Monday, July 13, 2020

Harvest Monday - 13 July 2020

Welcome to another Harvest Monday update from Eight Gate Farm. On Friday night, the much-weakened Tropical Storm Fay passed through. We were supposed to get 1 - 2 inches of badly needed rain, but we only got a fraction. At least the winds weren't punishing.

For "first harvests" this week, all the garlic was pulled. I had planted 10 cloves each of 4 hardneck varieties. They grew strongly during the spring, but lately had started dying back. This is very early for us, but it did not seem like the bulbs would get any bigger. I'm beginning to believe I didn't water them enough. So no prizewinning bulbs for the Deerfield Fair this year; then again, no fair this year for obvious reasons. I'll show and discuss the bulbs once they're cured and cleaned.

Entire garlic harvest
We took some carrots to see how they were doing. They're looking good, and tasting even better!

Yaya carrots
We also took the first saladette-sized turnip.

White Egg turnip
And from the community garden plot The Kitchen Goddess shares with her mother, came this fennel bulb. I can't take credit for this, but I did start the seeds for them at least.

Orazio fennel
For ongoing harvests, we continue to take a few zucchini every day or so.

Yellowfin and Cocozelle di Napoli zucchini
And 2 to 4 cucumbers each day.

National Picking cucumbers
Yes, we are already giving away zucchini and cucumbers.


The Blue Wind broccoli gives a few side shoots.



The first planting of spring onions is winding down.

White Lisbon (ignore dirty fingernails)
Another nice basket of chard.


A few more shishito peppers.

Mellow Star shishitos
Blueberries are ramping up.


And the Iceberg lettuce is winding down. Little micro slugs have found it, so the heads have to be picked through--yuck!


Conspicuously absent is pea pods. The hot weather looks to have shut the vines down. Maybe they'll resume if the weather cools, but it seems unlikely at this stage.

Thanks for reading, and apologies for running long. Thanks as always to Dave at HappyAcres.blog for hosting Harvest Monday.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Harvest Monday - 6 July 2020

Welcome to another Harvest Monday update from Eight Gate Farm! This past week the weather has moderated substantially, and we got frequent but brief rain showers. Not enough to take us out of the drought situation, I think, but it has alleviated much of the watering chores.

We had numerous exciting "first harvests" this week. Hard to tell which was our favorite!

The first zucchinis were picked. This is "Yellowfin." I took several more later in the week.

Yellowfin zucchini
And this is "Cocozelle di Napoli." I love the look and nutty taste of this stripey Italian heirloom. But as I'm running out of seed, I think I might explore a hybrid version for next year, with a more compact, less spiny plant.


A good cutting of the first chard of the season. On the left is a new variety for us, "Oriole" from Johnny's Selected Seeds. The yellow stems are really striking in the field. On the right is "Peppermint."

Oriole and Peppermint Chard
The first cucumbers were picked. This is "National Pickling," an heirloom that was developed in 1929 by the "National Pickle Packers Association" (what a great name!) and the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station, with the goal of producing fruit that was blunt at both ends and would thus pack easier into pickle jars. Tastes good too!

National Pickling
Another first was shishito peppers. We love them, but having four plants last year really was too much. So only two plants this year. That should be enough once they get into full swing.

Mellow Star shishito peppers
And the first small picking of blueberries occurred. There will be much more to come.


For continuing harvests, we took several large thinnings of the salad mixes.


And several more iceberg lettuce heads. Here's one sliced open.

Iceberg lettuce
More spring onions.

White Lisbon scallions
More "mangetout" (that we call pea pods here in the Colonies).

Left: Avalanche, right: Super Sugar Snap
We bid farewell to the kohlrabi:

Kolibri kohlrabi
And also to the Blue Wind broccoli.


We have a saying here in the US--"knee-high by the Fourth of July," referring of course to corn. I've never been sure why that's important, but I play along. Mine was waist-high on Independence Day, and I'm tall!


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Please join me in reading all the lovely posts on Harvest Monday, hosted by the ever-popular Dave at HappyAcres.blog.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Harvest Monday - 29 June 2020

Hello again from Eight Gate Farm. Oh dear, we seem to be heading into another summer drought like four years ago. Actually we're in a worse rainfall position than last time. Of course, anything can happen with the weather, and we may get a reversal. But for now, it's just too much of a job to keep anything but the vegetables sufficiently watered. The field will just have to brown out

In spite of the heat and drought (or maybe because of it?), we got a number of exciting "first harvests" of the year. We got the first picking of pea pods. Here is "Super Sugar Snap."


And here is "Avalanche," a snow pea.


We got the first kohlrabis. These are about billiard-ball size, which we prefer.

Kolibri F1 kohlrabi
We got the first pickings of mature spring onions. This is "White Lisbon," which is not supposed to bulb, but these clearly are. No matter, they are still delicious.


I'm growing three kinds of broccoli this year. As always, "Blue Wind" is first across the finish line, making heads before the other varieties even have buttons.

Blue Wind broccoli
Iceberg lettuce seems to get a bad rap among the culinary set. But we love it. I've never grown it before, but I scored a free packet of seeds, so I started six this year. They are growing beautifully, and the first cutting affirmed our opinion, being wonderfully crisp and delicate.

Iceberg lettuce
My only regret is having them all come to maturity at the same time, as well as the two rows of salad mixes. That's a lot of lettuce for us, and there's no way of preserving it as far as I know.

The lettuce bed
Last year a volunteer caraway plant sprung up, and this year it set seed. I cut the seed heads and am drying them now. This is good, because all my remaining seed failed to germinate. Now at least I'll have some fresh seed for next year. I really like caraway seeds in a dish The Kitchen Goddess makes: a ground turkey and shredded cabbage stir-fry.

Caraway seed umbrels
Lastly, we picked a small quantity of cilantro.

Cilantro
That night TKG made tortillas from our own corn flour, to serve with blackened mahi-mahi and guacamole for fish tacos. The cilantro really went well with that.


About a month ago I took some drone photos of our gardens to document progress from a different perspective on a monthly basis. I took another set this weekend. Here's the "field garden." In this and other pictures you can really see the bad condition of the grass, but the garden is doing pretty well.

The field garden
Here's the "stock tank beds." The zucchini, cucumbers, and melons are really starting to fill out.

The stock tank garden
And here's the main fenced garden.

The fenced garden behind the barn
If you are interested, here's a link to the last set of photos I took.

That's all for this week. Thank you for reading, and thanks as always to Dave at HappyAcres.blog for hosting Harvest Monday.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Harvest Monday - 15 June 2020

Here's another Harvest Monday update from Eight Gate Farm. Weather-wise, the days have been quite pleasant, but the nights cool. In fact, early this morning (Monday) we registered 48 F. (~8.9 C.). Fine for the brassicas, not so much for the solanacea. But much warmer weather should be arriving later this week.

Starting with the "first harvests" is a cutting of garlic scapes from about a dozen of the 40 plants I grew. They are early this year. We love this useful "by product" of garlic production.


Another first harvest is the result of a few onion sets planted last year that only grew this year. When this happens, they inevitably send up a flower stalk. We pulled them and got a nice bit of green onion.


For continuing harvests, several times we picked salad greens from the two mixes, along with more radishes.


Also, we cut what will probably be the last asparagus spears before allowing the plants to leaf out. We will miss having homegrown asparagus!


One of the two salad mixes has some spinach in it, which started bolting this week. We picked it, and enjoyed a nice spinach salad. Also, the remaining Asian greens were all bolting, so they came out too.

Left: spinach, right: various pac choi
The Kitchen Goddess tried a new Paleo dish called "Asian Kebabs," consisting of ground beef and Asian greens, both mostly pre-cooked then seared on the charcoal grill, served with a spicy almond butter-based sauce using coconut aminos instead of tamari. A small acorn squash (store-bought) was also baked, then put on the grill. The meal was very delicious, and for us a novel way to use Asian greens.


That's all for this week. Thanks for reading, and thanks to Dave at HappyAcres.blog for hosting Harvest Monday.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Harvest Monday - 8 June 2020

Here's another Harvest Monday update from Eight Gate Farm in southern New Hampshire. Leading off with the "first harvests" of the year is one of my favorite Asian greens, "Brisk Green" pac choi.


I didn't get fussy about turnip planting this year, just scratched out four rows and poured seeds in. This is the result of thinning them, a nice batch of baby turnip greens.


Hooray, first homegrown salads of the year! These are pickings of the two rows of salad mixes I planted.


We love chive flower vinegar, and it was time to pick the many flowers. We added some garlic chive leaves to give it a twist.


The Kitchen Goddess packed it all into a quart jar, added vinegar, and now it sits for two weeks.


For continuing harvests, to accent the salads, fresh radishes!


A number of the other Asian greens were bolting. At this stage they are hard to distinguish, but here are Pechay, White Stem, and Toy Choi.


I discovered why my asparagus were curved, and generally not looking right. In one patch I found a large number of adult Common Asparagus beetles that were feeding on the spears. In another patch there were adult Spotted Asparagus beetles. This means their larvae had already done damage. I quickly sprayed with spinosad, marketed here by Bonide with the very Jimmy Buffett-esque name "Captain Jack's Deadbug Brew." If you're not familiar with it, it's approved for organic gardening but can be harmful to pollinators. Luckily the asparagus is not near any plants currently requiring pollination.


That's it for this week. Thanks for reading, and a big shout-out to Dave at HappyAcres.blog for keeping the Harvest Monday tradition going!