Monday, September 29, 2014

Harvest Monday - 29 September 2014

Welcome to another Harvest Monday report from Eight Gate Farm. Harvest Monday is hosted by Daphne's Dandelions, which has become my go-to site for garden wisdom and news.

This weekend the weather was absolutely gorgeous. It was what I call "Indian Summer." But thinking about it, I wondered if that really was an "official" weather term, so I looked it up. Turns out it is, but it's defined as a warm spell which follows a killing frost. We haven't had that yet. Well, whatever you want to call it, it was beautiful and rare.

The garden is still quietly producing. Here's a nice picking of chard, plus butternut squash, cherry peppers, and fall raspberries:

Also more of those yummy watermelon radishes:

I like to make an "Asian" sauce for cucumbers. But since this was a poor year for cucumbers for us, The Kitchen Goddess wondered if it would go well with these spicy radishes. Turns out it really does! It's just a mixture of soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, garlic powder, onion powder, and black sesame seeds. No need to measure; just keep adding ingredients until it tastes right.Thinly slice the radishes and soak for an hour or two. Wonderful!

Here they are on a plate with a 99%  our-own production dinner: venison backstrap, onions, zucchini, grape tomatoes, and potatoes, grilled en brochette and served al fresco on the screened porch in the warm evening air. Smoky goodness!

Over in the "Survival Garden" patch, the only thing standing is the "Floriani" Red Flint corn. I had intended to let it sit out there until it was completely dry. But the birds have found it. So I decided to pick all but the greenest ears. That was fun! I estimate we got 100 ears; some huge:

Here's a close-up of one:

There are more green ones out in the patch. The ones we picked are spread out on chicken wire in a spare room. I'm thinking we should peel back all the husks to speed drying, but I'm not really sure that's the right thing.

With harvests and other garden chores so slow now, it was time to start refurbishing the 5 decaying garden benches that came with the property and are scattered around it. Here's the first one, before, on the workshop floor:

And after, back in its home in the fenced garden:

And I got to use my new super-cool table saw, too!

Here you can see what's left of the flint corn patch, after picking and cutting stalks for our fall decorations.

And that gave me an idea. I should diversify my pumpkin retirement portfolio, mentioned last week, with a new agricultural commodity:

Wait. Organic corn stalks? Who cares if they're organic? Oh right, that's "marketing." I'm getting the hang of this!

That's it for this week. Thanks for reading, and happy harvests to all!


  1. That corn is beautiful! Can't wait to see what you do with it all. I'm still in the throws of fall garden chores but am looking forward to getting to a few pieces of furniture that have been sitting in my garage waiting to be refinished all summer. Wonderful job on the bench - I just love befores and afters!

    1. Thank you Margaret. The trick now is figuring out how to shell the corn without taking all the skin off our hands. I wish I had a real old-fashioned farmer tool for that, but they are scarce.

  2. Nice job on the watermelon radishes. Mine planted last spring bolted so this year I planted in August. Although it has been a very dry summer/fall I may actually get one to try. And the bench looks spiffy with that red paint job. Glad I didn't have to sand it.

    1. Thanks, David. The radishes really are a summer variety. As for "sanding" the bench, I have one word for you: Dremel. It worked perfectly.

  3. I think the Floriani Red corn is one of the prettiest things I've ever grown. I hope it tastes as good as it looks. I've been peeling back the husks to let the ears dry, it doesn't seem to have harmed it so far. Beautiful restoration job on the bench!

    1. Thank you Michelle. Yes, the corn has been a fun project. 10-foot tall stalks! Giant ears! Pretty color! Lots to like there. Now for the tricky part--processing it. I'd love to turn some into masa. As I recall you have some instructions on that.

  4. I need to pick my butternuts soon. I'll need a spot for the garlic and I'm guessing I'll put it in one of the squash patches. And the corn is just beautiful.