Monday, July 11, 2016

Harvest Monday - 11 July 2016

Welcome to another Harvest Monday update from Eight Gate Farm! Thanks again to Dave at Our Happy Acres for hosting Harvest Monday.

Since the last post, we had a short heat wave, followed by a period of unseasonably cool weather, which at least brought some badly needed rain. How cool? Well, sweatshirts for me, and I even saw smoke coming out of a neighbor's chimney. What are vegetables supposed to make of this?

We had a couple of first harvests this week. Our favorite has to be this:

That's right, our first-ever garlic, in all its dirty glory. The variety is "Georgian Fire," which I'm guessing is an early one. Though to tell the truth, the other two varieties are not far behind it. Not really knowing, it was a bit of a guess to decide to harvest it. Let's see...bottom leaves withering? Check. Soil dry? Check. Other gardeners picking? Check. Let's do it! We were really psyched to see the size of the bulbs.

Another first: "Blue Wind" broccoli. I've written that this year's broccoli was going to be a bust, given the pest damage the transplants received. So even though this is only billiard ball-sized, at least we got something.

An unexpected first, shishito peppers.

We enjoyed both broccoli and peppers that very night, wishing we had a lot more.

As for continuing harvests, we took snow and Sugar Snap peas.

The heat spell did not do the peas much good.

We took carrots, turnips (unfortunately the last), and more peas.

And at the end of the week, more carrots and beets. By the way, I misidentified the carrots in the last post as Nelson, when really they are Mokum.

And finally, more lettuce, chard, and peas:

Chard is the only thing we've had to freeze so far this year, but we've accumulated several pounds of peas even though the plants are shutting down, so some might get frozen.

Now a bit about using a harvest. Last fall we only got about a dozen winter squash. The ones we didn't immediately use went into the basement in one of my new home-built screened storage bins. Maybe half rotted over the months (what a mess), but enough lasted so that The Kitchen Goddess could puree them this week. Not bad, considering.

There's an old song, "Turkey In The Straw." Yesterday I revised it like this:

Turkey on the fence,
Makes no sense.

Yes, those are her cute but oh-so-dumb babies trying to figure out how to emulate Mama.

That's it for this week. Thanks for reading! I'm looking forward to reading all the posts on Harvest Monday.


  1. Nice job on the garlic. It's an addicting crop to grow. My Blue Wind broccoli looks just like yours, small heads that open up quickly. But it was tasty. It looks like the turkey hen is just scouting the berry patch for ripe berries.

    1. Thanks, Dave. If that's true about the hen, she's looking the exact wrong way. Oh well, that's why we call them turkeys.

  2. It looks like you timed the garlic harvest perfectly to me! David is right, growing it is addictive, as is eating it. It's so neat seeing the mama turkey and her babies. Reminds me of a great book I read by Joe Hutto called "Illumination in the Flatwoods: A Season with the Wild Turkey." The author wound up acting as surrogate mother to a bunch of turkeys he raised from eggs. They also made a Nature episode about it for PBS. It forever changed the way I view turkeys.

    1. Thanks, Dave. I've heard of that book/TV show but have never seen it. I will see if I can locate it.

  3. I couldn't imagine wearing a sweatshirt in July! Although it might be a nice change. All your harvests look lovely- especially your first garlic harvest! And the turkey and all her babies are adorable! Hopefully they won't cause problems in your garden.

    1. Thanks, Julie. The turkeys are mostly pretty benign, but sometimes they decide to walk thru the herb garden with their big heavy feet!

  4. A sweatshirt in July isn't unusual here if I go the 10 miles to the coast. It has been FOGGY out there for the last two weeks which has been keeping the temperatures down and the breeze blowing around here.

    Shishitos already! My peppers are just going into bloom with the earliest ones just setting baby peppers. And garlic, sigh, I miss fresh heads of garlic, mine all had to be pulled ages ago because of rust.

    The turkeys are fun to watch. I see them occasionally around here, maybe a couple of times a year. The quail are regulars though, we just spotted a covey (bevy?) a few days ago, there had to be at least 15 chicks. They are so cute!

    1. I well remember living right on the beach in Santa Barbara as a young man, freezing in the fog, then heading inland a mile or two to visit my mother, where it was sunny and warm. Yes, covey is the right word.

  5. A turkey and her cute! But keep them out of my garden please :)

    Congrats on all your firsts! That garlic looks great and it's always such an exciting harvest. I was just checking mine yesterday and it looks to be a week or so away from harvest.

    How did you find the shishito peppers in terms of spiciness? I've heard they are like Padrons in that there is usually a spicy one in the lot (although my harvest of Padrons last year was ALL spice and a lot of it!)

    1. Thanks, Margaret. I've heard about the random spicy shishito, but have never run across one yet.

  6. "Smoke coming out of a neighbor's chimney" - that's just crazy talk!! It's SO hot here right now!

    So glad you are happy with the garlic. I don't grow a lot but it is definitely addictive to grow as Dave said - fresh, sticky garlic is such an amazing taste experience.

    Congrats on a great harvest!