Welcome to another Harvest Monday update from Eight Gate Farm.
Not much came out of the vegetable garden this week. We got a handful of raspberries every other day, and I picked the last of the midsummer-sown cucumbers. The vines were almost completely wilted, so I took them out and stored the trellises for the season. These will go into a batch of "refrigerator gherkins"--well, why not?
I also took a couple of apples to go into a roast pork evening meal. I say these are Granny Smiths, but I don't really know. They are starting to develop a red blush--do Grannys do that? Soon we will pick the entire tree for cider.
With not much happening in the garden, it was an opportunity to process earlier harvests. The "Mongolian Giant" sunflowers had lots of potential, but alas, because the flower heads are so big and fleshy, they did not dry but molded instead. Plus, many seeds had worm holes in them. Here's a sample, with the usable harvest on the left and the rejects on the right.
We really got only about twice what you see from all the rest of the heads. Well, it's a fun plant to watch grow, and I certainly have enough seeds for a snack or two, and next year's planting. I think I may have to cut the heads as soon as they droop, remove the seeds, and not leave them to dry out in the field and get bug damage. Does anyone have any tricks?
Remembering from when I planted them, I told you the seeds were an inch long. Well, not quite, but pretty close!
We also shelled the "Floriani" red flint corn. Last year I showed the simple tool I made (not my invention) to assist in this. This year I improved it by using screws instead of nails. I also shelled them in a paper bag, which cuts down (but does not eliminate) the stray kernels flying everywhere. The Kitchen Goddess cleaned off the kernels which had been bird damaged (and had mold), then handed the cobs to me for twisting through the jig. Again, maybe I leave things too long out in the field.
We got 8 pounds (~3.6 kg) of usable kernels, about 1/3 of last year's harvest, to be expected since I planted only 1/3 as much. My original thought was we had enough left over from last year, but unfortunately we recently went to get some for grinding, and found the entire stored crop had completely molded. I guess they weren't dry enough to get through the summer, This year I'm not taking any chances. I spread them out on an old window screen, and will let them sit in the sunroom for a few weeks.
So we dealt with moldy sunflowers and moldy corn. I should have called this post "Harvest Molday."
Here's what the garden looks like now. Remaining are Brussels sprouts, kale, leeks, broccoli (weak), chard, and a few carrots and radishes. The rest of the tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant are hidden behind the grape vines. The tomatoes etc. will be taken next weekend, after this week of predicted nice weather. So I'll have more to show next time.
Thanks for reading! Click on back to Our Happy Acres for more Harvest Monday good stuff. Oh, Happy Thanksgiving to Canadian readers!