Monday, October 8, 2018

Harvest Monday - 8 October 2018

It's been an untypical fall so far, with cool and damp conditions. Predictably, harvests have slowed to a crawl.

Two eggplants made their first, and unfortunately last, appearance in the harvest basket. On the left is "Rosita" and on the right, "Nadia". Rosita is always a slow, shy producer here but I love the color. Nadia last year was a star, but not this.

I planted "Yellow Pencil-pod Wax" beans in early August, unsure if I would get any before first frost. They reached picking size this week. Here they are along with some of the last flat-podded "Romano" bush beans.

The Kitchen Goddess got some nice things from the community garden plot.

A beginning of the week harvest basket from our home garden at least was colorful!

But by week's end it has diminished to the point of sadness.

The last two "Halona" muskmelons had detached themselves from the shriveled vines. They were good, but not as sweet as the ones from high summer. One is oddly shaped because it was stuck in the fence.

One crop that hasn't disappointed is raspberries. We estimate we've picked 10 pounds so far, and they aren't slowing down.

I’ve been wanting to write about an unusual pepper I attempted to grow this year. Since it is obvious that I won’t get any fruit, I’ll talk about the variety and what I think happened. It starts with a visit we made last fall to Regusci Winery in the Stag’s Leap District of Napa Valley. They have a huge, beautiful, well-tended vegetable garden, and sell some produce in a farm stand outside the tasting room. A pepper caught my eye. It doesn’t look anything remarkable; maybe just another hot cherry pepper. But I was not familiar with its name, “Manzano.”

$1 each? Not exactly giving them away, are they?
I obtained one with the intent of trying to grow it. I was very surprised to find it had black seeds, which I at first thought meant it had spoiled. But researching it, I found that was just one of the unusual characteristics of this species, C. pubescens. Besides that, it has purple flowers and hairy foliage (hence its species name). Its heat rating approaches Habanero. It is native to Peru, where it is called “Rocoto,” and thrives in cool climates, which I thought gave me a leg up.

Planting it this year, it grew fairly well, and began to flower very quickly. Alas, no fruit was ever set. I’m thinking it was our excessive humidity this summer. This weekend I potted up the plant, and moved it into the sunroom. Maybe it will continue to grow, and thus will get a head start next year. Worth a shot, anyway!

Manzano pepper plant ready to move indoors.
That's all for this week. Thanks for reading, and thanks once again to Dave of for hosting Harvest Monday.


  1. I had a Rocoto plant that survived for a few years in a big pot sitting outside year round next to the house. It got through frosty nights with no protection although it did die back, but after a hard pruning in the spring it would bounce right back. You probably have a very good chance of getting it to survive indoors for an early start next year. They are HOT. They come in yellow too, that's what I had. Ten pounds of raspberries. I'm envious.

    1. Good to know that I might have some luck with the pepper plant. And thanks for the warning about the heat!

  2. You've got cool and damp, we've got hot and humid - go figure! Looks like your late planting of beans paid off. I'm amazed at the raspberries too. The fall bearing or everbearing ones usually don't do well here.

    I've not grown a rocoto pepper but I do overwinter a lot of the baccatums. For me they bear earlier the next year, and get much bigger too.

    1. The fall raspberries are not something we tend much, which is all the more interesting that we get a good crop year after year. The black raspberries, which we also inherited with the property, have been mostly torn out. Good thing too, as their thorns are brutal.

  3. How I miss raspberries from our Massachusetts garden. Those grown here in SoCal don't have the intense flavor. Yours look wonderful. The Rosita eggplant plays to my love of magenta in the garden. Might have to try next year.

  4. Rocoto chillies are well worth growing, as they have such a rounded depth of flavour as well as a goo heat. They are straightforward to overwinter somewhere frost free. We cut ours back and kept in in the frost free greenhouse and it did very well, so I hope yours does the same

  5. Those types of experiments are always exciting, even if they don't work out as planned. I've not been able to get pepper plants through the winter (darn aphids) - Hopefully you'll have better luck.