Monday, November 15, 2021

Harvest Monday - 15 November 2021

People sometimes ask me if I do anything to extend the growing season...greenhouses, coldframes etc. The answer is I don't, even though I certainly could. I just reach a point where I'm done for the year, you know? That point was this past week. Everything harvestable was taken, and the gardens are closed for the season.

Leeks didn't do as well as last year, but what we got is still very welcome.

Megaton leeks

I planted a few Red Russian kale this summer, and got a nice harvest from them.

Red Russian kale

This curly kale was not intentionally planted, but came in the mesclun mix I grew in the spring. The kale remained long after the other greens were taken, and gave me a large harvest.

Curly kale

The last collard was cut and had its leaves stripped.

Top Bunch 2.0 collard greens

The Kitchen Goddess stemmed and cut all the above, which netted five 1-gallon freezer bags full. That should last awhile!

I took all the accumulated ripe tomatoes we had indoors, and made one final batch of sauce, yielding a very full quart freezer bag.

Tomato sauce

So that's a wrap for another year. Like every year, there were great successes and dismal failures. It changes year to year. For example, no-brainer crops like zucchini and cucumbers were awful--too much insect pressure. But onions and eggplants did fabulously, unlike last year. Tomatoes and peppers stayed consistently successful. We are thankful for everything we get, and don't let the failures get us down for too long. I hope you got joy from your gardens, too.

I want to thank you for reading and commenting on my blog posts this year. And especially, a huge thank you to Dave at for giving us all a forum to link to, and for his special gardening wisdom. Have a nice winter, and see you in the spring!

Monday, November 8, 2021

Harvest Monday - 8 November 2021

We've had frosts every night this week. The days have been sunny but not especially warm. All the heat-loving crops are long gone, of course, but there are still some harvests to report.

I planted some Chinese cabbage this summer. They did not get big, but still are useful. They probably would have been okay in the coming days, but I took them anyway.

Minuet cabbage

Ditto the broccoli. The plants have been giving us loads of side-shoots all season, but they were looking kind of ragged, so I removed them.

Blue Wind broccoli side-shoots

One of the spring-planted fennel re-grew after I cut it. It's nice to have a second harvest, even though it's small. Also shown are the last beets, or so I thought.

Orazio fennel second growth and beets

I decided to take out all the Swiss chard (silverbeet), and found a few more beets (beetroot) hiding therein. I know there are some who do not like chard (looking at you Dave!), but I have ever since I was a kid. When it's been left alone by the leaf miners, I find the glossy savoyed leaves quite attractive and the stems are brilliant.

Swiss chard and beets

I tried growing celery here for the first time this year. Only two of the plants survived rodent predation, and they struggled being crowded out by the bush beans and collards. But I got a little harvest anyway.

Ventura celery

We love cilantro (coriander leaf), but I struggle to grow it, as it wants to bolt so quickly. I thus over-plant it. The result is more than we can use. The aromatic compounds that give it its character are very volatile, and don't preserve well. The Kitchen Goddess pureed most of this with a little olive oil and froze it. Some we gave away, and I dug up one plant to try growing indoors.


I've been regrowing turmeric from the same root I got years ago, and also tried ginger for the first time. It was not a great year for them, especially considering I'll want to replant some of both. But once these are dried and brushed off we should get something useful.

Turmeric and ginger

It actually is supposed to warm up a bit this coming week. There are still a few things to harvest, but I'm expecting the next post to be the last for the season. Thanks for reading, and thanks once again to Dave at for hosting this forum.

Monday, November 1, 2021

Harvest Monday - 1 November 2021

Our first true frost greeted me on Friday morning, where the temperature was just below freezing. This was actually not forecast in my area. But somehow I had a premonition on Thursday, and picked all the remaining tomatoes and peppers.

First the tomatoes. I took all that I deemed had a chance of ripening indoors. Not that we really need them, but I hate to leave things unharvested.

Last tomato harvest

Then the sweet peppers. These were chopped and put in the freezer without blanching. We've found they keep very well, and are very useful.

Last sweet pepper harvest

Then a mess of hot peppers, including jalapeno, cayenne, Hot Lemon, and Sugar Rush Cream.

Last hot pepper harvest

I cut up all of them and made a hot sauce. I included all the garlic scapes we had in the fridge since June, still pretty good. Since it was a mess of peppers, I called it "Hot Mess Sauce." It certainly exceeded my expectations...a dozen five ounce "Woozy" bottles (how they got that name I have no idea). Here they are along with the other sauces I made this year. This is way more than we can use, so we will fob some off on unsuspecting victims friends and relatives.

Unfermented hot sauces

This year The Kitchen Goddess bought a bunch of sweet potato slips and planted them in the community garden as usual. But there was one she rejected as being too weak looking. It sat around in the barn, forlorn and unloved, for a couple of weeks. Finally I thought "why not?" and planted it in the home garden. I was surprised at the result when I dug it up this week. Not much, but I'm proud of it! First time growing them at home.

Georgia Jet sweet potatoes

I cut two of the remaining stalks of collards and stripped off the greens. Yes, they are kind of hole-y, but it doesn't matter to us after they've been cut up.

Top Bunch 2.0 collards

There were more nice raspberry harvests this week.

Fall raspberries

Sue Martin, a regular contributor to Harvest Monday with her delightful blog, asked me last week what we do with all these raspberries. Most of them go into the freezer for use in smoothies. But TKG also makes a very tasty (and potent) raspberry liqueur. It's basically a tincture, with cheap red wine, cheap bourbon, and cheap Marsala (emphasis on cheap). Also the zest of a lemon. Here's what it looks like when it's soaking in a quart jar.

Raspberry liqueur in the making

Finally, I took a trip to the cellar and brought up the last of the spaghetti squash. It's amazing to me that it has held up this nicely for a full year. One went into a putanesca using some of the sauce I also brought up, 2020's as well.

Squash and tomato sauce from the stores

More frosts are on the way, so only a few more posts will follow. Stop that cheering! Thanks for reading, and thanks again to the amazing Dave at for hosting Harvest Monday.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Harvest Monday - 25 October 2021

When I got up early Sunday morning the thermometer read 34 (1.1 C), mighty close to the danger zone! However, since there was a breeze, I hoped that any ground frost hadn't settled.

I had known it was going to get colder, so I earlier harvested and cut the plants for some peppers and all the eggplants, that would obviously not give us any more fruit. It always pains me to remove plants that are otherwise healthy and lush.

Here are the last poblano and shishito peppers. I really like the dark green, almost black, color of poblanos when they are mature.

Poblano and shishito peppers

We prepared the poblanos in the way we always do, stuffed with sausage and cheese, wrapped in bacon, and smoked. It was especially delicious this time.

Here are the last Anaheim peppers. These too were smoked, then dried and ground for chile powder. Cue another sneezing fit!

Anaheim peppers

Here's one of the almost-daily raspberry harvests we got this week.

Fall raspberries

I was rolling up the drip irrigation on the fenceline where we grow some perennials, and was very surprised to find these saffron flowers. I thought the corms I planted in 2019 had all been destroyed by chipmunks, but this group was hiding out under an anise hyssop. According to Wikipedia, saffron can fetch up to $5000 per pound. I figure I got a buck's worth! Even this tiny amount of red stigma are perfuming the kitchen as they are air-drying.

Saffron flowers

It was time to pick our green apple tree. I think it's a Granny Smith, as it is definitely late-season. There was an abundance this year. There are still more apples on the tree, but I got fatigued just picking this amount. We will make another batch of sparkling hard cider.

Granny Smith(?) apples

Here's Mondays general harvest. Again the volunteer tomato's fruit are segregated on the left. On the right are the last of the pole beans (Fortex).

Monday harvest
Here's Friday's.

Friday harvest

In the center are the last fully ripe Escamillo and Pimiento Elite sweet peppers. However, there are a lot of green ones left, which I will wait until the last minute to pick. Also note the volunteers on the left. I'm thinking seriously of saving seeds from this productive mystery tomato.

The Kitchen Goddess and her mother are gradually emptying their community garden plot. Here's what Mom went home with:

Sunday community garden harvest

Now about the frost. We always grow coleus in a large pot on the back patio. When I see these sensitive plants have withered I know we've had the first true frost. Here's what the Coleus-O-Meter read later Sunday morning.

Coleus plants

Definitely wilted but not withered. So probably not a true frost. The garden itself looked okay.

I had hoped for a refreshingly short post this week, but that didn't happen. Soon, though! Thanks for reading, and a big thanks to Dave at for continuing to host Harvest Monday

Monday, October 18, 2021

Harvest Monday - 18 October 2021

We've been thoroughly enjoying this stretch of fine fall weather, with warm days and nights nowhere near freezing. Part of me wonders though if we are on borrowed time.

Harvests are continuing to slow, but still occurring. Here's Monday's. The tomatoes on the left are all from the unidentified volunteer plant. These fruits fully ripen particularly fast indoors.

Monday harvest

I've said many times how impressed I am with collards, and the amazing amount of food value we get from them. This time I decided to cut one stalk and pull off the leaves. Again I want to thank our Harvest Monday host, Dave, for inspiring me to try this crop.

"Top Bunch 2.0" collards

What else can I say about raspberries? We continue to be deluged with them, and that's a happy problem for sure. At this stage there's no more flowering, but still many to ripen.

Fall raspberries

Here's Friday's harvest. Again the mystery tomatoes are on the left. It looks like this is the last of the eggplants, and these are on the small side. The Kitchen Goddess used many of them that night to make a delicious moussaka. 

Friday harvest

I finally had enough hot peppers to make unfermented "varietal" hot sauces.

Cayenne and Hot Lemon peppers

I used the very simple method I like, with only three ingredients: peppers, vinegar, salt. The kitchen was a spicy place that morning!

Cayenne and Hot Lemon sauces

I think I'm going to order more of the cute little sauce bottles we like. We have plenty of leftover bottles, but the red shrinkwrap seals are in short supply, and as far as I know, you can't order just the seals.

I also made three pints of tomato sauce for the fridge.

For garden activities, I expanded the field garden by another roughly 120 square feet. I'm experimenting with the "lasagna" style of bed creation; no dig, no till. I put down two layers of large sheet cardboard, then added about four inches of slightly rotted grass clippings, and topped with another four inches of finished compost from the shredded leaf pile. It looks pretty good! I'm not sure what I'm going to plant there, but I have all winter to figure it out.

Lasagna-method plot extension

I also planted garlic this week, adjacent to the above. I'm growing 48 plants; 16 each of Katterman, Music, and Chesnok Red--all hardnecks. The Katterman cloves are really huge, and if there's one thing I've learned, big cloves make big plants. Here's Katterman compared with Chesnok Red.

Garlic clove size comparison

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

Monday, October 11, 2021

Harvest Monday - 11 October 2021

Hello again from Eight Gate Farm. As I look at the 14-day forecast, no frosts are predicted. But the combination of cooler temps and diminishing sunlight is already slowing things down from a harvest perspective, with twice a week sufficient.

I got the first cutting of Neck Pumpkins aka Pennsylvania Dutch Crookneck Squash. The largest weighs two pounds, which is far smaller than the 8 pound beauty I got last year.

Neck Pumpkin

I cut all the remaining Sugaretti spaghetti squash.


Here's Monday's tomato harvest; not the total but the bigger ones.

Monday tomato partial harvest

And here's Monday's everything-else harvest.

Monday non-tomato harvest

By Friday, the picking was small enough to fit into one picture.

Friday everything harvest

The Kitchen Goddess and her mother went to their community garden plot and brought in a nice harvest. 

Community garden harvest

Her mother gets to go home with all the goods, normally. But TKG claimed this nice late-season artichoke for herself!

Tavor artichoke

Early in the week we had enough ripe tomatoes to make some sauce; not enough to can, but good for the freezer.

Tomatoes ready for processing

All that reduced down to about one quart of thick sauce.

Tomato sauce

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


Monday, October 4, 2021

Harvest Monday - 4 October 2021 - Blue Ribbon Edition Part V

Since 1876, the Deerfield Fair has been our region's most prominent agricultural exposition. That means it was held through two world wars and the devastating flu pandemic in 1918. But COVID shut it down last year. That fact amazes me. We really are living through an historic time. 

The fair restarted this year, on the last weekend of September as always. And again we put some of our vegetables and canned goods on display, and maybe win prizes!

I submitted seven entries. Here they are, along with the numbers required and my predictions for success.

Vegetable fair entries

From top:
  • Spaghetti squash (2) - Prediction: red (2nd place) as they are not completely size consistent. Var: Sugaretti
  • Yellow Onions (5) - Prediction: red, as they are not huge, and I accidentally peeled off a little too much of the outer skins. Var: Talon
  • Other Onions (5) -  I put my shallots in this category. Prediction: red, as I discovered one of them was actually a twin. Var: Ambition
  • Peppers, hot yellow (5) - Prediction: blue (1st place). Var: Hot Lemon
  • Peppers, hot red (5) - Prediction: blue. Var: Cayenne
  • Peppers, sweet red (5) - Prediction: blue. Var: Biquinho Red
  • Peppers: sweet yellow (5) - Prediction: blue. Var: Biquinho Yellow
The Kitchen Goddess entered 7 canned goods.

Canned goods fair entries
From left:
  • Bloody Mary Mix
  • Stewed Tomatoes
  • Salsa
  • Apple Pie Filling
  • Apple Sauce
  • Pickled Pepperoncini
  • Pickled Red Onions
She doesn't make predictions, but I always predict a clean blue sweep for her.

She once again made a scarecrow for the Scarecrow Contest. You have to incorporate at least 5 vegetables or fruits. Since the theme of the fair this year was "Flock Back to the Fair," she made vegetable birds to adorn the lady, named "Ro-bird-a." I really like the "Love-Lies-Bleeding" amaranth dreadlocks, and the kale shoes.

"Ro-bird-a" scarecrow contest entry

Tuesday we brought up the entries, judging took place on Wednesday, and we went to the fair on Thursday, its opening day. We always have lots of fun looking at the farm animals and displays. So how did we do?

  • Spaghetti squash - blue
  • Yellow onions - blue
  • Shallots - white. actually that's not bad, since I mistakenly entered them in the wrong category (shallots had their own specific one). The judge also wrote "uniformity" on the tag
  • Hot Yellow Peppers - blue
  • Hot Red Peppers - red. Not sure why they were graded down.
  • Sweet Red Peppers - blue
  • Sweet Yellow Peppers - white. Ouch! What happened? Well, by the time I saw them after the judging they did not look too fresh. Maybe damaged in transport?
So that's 4 blues, 1 red, and 2 whites. Not great, but not bad year better!

TKG's canned goods did well in my opinion, but not hers. 
  • Bloody Mary Mix - red
  • Stewed Tomatoes - blue
  • Salsa - blue
  • Apple Pie Filling - blue
  • Apple Sauce - blue
  • Pepperoncini - red
  • Pickled Red Onions - red
She won 4 blues and 3 reds. She was not happy, but she's a lot more competitive than I am.

For the scarecrow, after several years of 4th place, she got 2nd place this year! It comes with a $90 cash prize. That means we totaled $141.50 this year, which helps offset the cost of seeds and supplies for next year. But the fun factor is the greatest reward.

And we thus got more ribbons to add to the Eight Gate Farm Wall Of Respect (in the laundry room).

Ribbon haul

But enough showboating, here are harvests this week. There were no "first harvests of the season" but continuing ones are still trickling in.

Monday's tomato picking:

Monday tomato harvest

Monday's everything-else harvest:

Monday non-tomato harvest

Friday's tomato picking:

Friday tomato harvest

Friday's everything-else harvest. Smaller, but still colorful.

Friday non-tomato harvest

Raspberries are still giving us great joy. This particular picking weighed over 1.25 pounds.

Fall raspberries

For "preserving the harvest,"we smoked all the paprika peppers and made a nice quantity of fragrant smoked paprika.

Smoked paprika

We took all the accumulated cayenne peppers...

Cayennes prior to smoking and drying

...and made 1.75 ounces of cayenne powder. It too is very aromatic but made me sneeze when grinding!

Cayenne powder

Once again, I encourage you to enter your "farm goods" in any local fair you may have. It is so much fun regardless of what and how much you win. Thanks for reading. I'm sure that future posts will not be this long! Please join me in thanking Dave at for hosting Harvest Monday