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.


  1. I resonate with many of your comments today. In Ipswich (zone 5b at the time) I used to heavily mulch my spinach in a cold frame for early spring harvests. Such a nice treat.

    I've been surprised by broccoli too when new plants have emerged from the base of the original plant. In Mediterranean climates (Italy) I've read they can be perennial vegetables. I've never had enough room in my garden to experiment.

    There were years for us when a sort of the apples from our three full size tree meant a call to our friends who had a press. We'd split the take and have a delightful afternoon. If most people saw what homemade cider is made of they'd probably not drink it. Fermenting probably removes some of the bad stuff.

    Good for you in growing the saffron. I've done that a few times just for the flowers at this time of year. They should come back in our climate but that didn't happen.

    Then again, there are those raspberries...

  2. Interesting result from the broccoli! I am thinking the spinach might overwinter, given how hardy it is. But I've never tried it myself. I'll bet the Mean Green Sauce does have a kick to it!

  3. I would be severely disappointed if my broccoli didn't produce side shoots, I count on it happening. With careful harvesting I can usually coax my broccoli into producing side shoots for many months and even had one planting that produced shoots for over a year. Broccolini also produces many side shoots for me but seems to peter out sooner than good old plain broccoli.

    Have you noticed that the saffron blossoms have a lovely fragrance?

    That Hickory tree is beautiful!