Monday, July 27, 2020

Harvest Monday - 27 July 2020

Hello again from Eight Gate Farm. We had several exciting first harvests this week, so I'll get right to them.

We picked the first Yellow Pear tomatoes. It's my first time growing them, having sampled them in someone's garden last year. When it comes to "heirlooms" this variety probably takes the crown, having first been documented in the early 1800s. What's strange is we got the first fruits 61 days after transplanting, and it's supposed to take 75. Which puts to shame the "early" varieties I'm growing, that are nowhere near ripe.

Yellow Pear tomatoes
Another first was jalapeno peppers. The two on the left are "Early Jalapeno," and the others are a new one for us, Jalapeno Gigantia (a hybrid). Well, they aren't really gigantic (yet), but at this size they're just as early as Early Jalapeno, and more productive too.

Early Jalapeno and Jalapeno Gigantia
We just had to have some stuffed jalapenos! So The Kitchen Goddess stuffed some with cheese (making Jalapeno Poppers) and some with sausage (Atomic Buffalo T*rds). All wrapped with bacon and placed in the smoker. We smoked some lean boneless pork chops at the same time. All were amazing!

Smoky treats
Another first harvest was some Anaheim peppers.

Anaheim and Highlander (hybrid Anaheim)
These were perfect for chiles rellenos.

For a sampling of continuing harvests, we got more shishito peppers

Mellow Star shishitos
More artichokes, seven in all this week.

Tavor artichokes
More snow and snap peas. I'll be pulling the vines out this week.

More Arcadia broccoli. I've now learned that photographing on a black background makes the subject look yellow.


And more Imperial broccoli.

And more National Pickling cucumbers.

National Pickling
Other harvests included zucchini, green onions, salad mixes, green beans, carrots, blueberries, and raspberries. Speaking of zucchini, TKG made something nice to reduce the glut: zucchini hummus. It is delicious.

Zucchini hummus
It was the last weekend of the month; time to update my project of photographing the gardens from my drone. If you're interested, previous shots can be found here and here.

The Field Garden. This plot has been one big disappointment this year. Animals have destroyed a lot. So my fantasy of a wall of sunflowers is just that.

The Field Garden
The Stock Tank Garden (cucumbers, summer squash, and melons).

Stock Tank Garden
And the main Fenced Garden. The rambling winter squash vines steal the show.

Fenced Garden
That's all for this week. Thanks for reading, and a big thank you to Dave at for giving us the opportunity to share our posts on Harvest Monday.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Harvest Monday - 20 July 2020

Greetings from Eight Gate Farm. We had a few cool days last week, then the heat returned with a vengeance. Yesterday topped 97 (36 C). Other parts of the country get heat worse than this, but we're not used to it, and it just saps us of energy and ambition.

But the crops had to be picked. We got a first harvest of one of our favorites, artichokes.

'Tavor' artichokes
And our first picking of bush filet beans.

'Calima' filet beans
Our first "Arcadia" broccoli.

'Arcadia' broccoli
And our first "Imperial" broccoli. Imperial is supposed to stand up to summer better than others. We will see.

'Imperial' broccoli
We got the first Cubanelle pepper, on the left below. We had it that night in our salad. It is not at all hot, but has a sharpness that pleasantly sets it off from something like a bell pepper.

Cubanelle pepper and two shishito peppers
And our first summer raspberries.

For continuing harvests, more blueberries. These are disappearing into our breakfast smoothies.

More "Yaya" carrots, including an extra-wonky one looking like a perverse lobster claw.

The last of the Iceberg lettuce.

Iceberg lettuce
And more from the two salad mix rows.

More side shoots from the "Blue Wind" broccoli.

A few more pea pods.

And more cucumbers and zucchini.

More turnip greens. This is a variety called "Seven Top" that is bred for greens production, not roots.

Lastly, from the community garden plot for The Kitchen Goddess's mom, came fennel and summer squash.

Just in case you've never grown artichokes or have never seen the plants, here's what they look like. In our zone (5b), they won't survive the winter so we grow them as annuals.

That's it for this week. Thanks for reading, and thanks to Dave at for hosting Harvest Monday.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Harvest Monday - 13 July 2020

Welcome to another Harvest Monday update from Eight Gate Farm. On Friday night, the much-weakened Tropical Storm Fay passed through. We were supposed to get 1 - 2 inches of badly needed rain, but we only got a fraction. At least the winds weren't punishing.

For "first harvests" this week, all the garlic was pulled. I had planted 10 cloves each of 4 hardneck varieties. They grew strongly during the spring, but lately had started dying back. This is very early for us, but it did not seem like the bulbs would get any bigger. I'm beginning to believe I didn't water them enough. So no prizewinning bulbs for the Deerfield Fair this year; then again, no fair this year for obvious reasons. I'll show and discuss the bulbs once they're cured and cleaned.

Entire garlic harvest
We took some carrots to see how they were doing. They're looking good, and tasting even better!

Yaya carrots
We also took the first saladette-sized turnip.

White Egg turnip
And from the community garden plot The Kitchen Goddess shares with her mother, came this fennel bulb. I can't take credit for this, but I did start the seeds for them at least.

Orazio fennel
For ongoing harvests, we continue to take a few zucchini every day or so.

Yellowfin and Cocozelle di Napoli zucchini
And 2 to 4 cucumbers each day.

National Picking cucumbers
Yes, we are already giving away zucchini and cucumbers.

The Blue Wind broccoli gives a few side shoots.

The first planting of spring onions is winding down.

White Lisbon (ignore dirty fingernails)
Another nice basket of chard.

A few more shishito peppers.

Mellow Star shishitos
Blueberries are ramping up.

And the Iceberg lettuce is winding down. Little micro slugs have found it, so the heads have to be picked through--yuck!

Conspicuously absent is pea pods. The hot weather looks to have shut the vines down. Maybe they'll resume if the weather cools, but it seems unlikely at this stage.

Thanks for reading, and apologies for running long. Thanks as always to Dave at for hosting Harvest Monday.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Harvest Monday - 6 July 2020

Welcome to another Harvest Monday update from Eight Gate Farm! This past week the weather has moderated substantially, and we got frequent but brief rain showers. Not enough to take us out of the drought situation, I think, but it has alleviated much of the watering chores.

We had numerous exciting "first harvests" this week. Hard to tell which was our favorite!

The first zucchinis were picked. This is "Yellowfin." I took several more later in the week.

Yellowfin zucchini
And this is "Cocozelle di Napoli." I love the look and nutty taste of this stripey Italian heirloom. But as I'm running out of seed, I think I might explore a hybrid version for next year, with a more compact, less spiny plant.

A good cutting of the first chard of the season. On the left is a new variety for us, "Oriole" from Johnny's Selected Seeds. The yellow stems are really striking in the field. On the right is "Peppermint."

Oriole and Peppermint Chard
The first cucumbers were picked. This is "National Pickling," an heirloom that was developed in 1929 by the "National Pickle Packers Association" (what a great name!) and the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station, with the goal of producing fruit that was blunt at both ends and would thus pack easier into pickle jars. Tastes good too!

National Pickling
Another first was shishito peppers. We love them, but having four plants last year really was too much. So only two plants this year. That should be enough once they get into full swing.

Mellow Star shishito peppers
And the first small picking of blueberries occurred. There will be much more to come.

For continuing harvests, we took several large thinnings of the salad mixes.

And several more iceberg lettuce heads. Here's one sliced open.

Iceberg lettuce
More spring onions.

White Lisbon scallions
More "mangetout" (that we call pea pods here in the Colonies).

Left: Avalanche, right: Super Sugar Snap
We bid farewell to the kohlrabi:

Kolibri kohlrabi
And also to the Blue Wind broccoli.

We have a saying here in the US--"knee-high by the Fourth of July," referring of course to corn. I've never been sure why that's important, but I play along. Mine was waist-high on Independence Day, and I'm tall!

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Please join me in reading all the lovely posts on Harvest Monday, hosted by the ever-popular Dave at