Monday, September 27, 2021

Harvest Monday - 27 September 2021

The days are getting noticeably shorter, which means that <soon> my Harvest Monday posts will be much shorter, too. But not quite yet! Some more "first harvests" of the year came in this week, as well as continuing ones.

This is "Escamillo," a hybrid sweet pepper. Last year I was gifted a plant from my pepper-loving friend, and was impressed by how big the fruit got. I could not get any to ripen yellow though. I bought seeds and tried again this year. So far only one has ripened fully, and I have my doubts about the others. Still, green peppers are very useful even if not at their peak sweetness.


My volunteer tomato plant gave us its first fruit, about golf ball size. We sampled one, and while the flavor is good, actually really good, it had a somewhat mealy texture. If I had to guess, I'd say it could be a Gardener's Delight based on the shape and size, but it really could be anything.

Mystery volunteer tomato

Our apple trees are loaded with fruit this year. I picked the old tree I think is a McIntosh, and the Macoun tree we planted when we first moved here in 2011 also had some fruit to give for the first time.

Left: Macoun, right: McIntosh

Most of the fruit for both is ugly and unmarketable, as I don't spray. They taste good though. Mainly we can them or make cider. But one of the Macouns is actually pretty good looking. 


For continuing harvests, here's Monday's tomato picking:

Monday tomato harvest

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

Monday non-tomato harvest

And here's Thursday's tomato harvest. Definitely slowing down.

Thursday tomato harvest

Thursday's non-tomato harvest. The red cayenne peppers are starting to accumulate; soon I will process them for cayenne powder. May smoke some, too.

Thursday everything-else harvest

Fall raspberries are such a joy! Every day The Kitchen Goddess is bringing back hefty pickings from the raspberry patch. This was the largest, at 1.25 pounds (~ 577 g.). They mostly go to the freezer, and are then used for smoothies.

Fall raspberries

TKG and her mother had another nice harvest from the community garden plot they share. All this stuff goes home with the MIL, who is more than thrilled with it.

Community garden harvest

We did a lot of preserving this week. TKG made seven pints of apple pie filling, and four pints of apple sauce, from some of the red apples pictured above.

Apple sauce and apple pie filling

We made seven pints of chopped tomatoes from the accumulated ripe ones.

Canned chopped tomatoes

And a jar of pickled red and yellow Biquinho peppers. This is the traditional Brazilian method of serving them. This wasn't sealed and is destined for the refrigerator.

Pickled Biquinho peppers

Now for Wildlife Notes. I don't often venture into our woods where I've set up two game cameras. The ticks really spook me. But this week I suited up in my tick-proof outfit (factory-treated with permethrin) and changed the memory cards. Here are some highlights of what was captured over the previous couple of months.

An Eastern Coyote on the move. We often hear the pack yelping at night. It's a fascinating sound, but makes you shiver, too.

Eastern coyote

Here's a beautiful 8 or 10 point buck White-tailed deer. "Points" refer to the number of tines on the antlers.

Large male White-tailed deer

And this could be his wife, though she doesn't know it yet. Mating season starts around December here.

Not camera-shy doe

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

Monday, September 20, 2021

Harvest Monday - 20 September 2021

Hello again from Eight Gate Farm. Fall is definitely in the air, with generally pleasant days and cool nights. Here and there the trees are starting to change color. This is not surprising, as it's been Meteorological Fall for a few weeks now. Astronomical Fall, of course, begins this coming week.

But that's enough science for one day. I'm always amused that many of the peppers only begin maturing in this season, since they are thought of as warm-weather crops. But here they are. Hot Lemon is one of my favorites. It goes by several other names, I think, but I stick with Hot Lemon since that's what's on the seed packet. I find the fruit really attractive. It's supposed to be only as hot as a cayenne, but to me it's much hotter. We mostly use it for hot sauce.

Hot Lemon

And speaking of cayenne, I picked the first Thin Cayennes this week. For some reason this year they are thicker than usual. Normally they look like the one on the right in this picture.

Thin Cayenne

My friend, who loves to grow interesting peppers as much as I do, gave me a Sugar Rush Cream plant. This is another in the series developed by a Welsh grower. I've grown Sugar Rush Peach in the past, and loved the look of them. They are way too hot to eat, but make a great hot sauce after roasting. We tried a piece of a Cream, and while it definitely has heat, it's not as much as Peach. They are smaller too. It has the fruitiness you expect from a Baccatum-type. I'm saving the seeds for next year.

Sugar Rush Cream

On a whim I picked up a Pimiento Elite pepper plant at the garden center. It too gave us its first ripe fruit this week. They are surprisingly dense; the larger one weighed over 5 ounces (~142 g). I'm not sure what to do with them; probably I will add them to the Hungarian Cheese peppers to make paprika.

Pimiento Elite

I also cut the first winter squash this week. These are the hybrid spaghetti squash called Sugaretti.


These are the hybrid butternuts called Butterscotch.


Last year was incredible for winter squash; this year poor. I planted fewer plants, and the squash bug predation was fierce.

Now on to continuing harvests. Here's Tuesday's tomato picking.

Tuesday tomato harvest

Here's Tuesday's general harvest.

Tuesday general harvest

Here's Friday's tomato picking, even less than Tuesday's.

Friday tomato harvest

And Friday's general harvest.

Friday general harvest

I think I grew too much eggplant! 

Experimentation in the garden means you'll naturally win some/lose some. I definitely count what follows  as a win. I've mentioned that while the Blue Wind broccoli plants produce a steady stream of small, tender side-shoots after their heads are harvested, the Imperial does not. But I've learned that by cutting the Imperial plants down to several inches above the soil, any remaining branches below that level have the potential to grow nearly full-size heads on their own. This is great, because harvesting side-shoots (examples in the general harvest photos) can be fussy. 

Imperial broccoli from second growth

Fall raspberries are just booming, requiring daily picking or even twice-daily. Here's a sample harvest, weighing one pound.

Fall raspberries

My technique of picking under-ripe tomatoes and finishing them inside is working well. Sure, I have to go through them and discard any that have died, but it's not many. When enough are ripe, it's time to process them. So I picked some cilantro (coriander leaves) and Jalapenos...

Cilantro and Jalapenos

...and The Kitchen Goddess made and canned 10 pints of super-spicy salsa. We also added the Cream peppers and used up several nearly empty hot sauce bottles, for extra kick. Wow!


That's all for this week. I hope your week was good too. Thanks for reading, and thanks to Dave at for continuing to host Harvest Monday!

Monday, September 13, 2021

Harvest Monday - 13 September 2021

It's time once again for a Harvest Monday update. We still had a few "first harvests" this week, and as usual I'll lead off with them.

Orange Blaze is a hybrid bell pepper, which was an 2011 AAS winner. I purchased some plants this year to replace other sweet pepper types that got destroyed shortly after transplanting. I really like Orange Blaze for its earliness and taste. I'll try to source seeds for it next year.

Orange Blaze

I mentioned awhile ago that I had a volunteer Yellow Pear tomato plant. While my experience with Yellow Pear last year was decent, I didn't like how many of the abundant fruit cracked. This year is no exception.

Yellow Pear tomato

Fall raspberries are coming on strong. Here's the first picking just back from the garden, soaked in morning dew.


For continuing harvests, Tuesday's tomato picking reflects how things are slowing down. Previously I needed the two-handled trug to bring them in, now they fit in a basket. I pulled out all the rest of the determinate vines this week. The indeterminates should still give us decent amounts.

Tuesday tomato harvest

Here is Tuesday's non-tomato harvest, featuring the last of the sweet corn. It was a little past its prime, but still sweet and tasty.

Tuesday everything else harvest

Friday's harvest was also colorful.

Friday harvest

Now on to preserving the harvest. We had accumulated twelve Hungarian Cheese peppers (the round ones in the above picture), so The Kitchen Goddess dehydrated them for paprika. I really like how this pepper is productive, and I saved some seeds for next year.


TKG canned five jars of pickled red onions, and three of Pepperoncini.

Pickled onions and peppers

And an amazing nine quarts of Bloody Mary Mix. All the major ingredients came from our gardens.

Bloody Mary Mix

You may be asking, why in the world do they need nine quarts of Bloody Mary Mix?

Gray Treefrog

Mr. Grumpy Frog does not like your question.

Seriously, though, we've already canned 18 quarts of chopped tomatoes, and we still have over 40 jars of sauce from last year. So we're running out of tomato ideas. Anyway, the Mix can be enjoyed without Vitamin V ("vodka" to some), so it's like super-spicy V8 juice.

That wraps up the week. Thanks for reading, and thanks as always to Dave at for hosting Harvest Monday.

Monday, September 6, 2021

Harvest Monday - 6 September 2021

It's time once again for a Harvest Monday update from Eight Gate Farm. Hurricane Ida slammed into the Gulf Coast at the beginning of the week, and roared up the eastern seaboard leaving destruction in its wake. Lucky for us, we were at its northern edge, and only received heavy rain Wednesday night. I have a friend in New Orleans, and he's been without power for days, with no firm date when it will be restored. Not a pleasant situation in a very hot and humid climate!

I'll start as usual with the "first harvests" of the season. Biquinho peppers are a Brazillian delicacy, and I love growing them here as they are so adorable. They are traditionally served pickled, and that's what we'll do when we get enough.

Biquinho red and yellow

I cut the first Chinese cabbage. This is the hybrid Minuet, weighing just over two pounds, and so considered "personal size." Only a few of the hole-y outer leaves had to be snapped off.

Minuet cabbage

I pulled the entire crop of "Talon" yellow storage onions. This is my first time growing this variety, and I have to say I'm impressed. It takes two photographs to show it all.

Talon onions

More Talon onions

It was my goal to grow bigger onions this year, and I pleased with the result. Here's one of the largest.

Talon onion

If any of you follow the UK market gardener Charles Dowding on YouTube, you might have seen how he multi-sows his onions and gets great results. But then again, he grows in pure compost. I don't have access to that much compost. For me, the single-sown onions got pretty consistently larger than the multi-sowing I did. It is a pain to separate the seedlings, though.

I also pulled all the shallots. In the past I've only grown them from sets, and this is the first time I started from seed. Though a number of the fragile seedlings didn't make it after transplanting, the ones that did got much larger than I've ever experienced. They should keep well.

Ambition F1 shallots

Now on to continuing harvests. This was Monday's picking, only tomatoes. 

Monday tomato harvest
On Tuesday I did this harvest:

Tuesday harvest

The Kitchen Goddess dried the round Hungarian Cheese peppers to make paprika. They have thick walls, so it took 10 hours in a very low oven, and another 2 in the dehydrator. Then they were ground in her dedicated spice mill. The result has wonderful color, and smells heavenly. I guess it shows that any sweet red pepper can make paprika.


TKG, with me helping a little, canned seven quarts of chopped tomatoes using the ripe ones living in trays on the dining room table. It's a good thing we did, because Wednesday, in anticipation of the storm, I picked more tomatoes.

Wednesday tomato harvest

Finally, here's Friday's harvest. Notable are the collards, which were snapped from just one plant, and the bush beans, which put on a second flush despite looking rather tired.

Friday harvest

That's all for this week. Thanks for reading, and Happy Labor Day! Please join me in reading all the fine Harvest Monday posts, thanks to our great host, Dave, at