Sunday, September 21, 2014

Harvest Monday - 22 September 2014

Welcome to another Harvest Monday report from Eight Gate Farm. Harvest Monday, as you know, is hosted by Daphne's Dandelions. Thanks to Daphne for making Monday fun!

The weather turned colder this week, a depressing end to summer. One morning I awoke to a temperature of 37.5 F. (3 C.). Brrr! We gave in to wimpiness and lit the wood stove. But the temperatures moderated at the end of the week, so it's back to shorts and T-shirts, for awhile at least.

On Monday we harvested watermelon radishes, raspberries, cucumbers, and a golf ball-sized watermelon. We really like the way the radish tastes. It's pungent like wasabi--stings the mouth but dissipates quickly, leaving you with a smile.

On Wednesday, radishes, raspberries, a zucchini, lettuce, a muskmelon, and grape tomatoes. Wait, didn't I promise you no more tomato pictures?

Here is the dry bean harvest from the "Survival Garden." The Survival Garden is my experiment in growing foods that can be stored without energy inputs, other than human labor. We harvested 2.5 lbs. (1.14 kg.) of "Midnight Black Turtle" and 2 lbs. (.91 kg.) of "Kenearly Yellow-eye." I especially like the black beans - a component of one of my favorite dishes, black beans and rice. I first had this many years ago in Costa Rica, where it is called "pinto."

So how did we do yield-wise? Johnny's Selected Seeds catalog has an excellent reference sheet on expected yields for various crops. Dry beans are not specifically mentioned, but shell beans are. If I'm not mistaken, shell beans are just immature dry beans, out of the pod. I imagine they lose a little weight when fully dried, but it may not be significant. For 100 row-feet, an average yield is 15 pounds. I planted about 80 row-feet, so that means 12 pounds should have been expected. We came nowhere near that. Partially I think it's because the pumpkins overwhelmed so many of the bean plants. Also, once the corn got tall, many plants were partially shaded.

In other bean news, this is almost all the scarlet runners we harvested. I'll save 50 of them for next year's planting, and the rest will go into a meal or two. I really just grow them for their ornamental value.

I tried growing Duborskian Rice this year. They germinated pretty well indoors, but did not take to transplanting. So here's the "yield" from 20 row-feet:

Even the cat is disgusted. Looks like I'll have to use store-bought for my black beans and rice.

At least the tiny melons were tasty:

I've mentioned this is a terrible year for apples for us. Here's a picture from last year's apple harvest from our two mature trees:

And this year?

Oh well, it's enough for a favorite fall dessert, Eve's Pudding.

As I said, I grew pumpkins (Magic Lantern and Long Island Cheese), plus a butternut or two, along the edge of the Survival Garden. Saturday was harvest time. Nothing to be ashamed of here.

The biggest one was 25 lbs. (11.4 kg.). OK, so what to do with all these pumpkins?

I'm glad you asked...

Retirement, here I come!


  1. Interesting experiment with the survival garden, including trying rice!. I always thought the yield from dry beans was too low to be worth using the little garden space I have. Trouble with subsistence farming is some years you go hungry. But at least if we put some food away we won't go starving. Anyway, nice haul of pumpkins and squash.

  2. That's a lot of pumpkins! At least they store well with winter squash and can last for months. Too bad about your apples, hope next year will be better.

  3. Beautiful harvests - especially love those dried beans. Must grow more of those next year. I hear you on the fruit trees. We have a young cherry & plum that gave us a couple of nice bowlfuls of fruit last year - this year? Nada. That is an amazing pumpkin haul...I would have stopped to buy one ;) And that comment about the cat just made me burst out laughing.

  4. Those dried beans look wonderful. I have fond memories of gallo pinto too. Sadly I can't have it anymore since I can't eat beans now. And you had me laughing with your retirement pumpkins.

  5. That wasn't just a terrible apple harvest, that was a disaster - how incredibly disappointing after last year's bounty.

    Pole dry beans are much more productive for me than bush dry beans. My Tarbais beans produced 3 pounds of dry beans from a 3 foot long trellis, whereas my Black Coco and Rosso di Lucca bush beans produced as much from twice the space and at least three times the number of plants. My Petaluma Gold Rush beans look like they will be productive this year too, but those are just starting to dry so time will tell.

    I had a good laugh at your retirement plan as well. :) What a nice haul. Just imagine what it would be like if the whole garden produced that well!

  6. AWESOME! Love the last picture. What a great pumpkin harvest. I wish I had the space for a proper pumpkin patch, but alas, I don't. Sorry to hear about your apples. What a huge difference. I wonder what caused it. Did you get a late frost that destroyed the blossoms this year? Or maybe the tree are prone to being biennial bearers?

  7. I'm pleased to see that your feline supervisor is as thoughtful about your garden as ours are. Growing rice? That's pretty audacious!

    We grow scarlet runner beans to hide a hideous fence of our neighbor's, and because the hummingbirds love them. They currently have powdery mildew, and I'm delaying ripping them out because I don't want the view of the World's Ugliest Fence.