Monday, September 16, 2019

Harvest Monday - 16 September 2019

The harvests are slowing way down, and this is reflected in the small number of "first" or new harvests for the season.

I pulled the whole crop of "Red Marble" hybrid onions. I started these from seed. They are shown below on the right, next to the last of the "Stuttgarter" onions I also started from seed. Now the only thing left in the allium bed is leeks.

I also picked the entire crop of scarlet runner beans. They will dry on this rack, and when ready, I will save some seeds for next year, and the rest should give us a meal or two.

"Sunset" runner beans
I obtained some pepper seed packets from a gentleman who had saved the seed. The packets were marked with the year 2000. So I had little hope that 19 year old seed would germinate. To my surprise, they sprouted beautifully. Below are two different ornamental but edible peppers. On the left is Bolivian Rainbow. The fruits start out deep purple, then change to shades of red, orange, and yellow. I took a tentative nibble out of one, and found it to be spicy but nicely fruity too. So I popped a whole one in my mouth. I literally started drooling from the heat! On the right is Poinsettia, another very attractive plant. I haven't tried one yet, but they are supposed to be quite hot too.

Left: Bolivian Rainbow. Right: Poinsettia
Another packet I got from the gentleman was labeled "Congo Trinidad." This is a habanero-type, with extreme heat. But what came up is clearly not what was labeled. It looks more like a shishito. But I was scared to try it. Eventually I manned-up and ate one, carefully removing the seeds and ribs. It was hot, to be sure, but not (what I imagine) habenero would be. Can anyone identify it? The leaves are very yellow-green

Mystery pepper
Last year I grew a Manzano pepper plant from seeds I obtained in California. The is a C. pubescens species with black seeds and purple flowers. I didn't get any fruit last year, but decided to overwinter it indoors. It developed a terrible infestation of whiteflies, so I removed it from the indoor growing area way before it was warm enough to put peppers out this year. Surprisingly it survived and bounced back. Here's one of the fruit, another terrifically hot pepper.

Manzano pepper
Continuing harvests are still trickling in. Here is a sampling. First, two more "Halona" muskmelons.

Some Jimmy Nardello's peppers:

An assortment of hot peppers:

From left: Serrano, jalapeno, and Thai Hot
From The Kitchen Goddess's community garden plot came this tower of tomatoes. Her tomato plants are doing a lot better than mine at home. Under them you can see three small but tasty artichokes.

And later in the week, three more artichokes came home.

Green Globe artichokes
Those complimented a large shishito pepper harvest we enjoyed that night. Actually it was too many for us, so we shared them with TKG's mom.

Mellow Star hybrid along with conventional shishito peppers
As I mentioned, my tomato plants are not doing well, but that's a story for another time. Thank you for reading, and thanks as always to Dave at for hosting Harvest Monday.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Harvest Monday - 9 September 2019

Hello again from Eight Gate Farm. We are well within our historical time period of getting a first frost, but the data is old. Frost has been trending later and later in recent years. That doesn't mean it's particularly warm now, and warmth is what we need to ripen all the solanacea. So it's a waiting game.

Some peppers are ripening though, which is gratifying. Here is the first harvest of King Of The North bell pepper. But if you're a Game of Thrones fan like me, you call it King IN The North. I honestly think this is the first time I've ever gotten bell peppers red-ripe before frost.

King Of The North
Another sweet pepper to get red-ripe this week was Cornito Rosso. This is the first time growing it for me, and I'm impressed.

Cornito Rosso
On the hot side, another first harvest (and first time growing) was Serrano Tampiqueno.

Serrano Tampiqueno
The Painted Mountain dry (flour) corn was completely harvested and husked. It's now drying on racks. This year, the stalks were weaker than last year. Maybe the soil needs ammendments, and I was not diligent about thinning it. So the cobs were small, and many were poorly pollinated. But boy, are they colorful!

Painted Mountain flour corn
I've put off talking about the sweet corn this year. It's by far my favorite crop to grow and eat. Some pest got in the fenced garden and stripped the stalks of the cobs just as they were ripening. I suspect squirrels, but I set a cage trap baited with peanut butter without catching anything, so who knows? Maybe a raccoon? In any event, this was all I could salvage. Pathetic.

Temptress sweet corn
Last fall I took out most of the grape vines in the fenced garden. They were just too troublesome. But I left the vines which had crept to the fences and rooted there. This week I picked a heavy basket of grapes. They are a pink seedless variety, and very sweet. I think they might be Canadice, but I have no way of knowing. They had to be sorted through to discard the ones showing signs of black rot, but we were left with several gallon bags of good ones.

I also got the first muskmelon. As is typical for me, this is only slightly larger than a baseball, but very tasty!

Halona muskmelon
And we got the first fall raspberries, shown along with the absolute last of the blueberries.

For a sampling of continuing harvests, here are some sweet peppers.

Jimmy Nardello's, Cubanelle, Biquinho
And some hot ones too!

Anaheim, Thai Hot, Big Thai Hybrid
I planted turnips in the spring, and we ate many as saladette-types, but left a good number over the summer. They got very big, good for mashing and freezing. In fact, the largest was over 2 pounds. Actually, I think the ones with green shoulders and yellow bottoms are actually rutabagas, so I suspect some mix-up in the seed.

White Egg turnips and possibly rutabagas.
Saturday was a rainy blustery day, perfect for tackling accumulated vegetables for processing. For once I was actually useful in the kitchen...washing dishes! The Kitchen Goddess made 3 quart bags of mashed turnips, 3 of cubed turnips (rutabaga?), a quart bag of sweet corn "niblets," and a gallon bag of roasted Anaheim peppers stuffed with black beans, rice, and a little cheddar. I'm looking forward to those, you can bet! In the background are two containers of diced sweet peppers, three jars of thick rich pasta sauce, two jars of three-color pickled hot pepper rings, and two jars of 100% cayenne hot pepper sauce. A lot of work, but it was fun to do it together.

Putting food by
That's all for this week. Thanks for reading, and thanks as always to Dave at for hosting Harvest Monday.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Harvest Monday - 2 September 2019

Welcome to another Harvest Monday post from Eight Gate Farm. We are still harvesting crops for the first time this year, and I will present them first.

Here is "Big Thai Hybrid" hot pepper. It truly is a lot bigger than the tiny conventional Thai Hot I grow, as you can see in this side-by-side. It makes me think the normal one is really just an ornamental that you can also consume (carefully, these babies pack heat). The hybrid's fruits also hang down, while the non-hybrid's point upward.

Here is Hot Lemon pepper. I don't know if this is the same pepper sold by others as Aji Lemon or Lemon Drop. Its heat is somewhere between a jalapeno and a cayenne, and is said to be citrus-y, which I didn't really detect. It is fruity and tasty however, and looks to be productive.

This is Thai Yellow Egg eggplant. It was an impulse buy at the Baker Creek store last year. I really wish I had read the reviews first, as they uniformly say the fruits are tiny and seedy. This variety will have no place in our gardens next year.

We got the first heirloom Pruden's Purple tomato. It did very well in our taste comparison last year, second only to Brandywine.

I had three seeds left of "Homemade Pickles" cucumber, so I planted them in mid-summer. Two germinated, and one of them was promptly eaten by something, so only one plant resulted. It bore its first fruit this week. I like to use pickling cucumbers as slicers; I love the crunch.

We have two struggling pear trees, that were grown in too much shade (not our fault). Only one produced fruit this year.

d'Anjou pears
All the pinto beans were picked and dried sufficiently to put away. This is the total result.

Now on to continuing harvests. First up is an assemblage of paste tomatoes.

Next, a colorful assortment of hot peppers, all of which I have featured in this post or previous ones, with one exception. The skinny one on the far left is from a generic cayenne plant I bought. It really contrasts with the Maule's Red Hot cayennes to its immediate right.

Artichokes are still coming from The Kitchen Goddess's community garden plot.

Green Globe
Back home, a major picking of shishito peppers. This was more than we could consume that night, even with guests over for dinner. So maybe four plants is too much, but it does come in handy at the beginning of the season when each plant only is producing a few.

And the zucchini plants are still producing, despite squash bugs and powdery mildew.

Cocozelle di Napoli and Yellowfin
Labor Day weekend is the time of the Southern Vermont Garlic and Herb Festival. We drove there Saturday, stayed overnight, and returned Sunday in plenty of time to do garden chores. I like to pick over the selections of seed garlic, and there is music, food, crafts (many garlic themed of course). There are also quite a few craft distilleries in recent years. I would say the average going price for seed garlic is $12 a pound right from the growers. New (to us) this year was "black garlic." This is garlic that has been fermented, which brings out the sweetness. We bought some, and TKG mixed it with mayonnaise to serve with our artichokes. It was really good.

I purchased (from left) German White. Katterman, Persian Red, and Vietnamese Red. The latter two are purple-striped varieties. Katterman is sold only by one grower, who got the seed years ago from an old-timer by that name. The grower says it's his best-producing garlic, and having grown it several times, I tend to agree. I'm going to plant 10 cloves of each variety this fall.

That's it for this week. Thanks for reading, and thanks as always to Dave, our gracious Harvest Monday host, at

Monday, August 26, 2019

Harvest Monday - 26 August 2019

Hello again from Eight Gate Farm! We had a taste of fall over the weekend, with last night's temp dropping to 49 F (9.4 C). I'll bet our summer crops are not happy. Summer should return by mid-week however.

We had a lot of first harvests this past week. Most fun was the Poblano peppers.

We enjoyed them that night. The Kitchen Goddess halved them, stuffed them with sweet Italian sausage and cheddar cheese, and wrapped them with bacon. I put them in the smoker for about 1 1/2 hours. Along with that, TKG made A.B.T. (Atomic Buffalo Turds), otherwise known as jalapeno poppers. These were stuffed with cream cheese and cheddar. They were also wrapped with bacon, because...bacon! These were smoked for just a half-hour.

Not the healthiest, I guess, but unbelievably good. The Poblanos had just a hint of spice, while the jalapenos ranged from mild to eye-watering hot.

I picked the first Tangerine Dream peppers. I sampled one, and it was sweet and slightly floral. Very pleasant, but since they are only jalapeno-size the plant better be productive to be worth it. We'll see.

Tangerine Dream sweet peppers
I also picked a number of tiny Thai Hot peppers.

Thai Hot
A friend and fellow Master Gardener gave me some sweet Biquinho Red and Biquinho Yellow pepper seeds. He in turn got them from some friends from Brazil, where they are pickled and served as an appetizer. The peppers that is, not the friends.

I also picked the first Thai Long Green eggplants. I'm looking forward to trying them.

Thai Long Green eggplant
I also harvested the first Mottistone summercrisp lettuce.

In the first but sad harvest department, this looks the be the entirety of our winter squash. The combination of squash vine borers, squash bugs, and powdery mildew was just too powerful. There's a single Naked Bear pumpkin, and two Sugaretti spaghetti squashes. They are tiny.

I'll now show a sampling of continuing harvests. Here are sweet Jimmy Nardello's and fiery Maule's Red Hot cayennes. Look alike, don't they? We took care to label them in the fridge to forestall some interesting culinary experiences if they were mixed up.

Left: Jimmy Nardello's. Right: Maule's Red Hot
For us, no summer week is complete without artichokes and shishito peppers.

Green globe artichoke
Mellow Star shishito
The other crops are doing nicely too. Here's some tasty but wonky Mokum and Yaya carrots that grew where the soil was not tilled thoroughly, some Anaheim peppers, and Mitoyo and Midnight Queen eggplant.

More bush filet beans, zucchini, cucumbers, and tomatoes.

And more tomatoes and Ping Tung eggplant.

So I'm pretty happy with the week's results. Thank you for reading, and I hope your harvests pleased you as well. Thanks as always to Dave at for hosting Harvest Monday.