It's harvest time here in Floyd County!! With the early frost that hit here last week, i decided it was time to get our potatoes and sweet potatoes out of the ground! So i have spent the last week digging potatoes. So far i have dug 2 1/2 bushel (around 125lbs) of red potatoes and around 80 lbs of sweet potatoes. i still have another row or two of red potatoes to dig.
Some of the potatoes should be good to store this winter, but many of them have deep pitted scab, cracks or were stuck by the pitchfork when i was digging them. i tried to separate them into baskets so that the potatoes with injuries can be used first. The others can be stored under the house in the basement. It stays cool down there, and will act as a root cellar.
Although the frost we had didn't kill back the sweet potato vines, i wanted to get them out of the ground anyway. Instead of actually digging up the entire plants, i used my pitchfork to loosen up the center cluster and i only removed the large tubers, leaving many of the smaller potatoes and the main roots still in the ground. i figured i'd give them a bit more time to grow in case we had another Indian Summer. When a major frost hits and totally wipes out the vines i'll get the rest of them dug.
i really had a gorgeous sweet potatoes harvest!! Many of them were huge!! i weight some of the biggest and they were almost 2lbs each! i'm hoping that they cure well, so that we'll have them to eat all winter. Many of our sweet potatoes from last year, lasted until the spring. They began to sprout then, and provided us with many slips to plant.
i've also started collecting hickory nuts. We have several tree on our property, and the nuts are delicious! i leave them to dry in the sun for about two weeks, and then crack them open with a hammer and use a nut pick to collect the nut meats. They can be used in any recipes that call for pecans.
Apples!!!! This has been a great year for apples! At the beginning of Sept. my husband picked a bunch of apples from the wild apple tree at the top of the hill. They looked good, but most had worms in the core, and quickly began to get brown spots. They were not great for storing, but they made good sauce, so i processed them all into apple sauce and canned them.
Recently, i've had my eye on another tree that was completely overflowing with big red apples. i passed it everyday on my way to the school. i finally asked Kenan if he knew who owned the land it was on, and he did. So he stopped by one day after work and asked him if he could pick some apples. He came home with around 55 lbs. These apples are beautiful! They are crisp and tart, and perfect!
Last night he went back to chat with the man, and came home with over 100lbs more. The man was happy to give the apples to someone who would use them, and just asked for a jar or two of sauce. He told us we were welcome to come back ever year to pick as much as we wanted. The apples usually just go to waste. i'm planning to make him a few jars of sauce, a jar of apple butter and an apple pie!
i'm really pretty happy with the years harvest despite all my tomato problems. We have more than enough potatoes and sweet potatoes to last us the winter and to share with neighbors and friends. If these apples store well, i won't process them all and will hopefully have a nice stash of fresh apples during the winter as well. My freezer is packed full of garden produce and i have a nice supply of home canned fruits, veggies and jams as well.