Monday, July 25, 2022

Harvest Monday - 25 July 2022

Hello again from Eight Gate Farm! This entire week was hot and humid. Sunday was the hottest of all, but at least a breeze sprang up in the afternoon, which was welcome.

Reading the terrible heat wave reports from around the Northern Hemisphere, I can't really complain. All I can say is I've been sweating through three t-shirts a day, which is as unpleasant for you to visualize as it is for me to experience. 

This week's post will run long, for which I apologize, but there was a lot to harvest and process.

Starting with the new harvests, I cut the first cauliflower. The Kitchen Goddess made a mash with it. It was cheesy and delicious, but maybe not the healthiest thing.

Flame Star hybrid cauliflower

I picked the first pole beans. In the past I've only grown bush beans, but last year I really enjoyed the taste of this variety in the limited planting I did. So I planted only it this year.

Fortex pole beans

The first "Beit Alpha" cucumbers ripened this week. This variety has an interesting history, having been developed on an Israeli kibbutz in the 1940s. I got the seeds as a sample, and the fruits are quite good.

Beit Alpha cucumbers

Typically I wait to pick the sweet peppers until they have reached their full mature color. But I was not diligent about removing the first few flowers of some seedlings, and later it looked like the plants were concentrating their energy on the first fruits. So I cut them off. That's fine, as green peppers are good too.

Top: Carmen; bottom: Ace

Our raspberry canes are showing their summer flush. They really start going crazy in the fall. Here they are, along with a nice picking of blueberries, which are starting to come in strong.

Raspberries and blueberries

Now for "continuing harvests." Here is Monday's picking of zucchini, cucumbers, and broccoli side-shoots.

Monday harvest

Here is Wednesday's, with another cauliflower, green onions, shishito peppers, cucumbers, and zucchini.

Wednesday harvest

Here's Friday's, featuring raspberries, blueberries, collards, fennel, beans, and zucchini.

Friday harvest

And here's Sunday's, with cucumbers, salad greens, beans, and zucchini. While our climate may not typically allow homegrown salads and tomatoes, at least we get a brief period of salads and cucumbers!

Sunday harvest

The Kitchen Goddess shares a community garden plot with her mother. Here's a sample harvest from them.

Understandably, the fridge was full to bursting with fresh produce. So we processed a lot for the freezer. From top left is cauliflower, yellow zucchini, green zucchini, and beans.

Ready for freezer

TKG took a large zucchini and made tortillas, if you can believe it! They are keto and gluten free, and will freeze well. They taste great, and would be wonderful with a fried egg on top I'm sure.

Zucchini "tortillas"

Two weeks ago I harvested Sugar Rush Cream hot peppers, which TKG immediately started fermenting. The mash was ready this week. She pressed it through a sieve and yielded two bottles of hot sauce. The stuff that wouldn't go through the sieve was also kept for seasoning. The sauce has a very enjoyable floral flavor, and the heat gradually builds without overpowering. It's great!

"Sugar Rush Cream" hot sauce plus pepper mash

Finally, in Wildlife Notes, I found this Grey Treefrog in the saucer of a pot of succulents on the table on the back patio. As you can see, this species as a chameleon-like ability to blend with its background.

Gray treefrog

Whew, that's it. Thanks for reading, and thanks as always to Dave at for hosting Harvest Monday!

Monday, July 18, 2022

Harvest Monday - 18 July 2022

Hello again from Eight Gate Farm! Last July was way too wet; this year too dry. Practically the whole State of New Hampshire is in the Moderate Drought category. We can water the gardens, of course, but it's impractical to do the lawns and field, so they are browning.

Despite this, we are pleased with the fruit and vegetables we're getting. Once again I'll start with the new harvests.

The first shishito peppers were picked. This hybrid variety, "Mellow Star," has never once given us a hot one. We love them, but by the end of the season we grow tired of them as they are so prolific.

Mellow Star shishito

I judged another row of garlic was ready to pull. As I said when I pulled the first row, the row labels had worn off. But now I'm pretty sure the first one is Chesnok Red (it's purple-striped) and this one is Music (a porcelain type, white-skinned). It made fairly good-sized bulbs.

Music garlic

I've never grown radicchio before, but have always admired it in the seed catalogs. I've eaten it, but only as a component of salads when we dine out. I was told to expect bitterness, but I was okay with that, because I like mildly bitter greens like arugula and chard. But this...yikes! We lightly grilled it, took a few bites, and couldn't finish it. We'll have to try again.

Fiero (F1) radicchio

I started six "Imperial" broccoli plants this year. Only four survived, which is not uncommon given our unpredictable spring weather. Normally I wouldn't harvest all four at once, but they all appeared to be at their peak.

Imperial hybrid broccoli

I snapped off the first leaves from the collards. We don't cook with them much, but instead chop them, freeze without blanching, and add to our morning smoothies for extra nutrition.

Top Bunch 2.0 collards

Finally we are getting cucumbers. These don't look that great on the outside (probably cucumber beetle damage), but peeled they were sweet and delicious.

National Pickling cucumbers

Blueberries made their first appearance. We're so glad to get them, having gotten exactly zero last year for an unknown reason. The Kitchen Goddess, being much smaller and much more nimble than I, crawls under the netting and does the picking.


For continuing harvests, we are getting a good amount of zucchini, which at this stage is still very welcome.

Pantheon and Yellowfin hybrid zucchini

We cut several nice bulbs of fennel ("Florence Fennel" to some) this week.

Orazio hybrid fennel

I pulled quite a few bunching onions. We cut off the bottoms and froze them without blanching. The green tops TKG sliced and dehydrated to add to soup bases. I still have plenty more in the garden, because I grew, well, bunches!

Nabechan hybrid green onions

The peas (mangetout) finished out this week. The Blue Wind broccoli plants continue to give us sideshoots.

On Sunday TKG did a strong picking from the two salad mix rows. She also took another radicchio, this time removing all the outer leaves and leaving only the heart. We grilled it, and it was lovely, no bitterness at all. That makes me happy, as the plant is so pretty and lights up the garden.

Radicchio (upper left) and salad greens

In non-harvest news, the no-till no-dig plot extension experiment continues to astound me. For reference, here's the July 1st picture I showed a few posts ago.

No-till plot on July 1

Here's what it looked like on the 15th. It clearly loves growing in pure compost.

No-till plot on July 15

I swear the squash reaches out to grab my leg as I walk by.

So putting the sweet corn in the middle of the plot turns out to be another of my fabulous ideas. You can barely see it starting to peek over the squash, or some of it is anyway. But even if it reaches maturity, how in the world am I going to pick it? Sigh.

That's all for this week. Thanks for reading, and thanks as always to Dave at for giving us this forum to show off our stuff.

Monday, July 11, 2022

Harvest Monday - 11 July 2022

Here's another Harvest Monday report from Eight Gate Farm. We had three "new" harvests this week. Two I'll show first, the other will be at the end, because there's a story to it. 

It looked like one row of garlic was ready to pull as most of the leaves had browned, even though this is several weeks earlier than last year. Last fall I planted three rows with 16 cloves each of three types. I labeled each row, but neglected to write down somewhere what was what. And naturally, the writing on the markers faded. So I'm not sure if this is "Music" or "Chesnok Red." 

First harvest of hardneck garlic

The bulbs are nice, but not Fair prizewinners in terms of size. Regardless, it's good to have a harvest as we are almost out of last year's garlic.

The second new harvest was basil. I grew two types, "Genovese," and "Thai." Genovese is something many are familiar with, and Thai is stronger-flavored and aromatic. The Kitchen Goddess cut a good amount, along with a large amount of Italian parsley, all to put in the dehydrator.

Genovese and Thai basil, along with Italian Parsley

For continuing harvests, I did several picking of salad greens, still looking quite good.

Salad mixes

I also took the last head of iceberg lettuce, not bolting but starting to get a little pointy.


I cut another nice big fennel bulb.

'Orazio' fennel

I continue to be impressed with "Pantheon" zucchini, a hybrid replacement for the Cocozelle di Napoli I've grown for many years. In comparison, Pantheon is earlier, more compact, less spiny, and more productive, with the same rich nutty taste and strongly ribbed appearance. I'd say it's a winner.

Pantheon zucchini

"Yellowfin" zucchini is also doing well this year, so far.

Yellowfin zucchini, plus a Pantheon

I needed to make room in the fridge for more harvests, so I processed some vegetables for the freezer. It netted six quart bags of zucchini, broccoli, and snow peas. Not one to waste anything, I cooked down the water used to steam them, and TKG added it to an egg drop soup made with our snow peas and spring onions.

Vegetables ready for freezer

Now for the story. Here it is...a full quart of hot peppers!

'Sugar Rush Cream' hot peppers

"But wait!" I hear you say (in my imagination). "In your climate you don't get hot peppers until September." Yes, that's true...but I have a trick!

At the end of the season last year I dug up this plant, pruned it down to 3 short branches (3 -4 inches long, no leaves), washed the root ball completely clean of soil, replanted it in soil-less mix, and kept it in a cool room (+/- 55 F.) with some sun exposure, all winter. I watered it occasionally. It just sat there, its branches green but not growing. Finally about February I moved it into the warm sunroom, and it immediately started to send out growth. 

I transplanted it out to its bed in early May, much earlier than the peppers I started from seed. Here's what it looked like then.

Pepper plant transplanted early

And here's what it looks like now, dwarfing the seed-started peppers in front.

Sugar Rush Cream pepper now

It's just loaded with fruit. I picked only those that were touching the soil. 

This was not my original idea. I got it from the folks who make videos on YouTube under the name "PepperGeek." I was pretty sure it wouldn't work, but you can see it did. Note that this is not the same as overwintering a full plant. I tried that a few years ago and all I got was a bunch of whiteflies in the sunroom. With this technique, you don't introduce any pests from outdoors. I'm going to do this for five or six plants, both sweet and hot, at the end of this growing year. It's fun to get a jump on the season!

TKG put the peppers in the food processor and began a fermentation batch for hot sauce. I'm glad she's handling this, because I've been less than happy with my own fermentation results.

Sugar Rush Cream peppers fermenting.

Thanks for reading, and apologies for going long. Thanks once again to Dave at for continuing to host Harvest Monday.

Monday, July 4, 2022

Harvest Monday - 4 July 2022

Happy Independence Day! I was thinking, for all the bad things going on recently (looking at you Supreme Court), this country still has a lot going for it. So I can celebrate the nation's birth without too many qualms.

We had several new harvests this week. First up is zucchini (courgettes). This is fully two weeks earlier than last year.  I'm hoping to get a good amount before the squash bugs and vine borers take the crop down, as has happened in the last few years. 

I cut the first "Pantheon" hybrid, based on the heirloom Cocozelle type. I love the look of the Italian varieties, which adds to the taste, as appearance is almost as important in my opinion.

Pantheon hybrid zucchini

Also cut was "Yellowfin," a completely yellow hybrid I've been growing for years.

Yellowfin hybrid zucchini

 I cut two nice broccoli heads, shown below, and another one a few days later. This variety, Blue Wind, is extra early and reliable. It produces many side shoots too.

Blue Wind hybrid broccoli

 I also cut the largest fennel bulb. I'm always surprised now quickly the fennel sizes up once it gets established. Again, I'm not really fond of it, but The Kitchen Goddess (TKG) loves it, so I'm happy to grow them.

Orazio hybrid fennel

I do love scallions (green onions, bunching onions, spring onions, your choice) and though they never seem to get as big as the seed packet promises, I look forward to the harvests. This was the first this year, about pencil size.

Nabechan bunching onions

TKG picked lavender, and wove some lovely and fragrant wands. I think she's planning to cast spells with it, so I'd better watch myself.

Lavender wand

For continuing harvests, I cut few more kohlrabi. Another picking finished this crop for now, though I'm considering starting some more for a fall harvest.

Kolibri kohlrabi

More pea pods. We're giving some away at this point.

Super Sugar Snap and Avalanche snow peas

And another crisp head of iceberg lettuce. That means it's wedge salad time, hooray!


In other Garden Notes, last October I wrote about how I was expanding the field garden by using the "lasagna" method, sheet cardboard over the grass, followed by 4 inches of grass clippings and another 4 inches of pure shredded leaf compost. This how it looked then.


Here's how it looks now. I'm very pleased with how well things are growing. I transplanted winter squash in late May, and planted sweet corn on June 10. It makes me want to expand it still further, though we don't really need the space.


Speaking of Independence Day, on Friday it was super hot, so we drove to the coast (less than an hour away) to maybe catch a cooling sea breeze. We stopped for lunch at a waterside cafe (BG's Boat House, best fried clams I've ever had), then continued on to Fort Constitution, formerly Fort William and Mary. It was here in December 1774 that one of the first overt acts against the Crown occurred. A group of colonists attacked and captured the fort, making off with its gunpowder to distribute to local militias.

Sadly the fort was closed (structural problems), and since it's on an active US Coast Guard base, which can deny access any time it wants, we weren't able to walk up to it (a polite but firm Guardsman told us to leave). So this is the best picture I could get. The fort is behind the big ugly boat house.

Historic Fort Constitution, New Castle, New Hampshire

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