Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I knew I needed to make a separate post for the radishes. They just do so well here, it's hard to resist planting a lot of them, and they pickle so nicely.

This year I am please to have no fewer than nine types of radishes planted: Daikon, cherry belle, French breakfast, black Spanish, He
lios, plum purple, munchner bier, Misato rose and German giant.

I also added Rat's tail, Chinese red meat and green Luobo radishes.
I like that the radishes are so quick to be ready to pull. And the spicyness goes away when they are salted and fermented.

Usually I quarter and brine the radishes, but this time I grated them with some turnip and carrot--you can see they grat
ed up into a very lovely pickle.

I made three kinds--one plain old "Ed-Chi" (instead of Kim-Chi), named for Ed Sherwood who loves plain, salted and grated radish pickles, one with caraway seeds and one with garlic and ginger.
I just love how incredibly colorful they are when you pull them up out of the ground--they look like bright splashes of paint or rubies and jewels--buried treasure.

The Winter Garden of 2010

This year we began the winter garden without a donkey but with more experience. We had some piles of compost stored away. I opened a barrel we had composted a pig's head and offal in last year, kind of afraid of what I might find. Inside there was some very fine, pleasant-smelling compost and a pig's skull, which is already being gnawed on by the squirrels.

This year I decided to plant a lot of what grew well last year--radishes, turnips, parsnips and greens, and not fuss too much over the things that hate Florida's sandy soils--carrots and beets, namely. I am very pleased to be growing a lot of interesting Asian greens--Tatsoi, Tainong Emperor Heading Mustard, Pak Choy, Japanese Red Mustard, and Komatsuna.
I also have the necessary patch of collard greens and curly mustard, lots of turnips, including some interesting red turnips, which seem to be doing okay. A rabbit has destroyed my crop of snap peas this year. The lettuce, strangely, has had a hard time of it. The Arugula is making up for it, but it is still a bit sad, since I had invested in the Seed Saver's Exchange incredible heirloom lettuce combination. Shockingly, the spinach is actually growing and looking healthy this year, instead of pining away and slowly suffering as it did last year. The golden beets have once again been a huge disappointment, but the bull's blood and Choggia beets are making up for it (really, I can't understand people who don't like beets!).

Fall flowers

The fall flowers were so beautiful this year. The Agalinis (false foxglove) was taller and more beautiful than ever before. It is the host plant of the Buckeye butterfly, and we had swarms of them drifting about, showing off their brown eye spots.

The scratch daisy was rioting everywhere. It really is a beautiful wild flower. It made the whole orchard and winter garden look like a galaxy with thousands of little yellow stars. When the setting sun shone on everything in the evenings they were almost blinding as I walked by with buckets of soaked oats and corn for the chickens.

Here is a lovely little bouquet Mirin picked for me. The larger yellow flowers are crotalaria. It is a poisonous legume which was widely planted around the beginning of the 20th century because it fixes nitrogen and has nemotacidal properties. Because it has a cumulative heart toxin and is deadly to grazing livestock everyone tries to kill it. We try to pull it out of the pastures, but it comes back every year.
I think it is a beautiful plant, and our animals do eat it, and we have never lost one yet to crotalaria. It made a very nice cut flower.

Wild grapes

I have been seriously slacking off recently with updating Fox Grape Farm. We've been so busy, and since no one actually reads it, the motivation was hard to come up with--so the next few posts are all old photos I didn't get around to posting until now.
Here is a wild harvest--wild muscadine grapes, fox grapes and lactarius mushrooms--yum!