Monday, September 24, 2018

Harvest Monday - 24 September 2018

Autumn is here, and you can feel it in the air. Harvests are slowing way down. We got the remnants of Hurricane Florence on Tuesday, delivering 4 inches of rain in basically half a day. That of course is nothing compared to what the poor folks in the Carolinas got.

We still are getting some new harvests, however. First up is the Paradicsom Alaku Sarga Szentes sweet pepper. This is probably the only one that will get ripe in time. Our Harvest Monday host, Dave, showed them off a couple of weeks ago. He's getting more than I will, as always.

Paradicsom Alaku Sarga Szentes
It's a name that's hard to pronounce and even harder to spell. I think it loosely translates to "Aggravatingly Slow To Ripen." It is attractive, though.

The first "Calabrese" hot peppers matured. These are from the seeds of a pepper given to me by a nice man at a winery in Northern California a couple of years ago. It looks like just another cherry pepper, but it is fiery hot.

I got the first harvest of the flat-podded bush bean "Romano." These were planted at the end of July, and I wasn't sure we'd have enough time before frost to get any, but they did well.

Romano bush beans
Also new this week is the spaghetti squash "Sugaretti Hybrid." It's a 2017 AAS Selection, and is a short-vined variety. The fruits are small, about one and a half pounds. It sure does look like Delicata, which I'm guessing is in its parentage.

Sugaretti Hybrid
Also the first Early Butternut Hybrid, another short-vined variety. It's on the right, below, joined by a conventional butternut The Kitchen Goddess brought home from her community garden plot. So it's not really all that early, is it?

I planted "Painted Mountain" flour corn this year, and had high hopes. It germinated beautifully and grew quickly. Unfortunately squirrels developed a taste for it, and I couldn't control them sufficiently to prevent them from ruining basically the whole crop. Here's all I could salvage. After drying and shelling, it fills a pie dish.

Painted Mountain dry corn
I took the last two "Soloist" Chinese cabbage. The outer leaves were being eaten, but the inner cores were fine, and weighed out to about 3 pounds each.

Some late summer harvests:

Bottom: Jilo eggplants

TKG canned 6 pints of thick all-purpose tomato sauce.

More summer crops trickled in. There won't be enough tomatoes left to justify a canning (to TKG's relief), but we will get some more sauce for the fridge.

And on the weekend I took all the remaining spring-planted beets, and some of the remaining carrots.

Helpful me scrubbed them and laid them out to dry on one of TKG's precious dish towels. Boy did I get in trouble for that. Who knew beets stain? Well I did, but unfortunately forgot.

In wildlife notes, I went out into the woods to change the memory card in the Game-Cam. Here's a nice 8-point buck who seems to be inhabiting the area. The image was captured in early September, but he's still around, as I spooked him when I got to the edge of the woods. Maybe I'll have an "appointment" with him come November.

That's all for this week. Thanks for reading! Please join me in viewing all the posts on Harvest Monday, hosted by Dave at

Monday, September 17, 2018

Harvest Monday - 17 September 2018

Here's another Harvest Monday report from Eight Gate Farm. We started the week with an overflowing heap of tomatoes on the kitchen island.

So the hard working Kitchen Goddess canned 16 pints of crushed tomatoes.

For "first harvests" this week, I picked all the McIntosh apples from the old tree. Most are misshapen, and the squirrels ruined a lot of the others. I've reached the conclusion that I'll never have "marketable" apples without heavy spraying, something I will not do. But they have that McIntosh crispness and sweet-tart flavor I like so much, so I'll put up with the appearance.

Another first harvest was "Summercrisp" lettuce.

L: Nevada, R: Mottistone
Not really a true first, as I had a spring batch, but this is the first (and only) picking of summer-planted Tatsoi.

I finally picked all the remaining spring-planted turnips. These were too big to qualify as "saladette," so TKG cubed, boiled, and mashed them for the freezer.

The raspberries are just booming. Here's one picking of around a pound, and we had another like it plus several smaller pickings.

The black beans were dry enough for storage, so I weighed the entire harvest this year; pretty close to 3 pounds. This is another bean I won't need to plant next year.

Midnight Black Turtle beans
The tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, and zucchini are still producing, but the tomatoes are really slowing down rapidly. This is due to the terrible Early Blight, and the natural characteristics of determinate tomatoes. I'm gradually pulling out the dead or nearly-dead vines, and I must remember to sterilize the cages they were grown in. I'm thinking either rubbing them with a bleach solution or spraying with alcohol. Any thoughts on what would be most effective?

By week's end, TKG had enough cucumbers to can 5 pints of dill spears.

Last week I showed a picture of a Monarch butterfly chrysalis that was on one of the garden hoses. I noticed this week it had somehow detached itself and was laying on the ground. That's not good! So we brought it inside and taped it to a stick over a cardboard box. Within a few days it had emerged and was clinging to the stick, so we took it back outside. It wasn't long before it flew off.

Sigh...they grow up so fast! That's all for this week. Thanks for reading, and thanks as always to Dave at for hosting Harvest Monday.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Harvest Monday - 10 September 2018

Hello again from Eight Gate Farm. The weather has had a distinct fall feel, especially over the weekend when the low temperatures flirted with the 40s. Accordingly, things are slowing down.

There was only one new crop this week, Spanish onions. I grew these from purchased starts. Some are large for us, though in the supermarket I suppose they would only be "mediums."

Spanish onions
Determinate tomatoes, zucchini, and pickling cucumbers are still being harvested in reasonable quantities.

With what we had accumulated on Tuesday, The Kitchen Goddess canned seven pints of all-purpose tomato sauce.

Then, as the days went by, I brought in this:


And this:

Guess what she's doing today!

In other crop notes, the yellow-eye beans were judged ready for storage. It's a pretty good amount, 3 pounds 9.5 ounces. I won't need to grow them next year.

Kenearly Yellow-eye beans
Fall raspberries are ripening nicely.

And from her community garden plot, TKG's Blue Jade corn, which we did not particularly like as sweet corn, was instead left to dry on the cob. She shelled them this week. They will make nice blue cornmeal.

Blue Jade corn shucked and dried.
And she brought home two nice artichokes.

Imperial Star artichokes
That's all for this week. Thanks for reading! Please read all the Harvest Monday posts, brought to you by Dave at

Monday, September 3, 2018

Harvest Monday - 3 September 2018

Here's another Harvest Monday update from Eight Gate Farm. It was a busy week, so brace yourselves! It's going to be a long one. I'll try to keep the words to a minimum.

Starting with first harvests, we got a Bride eggplant.

And Cubanelle peppers.

And "Homemade Pickles" cucumbers. While I still think the name is unoriginal, they do produce uniform fruits that taste good. I planted a hill of these just after taking down the pea vines in mid-July, leaving the trellises so the cucumber vines could have some support.

"Homemade Pickles"
Here's the first, and only, harvest of black beans. Quite a crop this year. The pods are now further drying indoors.

Midnight Black Turtle beans in the pod.
Now continuing harvests. First, a really big (1.5 lb.) Pruden's Purple tomato from The Kitchen Goddess's community garden plot.

Pruden's Purple
A few daily picks:

On Wednesday TKG finally had enough of her kitchen island being awash in a sea of tomatoes, so she canned 8 jars of crushed tomatoes and 7 jars of salsa. On the hottest day of the week. Oops!

Then, the following day, this. Hilarity ensued.

That's the last of the sweet corn, by the way. We maybe could have gotten two more nights worth, but squirrels suddenly developed a taste for sweet corn. There isn't a fence made that will keep out squirrels, unless it's electric, and who wants to deal with that?

More harvests:

Ten Anaheim peppers. Chiles rellenos incoming!

Some broccoli side shoots, and the only head of Blue Wind to survive its summer planting.

Carrots and beets:

We needed more space in the freezer, so on Saturday TKG processed all of last year's frozen strawberries and raspberries. Her mom came down to help. Here's what they made.

Many jars of preserves and sauces.

Two quarts each of raspberry and strawberry liqueurs. Very potent! And a small jar of mixed berry pie filling.

Taking a break, they went over to the community garden and came back with this:

The MIL went home with most of this, but we divided the muskmelon. It weighed almost 4 pounds, and was perfectly ripe. We had our half for breakfast Sunday, and it was wonderful.

Also on Sunday TKG did more canning. First, these are the pears I picked last week. They were put in a paper bag, and had ripened nicely. She made two pints of pears in light syrup, plus some left over for immediate enjoyment.

And 3 1/2 quarts of what she calls "Sunday Funday Bloody Mary Mix." Just four of those little tiny Thai Hot peppers were enough to give the whole batch a nice zing. She also added the horseradish harvested last fall, and still in good shape.

Then, guess what? More tomatoes were harvested. No rest for the weary.

I close with a cool picture. We leave a lot of milkweed around the property for the Monarch butterflies to feed on. One caterpillar rewarded us with building its chrysalis in a most inconvenient place...the coils of the hose we use to water the front beds. Oh well, it's watering cans for the time being.

Monarch butterfly chrysalis
Okay, enough! Thanks for reading, and thanks as always to Dave for hosting Harvest Monday at See you next week!