It’s almost Christmas but the harvest season at Petraia is not finished yet.  At this time of the year we are busy preserving winter vegetables to keep us going over the coming months.   Brassicas and root vegetables do well left in the ground till spring and it is wonderful to have them there.  Going to the garden to pick a carrot, some beets, cauliflower or brussel sprouts in the dead of winter is such a pleasure.  But I’ve come to understand there’s a better way.  Right now those vegetables are at their peak.  They are young, perfect and delicious. Left in their beds they will survive the next few months but they will never be better than they are right now.  By harvesting them early we get many bonuses. First of all, we can prepare the garden’s plots for spring planting time now, before the winter’s rain and frost arrive to frustrate our efforts.  The soil can rest and regenerate over the next few months, providing a serious head start come spring.  By pulling up and putting up everything now, especially using lacto-fermentation techniques, we not only preserve the harvest but we add considerable nutritional value to these important last vegetables of the year.  These preserves will sustain us well into the late spring when once again we’ll welcome the aspargus, fave beans, peas and spring onions.  A small green house also gives us the luxury of having fresh greens available all winter for salads as well as a place to get all of our seedlings going.  Here’s a look at what is coming in from the garden now and what we are doing with it…

Today's Harvest

Today’s Harvest: pak choi, lettuce, celery, violet, pink, white and red radish, purple flowering brussel sprouts


The Greenhouse


Pak Choi – and a bonus. The purple ground cover beneath it is a volunteering bed of violet oxalis that seems to love our green house and everything we plant in it.


Lettuce growing in the greenhouse

Lettuce growing in the greenhouse


Today I actually saw one of our honey bees pollinating this still flowering rosemary. Look close – she is in this picture somewhere!

Purple flowering brussel sprouts

Purple flowering brussel sprouts




Winter Preserves

grape and lemon verbena ginger beer, beet kvass, volpina pear with wild pepper,cardomom & ginger, sicilian purple cauliflower, purple haze carrot, olives


Beet, Turnips and carrots waiting to be preserved

Beet, Turnips and carrots waiting to be preserved

Here are those same vegetables a couple of hours later in the pickle press, salted and ready to begin to ferment in their own juices

Here are those same vegetables a couple of hours later, sliced, salted and in the pickle press ready to begin fermentation under their own juices


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