As the COVID-19 pandemic forces us all to spend a lot more time at home, many people have become more motivated than ever to grow their own food, and victory gardens — edible gardens planted to increase food production and boost morale during World War I and II — have again grown to prominence.
As the fall approaches, people are now harvesting the results of their pandemic-prompted gardens and for Sam Polly — soil engineer and McKinleyville-based gardener — the results have been huge. Like, literally, huge. On Wednesday Polly shared with the Outpost a picture of one of his recently harvested veggies, a gargantuan 21.5 pound Daikon radish.
“This particular variety is a big one,” Polly told the Outpost over the phone this morning. “They just thrive here. It’s the perfect soil and climate.”
Daikons— also known as a Japanese radishes — have a milder, less peppery flavor than most and are also much larger than other varieties. Still, the ones you will see at the grocery store are generally around one to two pounds and up to about a foot in length — puny in comparison to Polly’s whopping 20-pounder. Of course, they are usually harvested when they reach a more manageable size. But Polly says that these babies maintain a delicious flavor even when they’re enormous.
So, what does one do with all that radish? Polly says pickling them is a great choice and they also make an excellent soup. Both the root and the greens are edible, making them a very nutritious veggie option.
And radishes aren’t the only pride of Polly’s victory garden. He and his family are also enjoying massive melons, giant winter squash (some already up to 25 pounds) and much more. “My boy grew some turnips that are as big as watermelons,” Polly said.
If you’re looking for a new hobby to help keep you busy during the pandemic, it is still not too late to start your own victory garden. There are plenty of great fall crops that can still be planted this late in the season, including turnips, parsnips, kohlrabi, carrots, bok choy, spinach and radishes (of course.)
To help your produce to turn out as big and beautiful as Polly’s, he recommends making a few amendments to your soil by adding a little bit of dolomite lime (you can find the recommended process and ratio at this link) and some compost. Add a little organic fertilizer and it will “take it to the next level,” Polly said.
Got some impressive produce pics of your own? Feel free to post them in the comments! Don’t be shy. Showing off your bounty to spread some cheer is what victory gardens are all about.