Monday, September 7, 2015

Harvest Monday - 7 September 2015

Welcome to another Harvest Monday update from Eight Gate Farm! Here's the weekly report.

A light harvest on Tuesday. I've ripped out 7 out of our 12 tomato plants, and that cuts down on the production. Never before have I had plants die mid-season. The Rutgers (in foreground) is doing pretty well, however, and producing nice red fruits for table or sauce.

On Wednesday, a 2.75 gallon bucket of grapes.

Also, beans and carrots. The beans are coming now from the seeds I planted to fill in holes in the first planting, where they never germinated. That first planting gave us a lot of beans, but is long gone now. It's nice to get a few more while summer is still with us.

Also, some corn for dinner!

The watermelon radishes are sure fattening up.

Thursday pickings. The eggplants are very small this year (and few in number). Shown are the first "Cross Country" pickling cucumbers from the second planting this year, on July 14, where the peas were. The vines are much more lush than the ones from May, which never really took off. I think we might get enough for pickles before frost hits, and not just the occasional one for fresh eating. The shishito pepper plant hasn't been producing much (none of the peppers are), but with this we finally collected enough to make that super-trendy appetizer and be like the cool kids.

On Saturday, no garden work. Instead, we drove about 3 hours west to the Vermont Garlic and Herb Festival in Bennington. The stated goal was to talk to the professional garlic growers and select bulbs for fall planting. I've never grown garlic before, so I was soliciting advice. That may have been the purpose, but what a great, fun event! Good music, good food, lots of fun things to look at, and a beer tent! Of course there was garlic everything to try--fudge, popcorn, you get the picture. No garlic beer, thank goodness, or I would have had to try it. There were quite a few growers selling bulbs. Most said that hardneck garlic grows the best in the Northeast, so that's what I bought: Music, Georgian Fire, and German White (probably the most popular among the growers). I vow to properly label the plantings.We came home tired, happy, and smelly! As the festival motto goes, Vermont Stinks!

We paid on Sunday for the play on Saturday. There was a lot to harvest.

The Kitchen Goddess said the bench looked like a mini farm stand. You might notice our first, scallion-sized leeks. And a gluttonous six ears of corn. On the ground is chard in a lovely basket we bought at the fair, and another head of Soloist Chinese cabbage--weighing 4 1/2 pounds. TKG made our first batch of kimchi, and she had enough cucumbers to make refrigerator dill pickles - yay!

But the star of the show in the fenced garden was a complete picking of the remaining grapes--two bushels worth.

While she was doing all that cooking (tomato sauce too) in the hot kitchen, and then picking the grapes off the stems to go in the freezer for later wine-making, I cooked in the hot sun to pick all the "Black Turtle" beans in the Survival Garden. Here they are all laid out on a screen to finish drying in the sunroom.

Speaking of dry beans, here's the Yellow-Eye bean, shelled this week.

All those pods I showed a few weeks ago yielded 1.5 pounds. That's from about 30 row-feet. It made me wonder if potatoes are a better survival crop--we got 29 pounds of them from 15 row-feet. Of course the beans will keep practically forever, and potatoes won't. I wonder how beans compare nutritionally (in terms of calories per gram, etc) to potatoes--with the understanding that beans have a lot more protein and fat.

Here's the last artichoke, that we left to flower. Unfortunately I think we needed two separate flowers for the plant to pollinate, and I doubt there's another artichoke growing within miles of us. But it sure is pretty!

That's it for this week. Thanks for reading. Today it's Labor Day in the US, and as all gardeners know, that means another day "off" to labor in the garden. Take a break from your labors and check out the wide world of gardening on Daphne's Dandelions, the hostess of Harvest Monday!


  1. You are still getting some nice harvests. The watermelon radishes are impressive, mine keep bolting. The garlic festival sounds great. We are hitting the MDI festival next week, but it is tiny compared to Bennington's. Looks like you made a good selection of garlic, should do well for you.

    1. Thanks Dave. Sorry about your radishes--I wonder why we are having different results? Have fun at MDI.

  2. The garlic festival sounds like a lot of fun. I know they do make a lot of unusual things with garlic, including ice cream, but I've never tried them. The bench does look like a farm stand. That's a wonderful variety of veggies you have on it!

    1. Thanks, Dave. Yes, there was garlic ice cream, but I didn't bite. Only so much garlic can I take.

  3. That's too bad about the tomatoes - I have blight just racing across the beds right now & probably removed half of the leaves on the plants yesterday in a last ditch effort to slow it down. How did you find the shishito peppers? Our Padron peppers - which I'm pretty sure are prepared and served in the same way - were too spicy to eat as an app (but delicious blended in with other things). Maybe I'll try the shishito next year. That garlic festival sounds like so much fun! We can't go to the local garlic festival this son and I are sad about that.

    I wouldn't give up on the dried beans quite yet - I think variety may have a lot to do with yield. Last year I grew Trail of Tears - a 4' double row - and harvested 1.81 lbs. of dried beans from it and that was despite an infection of bacterial brown spot that spoiled quite a few of the beans.

    1. Thanks, Margaret. The shishito peppers are quite mild, at least the ones we've had so far. That doesn't mean bland though. The variety is Mellow Star Hybrid from Territorial, if you're interested. You got much better results with dried beans. It's weird, my plants were loaded with pods, but they never got very tall, so I guess that limited the yield.

  4. That does look like a mini farm stand. And dried beans will never be good producers for the space, but if you are talking survival, then diversity is a good thing. At least if you have the space for it.

  5. Thanks, Daphne. We do have the space, but that doesn't necessarily translate into success unfortunately.

  6. Your harvest spread out on the bench does look like a mini farmers market - that's really good going!

  7. You've never had tomato plants die mid season before? Wow, I don't know if you've been lucky or what, but I always seem to lose at least one or two. I'm sorry to welcome you to the club. :(

    You have such a nice variety of goodies coming from the garden. I feel like there's nothing but tomatoes at the moment, not true, they just overwhelm everything else in my mind. I'll post a photo of the oven tomato sauce, it's not a great shot but will give you the idea.

  8. Amazing harvests this week! The bench DOES look like a farm stand. Your carrots look very bulky, and the grapes are wonderful. Freezing is a great idea for preserving grapes, it breaks down the cell walls and makes it easier to extract the juice for wine later on.

    Oh, wow! The Garlic and Herb Festival sounds like a lot of fun. I purchased new garlic seed from VT this year too. I've been using the same seed stock for a while now and it has begun to peeter out. I hope that some fresh cloves results in larger bulbs next year. You should do very well with the varieties you purchased.

    Growing dried beans does utilize a lot of garden space in relation to the amount harvested, but keep in mind of the added benefit of soil improvement that beans provide for future harvests. Beans absorb nitrogen from the air and release it into the soil. Plus you have seed to plant more bean plants for the future.