Monday, September 28, 2020

Harvest Monday - 28 September 2020

 Here’s another Harvest Monday update from Eight Gate Farm. This past week the weather moderated considerably from the near-freezing lows at the beginning of the week. We escaped any damage here, but two miles away, at the community garden, some of my plants were a little frost-nipped. It must be in a different microclimate.

Last year I bought a generic cayenne pepper plant to replace a plant that had died. I liked the way it grew, producing dozens of thin fruit. I got a lot of red ones, and many more that did not get red-ripe in time, but still made a very useful green chile hot sauce. I saved some seeds. It looks like the plant came up true this year, so it’s probably not a hybrid. I call it “Thin Cayenne” for lack of a better name. It gave me its first ripe fruit this week.

A friend gave me a “Madame Jeanette” pepper plant. This is also called Yellow Suriname. Its heat rivals Habanero. I got the first two ripe ones this week, shown here along with three Habaneros I picked at the same time. I will add the ripe ones to my Habanero sauce, and any remaining green ones to the green sauce. Should give it lots of kick!

Another first harvest this week was spinach. I heavily sowed four short rows on August 20. It has done well, and these are thinnings.

Giant Nobel spinach

I picked the last of the shishito peppers, regardless of size. I think having two plants is the right amount. Last year we had four, and that was really too many.

Mellow Star

I cut another 20 winter squash. We’ve now been able to try the Hunter butternut, and a couple of the Sugaretti spaghetti squashes. We’re very pleased with them.

Top: Butterscotch, middle: Sugaretti, bottom: Hunter

 This week we cracked open (literally) a 2 ½ pound Sugaretti, which yielded four servings cooked.

Cooked Sugaretti spaghetti squash

The Kitchen Goddess made a really wonderful “Keto Spaghetti Squash Puttanesca.” She added one of our eggplants to the recipe. It was nice to know that everything except the capers and olives came from our garden.

Spaghetti Squash Puttanesca

She also oven-dried and ground four of our Alma Paprika peppers.


Here’s a picture of the tomato situation on Saturday. For safety, I’ve been picking them when just a little ripe and finishing them indoors. The fully ripe ones are in front of the “tomato boat.” 

With the small tomatoes, plus four of the beefsteaks, we made tomato paste. It took almost the whole day to simmer down. She put it into three trays that had held ginger paste, a teaspoon per cell. We had enough left over to fill three ice cube trays. 

Tomato paste

She froze them in the trays, then popped them out and put them into a ziplock bag. This will be very convenient for adding to dishes which require paste.

In wildlife notes, I snapped this picture of two young white-tailed deer. It’s grainy because I took it through a screen. Five seconds later they decided they didn’t like me, and took off like a shot for the woods. A few days later they came back with their mom.

White-tailed deer

That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading! Please check out all the other Harvest Monday posts at

Monday, September 21, 2020

Harvest Monday - 21 September 2020

 Hello again from Eight Gate Farm. As the first day of autumn approaches, the temperatures are dropping rapidly. Last night we got down to 35 F. (~1.7 C.) There was some frost on certain surfaces. So the “first harvests” have a “last gasp of summer” feel to them.

I picked the first Habanero peppers. When I get more to turn orange (hopefully!) I will turn them into a hot sauce. The sauce I made last year was a big hit with a friend when I gave him a bottle.

Habanero peppers

I picked the first fiery Hot Lemon peppers. If I get enough these too will become a hot sauce.

Hot Lemon peppers

I picked the first Sungold tomatoes from my hastily-assembled community garden plot. The plant was another gift. It’s nice to have friends that garden! I’ve never grown Sungold before, and am amazed at its productivity.


While it’s been an excellent year for tomatoes and peppers, the same can’t be said about eggplants. My seedlings weren’t up to my usual standards, and once I set them out they suffered a major attack from flea beetles. So what you see here is going to be the bulk of the harvest.

Nadia eggplants

When we first “bought the farm” ten years ago, one of the first things I did was plant a Macoun apple tree. It’s grown beautifully, but never has given us any fruit. Either it blossoms and doesn’t set fruit, or fails to blossom at all. I was seriously thinking about cutting it down or at least severely pruning it. Lo and behold, it gave one apple this year! But it doesn’t fool me.

Macoun apple

In continuing harvests, more Anaheim peppers were picked, and thus more chiles rellenos were made.

Anaheim apple

I picked six big Poblano peppers, and all the remaining jalapenos. These were stuffed and smoked as usual.

I gathered a nice harvest of sweet peppers. At the top are Jimmy Nardello’s, then Cubanelles, then Cornito Rosso, and at the bottom the delightful seasoning pepper Arroz con Pollo. These were all cut and frozen without blanching. We found that worked great last year.

Sweet peppers

Our raspberries continue to produce. We are enjoying them in our breakfast smoothies, and even have enough to stock the freezer.

On Sunday we made another batch of really thick pasta sauce. We didn’t have time to can it that day, but I’m guessing there is maybe 5 quarts worth.

I close with a picture of some interesting flowers, "Dreadlocks Amaranth.” The plants self-sowed from last year. The Kitchen Goddess loves them, but I’m a little unsure. Actually I find them kind of creepy. They sure are colorful though.

Dreadlocks Amaranth

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

Monday, September 14, 2020

Harvest Monday - 14 September 2020


Hello again from Eight Gate Farm. We are still getting some “first harvests of the year,” and I’ll lead off with them as usual.

I cut two Yokohama winter squash. It was hard to know if they were ready, as online pictures of them show a variety of colors in mature fruit. The larger one in the picture below was about three and a half pounds. I think they’re really pretty.

Yohohama squash

I also picked our entire crop of pears. As I’ve said before, the trees have always been struggling, but it’s nice to get some every year anyway (if the deer don’t get them first).

d'Anjou pears

The Kitchen Goddess came back from the community garden with a nice haul of sweet potatoes, over 33 pounds. It was pretty early to pick them, but a rabbit had broken in and ate all the foliage.

Georgia Jet sweet potatoes

Eight or nine years ago I planted a tiny hop plant along the back fence of the garden. Fast forward, and the vine has taken over the entire fence, producing thousands of hops. I used to make beer with them, but with my newly-diagnosed gluten allergy, that’s no longer a good thing. A few years ago we added some hops to a batch of hard apple cider, and the result was very good. Since it looks like we will have a bumper crop of late-maturing apples this year, I picked a basket full to dry and get ready for cider-making.

Mt. Hood hops

Here’s the vines after picking. You can’t really tell if any were taken, that’s how much hops we have. And to think I nearly planted two more vines awhile ago. I’m glad I thought better of it.

Hop vines

In continuing harvests, the biggest was another cutting of winter squash. At the top is the hybrid butternut “Hunter,” then the hybrid spaghetti squash “Sugaretti,” then another hybrid butternut called “Butterscotch.” Also, there’s a lone yellow conventional spaghetti.

Winter squash

We have not tried any of the squash, but we gave a Sugaretti to TKG’s mother. She liked so much she asked for another. She had to use a saw to get into them. I guess that bodes well for winter storage.

The beefsteak tomatoes are still going strong. Here’s a mid-week picking. I’m holding one of the Pineapple tomatoes. Their unusual flavor is growing on me, but I still haven’t decided if I like them completely. The one plant sure does produce a lot though.

Beefsteak-type tomatoes

I did another picking of carrots, and they are still looking and tasting good.

Yaya carrots

I picked more sweet red peppers. Here are six Cornito Rosso, three Jimmy Nardello’s, a Mad Hatter, and an Alma Paprika.

Sweet peppers

Our fall raspberries are starting to produce heavily.

Fall raspberries

I’ve been picking a lot of Yellow Pear tomatoes. They are tasty, but unfortunately very prone to splitting. I took a bunch of the accumulated ones and made an interesting salsa fresca, using our own onions and Serrano peppers. It was pleasantly spicy.

Yellow Pear tomato salsa

There were two tomato canning days last week, using our paste and small slicers. The first was on Monday, resulting in eight pints of thick, rich pasta sauce.

The second one was Sunday, where we canned another 8 pints of pasta sauce, plus nearly a quart for the fridge. After all, with all that spaghetti squash, we need something to top it, right?

Lastly, TKG made and canned pear sauce (think apple sauce but with pears). These weren’t ours, but she foraged them from two free-for-the-taking trees we discovered. The sauce is excellent.

Pear sauce

That’s it for this week. I hope your gardening week was as good as ours. I look forward to reading about them on Harvest Monday, kindly hosted by Dave at

Monday, September 7, 2020

Harvest Monday - 7 September 2020

 Welcome to another Harvest Monday update from Eight Gate Farm. Happy Labor Day to all US residents!

We’re still getting “first harvests” of the year. Here are a couple of “Arapaho” peppers, a hybrid cayenne. The plant was given to me.

Arapaho cayenne peppers

Here is the first harvest of “Arroz Con Pollo” peppers. This is described as a "seasoning" pepper, and it really is! I chopped one up to add to a pot of black beans, and it perfumed the kitchen. It’s hard to accurately describe, but the scent reminded me of freshly-ground peppercorns.

Arroz Con Pollo peppers

Here’s another seasoning pepper, or at least that’s how we’re going to use them. It’s “Alma Paprika.” We will definitely dry and grind them for paprika once we get enough, but we can’t decide whether or not to smoke them first.

Alma Paprika peppers

Here’s a new-to-me hybrid Poblano pepper called “Baron.” It’s a little confusing, because there is a sweet bell pepper also by that name. Of all the Poblano-types I’m growing this year, this one is later but with significantly larger fruit. This plant also was a gift.

Baron peppers

I also picked the first red-ripe “Mad Hatter” peppers. We’re adding this to the store of sweet peppers, but they can have some heat along the seed cavity.

Mad Hatter peppers

I also picked some first fall radishes.

French Breakfast radishes

For continuing harvests, we got a nice picking of Poblanos and jalapenos, and some more Sugar Rush Peach peppers.

Also a good amount of chard, bush beans, and shishito peppers.

This is the entire harvest of Kenearly Yellow-eye beans, now fully dry and ready for storage. It was more than I was expecting, but much less than I was hoping for. Still, enough for a few good winter meals.

I’ve mentioned many times that The Kitchen Goddess and her mother share a community garden plot. What I don’t think I’ve told you is I’m actually the manager of the garden, both in my capacity as a member of my town's Conservation Commission (the garden is on the grounds of one of our conservation areas), and also as my Master Gardener Volunteer project. You may be interested that here plots are free but reassigned every year, unlike many other community gardens or allotments.

Late in June one of the gardeners chose to give up her plot due to frustrations with the rabbit situation. Since I would then have to take over weeding it, why not try growing something? So on June 23 I planted four 4’x4’ squares with sweet corn. I’ve never before tried planting it so late in the year. I’m glad I did!

Here’s a sample harvest of the bi-color variety “Temptress.” I grew this at home, and was very disappointed with the pollination—only half at best of each cob had kernels. TKG believes the tropical storm that came through just at pollination might have scattered the pollen too far. But with this planting, no such problem! Wonderful tip-fill and large, full cobs.


And here’s a sample of the all-white variety “Illusion.” But not quite all-white! Because both varieties were planted closely together at the same time, with similar maturity dates, there was a certain amount of cross-cultural romance. Doesn’t matter to me, they too are fantastic.


If you can’t tell by now, I’m a bit of a sweet corn fanatic.

Once again I close with a picture of the weekly harvest from TKG’s plot. Her mother really enjoys working at the plot and going home with these bounties.

That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading, and thanks again to Dave at for hosting Harvest Monday.