Monday, August 10, 2020

Harvest Monday - 10 August 2020

Here's another [too long] Harvest Monday update. Tropical Storm Isaias passed through
late Tuesday afternoon, well to the west of us, but we still got high winds and some heavy
rain, not enough to put a dent in the drought unfortunately. We lost power for about 14 hours.

Starting with the first harvests of the season, we had quite a few. The first big tomatoes came in. Here is Brandywine, for many the gold standard of heirloom tomatoes. This one did not disappoint. It weighed just over a pound.

I obtained quite a few free packets of tomato seeds, and I've planted a lot of different varieties that are new to me. Here is Brandy Boy, a hybrid with Brandywine parentage, that shares its potato-leaf structure. It's supposed to be earlier, more productive, and more reliable, yet still have the Brandywine taste. So it's odd that real Brandywine came in several days earlier. This was just under a pound. Okay, so how does it taste? I would say if you've never had a perfect Brandywine you just might say it's the best tomato you've ever had. So while it may not replace Brandywine, it can supplement it.

Brandy Boy
This is BushSteak, a hybrid determinate that makes full size fruits. I was a bit surprised
that it had full flavor that we both really liked. I'll grow this again.

Here is Burpee's Early Pick, a full-size indeterminate hybrid. It too had really nice flavor, and looks to be productive.

Burpee's Early Pick
These little beauties have an interesting story. A fellow Master Gardener gave me the seeds, which he calls "Ascension Island." He originally got them from his son, who collected them while he was stationed in the military on that lonely South Atlantic outpost. It is surprising that they grow so well here, with our polar opposite climate. It's an indeterminate. We could not believe how tasty they are.

Ascension Island
Here is Red Siberian. The seed packet said it was an indeterminate, and I grew it as such
(staking, single-stemming). Turns out it's really a determinate. I will grow it that way next year. It has good flavor, a balance of sweet and acidic.

Red Siberian
Here is Wisconsin 55, another determinant with a heritage. The flavor is really good. It's a keeper too.

Wisconsin 55
First harvest tomatoes that I've grown for years include Oregon Spring, a cold-hardy plant as the name implies. I'm guessing it doesn't like all the heat this year, as the plant has not grown very much. Still, it gives some fruit, which has a very pleasant taste.

Oregon Spring

Another is Roma, which most gardeners are familiar with, and is a workhorse for us.


For "first harvest" peppers, we got a sweet, fully-ripe Jimmy Nardello's.

Jimmy Nardello's
Also some Serrano Tampiquenos. This type is about 50% hotter than a jalapeno. Just the two of them really spiced up a fresh salsa I made.

Serrano Tampiqueno
Another first harvest was this "Halona" muskmelon, perfectly ripe and absolutely luscious!

Last of the first were these flat-podded Romano Bush beans.

Romano Bush
For a sampling of continuing harvests, I picked these Anaheim peppers, and The Kitchen Goddess made more chiles rellenos, this time stuffing them with spicy chorizo sausage. Wow!

More jalapeno peppers. She made poppers again and I smoked them; just as delicious and spicy as last time.

Left: Early Jalapeno, right: Jalapeno Gigantia
More mild shishito peppers.

Mellow Star shishito

More artichokes.

More sweet corn. I devoured two or three ears each night this past week. You can tell I love it.

More filet and yellow wax beans.

Left: Carson, right: Calima
More cauliflower.

Flame Star
A zucchini that got away from me. This plant is still hanging in there, but squash vine borers killed my two yellow zucchini plants.

Cocozelle di Napoli

And finally more tomatoes. This is Juliet, Gardener's Delight, and Yellow Pear. Phuong, who writes the Kentucky Fried Garden blog, is also growing GDs and asked me if I found them "oddly tart." I would say they have a pretty good balance, maybe leaning toward the sweet side. I guess it's a climate thing.

Juliet, Gardener's Delight, Yellow Pear
Lastly, TKG and her Mom went to the community garden plot they share, and Mom went home with this spectacular haul. The big cannonball is a five pound Sugar Baby watermelon. They even let me have a slice! It was super sweet. Also note the beautiful fennel at the top.

That's enough for this week. Thanks for sticking with it! And a big thank-you to Dave at for continuing to host Harvest Monday.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Harvest Monday - 3 August 2020

Here's another Harvest Monday update from Eight Gate Farm. We are still in a drought, which means the chore of watering has gotten burdensome. I never set up the automatic drip irrigation system this year, which I'm regretting now.

We had a number of first harvests this week. We harvested the entire crop of Red Norland potatoes. It was disappointing, about a third of what we got last year. The plants started out strong, but weakened as we got into summer. Weak plants equals small harvests. At the same time we picked the first Fortex pole beans, which I planted adjacent to the potato rows. These also were a disappointment; this time because rabbits ate the plants, and they are only starting to recover.

Red Norland potatoes and Fortex beans
We also picked the first cauliflower. This is Flame Star F1, that does not need to be blanched.

Flame Star cauliflower
We got the first "saladette" tomatoes, i.e. bigger than cherry, but not as big as slicers. Here is Juliet. While I'm not entirely impressed with the flavor, its productivity and disease resistance keeps me growing it.

Also the first Early Treat tomatoes.

Early Treat
And also the first Gardener's Delight tomatoes.

Gardener's Delight
We also picked the first wax beans. Here is "Carson" on the left, with more pickings of Calima filet beans.

Left: Carson, right: Calima
But the best was the first harvest of sweet corn. This is Illusion, a white-kernel synergistic hybrid. The flavor is outstanding! The local farm stand is now selling its sweet corn for $1.25 per ear. I can remember paying $2 per dozen, but that was a long time ago!

For a sampling of continuing harvests, here's the last of the Imperial broccoli heads, shown with another Flame Star cauliflower.

More shishito peppers:

Mellow Star
More "Yaya" carrots:

More artichokes, 10 or so this week. These were the nicest looking.

Tavor artichokes
A few weeks ago we pulled all the garlic. They are now cleaned up and put into storage. From left, there is Katterman, Persian Star, German White, and Vietnamese Red. None are very large, but we should have enough to carry us through until next year's harvest.

Garlic ready for storage
Lastly, I've been regrowing the same turmeric plant for several years. In the fall I dump out the pot it's in, take the roots I want, and leave a few root pieces to regrow. This week I was surprised to see it gave us a gift, something that had never happened before.

Turmeric flower
That's it for this week. Thanks for reading, and thanks as always to Dave at for hosting Harvest Monday.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Harvest Monday - 27 July 2020

Hello again from Eight Gate Farm. We had several exciting first harvests this week, so I'll get right to them.

We picked the first Yellow Pear tomatoes. It's my first time growing them, having sampled them in someone's garden last year. When it comes to "heirlooms" this variety probably takes the crown, having first been documented in the early 1800s. What's strange is we got the first fruits 61 days after transplanting, and it's supposed to take 75. Which puts to shame the "early" varieties I'm growing, that are nowhere near ripe.

Yellow Pear tomatoes
Another first was jalapeno peppers. The two on the left are "Early Jalapeno," and the others are a new one for us, Jalapeno Gigantia (a hybrid). Well, they aren't really gigantic (yet), but at this size they're just as early as Early Jalapeno, and more productive too.

Early Jalapeno and Jalapeno Gigantia
We just had to have some stuffed jalapenos! So The Kitchen Goddess stuffed some with cheese (making Jalapeno Poppers) and some with sausage (Atomic Buffalo T*rds). All wrapped with bacon and placed in the smoker. We smoked some lean boneless pork chops at the same time. All were amazing!

Smoky treats
Another first harvest was some Anaheim peppers.

Anaheim and Highlander (hybrid Anaheim)
These were perfect for chiles rellenos.

For a sampling of continuing harvests, we got more shishito peppers

Mellow Star shishitos
More artichokes, seven in all this week.

Tavor artichokes
More snow and snap peas. I'll be pulling the vines out this week.

More Arcadia broccoli. I've now learned that photographing on a black background makes the subject look yellow.


And more Imperial broccoli.

And more National Pickling cucumbers.

National Pickling
Other harvests included zucchini, green onions, salad mixes, green beans, carrots, blueberries, and raspberries. Speaking of zucchini, TKG made something nice to reduce the glut: zucchini hummus. It is delicious.

Zucchini hummus
It was the last weekend of the month; time to update my project of photographing the gardens from my drone. If you're interested, previous shots can be found here and here.

The Field Garden. This plot has been one big disappointment this year. Animals have destroyed a lot. So my fantasy of a wall of sunflowers is just that.

The Field Garden
The Stock Tank Garden (cucumbers, summer squash, and melons).

Stock Tank Garden
And the main Fenced Garden. The rambling winter squash vines steal the show.

Fenced Garden
That's all for this week. Thanks for reading, and a big thank you to Dave at for giving us the opportunity to share our posts on Harvest Monday.