Monday, August 31, 2020

Harvest Monday - 31 August 2020

 Welcome to another Harvest Monday update from Eight Gate Farm. It’s still summer, and nothing says “summer” like bringing in some winter squash!

This is “Hunter,” a hybrid butternut that is touted as extra-early with compact vines. As you will see, it is not much earlier than my others, but it did make more. They are in the one to two pound range.

Hunter butternut squash

This is “Butterscotch,” another hybrid butternut that Johnny’s says is their “proudest butternut achievement to date.” It’s an AAS Winner. Compared to Hunter, the fruits are more uniform and blockier.  They are about two pounds, which makes them “personal size.”

Butterscotch butternut squash

Definitely not personal size is this beautiful 8 pound 3 ounce neck pumpkin, also called Pennsylvania Dutch Crookneck Squash. Unfortunately this is the only fruit the vine will give us.

Neck pumpkin

Here are two yellow non-hybrid spaghetti squashes, from a plant I bought at a plant sale. They are about 3 pounds each. The one in the rear looks like it has lettering on it. Maybe the chipmunks have learned to write.

Spaghetti squash

Here is the entire harvest of Naked Bear pumpkins. These are grown mainly for their hull-less seeds, but the flesh can also be used. They are in the two to three pound range.

Naked Bear pumpkins

And quite a few more Sugaretti hybrid spaghetti squash were cut.

Sugaretti spaghetti squash

Except as noted, the squash will give us many more fruits before the season ends. Looks to be the best year ever for us.

Here’s an interesting melon called “Lilly.” It’s a hybrid Crenshaw-type bred by Johnny’s. The flavor is quite good, like a cantaloupe but with some citrus notes. We liked it a lot.

Lilly melon

Over in the tomato department, the last two varieties to give us “first fruits” came in this week. First up is the beefsteak “Big Daddy,” another in the stable of Burpee-bred tomatoes with the names _Boy _Girl _Daddy _Mama. The flavor is good, but again not as rich as Brandywine. I know what you’re thinking…if they love Brandywine so much why don’t they just grow only it and stop boring us? Well, in prior years Brandywine was an extremely shy producer so I was looking for alternatives, and anyway, free seeds!

Big Daddy beefsteak tomatoes

The other was Celebrity, a hybrid determinate slicer. One has a weird appendage. I grew this variety last year and was impressed with the flavor and hardiness. This year, since we have so many big beefsteaks, the smaller-fruited tomatoes will go into canning.

Celebrity slicer tomatoes

For a sampling of continuing harvests, more Anaheim peppers were picked, so more chiles rellenos were enjoyed.

Anaheim peppers

Here is a sweet Cornito Rosso, the biggest to date, along with a sweet Jimmy Nardello’s, plus two fiery Serrano peppers.

Here are some of the last filet bush beans.

Calima beans

On Thursday here was the scene in the kitchen. The wooden “boat” is filled with ripe paste and slicer tomatoes. The beefsteaks are off to the side. The Kitchen Goddess called it “Tomato Hell,” while I called it “Money in the Bank.”

 Saturday was cool and rainy (yay rain!), a good day to process all the non-beefsteak tomatoes. “We” made 9 pints of sauce. Only eight jars fit in the trusty old Ball canner, so one was put in the fridge for later.

On Sunday TKG joined her mom at their community garden plot for their weekly work/harvest day. I felt ambitious and decided to try making sauce all by myself! I used most of the beefsteaks. I cored, chopped, cooked, put through the hand-crank food mill, and simmered the result down to desired consistency. I even washed the dishes! When TKG came home she took over the canning part. She does not trust me with breakable objects, like glass jars. Here’s the result…another 8 pints.

Here’s the harvest her mom went home with. Beautiful as always.

Community garden harvest

Once again it was the last weekend of the month, so time to document our vegetable gardens from my drone’s perspective. Here's the "Field Garden." Nothing edible really left in it now. You can see the drought's toll on the grass.

Field garden

Here's the "Stock Tank Beds," which held the melons, cucumbers, and zucchini. Only the single remaining zucchini plant is going to give us more to harvest.

Stock Tanks

And here's the main fenced garden. It's starting to look kind of bare, now that the corn, brassicas, and most of the artichoke plants have been removed.

Fenced garden

All in all, a good week! Hope yours was too. Thanks for reading, and thanks again to Dave at for hosting Harvest Monday

Monday, August 24, 2020

Harvest Monday - 24 August 2020

Welcome to another Harvest Monday update from Eight Gate Farm. Though they have slowed, we are still getting a number of "first harvests of the year," and as usual I will lead off with them.

I picked the first "Pineapple" tomato. This is an old indeterminate heirloom of uncertain parentage. It's certainly the most beautiful, and until later in the week, the largest tomato of the season, weighing one pound eleven ounces.

Pineapple tomato
Inside it's just as beautiful.

Pineapple tomato
So how's it taste? I'd have to say it's the strangest tomato I've ever had. Very little tomato flavor, more like an unsweet melon and just as juicy. No, not at all like a pineapple; it just looks like one inside. Again, it's a first impression, so we'll see how later ones taste.

I picked the first "Stellar" tomatoes. This is a disease-resistant determinate slicer that I've grown before, with good flavor.

I picked the first "Iron Lady" determinate tomatoes. This is another one claiming not only to be resistant to early and late blights, but also has some tolerance to Septoria Leaf Spot, which is my biggest problem here. I tried it last year, but the plant did not grow well (none of the tomatoes did). I haven't tasted it yet, but will report when I do.

Iron Lady
I picked the first Sugar Rush Peach peppers. I grew them for the first time last year, and roasted them before sampling as was the recommendation. They were way too spicy to eat, even for me! But they did make a very interesting hot sauce. They're very pretty too.

Sugar Rush Peach peppers
I picked the first Ancho/Poblano peppers. On the left is the open-pollinated variety, and on the right is "Rellenos Best Hybrid." The hybrid is actually inferior in my opinion, with many fruit getting blossom-end rot and dropping. No point in growing it again, as the open-pollinated is fine.

O. P. poblanos and Rellenos Best Hybrid
I've always struggled to grow big onions for some reason, and this year is probably the worst. Here's the entire crop of Red Marble and Patterson. Small onions are just annoying to use.

Our tiny peach tree gave us a tiny amount of tiny peaches. But no matter, they are delightful, so sweet and juicy!

Reliance peaches
For a sampling of continuing harvests, here's the last of the Kenearly Yellow-Eye beans, now finishing drying indoors.

A few more artichokes.

Tavor artichokes
More jalapeno peppers.

Left: Early Jalapeno, right: Jalapeno Gigantia
Some sweet Cubanelle peppers.

And the tomatoes are just pouring in. Here are the beefsteaks. At one point in the week we had 20 on the counter. The largest is a "Porterhouse" at the top right, weighing just under two pounds.

And many paste, slicers, and "one-biters."

By the end of the week we had 17 pounds of processing tomatoes, so The Kitchen Goddess canned 5 1/2 quarts of rich, red stewed tomatoes.

Have you experienced this? With the dramatic increase in the number of gardeners due to COVID concerns, there's apparently also an increase in the number of people canning. As a result, all our local sources of canning supplies have run out. We've had to order lids online.

Again I close with a picture of the weekly harvest from the community garden plot shared by TKG and her mother.

That's all for last week. This week should be interesting, as I plan to bring in many of the winter squash. Looks like it's going to be a bumper crop! Thanks for reading, and thanks again to Dave at for giving us the opportunity to post on Harvest Monday.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Harvest Monday - 17 August 2020

Welcome to another Harvest Monday update from Eight Gate Farm. Not to be repetitive, but our drought continues unabated. It's very frustrating. Yet, the harvests continue to be good. I'll start once again with the "first harvests" of the season.

I'm growing a number of beefsteak-type tomatoes this year. All are doing very well, and I harvested the first "Delicious" this week. With a name like that, it has something to prove! It is delicious, no doubt, but not as richly flavored as Brandywine or even Brandy Boy. It was just over a pound.

I should note that all tasting notes are based on first impressions. This may change as we try more of each variety.

Super Beefsteak is another new tomato for me. This one really is almost on a par with Brandywine.

Super Beefsteak
I also got the first "Porterhouse," weighing just under a pound. Of all the beefsteak-types we've sampled, we liked this one the least. Still pretty good, but not compared to the others.


I took the first Plum Regal paste tomatoes. This variety has done pretty well for me in the past, having a good disease resistance profile yet still with high quality taste.

Plum Regal
I got the first San Marzano paste tomato. It's my first time with this, and I like how productive it looks, with fruit twice the size of the Romas I always grow.

San Marzano
I got the first "Jet Star" tomatoes. These came from a plant I purchased at a garden center, to replace a different variety that had died in the garden.

Jet Star
I also got the first Rutgers tomatoes. This familiar tomato is another workhorse for us, both for canning and fresh eating.

With this accumulation...

...The Kitchen Goddess had enough to can up 7 quarts of chopped tomatoes.

Offering to assist, I promptly cut my finger cutting up the first tomato! Just a scratch though. I honestly was a "little" help!

I got the first Cornito Rosso hybrid sweet peppers. I grew this for the first time last year and was very satisfied with it.

Cornito Rosso
After many years of dismal harvests, winter squash is looking extremely good this year. I took the first "Sugaretti," a hybrid spaghetti-type that looks like a delicata. This baby weighs over 5 pounds, much larger than I was expecting.

Sugaretti spaghetti squash
Dry beans, normally a good crop for us, never really established itself well, then was bothered by rabbits. This basket contains the first picking of nearly-dry pods of "Kenearly Yellow-eye." There is maybe the same amount still in the green stage.

Also this week the first pickings of the second batch of sweet corn occurred. On the left below is "Temptress," a bi-color synergistic variety. It's shown with the last of the Illusion white corn I love so much. Temptress is every bit as sweet, but lacks the good tip-fill that Illusion has.

Left: Temptress; right: Illusion
For a sampling of continuing harvests, artichokes are still coming in, but are winding down in the home garden. It's been a tremendously successful crop this year. Not to worry, TKG's community garden plot is just now ramping up with her artichokes.

Tavor artichokes
I got a good picking of Anaheim peppers, which of course means more delicious chiles rellenos. This time she stuffed them with ground smoked pork, dried apricots, and cheese. Wonderful!

I took some more sweet Jimmy Nardello's peppers, and fiery Serrano peppers.

Left: Jimmy Nardello's; right: Serrano
And some more chard and turnip greens.

And here's an excellent morning's harvest from the community garden done by TKG and her mom, who went home with it. She was thrilled, and rightly so.

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