27 September 2016

Still growing

It's late in September but the weather has been staying very pleasant — chilly mornings, warm afternoons. Almost no rain, which suits the vegetable garden just fine.

The dinosaur (Tuscan) kale plants look healthy. It's probably time to go out and cut some more leaves for cooking.

Winter squashes, including pumpkins and French « sucrine du Berry » squashes, are ripening well in these conditions.

All the grapes are still hanging on the vines out in the Renaudière vineyard — harvesting still hasn't started.
The red-wine grapes are as pretty as I've ever seen them.


  1. Glorious! We are having much colder days and nights now, and very overcast with a fair amount of rain....Your pumpkins and squash look beautiful.

  2. The mechanical harvesting machines drove in a few minutes ago and started their work. First to go: Chardonnay grapes.

  3. Hi Ken, The grapes look fantastic. Like you, I can't wait to taste the 2016 'cuvée' Maybe the 'bernache' will give you an 'avant-goût' of the wine's quality? Wish I were there to discover it with you and Walt. Santé!

  4. Those grapes are so beautiful ! And the photo is perfect .

  5. The grapes are beautiful. Wondering when they normally start the harvest each year.

    The potirons look pretty good too.

  6. Oops just read your comment above re harvesting.

    1. Most years, the vendanges start in mid-September. They're late this year, but then summer was late arriving.

  7. About harvesting winter squash: I have a nice volunteer butternut squash in the garden. Do I harvest it when the leaves die back, or is there something else to watch for?

    1. Walt says to wait as long as you can -- harvest it before it starts to rot. Not very helpful, I know.

    2. Thank you, Walt. Actually, that answer is helpful.

    3. As Walt says... leave it alone to do its thing....
      but harvest it before the first frost!! [That starts the rot!]
      If you are caught unawares, go and chuck an old blanket or coat over it by torchlight.... we place garden fleece over ours as we've always some around.
      harvest it the next day. Allow it to harden off... out in the sunshine if you have any... or on a sunny windowsill.... if you want to use it for Christmas or New Year.

    4. Chrissoup will correct me, but I think they virtually never have freezing temperatures where she lives. Sometimes if the weather turns rainy we go out and put tiles under our squashes and pumpkins to keep them from rotting where they touch the ground.

  8. You need to keep cutting your Black Tuscan, Ken...
    it will keep putting out leaves all winter.
    They get smaller....
    followed by a flush of nice tender, large leaves again towards the 'hungry gap'...
    then it bolts. Harvest the flower shoots and treat as brocolli...
    they are super sweet and an excellent 'gap' luxury.
    Once those get spindly... rip the plants up.
    Your chard should be getting its second wind by then!!

    Treat your Red Russian the same, but there will be little to harvest in January/February... but the Spring flush in March is again tender sweet leaves, followed by superb brocolli-style sprouts.
    Try not to let it set seed, tho'....
    you'll have Red Russian coming out of your ears!!
    If you want to get seedlings, they are genetically true plants...
    and also transplant easily for the next year!!
    We hadn't bought seed since before our first sowing here.
    But we did re-sow this year, to use the seed in the packet...
    as it is oil-based seed so keeps far longer than it says on the packet.
    Ours is ten years old and nine of the ten seeds germinated!
    So with your kales, treat them like chard and let them overwinter for a spring harvest!!
    Actually, we are also now doing that with the collard greens we grow....
    they have lovely, tender, thick stems on their flower shoots.

    1. We had some collard greens from the freezer for lunch yesterday. They were labeled December 2015. So I harvested collards then, and I finally pulled the plants out in Feb. 2016. They were some of the most beautiful collards (last photo in post) I've ever seen. Hope to have the same luck with the kale.

    2. I'm pretty certain you will with these kales, Ken!
      If you were growing the frizzy, "wash-three-times-and-still-gritty" kales....
      I would hazzard a guess you'd not try kales ever again!

    3. I have grown frizzy kale and I was able to wash the leaves enough time to eliminate the sand, slugs, and bugs hiding in all the nooks and crannies. I do prefer the Red Russian kale. The Tuscan is much more like collard greens in texture and flavor, IMO.


What's on your mind? Qu'avez-vous à me dire ?