Monday, July 26, 2021

Harvest Monday - 26 July 2021

Here's another Harvest Monday update from Eight Gate Farm. We've had on and off rain the whole week. We've exceeded the July rainfall record, and the month is not over yet. Tuesday was supposed to be full-sun, but smoke from the massive, scary Western fires had drifted over in the high atmosphere, turning the sky hazy and the sun red.

For "first harvests," we were so glad to get artichokes, truly a Star of the Garden for us. They are very petite compared to the ones that are brought in from California, but oh-so-fresh, and we love them.

'Tavor' artichokes

Even though the ground was not as dry as I normally like, I felt it was time to pull all the garlic. I grew three varieties this year. This is "Katterman," which I think is a version of German White/German Extra Hardy, selected for size. Only one grower produces this, I think. I'm trying the vertical method of drying this year, as everybody seems to be doing it.

'Katterman' garlic

Next we have Georgian Crystal and Russian Red. Georgian Crystal is supposed to be like Georgian Fire, which we like, but a little less bite. Georgian Fire was not available when I ordered. In the background is the meager harvest of Russian Red, too small to hang through the slots. I don't think there's anything wrong about this type, just that the 'seed' garlic was not up to standards so they never grew well.

Georgian Crystal and Russian Red

Once they're fully dried and cleaned I'll talk more about the varieties.

Another first harvest was yellow wax bush beans.

'Carson' wax beans

For continuing harvests, I got some more shishito peppers.

'Mellow Star' shishitos

More haricots-vert. The Kitchen Goddess bundled them in groups of 7 or 8, and wrapped them in bacon, to make...wait for it..."Bacon Bean Bundles"; an original concept as far as I know. I cooked them on the charcoal grill. Really delicious!

'Calima' filet bush beans

More pea pods. These have really shut down, and I will be pulling the vines this week. Sorry to see them go.

Pea pods

A few more zucchini.

Yellowfin and Cocozelle di Napoli

More salad greens. The plants are finally bolting, so instead of just picking leaves I'm pulling up the whole plants and taking what looks good.

Salad greens

Another large fennel bulb.

'Orazio' fennel

I cut the last head of Imperial broccoli, and got more side shoots at the same time.

Imperial broccoli plus side shoots

Raspberries are producing lightly. We're using them up as we get them, and not stocking the freezer yet.

Raspberries

And finally a Thursday harvest of collards, chard, beans, and a few more pea pods. Collards look to be a crop that will give an amazing quantity of food value, and I'm grateful to our Harvest Monday host Dave at Our Happy Acres for inspiring me to try them. I just hope they don't start going to seed soon!



All in all, a pretty good week, giving us lots of meal choices and stuff for the freezer. Thanks for reading, and please join me in checking out the other Harvest Monday posts at HappyAcres.blog.









Monday, July 19, 2021

Harvest Monday - 19 July 2021

Here's another Harvest Monday update from Eight Gate Farm. While much of the American West has been baking or burning, we here in the Northeast are washing out. On a positive note, we are officially out of the drought, and I haven't watered in many days, but it comes at the expense of keeping up with the other garden chores.

Yet I'm happy to report that the summer crops are finally arriving. I was able to cut the first zucchini. Below is the hybrid "Yellowfin" and the hierloom Cocozelle di Napoli.

Zucchini
I also picked the first shishito peppers.

Mellow Star shishitos

I also got the first flush of bush beans. This is a favorite haricots-vert called "Calima."

Calima filet beans

I've said many times that I'm not a fan of beets (beetroot), but I plant them for The Kitchen Goddess, who loves them. This is a new variety for us called "Eagle," and their ruby-red color is quite attractive.

Eagle beets

I also took a few carrots to see how they're doing.

Mokum carrots

And TKG picked the first ripe red raspberries. These produce modest crops throughout the summer, then really take off in the fall. I've no idea what type they are, nor how long they've been here. All I know is it is extremely foolish to plant raspberries next to a vegetable garden, as you are constantly fighting their relentless march.


For continuing harvests, I cut another palm-sized fennel bulb.

Orazio fennel

TKG dehydrated the fennel greens to add to a soup base mix she likes to have on hand. I thought this was a novel and clever idea, until she reminded me she's been doing this forever. So I had to retract the complement!

Fennel fronds before drying

I cut more broccoli heads, and pulled some more spring onions.

Imperial broccoli and Nabechan green onions

I cut more collards from one plant. They are enhancing our morning smoothies.

Top Bunch 2.0 collard greens

We're still getting a few pea pods.

Avalanche snow peas and Super Sugar Snaps

And salad greens are still producing well. Actually I took all the remaining iceberg lettuces as they were starting to get pointy heads. Not bitter, fortunately.

Salad greens

In Wildlife Notes, meet "Pat" the wild turkey. We don't know its sex (or its pronouns), so Pat is a good generic name. Pat has adopted our back yard as its home base, and does a good job vacuuming up the spilled sunflower seeds from the bird feeder. Pat also likes to drink from the water feature by the front steps, and then leave an enormous "gift." Wild turkeys are alleged to be big consumers of ticks, which if true is great, since ticks and the associated Lyme Disease are the scourge of the Northeast.

Pat, the wild(?) turkey

Daisy, our beloved 18-year-old kitty, is of the indoor variety. But she constantly wants to go outside, and sometimes we let her, under adult supervision. She likes to eat grass, flop down in the sunshine, and once in awhile pretend to chase chipmunks. As you can see from this picture, Daisy is not too concerned with Pat, nor Pat of Daisy.

Pat and Daisy-Cat

That's all for this week. Apologies for going long. Thanks for reading, and a big thank you to Dave at HappyAcres.blog for continuing to host Harvest Monday.









Monday, July 12, 2021

Harvest Monday - 12 July 2021

Here's another Harvest Monday update from Eight Gate Farm. Tropical Storm Elsa brushed by us on Friday afternoon, fortunately sparing us punishing winds but dumping heavy rain. Some local reports measured 4.5" (~11.5 cm). There was widespread flooding throughout our town, but being on high ground, we were spared that too. It was funny to drive around the lake and see people's docks under water.

For "first harvests," I have a little story. In my working days, I spent a lot of time on projects in the southern United States. I often frequented "Southern Barbecue" joints where they always served "greens" with the meal. I assumed they were collards, and also assumed they were mostly a southern crop like okra. But seeing our talented Harvest Monday host, Dave, having such success growing them, I decided to give it a try this year. So I bought some seeds for a hybrid variety, "Top Bunch 2.0." This week I cut the first leaves. I had intended to cut a few from each plant, but ended up cutting from only one. Don't worry, there's still many more to come. It looks to be a very productive crop, provided the plants stay healthy.

Top Bunch 2.0 collards

I made a dish that night with them. The Ever-Helpful Kitchen Goddess instructed me to chiffonade them, which means stacking a few leaves at a time, rolling them like a cigar, then cutting into ribbons. Which I was going to do anyway, regardless of the term. I sauteed some spicy Italian sausage, and was going to wilt the collards in the remaining fat, but the sausage was so lean I had to add some olive oil. I cooked up a batch of our black beans from several years ago, added some of our frozen Arroz con Pollo seasoning peppers, our own garlic, and a bit of our own winter savory herb leaves, which not only adds wonderful flavor, but is said to be anti-flatulent too. Here's the result, which was delicious. Collards definitely have a place in my garden now.

Collards with sausage and black beans

I'm not particularly fond of fennel, but I've started seeds in the past for TKG to plant in the community garden plot she shares with her mother. Mom goes home with them, but since TKG really loves fennel, I grew some to plant here at home for her. I cut the first bulb this week. Her favorite is a raw fennel and pear salad. The plants are very attractive, too.

Orazio hybrid fennel

I cut the first head of "Imperial" hybrid broccoli. This came in several weeks after the early "Blue Wind" variety, but is said to be able to stand up well to summer heat.

Imperial hybrid broccoli

For continuing harvests, I got side shoots from the Blue Wind broccoli, whose main heads I cut in the previous weeks.

Blue Wind hybrid broccoli

I also cut another iceberg lettuce head, and picked from the salad mix rows.

Left: iceberg lettuce, right: salad mixes

In other harvest notes, I did several small pickings of pea pods, both snow and snap (not photographed). I think the heat we had shut down the vines. so we will see if there will be any more coming.

It has been very wet and humid here, and I'm starting to see the first evidence of fungal diseases on the tomato plants. Too bad, because they looked so beautiful up to this point in time.

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





Monday, July 5, 2021

Harvest Monday - 5 July 2021

Here’s another Harvest Monday update from Eight Gate Farm. As predicted, the week started with a three-day heatwave. It was so hot and humid that even a simple chore like watering made me sweat. It ended on Wednesday evening with a dramatic thunderstorm that fortunately spared us any damage, but trees were downed all over the area. Then it began to rain, and it didn’t stop until late Sunday. It was chilly too. I’m sure a lot of spirits were “dampened” <chuckle> for those who had big outdoor plans for the Independence Day weekend.

We did manage to do a little harvesting, though. Leading off with the “first harvests” of the season, I cut a good amount of Swiss chard (aka silver beet). When I was a child my mother used to cook a lot of chard, and I’ve retained my taste for it. For some it’s too bitter.

Oriole and Peppermint chard

The Kitchen Goddess went to the community garden plot she shares with her mother, and came back with an impressive kohlrabi haul. Mom didn’t want the greens, so we kept them.

Kolibri F1 kohlrabi

For continuing harvests, I got several pickings of pea pods like this:

Super Sugar Snap and Avalanche snow peas

I also cut more broccoli heads.

Blue Wind broccoli

And another iceberg lettuce head, which meant another wonderful wedge salad for me. Now when TKG says she’s going to give me a “wedgie,” I don’t automatically run for cover!

Iceberg lettuce

We were running out of room in the fridge, so we processed a lot of stuff for the freezer: snow pea pods, broccoli, chard, and kohlrabi greens. The greens sure do cook down impressively!

Freezer prep

Between the heat and all the rain, a lot of garden tasks were put off. So I hope to soon be able to do things like weeding and tying up the indeterminate tomatoes. Oh, and I looked back and saw that last year at this time I was already harvesting cucumbers, zucchini, and even shishito peppers. None of those are even close to that stage this year. I really don’t know why.

That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading, and thanks once again to Dave at HappyAcres.blog for continuing to host Harvest Monday.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Harvest Monday - 28 June 2021

 Welcome to another Harvest Monday update from Eight Gate Farm! Today marks the start of what passes for a heat wave in our region, temperatures above 90 degrees F. for at least three days. Most other parts of the country would find that laughingly cool, but not us! I will make sure to do all my gardening chores in the very early morning to avoid becoming overheated.

Leading off with the “first harvests” of the year, we got a nice picking of snow peas. This variety, Avalanche, has short vines that produce a lot of tendrils. These are edible, but so far I have not sampled them. I just like pea pods!

Avalanche snow peas

I cut the first iceberg lettuce. I’ve written before that I don’t know why iceberg gets a bad rap. Personally, I love its crispness and juiciness.

Iceberg lettuce

We enjoyed it the same day as a Wedge Salad, with bacon and bleu cheese crumbles. The tomatoes came from the market, of course, but they are surprisingly tasty for store-bought ones. It was served with a hoppy, gluten-free beer; very pleasant on a hot summer day.

Wedge Salad for lunch

I cut the first head of broccoli. This variety, “Blue Wind,” is always the reliable, first-producing one for us.

Blue Wind broccoli

For continuing harvests, we picked snap peas several times this week.

Super Sugar Snap pea pods

And more spring onions. I’ve stated in the past that I just don’t seem to be able to grow large onions, and this extends to the scallion/green onion/spring onion varieties. No matter, we enjoy what we get.

Nabechan green onions

The turnips were all bolting, so I pulled them out. They produced useless roots, but a large quantity of greens, so I’m satisfied. They filled 4 gallon-size storage bags. I immediately replanted more seeds. I’m not sure how they’ll do in summer, but no harm trying.

Shogoin turnip greens

The Kitchen Goddess made a delicious chicken stir-fry using the broccoli, snow peas, and green onions. It was all I could do to not take a second helping!

Chicken stir-fry

Lastly, in Wildlife Notes, I was watering our peach tree when I spied this Common Snapping Turtle. I’m not sure what this aquatic species was doing here. We are several hundred meters from any permanent water, and while they do roam in search of sandy soil to build nests, this guy looks to be way too small to be breeding. Adults get scary big, and are fierce out of water. I let it be regardless.

Snapping turtle

That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading, and thanks once again to Dave at HappyAcres.blog for continuing to host Harvest Monday.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Harvest Monday - 21 June 2021

 Welcome to another Harvest Monday update from Eight Gate Farm in southern New Hampshire, USA. So far, we in the New England region have escaped the fierce heat wave affecting much of the country. In fact, it’s been quite pleasant, though the thermometer fell to 47 F. (8.3 C.) one night.

Leading off with the “first harvests” of the year, we got a nice picking of pea pods. This variety, Super Sugar Snap, produces tall, disease-resistant vines, with wonderful pods. I think, though, we will not get a huge harvest of them this year, as germination was not up to standards. I’ll use fresh seed next year.

Super Sugar Snap

We also took a few of the biggest green onions/scallions. The variety is a hybrid called “Nabechan,” which I got from Johnny’s Selected Seeds. It’s listed as 60 days from transplant, which was accurate for the ones picked, but overall the others are still quite skinny.

Nabechan scallions

We also got a picking of cilantro which volunteered in the lettuce patch. We love cilantro, but I understand that it’s a genetic thing, and to some people, it tastes like soap.

Cilantro (coriander leaves)

For continuing harvests, we took the last of the Asian greens. I’m sorry to see them go, but they don’t like heat.

Brisk Green bok choy

We also got a generous picking of turnip greens. This variety, “Shogoin,” seems to bolt a lot quicker than any turnips I’ve grown before. But the greens are quite nice.

Turnip greens

And a good cutting of salad greens.

Also, the last of the garlic scapes.

Garlic scapes

I took a trip down to the cellar and brought up the last three butternut squash, one very large “Sugaretti” spaghetti squash (4.5 lbs), and some canned goods like tomato sauce and maple syrup. I have no idea why The Kitchen Goddess labeled one batch of sauce “Big Daddy.” Was she referring to me?

Winter squash plus canned goods from the stores

From the “Wonders of Nature” file, I cut this apple branch, and revealed these mysterious figures. Spooky! My MIL thinks that sliced the rounds would make interesting coasters. Might be a fun project.

Weird apple wood

That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading, and thanks once again to Dave at HappyAcres.blog for continuing to host Harvest Monday.