Monday, November 21, 2022

Harvest Monday - 21 November 2022

Hello again from Eight Gate Farm! I decided to do one last harvest post for the year, even though Dave, our Harvest Monday host, is taking a well-deserved break. I find it useful to look back at these posts to see when I've harvested crops, so documenting the last harvest makes sense.

This week I did a first and last harvest of leeks. I planted many more than what I got, but most didn't make it. And these are on the small side. Still, I love leeks, and am happy to get a few at least.

'Jumper' hybrid leeks

 I also did a first and last harvest of late-summer-planted spinach. Again, not a huge quantity, but it's something else I really love. I'm going to try to overwinter the plants and get an early harvest next year.

Fall spinach

I took all the remaining Swiss chard. On the whole this normally-dependable crop was lackluster this year. But it sure is colorful!

'Oriole' and 'Peppermint' chard

I pulled all the rest of the spring-planted carrots, getting a good haul in time for Thanksgiving dinner. We also gave away quite a few.

'Mokum' hybrid carrots

And the parsley I cut down practically to the ground a few weeks ago amazingly re-grew. 

Italian (flat leaf) parsley

I also cut the three stalks of Brussels sprouts that I nurtured all year from seed. But I'm not going to show them. For we found they were completely infested with disgusting tiny gray aphids. I'm guessing there was maybe 2 - 3 pounds of sprouts we could have gotten, all thrown away. I don't like them, but The Kitchen Goddess really does, and was hoping to serve them for Thanksgiving. So she was very disappointed (and grossed out). To punish me for my failure, she went right out and bought a small package at Whole Foods (grrrrr!).

Same with the last kale, all ruined by the aphids. I've never before had an aphid infestation on any brassicas. Where did they come from so late in the year?

So the gardens are completely empty now, and it's time for our winter hibernation. It was probably the best year ever for production. Either the conditions were ideal, or I'm finally getting the hang of this gardening thing, after doing it all my life. Next year will tell!

For those in the US, I hope enjoy your Thanksgiving feast and celebrations this coming Thursday. It's my favorite holiday. For all readers, thank you for reading my posts over the year, and commenting. See you next year!

Monday, October 24, 2022

Harvest Monday - 24 October 2022

Hello again from Eight Gate Farm! We've had several very light frosts this week; not enough to kill anything. And for the first time this season, there were no new/first harvests. But we said goodbye to a lot of crops. 

I took all the largest sweet peppers and pulled the plants. These were chopped and frozen. As such, they are very useful for all applications save salads.

Final sweet pepper harvest

I also took the last paprika peppers. This picture illustrates the steps the fruit goes through before turning fully red. We don't need any more paprika (the spice), but I thought these would do well stuffed, having thick walls.

'Alma Paprika' peppers

I pulled all the tomato plants I grew in my summer-planting experiment, and kept the ripest fruit. Not sure yet what we're going to do with them, but we'll think of something.

Last summer-planted determinate tomatoes

I pulled the last fennel bulb. Although I'm sure it would have been fine over the next few weeks until hard frost, we really didn't want it to get any bigger.

Last 'Orazio' hybrid fennel

The Kitchen Goddess told me to pick all the remaining celery, so I did. The plan here is to make soup base and freeze it.

'Ventura' celery

She also told me to pick parsley. I thought she meant pick all of it, so that's what I did. Well, she didn't, as you can see why. Oops!

Italian flat-leaf parsley

She gave away some bunches of fresh parsley, and dehydrated the rest. Needless to say, we are well supplied!

Raspberries are still trickling in, but it won't be long before it is finished.

Fall raspberries

TKG went to her community garden plot and returned with two nice petite artichokes.

'Tavor' artichokes

So all the cold-sensitive crops have been removed. Ironically, it's supposed to warm up this coming week, but no loss, because we have so much of everything. It's nice to get a jump on cleaning out the beds, and not play the frost-watch game. The only things remaining are the cool-tolerant plants, which will continue to grow (maybe not flourish). So I may be on hiatus for Harvest Monday posts for a couple of weeks, unless something dramatic (yeah, right) happens.

Thanks for reading, and we'll see you in a few. Thanks once again to Dave at for his hard work in keeping Harvest Monday going.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Harvest Monday - 17 October 2022

Here's another Harvest Monday update from Eight Gate Farm. This week was one of winding down many crops, but I did manage to get one "first harvest."

Another of the tomatoes I planted in my mid-summer experiment gave us some ripe fruits. This is "Early Doll," a hybrid determinate I grew for the first time. It has produced nice-sized (4 to 6 ounce) slicers, and they have very good flavor. I may grow them again, but not mid-summer.

Early Doll

I removed the last of the hot pepper and aubergine plants, harvesting what I could.

Assorted eggplant, Hot Lemon, and Habanero

I netted enough peppers for a small batch of hot sauce. This is mostly Hot Lemon, plus enough Habaneros to give a very zippy sauce even more zip! I'm calling it "Hot Lemon +".

'Hot Lemon +' sauce

I took the last of the scallions and a few more carrots.

'Nabechan' green onions and 'Mokum' carrots

I cut the last of the summer-planted Chinese cabbage. The Kitchen Goddess used one to start a batch of kimchi.

'Minuet' hybrid cabbage

TKG has been picking raspberries fairly often, always welcome.

Fall raspberries

And she's been hitting the parsley hard, making lots of packages of the dried herb. This is something that grew amazingly well this year.

Flat Leaf (Italian) parsley

I pulled up all the winter squash vines. Many had immature fruit that I just didn't bother with. I threw everything into the woods for the wildlife. But there were some nice ones to keep.
Assorted winter squash

So I feel like I'm getting a jump on the first frost, which we might get this week. I'll probably pick all the sweet peppers in the next day or two, and pull out those plants. Normally I fret over the frost, because I want to get more from the plants. But we have so much of nearly everything this year, it won't be a hardship.

Oh, and I planted garlic this week, 48 cloves in all.

Thanks for reading, and thanks once again to Dave at for hosting Harvest Monday.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Harvest Monday - 10 October 2022

Hello again from Eight Gate Farm. Sunday (yesterday) dawned with temperatures very close to freezing. As soon as I could, I went out to the planting areas to check. No apparent damage fortunately. The 10 day forecast predicts that this was the coldest we'll see. So no need to panic harvest, for awhile at least.

I managed one new harvest this week, the result of an experiment I tried this year. I started several varieties of determinate tomatoes on June 9 and transplanted them on July 15. The goal was to see if doing so would escape the diseases that always take down the determinates in midsummer. I chose varieties that were quick-maturing, 55 days or less. The thought was I could get a good harvest starting in September that would last until first frost.

I would not say this was a success. Some of the plants failed to get big, and the first harvest was a month later than promised, and will really amount to nothing. The first ripe fruits came from the "Glacier" variety, something I've grown in the past and whose taste was unimpressive. Same thing this year. But here they are:

'Glacier' det. tomatoes

I did one last picking of hot peppers, and removed most of the plants. We really have enough of everything; in fact I gave away the Anaheims and poblanos.

Final hot pepper harvest

The Hot Lemon peppers will give me enough for maybe one more bottle of hot sauce.

Hot Lemon peppers

I'm keeping the sweet pepper plants for now, in case the fruits put on any more growth. Sweet peppers can be used in any stage of maturity. I'll probably cut the aubergine plants this coming week as we've had enough of them too.

Final eggplant harvest plus sweet peppers

The Kitchen Goddess is still picking raspberries, but the harvests are much smaller.


TKG and her mom went to the community garden and got a nice harvest. As usual Mom was delighted.

I did a little more hot sauce making. These are fiery!

Habanero and Sugar Rush Peach sauces

We also made some chile powder. This used primarily Guajillo peppers, with a few Habanero, Habanada, and paprika peppers. The concoction is wonderfully fragrant, and I only sneezed three times when grinding.

Chile powder

TKG had a fun idea that we should make a spooky lighted Halloween ghost and hang it in our woods along the road. So she did it, and we placed it on Saturday evening. We took pictures from the road. I think people will enjoy it, and who knows, they may even slow down a little. That would be nice!


That's all for this week. Thanks for reading, and thanks a million to Dave at for hosting the Harvest Monday forum.

Monday, October 3, 2022

Harvest Monday - 3 October 2022 - Blue Ribbon Edition Part VI

Hello again from Eight Gate Farm. It was the last weekend of September, which means time once again for The Deerfield Fair. 

The Fair, our area's largest agricultural exhibition, has been operating since 1876, with only one missed year, 2020, for obvious reasons. We love going, especially since it gives us an opportunity to show off our gardens' star products.

This year I entered 14 vegetables. You may think this is excessive, and it may be, but one person I saw had 30 entries. What's wrong with that?

Cutting right to the chase, I made the Top Ten vegetables for the second time, this time with my "Calypso" dry beans. I lost out on being Best In Show to a rather dowdy (to me) display of pole beans. No, I'm not bitter. Really.

Calypso beans made Top Ten

Here's the prize breakdown:

First Prize (8)
  • Dried Beans
  • Garlic
  • Hot Lemon Peppers
  • Habanero Peppers
  • Talon Onions
  • Neck Pumpkins
  • Autumn Frost Squash
  • Sugaretti Spaghetti Squash
Second Prize (5)
  • Thin Cayenne Peppers
  • Sugar Rush Peach Peppers
  • Blue Prince Pumpkins
  • Largest Single Zucchini
  • Red Marble Cippolini Onions
Third Prize (1)
  • Alisa Craig Exhibition Onions--not sure what the problem was here. They were very large and uniform. Maybe the judge didn't like their loose skins, which is a trait of the type?
The ribbons all lined up make me very happy. I'm perfectly willing to accept that I am childish.

2022 Deerfield Fair prize ribbons

Of course the week wasn't all about getting ready for the fair. Harvests are slowing way down as could be expected, but still are bringing good and useful things.

There was only one "first harvest" this week, and that is Swiss Chard. It is very late in the season for me to be picking it for the first time. The only reason I can think of is I did not properly amend the soil in its bed, although I thought I did.

'Oriole' and 'Peppermint' Swiss Chard

On Monday I picked tomatoes. We gave these away, plus what we had inside, to a friend who wanted to make sauce.

Monday tomato harvest

On Tuesday I picked eggplants and sweet peppers.

Tuesday eggplant and sweet pepper harvest

And also hot peppers.

Tuesday hot pepper harvest

On Sunday I did the last major harvest of tomatoes (which we will ripen indoors before giving away), plus a few carrots, plus the last of the habanero peppers.

Sunday harvest

The Kitchen Goddess is bringing in a lot more ripe raspberries, though she informed me that she's not seeing much in the way of new fruit forming. Here's a sample tipping the scale at over 2 pounds.

Sample raspberry harvest

For "preserving the harvest," we smoked, dried, and ground a large amount of paprika peppers. The powder smells wonderful.

Smoked paprika

I said last week I had made several varietal hot sauces, but the 5-ounce bottles I like to keep them in had not shipped. They did show up this week, so I used up last week's production and plus made more, resulting in (from left) 5 bottles of Habanero, 2 of cayenne, and 2 of Hot Lemon.

Varietal hot sauces

That's all for this week. Thanks for reading. Once again I encourage you to take your best vegetables and enter them into any local fair. It is so much fun to show off! And thanks as always to Dave at for hosting Harvest Monday.

Monday, September 26, 2022

Harvest Monday - 26 September 2022

Hello again from Eight Gate Farm. This week was mostly cool, damp, and dreary. Not at all like our normal early fall weather. The harvests are slowing way down, yet a few new crops were brought in.

My first picture is of a heatless habanero pepper called "Habanada." The seedling was given to me by a friend. I never really saw the point of growing heatless hot peppers, but I was happy to give this a try. Cutting them open, they released the same aromatic fragrance of real habaneros. Tasting them (something I wouldn't dare try with a habanero), they are very sweet, fruity, and rich. I can see how they would be good aromatic peppers to flavor things like beans. I might save some seeds. But the plant itself is a shy producer.


The summer-planted "Minuet" Chinese cabbages looked to be ready, and we needed one for a dish. They actually were on the small side, so I took two. 

Minuet (F1) cabbage

This is a volunteer squash that grew up in the compost. I've never grown anything resembling this, so when the fruit formed I was very puzzled as to its origin. Then The Kitchen Goddess remembered we bought some small ornamental pumpkins at the market last year. Well, no need to buy them this year!

Tiny white ornamental pumpkins

I cut the first two "Lilly" hybrid crenshaw-type melons. These are another creation from Johnny's Selected Seeds. They are very sweet, yet also hold some of the muskiness of cantaloupes.

'Lilly' hybrid melons

Three years ago I planted 3 bare root vines of the red wine grape "Marquette." This is a product from the University of Minnesota's project to develop cold-hardy, disease-resistant wine grapes for the North. TKG has been carefully pruning and trellising the vines, and she picked the entire crop this week. Right now they are undergoing fermentation. We have high hopes, as the grapes measured an outstanding brix level of 25.

'Marquette' wine grapes

For "general harvests," Tuesday's was small enough to fit in one picture.

Tuesday general harvest

TKG did some amazing pickings of fall raspberries. Here's one at over 2 pounds. She decided to start a batch of raspberry liqueur with them. I know I'll enjoy sipping it in winter.


It wasn't until Sunday that I ventured out again into the gardens to harvest. The cool weather had really slowed things down. But I got a good cutting of greens (collards and kale). These were immediately chopped and frozen.

Sunday harvest of greens

I also got celery, carrots, paprika peppers, pole beans, shishitos, and a couple of eggplants.

Sunday general harvest

I also got quite a few hot peppers. The top row consists of Sugar Rush Peach, cayennes, and Hot Lemon. The bottom row is guajillo, serrano, and habanero.

Sunday hot pepper harvest

On Saturday TKG and her mum went to their community garden plot, and made off with quite a colorful haul. All proceeds go to Mom.

Since the cold and dampness kept us indoors, it was a good time to do some preserving. I made three simple varietal hot sauces. I ordered more of those cute 5-ounce bottles, but they are twice delayed in shipping, so I had to put the sauce in jars temporarily. From left, fiery-hot habanero, medium-hot cayenne, and very hot Hot Lemon.

Hot sauces

Whatever cayenne peppers did not go into sauce were dehydrated and ground to make a robust chile powder.

Pure cayenne chile powder

On Sunday I did something I never thought I would do. I pulled out all the zucchini, shishito pepper, broccoli, and pole bean plants, even though they were still productive. We've just had enough of them, and friends are pleading with us to give them no more. I may do the same with most of the hot peppers; again, we are at our limit of things to do with them. What a year!

Thanks for reading, and thanks again to Dave at for hosting Harvest Monday.