Monday, July 15, 2019

Harvest Monday - 15 July 2019

Hello again from Eight Gate Farm. We had a number of first harvests this week, and continuing ones too.

The first blueberries were picked. More pickings like this every couple of days. It adds up!


We got the first Fiesta broccoli, shown here with some side-shoots from Blue Wind.


The first Yellowfin zucchini.


And the first Cubanelle pepper, shown here before picking so you can see it was almost bigger than plant itself!


For continuing harvests, we took the last of the pak choi.


More cherries. The birds can have the rest.


Snow and snap peas. The warm weather looks to be shutting the vines down.


More kohlrabi.


And lastly, our favorite, shishito peppers.


All in all, a good week! Hope yours was too. Thanks for reading, and thanks to Dave at HappyAcres.blog for continuing to host Harvest Monday.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Harvest Monday - 8 July 2019

We've had such a string of warm days, I told The Kitchen Goddess I could hear the corn grow (she scoffed). To see if it lived up to the old adage "knee-high by the Fourth of July," I went out on Independence Day to stand in the flour corn patch. It did! And I've got long legs!

Painted Mountain flour corn and skinny old-man legs
But that's a harvest for another day. This past week we had several first harvests, and continuing ones. The most exciting was our first shishito peppers...just enough to tantalize us.


We also got our first picking of Sputniks, I mean kohlrabi.

Kolibri Purple F1 kohlrabi
We had a generous first harvest of pak choi.

Brisk Green pak choi
And we took a couple of turnips for salad.

Purple Top White Globe turnips
We have two large (too large) cherry trees in the small orchard, that were planted long before we got here. Most years they give us nothing, but this is one of the years they do. I don't really know what the variety is, but it looks like Montmorency. The birds get most of them. But we are getting some ourselves.


For continuing harvests, the edible-podded peas are coming on strong, giving us a picking like this every other day.

Super Sugar Snap and Avalanche
And continuing cuttings from the salad mix. We enjoy grilling up some kind of meat, eating it hot that night, and then slicing it for our salads for the next few nights.


The Kitchen Goddess was given a large quantity of rhubarb, and she boiled it down for syrup.

Rhubarb syrup
A very pleasing week for us. I hope yours was too! I'll find out by reading the Harvest Monday posts on HappyAcres.blog. Thanks to Dave, the talented host.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Harvest Monday - 1 July 2019

This week it finally started becoming summer-like. We reached 90 F (38 C) on Friday. This was followed by a short but intense thunderstorm on Saturday night, which not only cooled things off but also flattened my prized flour corn patch. It's a real pain to straighten out the stalks again. Fortunately that was the extent of the damage.

The warmth has jazzed up many of the crops we've had our eyes on. The first broccoli head was harvested. It's Blue Wind, which is always the earliest of the three varieties I grow.

Blue Wind broccoli
The first small picking of edible-podded peas was achieved. This is something we really look forward to.

L.: Avalanche (snow), R: Super Sugar Snap
Last year I started six caraway plants from seed. They really didn't do much that year, but this year they were among the first plants to emerge in spring, and really took off. Flowers formed very quickly on tall stalks. Tiny pollinators seem to love the small white flowers.

Caraway plants flowering in herb garden
This week the green seeds had plumped-up, so I cut them and will dry them indoors. I sampled a few, and they have the intense nutty flavor I like so much.

Caraway seeds on stalks
It's been the best year for cilantro for us, but they were starting to bolt, so we cut most of the crop, over a pound. I replanted two more short rows in the shadiest bed, hoping they will grow despite summer heat.

Cilantro
Continuing harvests this week were mixed greens and the last of the radishes, slightly woody.


And strawberries.


That's the report for this week. Thanks for reading, and as always thanks to Dave at HappyAcres.blog for hosting Harvest Monday.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Harvest Monday - 24 June 2019

Perhaps reflecting the generally cool conditions we've experienced, the garlic scapes were a little late this year. But it's very nice to get this bonus harvest from the plants. We cut these on Saturday, choosing the ones that had already curled on themselves.

Garlic scapes

And the remaining ones on Sunday.

Fashion trend: edible bracelets
We've downsized from two strawberry beds to one, and the remaining bed is on its last legs, but still gave us a nice picking.


Only one of the Tatsoi plants survived the spring, and it started bolting this week.


The salad mixes gave us several light cuttings like this, and almost all the radishes were harvested. Most never did size-up this year before trying to bolt.


Overall, not yet a lot to show for our gardening labors, but the warm weather will eventually get here. I personally can't wait. Thank you for reading, and please check out HappyAcres.blog, the gracious host of Harvest Monday.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Harvest Monday - 17 June 2019

The cool, wet spring weather, even now as we approach summer, is trying my patience to say the least. Yet it seems to be the "new normal" around here. I've taken to delaying starting or sowing at least a week later. We have only been harvesting asparagus, finished now. But this week the first traditional spring crops began to be harvested.

We had several pickings of radishes and salad greens, to give us small but welcome salads.


And the Toy Choi, living up to its name, bolted while still small. We really enjoy this in Asian-inspired soups and stir-fries.


 That's all I have to show. Thanks for looking, and thanks to Dave at HappyAcres.blog for hosting Harvest Monday.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Harvest Monday - 13 May 2019

We got the first spring harvests this week; several cuttings of asparagus like this:


This was welcome, because everything else has the slows, due to another spring of cool and damp conditions. The brassica seedlings I set out on May 1 are just sitting there pouting, and the radish, peas, turnips, and lettuce I planted from seed on April 23 are only just poking their heads up.

This year I debuted my new seed starting setup. It's a steel 6-shelf rack, from which I hung 4-foot LED shoplights daisy-chained together to the timer. The whole thing was quite inexpensive compared to the ones they sell in the garden catalogs. And you can fit four standard 1020 nursery trays on each shelf.


This now gives me the space to start a whole lot more tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants than I used to. The trouble now is the upcoming weather won't permit transplanting outdoors. But they keep growing.

I mentioned last year that I was going to experiment with straw-bale planting. On Saturday I bought ten bales of Canadian straw from the local farmer who imports it. I placed them in the fenced garden and started the conditioning process. I had room for quite a few more bales, but at $10 apiece I thought I should start small for this year at least. If all goes according to plan I will be able to plant peppers in them by the end of the month.


That's all for now. Thanks for reading, and thanks to Dave at HappyAcres.blog for hosting Harvest Monday.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Harvest Monday - 25 March 2019

Hello again from Eight Gate Farm. It's spring, or as we refer to it here in New Hampshire, "Mud Season." Our first harvest of the year is maple syrup!

We actually weren’t going to tap our sugar maple trees this year. We still have quite a few sealed jars from last year’s crop, and not only that, we expected the local high school to continue to tap 30+ of our trees and “pay” us with a quart at season’s end. Well, we were surprised to learn that this year the school was only going to tap the trees on their own campus. Something about a lack of suitable transportation for the students. That’s a shame, as we really enjoyed seeing the students hop around in our woods emptying buckets.

So, we tapped the four trees by the barn we reserve for ourselves. The taps went in on March 8, at the start of a warming trend, though there was still a lot of snow on the ground. 
.
Buckets hanging from sugar maple trees.
On March 20 we felt we had enough and pulled the taps. I estimate we got about 18 gallons of sap. The Kitchen Goddess boiled it down in two batches, a tedious job. For those interested, I've written about our small-scale process here and here

This resulted in 3 pints of  Grade A very light amber. It is not strong-tasting, but it sure is sweet!


As I've said in the past, there are those who prefer the artificial stuff, but to most anyone in maple country that is heresy!

There won't be much else to post from a harvest perspective for quite awhile. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Dave at happyacres.blog for Harvest Monday.