Monday, October 28, 2013

Harvest Monday - 28 October 2013

Welcome to another Harvest Monday at Eight Gate Farm!

The National Weather Service began posting "Frost Watches" on Tuesday. The actual frost did not occur until Friday night. But I took all the remaining tomatoes and peppers, as well as the tender herbs, well before that. I figured nothing was going to grow or ripen further.

The very, very last of the tomatoes:

The tiny peppers, and some raspberries:
And the herbs; basil, rosemary, tarragon, cilantro, parsley, winter savory:

So, as I said, the actual frost came Friday night, when it got down to 30F (-1.1C). On Saturday I pulled out all the tomato, pepper, and broccoli plants. I also pulled out the chard. It could keep going, but I wanted to clean out the beds.
I also took a pound of Brussels Sprouts, which had gotten their first "frost kiss," plus the few remaining raspberries:

There should be lots more Brussels to come. Everything else has gone south for the winter. But I did want to show our white-trash "cold frames," made from re-purposed skylights. They are now covering some of the teeny-tiny kale, and the fall carrots.

A look up the fenced garden, now forlorn and ready for its winter rest.

With that, the Eight Gate Farm blog will probably go dark. Nothing really to show you until maple syrup season starts in February. Here's one of the trees we will tap:

That is, unless I'm lucky enough to "harvest" one of these puppies recently nosing around in our woods:
Muzzle-loader deer season starts this Saturday!
I hope this doesn't offend any of you. But here in New Hampshire it's part of "country living."
Oh, now that I think of it, I may post a 2013 garden "report card."

Thanks for reading, and thanks especially to Daphne for giving me the opportunity to share my gardening experiences this season.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Harvest Monday - 21 October 2013

Welcome to another Harvest Monday, brought to you by the kind graces of Daphne's Dandelions.

No frosts yet, but the garden is pretty bare. Here you see Daisy-Cat enjoying some sunshine. She is an indoor kitty, but we do take her out with us to the fenced garden sometimes. Thus I call it The Prison Yard.

Harvests were sparse this week. Here are some raspberries and a serving or two of broccoli shoots.

More tomato drops too.

The Brussels Sprouts are still growing. I planted two varieties. Long Island, on the left, grew tall but its sprouts are still small. Franklin, on the right, is a hybrid that has already given us a picking, and its sprouts are much larger.

Re-showing the picture from 2 weeks ago to describe the amount of processed squash we got from it. This week the Kitchen Goddess got 12 cups (2.84 l.) from the Butternut, and the same amount from the Tatume. Also 4 cups from the smaller pumpkin. The bigger one is left for a Jack O' Lantern, for our non-existent Trick Or Treaters.

The verdict on Tatume: not as sweet as Butternut, and much harder to extract from the rind. So I would call it second-rate at best; not the “survival” crop it was talked up to be, and not particularly tasty. No room for it next year. Well, maybe I’ll plant the remaining seeds at the edge of the far compost pile and see how it fares as a neglected crop.
Well, I'm being unfair. The Tatume does produce a large number of seeds. Which is good, since my favorite football snack is roasted pumpkin/squash seeds. Here's my recipe for this delicious treat. Scoop out the guts, and separate the seeds. Run the seeds under hot water to get off as much of the gook as you can.

Put the seeds in a bowl, fill with warm water, and add salt. I like 'em really salty; you may choose to use less or even omit it (weird), in which case soaking is unnecessary. Let it sit overnight. Just before game-time, drain the seeds and place in a single layer on cookie sheets. I like to spray the sheets with butter-flavor cooking spray. Bake at 400 F. (200 C.) until they start browning and popping. They will need to be stirred with a spatula several times. Once a good number are really brown the lot is done and ready to enjoy, preferably with a glass of home-brewed ale. I'm too lazy to extract the kernals so I eat 'em whole. This has the benefit of providing valuable roughage.

The mild fall weather may be coming to an end this week. A frost is finally predicted for Thursday night. If the forecast holds, I will pick all the remaining tomatoes and peppers, and "summer" will be over.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Harvest Monday - 14 October 2013

Welcome to another Harvest Monday at Eight Gate Farm. Almost mid-October and still no frost in sight.

But the shorter days, cooler nights, and declining sun have taken their toll.

This is the end of the season for the eggplant. I'm not at all crazy about the productivity or size of Rosa Bianca, but they sure are pretty.

Still a few ripe tomatoes taken right from the vines. These are three Rutgers, and one Caspian Pink on the right. The Pink weighed 8.5 oz. (~240 g.) for comparison. That's it for the Pink plant. We still are gathering drops from the remaining plum tomatoes, and waiting for the others to ripen on the vines, if they will. Who knows?

This is also the last of the fall-planted radishes. Shown with them is a spring carrot that must have had its foliage broken off, so it got overlooked. The top grew back feebly, but we have a nice fresh addition to The Kitchen Goddess's Hearty Beef Barley Soup. The fall carrots are still tiny.

A decent chard-taking, enough for a good side dish.

Some herbs gathered for drying from the kitchen garden : basil, thyme, parsley, rosemary, tarragon, and oregano (or, as spelled by The In-A-Rush Kitchen Goddess, "oregnao").

Wish I had more to show! Thanks for reading, and thanks again to Daphne.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Harvest Monday - 7 October 2013

Welcome to the first Harvest Monday in October 2013. Thanks to Daphne's Dandelions for hosting.

Here at Eight Gate Farm, we are just starting our biggest-by-far harvest of the year--sugar maple leaves. They make great mulch when shredded.

The volunteer tomato plants in the compost that were looking so lush suddenly croaked this week, leaving us with a lot of green fruit with no hope of ripening. Making the best of a bad situation, The Kitchen Goddess put up 6 pints of salsa verde, made with green tomatoes instead of tomatillos, and using store-bought habaneros.

A fun fall tableau, featuring virtually our entire harvest of winter squash. I just could not keep up with the bugs this year.

Kind of sad. Five Waltham Butternuts, two pumpkins, and in the middle, a few Tatume left to go to their fall stage. Also a King Daddy sunflower head. That's not really the variety. I don't know what it really is. It was a volunteer in the squash patch.

We took the first of the Brussels Sprouts. I know they are supposed to be better once a frost or two has kissed them, but some were getting really big. There are many more left. It is amazing to me that I transplanted these on April 16.

Add to the above a few broccoli sprouts (shown below), some radishes, raspberries, and more tomato drops, and you are looking at our entire harvest this week.

Still, we can't complain. It's a damp, chilly Sunday night and we lit the woodstove for the first time this year, but no frosts are predicted in the near term, so we might yet get a few more ripe tomatoes and eggplant.

My name is Daisy-Cat, and I approve this message.