? If you pull them out, you definitely can't put them back in. Some of mine did split, but I just cut around the splits and they were OK. I don't know about the other veges you mentioned though. Good luck!

Green Bean said...

My radishes went seed to bolting so I'm clearly not one to give advice. They never formed roots at all!

Melissa said...

Thanks aj...that is useful info since I can't see any tops poking through the ground at all I guess they aren't ready yet.

green bean, I guess you can feel happy that you gave some food for the bees at least! I wonder why the roots wouldn't form? Are you trying them again?