Monday, July 9, 2018

Harvest Monday - 9 July 2018

Hello again from Eight Gate Farm! The Kitchen Goddess and I were gone from the 26th through the 1st, at a lovely tropical resort in the guise of a company meeting. We returned to the start of a heat wave, with temps well into the 90s. So I went from griping about the cold to moaning about the heat. It broke on Friday with a storm, which flattened a good amount of the corn that had been growing so nicely in the heat. TKG was a huge help in setting it back upright again. I sure wish the corn would not keep lodging like that (strange term...shouldn't it be "dis-lodging"?).

TKG's mother watched the house while we were gone, and kept things watered and picked. But there was a lot to harvest for us, especially peas. We got several pickings like this, but it looks like the vines are shutting down now. At least there's been no powdery mildew.

L: Blizzard and Mammoth Melting Sugar, R: Super Sugar Snap

I've been using the same packet of "European Mesclun Mix" from Baker Creek for several years now. Last year, kale dominated the mix; this year, it was arugula. I don't know why the same packet would yield different dominant plants in a given season...maybe heavier seeds sank to the bottom? In any event, the arugula was fully bolted, but still gave us three one-gallon bags when cleared out.

We took a few carrots.

Also turnips and more flowering onions, which we use as "spring onions" though they aren't supposed to be.

We took the first broccoli of the season. This is the "Blue Wind" variety. One head grew white, looking like cauliflower. I don't know whether it was the weather, or just a weird sport. It tasted fine though.

There was another, normal head.

Blue Wind broccoli
The strawberries were finished by the time we got back, but the blueberries are starting.

Patriotic-looking blueberries picked on Independence Day!
Little bit of a discourse on peas. I love edible podded peas, both raw and cooked. But I've always disliked cooked shell peas. On the other hand, I love pea soup! For the past several years I've been dabbling in growing peas for drying. I guess any shelling pea could be dried, but Baker Creek recommends several varieties for that purpose...maybe they're starchier? I planted Alaska and Blue-podded this year, in a 20 ft. row.

L: Alaska, R: Blue-podded

The Alaska didn't germinate as well as the Blue-podded, but yielded more, smaller pods that were fully packed. Alaska's peas are conventionally-shaped, while Blue-podded's are elongated and lighter in color.

L: Blue-podded, R: Alaska

In the past, I let them air dry naturally, and found that they discolor over time. TKG researched this, and learned that they should be lightly blanched and then dehydrated. She did this, and here's what resulted, about 8 ounces. But I bet they're packed with flavor! The dehydrating took all day, by the way.

TKG brought back some things from her community garden plot, like this last, tennis-ball sized kohlrabi.

And cuttings from celery, fennel, and kale.

We're still a ways away from harvesting the true summer crops, unlike most of you lucky people. Hopefully it won't be too long!

Thanks for reading, and apologies for telling you more about soup peas than maybe you were really interested in. Thanks again to Dave at Our Happy Acres for hosting Harvest Monday.


  1. Such a beautiful harvest. Lots of spring stuff still going on for sure! But spring skipped our area, so a little jealous. Very interesting about the white broccoli. Maybe an odd seed...
    I am growing celery for the first time...crazy huh, gardening this long and only now growing it. Anyway, I didn't know you could take cuttings, like lettuce? Use it as you normally use celery?

    1. Thanks Shawn Ann. The celery cuttings have a little bit of stem that is like celery stalks, and the leaves are flavorable.

  2. Abundant harvests, even if they aren't summer ones, are something to celebrate. It looks like you have a lot to celebrate. I suppose that some of the seeds in your mesclun mix are losing viability so the viable ones are dominating.

    1. Thanks Michelle. You are probably right about the seed viability...I should have thought of that!

  3. Amazingly I share your tastes in peas and pea pods! I've grown soup peas in the past for drying, though I can't remember the variety. I do recall they made tasty soup. I never knew about blanching them before drying either, but that does make sense. I'm glad you enjoyed your tropical getaway. My former employer always sent me to places like Youngstown or Pittsburgh - not to be dissing them, of course!