Monday, August 20, 2018

Harvest Monday - 20 August 2018

Here's another Harvest Monday update from Eight Gate Farm. Once again I will start with the "first harvests" of the year.

The first "Stellar" tomatoes. These are a determinate variety which is said to have good disease resistance. This turns out to be true, but nothing is immune from blight. So while these are afflicted, they are showing less of it than my other tomatoes. It's a terrible year for blight here. Of course, no point in growing it if it doesn't taste good, and I'm happy to say these are quite good.

The first "Cour di Bue" heirloom indeterminate. It's my first time with this variety. It wasn't tasted directly, as it went into sauce (see below).

Cour di Bue
The first "Ping Tung Long" eggplant. I've been growing this variety for several years, and in the past it was a great producer. This year, with its challenging weather, may not continue the tradition.

Ping Tung Long
A comical "first harvest," which is also the last. Here is the entire crop of garbanzo beans.

Garbanzo beans (chick peas)
I grew about 8 row feet of these as an experiment this year. The plants grew well until they didn't. I'll try again next year, as maybe it was the weather once again. The plants are unusual and quite attractive. They bear pods that have only a single bean, so they better produce a lot of pods to make it worth it. Meanwhile, does anyone want to share a quarter-teaspoon of hummus?

Now on to a sample of continuing harvests. We got a nice batch of shishito peppers.

Some Costoluto Genovese tomatoes, with their adorable pumpkin shape.

Costoluto Genovese
More Dar and Diva cucumbers.

3 Dar and 1 Diva cucumbers
I picked the last of the "Kenearly Yellow-eye" beans (in the big basket), and a further picking of Pinto beans. These will have quite a lot of drying indoors to do before I can shell them. Once everything is dried and shelled, I'll report how much in total I got.

The "Illusion" white sweet corn has been fulfilling my gluttonous needs for the crop I most crave. After picking every night, the big ears are mostly all gone.

So we've had to pick the smaller ones. They are every bit as sweet and tender. It's an amazing variety.

A "cornucopia" picture summing up the harvests of the week.

The Kitchen Goddess finally had enough tomatoes to can six pints of her prizewinning pasta sauce.

Last week I mentioned we were going to have a blind taste-test of heirloom tomatoes. It was prompted by the fact that I've never tried Brandywine (the gold standard according to many), and that Caspian Pink was said to be even better. I've grown Caspian for many years, but never Brandywine before. Here are the contestants. From left, Brandywine, Caspian Pink, Cosmonaut Volkov, and Pruden's Purple.

TKG labeled four identical plates on the bottom, cut each tomato into equal size and quantity chunks and put them on their respective plates. We then sampled each one twice, having a bite of saltine cracker to cleanse the palate in between. It was surprising that we both rated each in the same order. Number 1? Brandywine! It had the richest and most complex flavor. The word that came to mind was "luscious." Then was Pruden's Purple, Caspian Pink, and finally Cosmonaut Volkov. I know this was just sampling one fruit at one point in time, but it was a fun and interesting experiment. I'll be growing all of them again next year, because all were really good. Brandywine just was the best.

I close with a little story about one of my favorite native plants, Spotted Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis). This beautiful plant thrives in damp, shady places. It has many other names, among them "Touch-me-not." This is because its small seed capsules explode when touched, sending the seeds many feet. I had some growing wild on the property, and collected seeds last year. I sprinkled them around our little water feature. To my surprise, one emerged this year, and is now flowering.

Spotted Jewelweed
Here's a close-up of its lovely flower, a favorite of pollinators.

Thanks once again for wading through another long post. Thanks also to Dave at for hosting Harvest Monday.


  1. I recognized that Jewelweed right away - it was naturalized here when we bought the place. It's supposed to be good for a poison ivy rash, though I believe prevention is best for that! Interesting about your Brandywine taste testing. I tried growing it again this year and got nada. Which is less than your garbanzo beans. Funny, I am hungry for some sweet corn right about now! I'll have to buy some though.

  2. Yes, I've read about Jewelweed's supposed poison ivy benefits. Prevention absolutely is best. I've actually been wondering why you don't grow corn. I thought maybe you didn't like it, but now I know that's not the case.

  3. I didn't grow any Brandywine tomatoes this year but intend to remedy that next year. We taste tested our tomatoes - the new ones particularly - and 1 of the 3 will survive to be grown next year. It does help me to choose which ones to grow otherwise i grow too many different types.

  4. Very interesting results with your tomato taste test. I've always had a preference for Brandywine. We had a terrible time with fungal diseases this year, and the black and purple tomatoes were greatly affected.

    Your corn looks fantastic and the ears are all perfectly filled out. I probably won't grow corn again, too many critters big and small get into them.

  5. What a shame about the blight. It is so disappointing to see previously healthy plants go under. I think your big Coeur de Boue might be the same as our Ox Heart, and we also have several jars of sauce in the store now too... very satisfying to see them sitting there on the shelves it is too!

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