Monday, August 26, 2019

Harvest Monday - 26 August 2019

Hello again from Eight Gate Farm! We had a taste of fall over the weekend, with last night's temp dropping to 49 F (9.4 C). I'll bet our summer crops are not happy. Summer should return by mid-week however.

We had a lot of first harvests this past week. Most fun was the Poblano peppers.

We enjoyed them that night. The Kitchen Goddess halved them, stuffed them with sweet Italian sausage and cheddar cheese, and wrapped them with bacon. I put them in the smoker for about 1 1/2 hours. Along with that, TKG made A.B.T. (Atomic Buffalo Turds), otherwise known as jalapeno poppers. These were stuffed with cream cheese and cheddar. They were also wrapped with bacon, because...bacon! These were smoked for just a half-hour.

Not the healthiest, I guess, but unbelievably good. The Poblanos had just a hint of spice, while the jalapenos ranged from mild to eye-watering hot.

I picked the first Tangerine Dream peppers. I sampled one, and it was sweet and slightly floral. Very pleasant, but since they are only jalapeno-size the plant better be productive to be worth it. We'll see.

Tangerine Dream sweet peppers
I also picked a number of tiny Thai Hot peppers.

Thai Hot
A friend and fellow Master Gardener gave me some sweet Biquinho Red and Biquinho Yellow pepper seeds. He in turn got them from some friends from Brazil, where they are pickled and served as an appetizer. The peppers that is, not the friends.

I also picked the first Thai Long Green eggplants. I'm looking forward to trying them.

Thai Long Green eggplant
I also harvested the first Mottistone summercrisp lettuce.

In the first but sad harvest department, this looks the be the entirety of our winter squash. The combination of squash vine borers, squash bugs, and powdery mildew was just too powerful. There's a single Naked Bear pumpkin, and two Sugaretti spaghetti squashes. They are tiny.

I'll now show a sampling of continuing harvests. Here are sweet Jimmy Nardello's and fiery Maule's Red Hot cayennes. Look alike, don't they? We took care to label them in the fridge to forestall some interesting culinary experiences if they were mixed up.

Left: Jimmy Nardello's. Right: Maule's Red Hot
For us, no summer week is complete without artichokes and shishito peppers.

Green globe artichoke
Mellow Star shishito
The other crops are doing nicely too. Here's some tasty but wonky Mokum and Yaya carrots that grew where the soil was not tilled thoroughly, some Anaheim peppers, and Mitoyo and Midnight Queen eggplant.

More bush filet beans, zucchini, cucumbers, and tomatoes.

And more tomatoes and Ping Tung eggplant.

So I'm pretty happy with the week's results. Thank you for reading, and I hope your harvests pleased you as well. Thanks as always to Dave at for hosting Harvest Monday.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Harvest Monday - 19 August 2019

Hello again from Eight Gate Farm. This week I spent an unpleasant hour in the hot sun, on my hands and knees, picking the lower pods from our pinto bean plants. Being mostly dry, they completed the drying process indoors in a few days, yielding this:

Pinto beans
The remaining pods should be a pleasure to pick, as I'll pull up the plants and strip them, from a nice comfortable standing position!

We harvested all the Kennebec potatoes, weighing in at about 28 pounds. This was fun!

Kennebec potatoes
And the first of the Stuttgarter onions. Also fun! These were grown from sets; the ones I started from seed are not ready yet.

Stuttgarter onions
Both potatoes and onions are now drying on screens in the garage.

We had first pickings of several tomatoes. This is Pink Brandywine, to many people the gold standard of heirloom tomatoes. We agree.

Pink Brandywine
This is Celebrity, an AAS Winner in years past. I picked up the plant on an impulse at a big box store. I had the space for it, and figured for a buck-fifty I couldn't go wrong. It is very tasty, on the sweet side. If the plant is productive and hardy it might earn a spot next year.

Two more first pickings, Rutgers and Stellar. I've been growing them here for several years. They are both determinates, as is Celebrity above.

You've probably noticed that many of our tomatoes have blemishes. This is supposed to be due to inconsistent watering, but they are on timed drip irrigation, so I think the general weather is responsible.

Here's a sampling of our continuing harvests.

From top: Green Globe artichoke, Cocozelle di Napoli zucchini, Yaya carrots, Diva cucumber, Dar cucumber.
Top: Anaheim peppers. Middle: Mitoyo eggplant (1), Midnight Queen (2), Nadia (2). Bottom: Ping Tung
Top: Calima filet beans, blueberries. Middle: Juliet tomatoes, Yellowfin zucchini, Diva and Dar cucumbers. Bottom: Early Jalapenos.
We've let a dozen or so turnips get big. Here is The Kitchen Goddess holding one. At this stage, they won't by any means be good for salads, but will do nicely for boiling and mashing.

White Egg turnip
And our weekly ration of Shishito peppers.

From her community garden plot, TKG brought home this:

I still think the tiny Cucamelons (at the top) are funny. But they do taste good. I think this is the same thing as Mouse Melons or Mexican Sour Gherkins.

I close with a picture of a row of Sun Spot Dwarf Cola sunflowers, which came into bloom this week. They are supposed to be only 2 - 3 feet tall, but mine are more like 3 - 4 feet. The foliage forms a nice skirt. We'd like to plant a hedge of them next year somewhere.

Thank you very much for reading. Please make sure to check out all the posts on Harvest Monday, hosted by Dave at

Monday, August 12, 2019

Harvest Monday - 12 July 2019

Hello again from Eight Gate Farm. We are continuing to have a number of "first harvests" as well as continuing ones.

It's shaping up to be a good year for eggplants. We took the first Mitoyo, a Japanese type. I never seem to learn about the sharp thorns on its calyx. Ouch!


And the first Italian-type Nadia and Midnight Queen. Midnight Queen is a new variety for us, which is supposed to be quite early, but for us at least it's no earlier than the familiar Nadia. I can't yet tell you if there's a difference in taste, as we had so many accumulated eggplants we roasted them all on the charcoal grill to make baba ghanoush.

Nadia (left) and Midnight Queen
We got the first Cour di Bui tomato. It's an oxheart type, and I don't know if the name is just Baker Creek's spin, or if it is truly different from other oxhearts. In any event, we both agreed it has exceptional flavor.

Cour di Bui
The first Amish Paste tomato.

Amish Paste
The first Jimmy Nardello's pepper.

Jimmy Nardello's
And the first Diva cucumber, The Kitchen Goddess's favorite.

For a sampling of continuing harvests, we got more Juliet tomatoes.

An odd group of four Costoluto Genovese tomatoes, which had fused together. I think if I had waited for all of them to get ripe, the red ones would have rotted.

Costoluto Genovese
More mild Cubanelle peppers.

A nice picking of Shishito peppers. Not a hot one in the bunch. Not sure if I've already mentioned it, but I was given a packet of "normal" shishito seeds, and planted one to go along with the Mellow Star hybrid shishitos I always grow. The normal ones are said to have a one in ten chance of being  very hot, but so far, none have. Time will tell.

More artichokes.

Green Globe
A mid-week harvest of Calima filet beans, the last Avalanche snow peas, Ping Tung eggplants, Cocozelle di Napoli zucchini, and Dar cucumbers.

And almost daily pickings of raspberries and blueberries.

Lastly, here's the garlic we pulled several weeks ago, now cleaned up and ready for use. That's a good thing, as last year's garlic is on its last legs. On the left is Georgian Fire, a porcelain-type, and on the right is Russian Red, a rocambole-type. I don't actually know what the "types" mean. Georgian Fire does live up to its name, as it is wonderfully spicy. Russian Red is a new one to us, and looks to have performed better than Georgian Fire.

Georgian Fire (left) and Russian Red garlic
Yikes, another long post. Thanks for sticking with it if you've made it this far. Thanks as always to Dave at for hosting Harvest Monday.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Harvest Monday - 5 August 2019

Greetings from Eight Gate Farm! We were busy harvesting this week, with the typical mix of first-of-the-season items, and continuing ones.

Starting with the new, here's the first Juliet tomatoes. I don't really know why I never before grew this extremely popular variety, but I'm glad I started! Some consider it a grape tomato, but the fruit is much larger than any grape-type I've seen. The flavor may not be the best I've tasted, but it's pretty darn good, coming in on the acid-side more than sweet, which is what I like.

Here's the first Costoluto Genovese, with its interesting pumpkin shape.

And the first "Maule's Red Hot" cayenne. Why don't all the peppers get red at the same time??

Maule's Red Hot
I picked the first Anaheim peppers. I'm trying a hybrid variety this year, in addition to the open-pollinated type. The hybrid is Highlander F1, bred by the Chili Pepper Institute and marketed by Johnny's. It was developed to be a better performer in cooler climates. It's not any quicker, as you see both kinds were harvested at the same time. But the group on the left is from the traditional plants, three of them, and on the right is the output from the only Highlander. So it certainly wins in the productivity department.

Traditional Anaheim on left, and HIghlander
The first Yaya and Mokum carrots were sampled. They look alike, and I really don't remember which is which. This year I planted pelletized seeds for the first time. They had typical carrot germination problems, but they sure were easier to handle, and since you place them in the right spacing, no thinning is required. Mokum is supposed to be 8 days quicker, but not here I guess.

Two years ago I planted three small Walking Onion bulbs, and here is this year's result. They are so weird! We use them like shallots, though they are sharper-flavored.

"Egyptian" Walking Onions
And this strange picture is of dill seed heads cut for drying indoors. I haven't intentionally planted dill in years, as it volunteers all over the place, even in the lawn. If I cut them now, maybe I can get it under control.

Dill seed
Now for a sampling of continuing harvests. Here's snow and snap peas, yellow and green beans, yellow zucchini, Taxi tomatoes, Dar cucumbers, broccoli side-shoots, and salad greens.

Artichokes, yellow and green zucchini, and sadly the last Taxi tomato. The plant never thrived for some reason, and just gave up this week.

The last sugar snap peas, the nearly-last snow peas, the last kohlrabi, and oh-god-more-beans.

Soft fruits are still rolling in, with jostaberries, blueberries, and raspberries. I've been enjoying the blueberries on vanilla ice cream.

From the community garden plot shared by The Kitchen Goddess and her mother, comes this picture of plenty. She's especially proud of the tiny cucamelons, also known as mouse melons. I don't quite know what the fuss is all about.

And lastly, shishitos are continuing to give us an abundance.

Shishito peppers
That's why I found this recent cartoon from The New Yorker so amusing. Note: no permission received, so please don't report me.

That's all for this week, and again sorry for the long post. Thanks as always to Dave at for hosting Harvest Monday.