Monday, October 26, 2020

Harvest Monday - 26 October 2020

 The weather moderated this past week, with no new frosts. That will all change this coming week. Several overnight frosts are predicted.

I took another large cutting from the spinach. I’m not sure if I’ll get another one before the frosts. In any event, my plan is to heavily mulch the plants with straw and see if they will overwinter and regrow in the early spring.

After the broccoli stopped producing sideshoots in mid-summer, I cut the plants down to the ground but was too lazy to pull them completely out. To my surprise, they regrew and two of them gave us some nice-sized heads. I may try that again next year.

Blue Wind broccoli

Raspberries are continuing to provide us well.

I picked all the late-maturing green apples. This filled two bushel baskets. I’ve gotten a lot more in the past, but I’ve been severely pruning the tree to get it back down to manageable size.

Granny Smith(?) apples

The apples themselves are spotty and lumpy, not really good for anything besides processing. We decided to make another batch of sparkling hard cider. So on Saturday we pressed the two bushels. This netted two gallons.

Fresh-pressed apple cider

Since we wanted to fill a standard 5 gallon fermentation pail, we bought three additional gallons from a nearby cider mill that does not pasteurize their cider. We are using champagne yeast to get the process going.

Last fall I planted 25 saffron crocus corms. They immediately started growing and stayed emerged all through the winter. In summer they died back, which is their expected behavior. This fall only a few re-emerged, whether it was due to the drought or voles I cannot say. But some started to flower this week! The part you get saffron from are the red thread-like stigma. While we won’t set any records with this “harvest,” it’s still fun to know we got some.

Saffron crocus

I made some simple un-fermented pepper sauces. Here are 1+ bottles of Roasted Sugar Rush Peach, and 2+ bottles of something I’m calling “Mean Green Sauce,” made with green Habanero and Suriname peppers. Both have really good flavor besides the “kick.”

The sugar and red maples get most of the attention in the New England autumn foliage display, but I think the hickory tree at the top of our field deserves recognition too.

Hickory tree at peak fall foliage

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

Monday, October 19, 2020

Harvest Monday - 19 October 2020

 Sad to say but our first frost arrived early Sunday morning here in southern New Hampshire. Not necessarily sad from a harvest perspective, but for what it portends (winter, with no gardening). I'll talk more about it later.

I started the harvest week by cutting all the remaining winter squash from the mostly dead vines. I've shown all of these before, except for the lone Chirimen squash (a Yokohama-type) in the bottom right corner of the photo. It was an exceptional year for squash, and we've enjoyed all we've tried so far. The one with the long neck is a surprise Neck Pumpkin that formed late in the season.

Raspberries are continuing to gift us with an abundance. I'm not sure what effect the brief frost will have on them.

Early in the week we started the fermentation process on several types of peppers. From left, here are Habanero, Sugar Rush Peach (roasted first), and Hot Lemon. Two of them have airlock lids, but the Sugar Rush in the middle has to be burped daily. These should be ready in two weeks.

I sorted through the tomatoes ripening indoors and picked out the ones that were ready. 

There was enough to make another batch of thick, unseasoned sauce. The result filled four quart freezer bags.

Now about the frost. The temperature just touched freezing around dawn, held there for awhile, then started to climb. I was pretty sure that when I went out to the garden I would find damage, but that wasn't really the case...yet. Nonetheless, I felt it was time to take down the indeterminate tomatoes and peppers. I didn't try to salvage any tomatoes; it's already been a fabulous year for them and with what we already have ripening inside, we didn't need any more. I did want to harvest all the peppers though. So here's what I brought in.

On the left are all the Hot Lemon peppers; on the right, all the Sugar Rush Peach. There are also a few Serranos.  My plan is to roast the Sugar Rush and make an unfermented hot sauce. Not sure yet about the Hot Lemon. The Serranos are excellent for salsas.

In this picture are the Habaneros, the Madame Jeanette (Suriname), and the Thai hot peppers Full Moon and Vesuvius. I'm pretty sure I will make additional unfermented sauces with them.

And in this picture are all the cayenne and the sweet(ish) Mad Hatter peppers. The Mad Hatter will get chopped and frozen. 

I set up the smoker and smoked all the cayennes for drying and grinding. Since they are so thin, it took only a short time to smoke them.

Cayenne peppers on the smoker

So with that, we said goodbye to all the summer crops. Future Harvest Monday posts will be a lot less colorful! Thanks for reading, and thanks again to Dave at for hosting Harvest Monday.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Harvest Monday - 12 October 2020

 Hello again from Eight Gate Farm. While technically we did not get a frost last week, it got awfully close. Some of the more tender plants looked frost-nipped. Prior to that, I picked all the ripe hot peppers.

From left: thin cayenne, Madame Jeanette, Sugar Rush Peach, Habanero, Hot Lemon

Same with the sweet ones.

Jimmy Nardello's, Arroz con Pollo

We also made a generous cutting of spinach, which filled two bags.


Later, after the cold spell, I took nearly all the rest of the hot peppers from the plants that looked damaged.

From left: thin cayenne, Vesuvius, Hot Lemon, Habanero with a single Madame Jeanette

That should be enough to finally start the hot sauce process!

Having learned they were getting damaged by voles, I picked all the carrots. The vole-damaged ones on the left far outnumbered the others. But I'll let you in on a little secret. Trimming away the damaged ends and peeling them, we use them anyway.

Yaya carrots

I also picked all the remaining turnips. Some had grown quite large. This gave us useful greens as well.


Here's what we had for the freezer from all that. In these uncertain times, it's comforting to know we have quality food put by.

Fall raspberries are giving us pleasure, with daily pickings like this or more.

As for tomatoes, I'm continuing to pick any that show some color and adding them to the pile on the kitchen island. One day last week I sorted though what we had to see what could be immediately used.

We processed those into 3 pints of thick sauce. Not enough to efficiently can, but great for ready use as needed.

The Kitchen Goddess and her mother closed down their plot at the community garden. As usual the "MIL" went home with a bounty. But they are sad it's over for the season.

That's a wrap for another week. Thank you for reading, and thanks again to Dave at for hosting Harvest Monday.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Harvest Monday - 5 October 2020

 Autumn greetings from Eight Gate Farm! The week started off surprisingly warm, even humid. On Tuesday we took a day off from garden chores and drove two hours up to The North Country. We went through Franconia Notch and stopped where the famous New Hampshire icon “The Old Man of the Mountains” once could be viewed. The mist made it look gloomy.

The rocks making up the stone face fell in 2003. A helpful sign showed how it suddenly happened on that fateful night.

Continuing on, we took a pleasant hike to Cherry Pond in the Conte National Wildlife Refuge. The water was low because of the drought, but still made a pretty picture, with Mount Starr King in the background.

There were only two new harvests this week. These are hybrid Thai hot peppers called “Full Moon” and “Vesuvius.” Again, these plants came from my gardener friend who loves growing unusual peppers as much as I do.

Full Moon and Vesuvius

In non-new harvests, I picked all the Poblano peppers. These were stuffed with meat loaf (!), wrapped with bacon, and smoked. We ate what we could, and the rest went into the freezer.

Poblano peppers

I picked a bunch more ripe hot peppers. In the top row are Anaheims, then cayenne and Sugar Rush Peach, then Habaneros and Hot Lemons.

Hot to very hot peppers

I also picked a few seasoning peppers. Here’s an Alma Paprika, and some Arroz con Pollo.

We decided it was time to replenish the spice drawer. I picked all the remaining Anaheims, smoked them, and we finished drying them in the oven.

Smoked Anaheims prior to drying

The Kitchen Goddess then ground them in her dedicated spice mill.

Smoked Anaheim pepper powder

All the Alma Paprika peppers were dried and ground.


And all the hot red chiles had the same treatment. This produced chile powder and some flakes.

I’m sure glad did that late-summer planting of spinach. Another thinning produced a good quantity of fresh greens for us. When I was a boy, spinach was my favorite vegetable; in fact, maybe the only one I ate (probably Popeye propaganda). Now it mainly goes into our morning smoothies; a thing unknown back then.


It’s nice to still have flowers to cut and brighten the home.

That’s all for this week. Thank you for reading. It looks like we may get a frost overnight on Thursday. If so, that day should be busy! If we make it through that, it warms back up again for the rest of the forecast. Thanks as always to Dave at for hosting Harvest Monday!