If I had any survivalist sense at all I would turn over the majority of my garden to starchy energy-filled grub like potatoes, carrots, rutabagas, turnips and beets, and not devote so much land space to those mamby-pamby salad stuffs.
Before the widespread use of silage (fermented fodder, usually the chopped-up entire plant of whatever grain you grew: corn, oats, alfalfa ) in silos (those tall concrete and/or metal tubes found still on most Midwestern farms), many dairy, cattle and sheep farmers used other farm-grown things to supplement an animal’s winter hay ration. Hay, by itself, doesn’t have as many nutrients as silage or grain. And before silage was popular, many farmers grew mangels, mangel-wurzel, or stock beets.
You think this cylindra beet is big? Mangels could reach 2′ in diameter and weigh 20 pounds or more. They were dug up and stored like potatoes, and you’d chop them up and dole them out to your critters as needed throughout the winter. Vitamin and energy rich, they’re also really easy to grow. Perhaps they’re poised for a comeback?
Me? I was raising this beet for its tops. Now that the frost has hit, I’m pulling the plant for some nice borscht, or maybe a roasted-beet…salad. Mamby-pamby indeed!