Monday, September 8, 2014

Harvest Monday - 8 September 2014

Welcome to another Harvest Monday report from Eight Gate Farm! Our thanks to Daphne's Dandelions for the opportunity to share.

The weather this week was mostly very warm and humid. But on Saturday a severe thunderstorm blew through in the late afternoon, and behind it cooler weather instantly moved in, which looks like it will continue for the foreseeable future. Is this summer's end?

I can't say a bolt of lightning hit our house, but one must have come close...the house wiring crackled an instant before the flash and crash. Fun!

The storm left us a faint but beautiful rainbow:

All the heat was of course great for ripening. On Monday, 10 more pounds (~4.5 kg.) of tomatoes:

Also beans, lettuce, and probably our last Chocolate pepper. I planted 3 plants of this type, and got exactly 3 peppers. Not exactly the abundant yielder they were claimed to be, but it could entirely be the growing conditions here this season. The fruit is attractive though, with deep red flesh under the chocolate skins, and very tasty too. I think I'll try at least one plant again.

On Wednesday, 8.8 lbs (~4 kg) tomatoes.

Also zucchini, cucumbers, mildly hot "Big Bomb" peppers, and the first fall raspberries:

A lighter picking of 4 lbs (~1.8 kg) on Thursday, with filet beans and a zucchini.

On Friday, 15.7 lbs (~7 kg) of you-know-what, plus our first (and probably only) watermelon, tiny, misshapen muskmelons, raspberries, a robbed potato, and another "Diva" cucumber:

In that haul was our last, and largest "Caspian Pink" tomato. It's hard to overstate just how delicious this variety is. Totally Tomatoes, the source of the seed, claimed it "beat Brandywine" in taste tests. I don't know about that, but it is awfully good. It's normal to have yellow shoulders like this:

Also our first Watermelon radishes. It's my first experience growing this summer variety, and I like it. So now I can have lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and radishes together for the first time in my gardening history!

Our chard, which languished being interspersed with the broccoli, has started to thrive now they're gone:

On Sunday morning we opened the melons with apprehension. We hardly ever get any to ripen. The tiny muskmelons gave us a few bites of pure nectar. The watermelon, a "Sugar Baby" variety, presented us with this for a visual and culinary treat:

Of course, all this ripening has kept The Kitchen Goddess busy canning, right at the peak of summer heat! Here is a snap of all her canned tomato products to date, with the bulk of that this week:

That's 25 pints of pasta sauce, 6 of salsa, and 4 1/2 quarts of Bloody Mary mix.

I know what you're thinking...those guys eat pasta by the pint but drink Bloody Marys by the quart.

Lastly, another taste of "Honey Select." The tips weren't filled out, but they are so good I'm kicking myself for taking so many before they were mature like this.

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


  1. Lovely harvests. We got that intense storm too. It knocked a few things over in the garden, but nothing major. I wish it had rained more though. At least we got an inch. We could have used two.

    1. No damage here. And you are correct about the lack of rain--but we don't need it all at once, right?

  2. I love those watermelon radishes! I have yet to grow ones anywhere near as nice as yours. That Caspian Pink tomato sounds interesting. But I am guessing it wouldn't like our summer weather so much.

    1. Is that because you have a lot of humidity, or heat (or both)? I would have thought heirloom tomatoes of any kind would like those conditions. I've read that watermelon radishes can get up to tennis ball size. I doubt we'd come anywhere near that, but who know, it's my first experience.

  3. Pasta by the pint and bloody mary's by the quart? Sounds about right to me.

  4. I can't remember the last time I had a bloody mary, sounds good.... especially with homegrown tomatoes in the mix. Great haul of tomatoes!

    Flash! Bang! Sounds exciting indeed. We rarely get lightening here, thank goodness, it tends to start raging wild fires when it does happen.

    1. I lived in Santa Barbara from 5th grade right through college, and I remember exactly one thunderstorm. It was a treat!

  5. Great harvest! I think I'll try that corn variety next year since you and Daphne seem to love it. I freeze all of my tomato sauce though it would be nice to can it all instead and save on the freezer space. To you can using pressure canner or just a hot water bath?

  6. Beautiful harvests - you can almost see the sweetness in that watermelon. Love those radishes too - so pretty. Are they very spicy? I think you got the same storm we had on Friday evening. It was pretty bad, but the garden is still intact & no freak lightning flashes, thank goodness ;)

  7. Yes, the watermelon radish is spicy, but not overwhelmingly so, and it seems to vary from plant to plant.