Monday, November 2, 2015

Harvest Monday - 2 November 2015

Welcome to another Harvest Monday update from Eight Gate Farm! As you probably know, Harvest Monday is hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres, where gardeners worldwide show their harvests and harvest processing for the week. Thanks, Dave!

We cut the parsley in the Kitchen Herb Garden down to the ground, and here it is about to be dehydrated. We use a lot of parsley.

Next up is our Brussels sprouts. We started 12 plants; 11 made it to maturity. Having been through at least 3 frosts, we judged it was time.

The largest stalk was 30 inches. Setting aside four stalks to give away, The Kitchen Goddess cut off and froze 30 cups of sprouts.

Next, we took all six kale plants. They, too, profit from frosts, but really no need to wait.

TKG stemmed, chopped, blanched, and froze 28 cups from that.

Next, all the remaining leeks were pulled.

None are huge like you might see in a farmer's market, but they have a lot of nice white showing.

Brussels sprouts and leeks are the kind of crops that you plant in spring and just wait, with very little tending needed. Well, we do fuss over the sprouts a little bit. We snap off the lower leaves as the stalks grow, and in early September cut off the growing tips so the plant puts energy into sizing up the buds. It seems to work.

We also took the last of the chard. It yielded a couple of packages of chopped leaves.

We got invited to a BYOB Halloween bonfire. In our case, that means Bring Your Own Brussels sprouts. Here was our hostess gift. Gardeners are weird.

On Sunday we pressed some of the apples I showed you last week. Here's a little of the process in case you were wondering.

First you have to cut the apples (into eighths works best) and run them through the grinder.

Apple gook, pre-pressing.
Then you dump into the press and crank away.

Lovely luscious liquid.
Of course, it requires multiple trips to the compost pile.

Apple gook, post-pressing.
We processed four bushels, and got six and a half gallons of cider [right about now is where metric folks scratch their heads]. It's hard work, so we rested between each bushel. All told, it took about 4 and a half hours. Five gallons are getting fermented, and the rest we'll enjoy fresh. I'm not sure what we are going to do with the other four bushels of apples. I'm pretty sure they'll keep in the cool barn for awhile, so some will get used.

And now here's a parting shot of the fenced garden, with all beds sporting a blanket of chopped leaves, ready to be tilled in.

All harvests are now in, so there won't be much to show you in the coming months. It's been a great season. Thanks for reading, and I look forward to everyone's posts.


  1. I'm hoping to get most of my beds cleaned up by the end of the week - I've been holding off on a couple, just to see if I can get another picking (broccoli) or they get any bigger (carrots & kohlrabi). The only bed that I will be leaving is the lettuce under it's Agribon - I'm wondering if it will hold on until December this year.

    Oh, I would have an ear to ear grin if I saw those sprouts walking into my house, especially still on the stalk. No, that's not weird at all ;)

  2. Love the greens, but not a fan of brussel-sprouts. I'll eat them once a year for turkey-day :)

    1. Yeah, BS aren't really my thing either. Just another excuse to cook bacon. But a certain someone loves them.

    2. Crazy how good they are with bacon, right?

  3. That's the perfect hostess gift, in my opinion! Have you ever tried making apple cider vinegar? I remember seeing a "recipe" for it years ago, maybe in Organic Gardening magazine. It was basically letting apple juice ferment and then turn into vinegar. Vinegar happens when acetobacters eat alcohol, they just need oxygen. I've always got a few jars of red wine vinegar going, it's far better than most wine vinegars I've purchased.

    1. Every time we ferment cider we wonder if it will turn to vinegar. So far, it hasn't. Nothing wrong with vinegar, but we don't need 5 gallons.

  4. Those are some huge Brussels Sprouts! They look like trees. And the leeks look pretty good to a non-leek grower like me. I can almost taste and smell that apple juice you pressed. What a classic fall activity! Nothing weird about taking garden goodies as a hostess gift. At HA it would mean you'd be invited back! ;-)

    1. Thanks, Dave. I'll remember that when I get my first HA invite.

  5. I really love how pretty an empty garden looks in the fall ... yours are very well cleaned up. I'm still in the process and generally don't get them cleaned before the snow. Oh well, more work in the spring.

    Great tip on cutting off the tops of the sprouts - if (IF) I grow them again, I'll try that.

  6. The garden is looking nice, all cleaned up. I won't be sharing pictures of my garden anytime soon. Good haul of leeks and the sprouts are amazing. I had that kind of sprout harvest just one year in ten, but I keep trying them. Maybe not next year. And you were smart to harvest the kale and freeze it. It may sweeten with a few light frosts but not the hard freezes on the way.