Monday, July 27, 2015

Harvest Monday - 27 July 2015

Welcome to another Harvest Monday post from Eight Gate Farm. Thanks as always to Daphne's Dandelions for hosting this forum. It was a wonderful week of harvests for us, as I hope it was for you.

Beans and more beans:

 Including last Sunday, our tally is well over eight pounds. Never before have we harvested so much so quickly.

Peas and more peas!

A couple of heads of Green Ice lettuce, just getting ready to bolt.

Our first "Tigress" green zucchini, at a perfect size.

Two more "Yellow Fin" zucchini.

And then later, one of each.

Our first peppers--not red-ripe yet but needed to spice up a delicious Bahamian Conch Chowder. Of course, here in New England conch are scarce, so we used clams. The peppers are "Aruba" cubanelle, and "Big Bomb" hot cherry.

Our crush, two more artichokes:

A bouquet of chard, which went well with zucchini in a quiche.

A bouquet of New Red Fire lettuce:

A bouquet of beets:

And a bouquet of Mokum and Nelson carrots. This year I am growing the fugliest carrots ever. I don't think I sufficiently tilled the bed. But you know, all cut up, they look as good as any carrot, and they taste great too.

After posing with so many bouquets, The Kitchen Goddess reminded me she used to tell me "always a bridesmaid, never a bride." All right, TKG, I eventually manned-up, didn't I?

I took as many of the "Desiree Dwarf Blauwschokkers" soup peas as were fat, maybe about half the crop. I figured they would dry up better indoors. Here's Daisy-Cat, the Chief Produce Inspector, with the pickings.

As you can see, there were some off-types in the seed lot. I really like growing this pea, but my mistake was taking "dwarf" too literally. They got super-crowded at four per square. Next year I think I will grow them on short trellises.

We continue to get handfuls of blueberries and raspberries, which although doesn't seem to be much, does add up nicely over time.

And our first tomato debuted this week. It's a "Taxi," which TKG begged me to grow, wanting some tomatoes of a different color. Fine, but to me, tomatoes are one thing, and one thing

It does not look big, but weighed a respectable 5.3 ounces. Here is it cut up:

It is very juicy and flavorful. Okay, TKG, you got me.

And the very last picture of peas (collective sigh of relief), as I pulled the vines today. Normally I let the pea bed go fallow after the last harvest, but this year I'm experimenting with a much later planting of cucumbers. Maybe they'll climb the trellises. You also see some Summer Crisp lettuce I'm trying for the first time.

That's it for this week. Thanks for reading, and apologies for going so long. I leave you with a snap of a lovely Lemon Queen sunflower that opened this week. It was a free seed packet from Baker Creek.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Harvest Monday - 20 July 2015

Welcome to another Harvest Monday report from Eight Gate Farm, brought to you by Daphne's Dandelions--your one-stop shop for garden wisdom and inspiration.

Today (Sunday) is by far the hottest and muggiest day of this summer; too hot to do anything outside except pick, and even that was a struggle. Muggy--what a strange word. Of course, I know that we in New England don't have much to complain about summer weather, compared to much of the U.S.

Since it's so hot, let's get right to the pickings. First up, the new stuff for this week.

I don't know what happened to our bush beans, but they have absolutely exploded, growing more lushly than ever before. They were spilling out of the raised bed and toppling over. We had to rig up fencing to keep them off the ground.

A normal first picking would be a mere handful, but not this year!

That's "Carson" yellow wax on the left, and "Velour" filet on the right.

Next up, "Yellow Fin" golden zucchini. I know these aren't world-beaters in terms of size. I think they did not get properly pollinated, as they bloomed before any male flowers did. So I judged it was best to take them and let the plant get on with its business. Still, I think they are very pretty.

But the dearest to our hearts is this:

That's right, our first artichokes of the year. Just so you know, The Kitchen Goddess and I shared them equally, without fighting. They were outstanding.

That's the new, now for the greatest hits. We picked the rest of the mesclun:

And a head of "Green Ice" that looked like it was going to bolt, plus snow and snap peas, and blueberries:

And just today, what else? Another Green Ice, all the "Rocky Top" lettuce mix (free packet from Baker Creek), and yes more peas. I really really thought the peas would be finishing, but no. For lettuce and peas, we are at the glut stage. Come on down, folks! We're giving 'em away!

And more blueberries, and black and red raspberries:

That's it for this week. Thanks for reading! I look forward to reading the rest of the Harvest Monday posts.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Harvest Monday - 13 July 2015

Welcome to another Harvest Monday post from Eight Gate Farm. The weather here this week has been delightful, with Sunday's temperature hitting 90 F. (~32 C.), but breezy and non-oppressive humidity.

Although most things are progressing nicely in the gardens, I don't have a lot of variety of harvests to show you, so this will be fairly short. But then I always say that.

We start with a little broccoli, and snow peas, and Sugar Snap peas at the bottom. As reported last week the snows are slowing while the snaps are getting very productive.

We have a nice variety of fruit, with (clockwise from top) wild black raspberries, cherries, jostaberries, and blueberries.

The Kitchen Goddess took all these (except the cherries) and made another of her wonderful rustic tarts:

Then another good picking of black raspberries. They sure are tasty, but seedy! I noticed this week that we have competition from wild turkeys, who were plucking fruit from the vines. I don't mind sharing.

We took a few carrots for fresh eating. Here are Mokum (right) and Nelson (left).

It's weird...some of the carrots are quite hairy. It causes no harm but is a little disconcerting. I read that the reason is too much fertility, which is ironic, as I believed all my garden problems stemmed from lack of fertility in the old raised beds. I guess I'm overcompensating. 

The broccoli had stalled, and anyway I needed their space, so on Saturday I took whatever side shoots there were and pulled all the plants. It was a good year, but not as good as last.

And now the former broccoli bed, with its new seedlings of Chinese cabbage and kale.

On Sunday, what else but a pound o' pea pods? We will have lots of stir-fries in the winter!

In closing, here's a snap of a flower I'm especially in love with. When we were in Key West (Florida) in March, I noticed wild gaillardia growing in the driest, worst soil imaginable just off the beach. I collected a few seed heads and started some this spring. They are putting on quite a show.

It always cheers me up when I see them. I've tentatively identified them as Gaillardia pulchella, known as "fireweed" or "Indian blanket." They are annuals, but so easy to grow from seed they will be part of my garden for years to come. There is a lot of variety in the amount of red vs. yellow, even on the same plant.

That's it for this week. Thanks for reading! To see harvests from around the world without leaving your chair, click back to Daphne's Dandelions right now!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Harvest Monday - 6 July 2015

Welcome to another Harvest Monday report from Eight Gate Farm. Isn't it a lovely time of year gardening-wise? The hard work is behind us, now it's time to reap the rewards. Today we even had time to do a couple of hours fishing on a nearby pond. All we caught were "rays," and I don't mean the fish-type, but it was peaceful and lovely out in the canoe.

We are continuing to harvest familiar crops, like snow peas:

And snap peas:

We get pea harvests like that every couple of days. The snow peas look to be slowing, but the snaps are just getting revved up. Their vines are over 7 feet tall--too tall for The Kitchen Goddess to reach, meaning I get some.

We are still swimming in salads, with no signs of slowing. And I just transplanted 12 "summer crisp" lettuces. Here's today's pick, over 12 oz.:

And our second large cherry tree is pumping out fruit--even the birds can't keep up. I don't know which variety this is, but they are tasty.

What to do with beaucoup cherries? How about my late father's favorite dessert--Cherries Jubilee, made even better with TKG's homemade vanilla ice cream? Decadent! Who needs July Fourth fireworks when you can set your food on fire!

Another full-size head of Fiesta broccoli, plus a bunch of side shoots--mostly from Blue Wind.

Also time again to cut back parsley, oregano, thyme, and cilantro. The latter is to be frozen, the others dehydrated.

That was the old, now in with the new! Some of the carrots and beets looked to be sizing up, so we sampled.

Of course, now that there are carrots, I must put an electro-shock collar on TKG to protect the crop.

One of the storage onions was flowering, so we pulled it.

Chopping it up, it served nicely as a large scallion to add to garlic for sauteeing with the beet greens, which were tender and not a bit bitter.

A first light picking of blueberries, raspberries, and jostaberries.

It won't be as great a year for blueberries as last, unfortunately, as the bushes suffered a lot of winter damage.

And finally, not a harvest, but a temptation--several artichokes are forming. Too bad voles killed two of the plants. I suspect these will be ready in a week or two. Can't wait.

That's it for this week. Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed your own harvests, and am looking forward to reading your posts on Daphne's Dandelions.