Monday, September 25, 2023

Harvest Monday - 25 September 2023

Autumn has arrived, and it brought with it cold and damp conditions. I read that this was the wettest summer on record here, over 21" of rain. Harvests are slowing way down, and I've already removed the cucumber and broccoli plants.

There was only one "new thing" this week: black beans. Like my other dry bean crop, this one suffered from poor germination, so the results are less than stellar. Still, I can get at least one meal of one of my favorite dishes, black beans and rice.

Midnight Black Turtle beans

 I've done several general harvests this past week, but only one is picture-worthy. Flanking the raspberries on the left are sweet peppers, and on the right, hot peppers. Some green pole beans and broccoli side shoots are at the bottom.

Tuesday general harvest

I'm still picking tomatoes, but not worth showing. The Kitchen Goddess and I were talking the other day, and we agreed that we have so much canned tomato products left from last year, that it isn't a tragedy that we've had a poor year. Plus, much less work to do! Now if next year is like this one, we will be sad.

TKG met her mother at the community garden plot they share, and Mom went home with some nice goods. By the way, I think TKG was being too optimistic with the description of the weather.

Community garden plot harvest

For "preserving the harvest," I judged there were enough peppers to dehydrate and grind. These are Anaheims on the left, which have a very slight heat, and the red Hungarian Cheese peppers I use for paprika. I decided to forego smoking this batch.

"Spice" peppers

The Cheese peppers, being thick-walled took almost twice as long as the Anaheims to dry in the oven, and still had to be finished in the dehydrator. Maybe I'll start looking for a thin-walled paprika pepper. But the end results are very pleasing.

Anaheim pepper powder


I suppose it's a valid question to ask if it's "worth" putting in all that time for a little bit of inexpensive spice powder. I guess I just do it for fun, and the aroma is worth it, as is the good feeling you get when you use some of your own labor.

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

Monday, September 18, 2023

Harvest Monday - 18 September 2023

As this past week progressed, we got more and more warnings about the potential for Hurricane Lee to possibly strike us. Toward the end of the week, it became more clear that the storm would veer east of us, and that's what happened, hitting coastal Maine and the Canadian Maritimes as a tropical storm. So on Saturday we just got showers and gusty winds. That's good, because no one needs a hurricane!

Some more "first harvests" rolled in this week, and that's where I'll start. The fiery hot Habanero peppers made their first appearance on Monday. This is a hybrid version called "Helios" from the Johnny's Selected Seeds breeding program, and it's earlier and more productive than the open-pollinated parent.

Helios (F1) Habanero peppers

 Looking very similar, but with a much different flavor, is "Habanada." A friend gave me a plant last year and I saved seeds. It has all the floral characteristics of Habanero, but with no heat. As such, it's a good "seasoning pepper" for such things as bean dishes. Have to make sure not to mix them up with the hot version!

Habanada (OP)

The bullhorn-style hybrid sweet pepper "Escamillo," also from Johnny's, came in this week.

Escamillo (F1) sweet pepper

This year I tried an experiment, planting a small crop of short-maturing sweet corn late in the season. I unfortunately don't remember exactly when I  planted it, but it was definitely late June or early July. The variety is "Early SunGlow," with a maturity of 60-65 days, which is really quick by my other standards. It is a "normal sugary" (su) type, and as such, it is not as sweet as my others. Now that I'm used to really sweet corn, SunGlow, although well-formed and crisp, was disappointing after trying it several times this week. I'll go through and pick the rest of the crop, boiling the ears and cutting off the kernels, which will be fine in other dishes.

Early SunGlow (hybrid)

Last year a mystery squash grew out of my compost pile, and produced small white pumpkins. It must have come from a fall decoration composted the year before. I saved some seeds, and planted it this year. I think this variety is called Baby Boo, and I have to chuckle when I see them selling at the farm stands for $2 each.

Baby Boo

The combination of severe February weather, and a hard frost in mid-May, destroyed much of the fruit crop potential in this area. For us, we've gotten no peaches, apples, grapes, or blueberries. So it's a surprise that we got pears. This is the entire crop, and they're small and lumpy, but they always are, as the trees were planted in a too-shady spot (not by me). Still, it's nice to have them.

Anjou pears

Turning to general harvests, this was Monday's.

Monday general harvest

That day The Kitchen Goddess did the first large picking of the fall raspberries, nearly two pounds.

Fall raspberries

Wednesday's harvest was very colorful!

Wednesday harvest

Here's Friday's general harvest. I believe we're up to five pounds of raspberries just this week.

Friday harvest

A really nice harvest was taken at the community garden plot shared by TKG and her mother.

Community garden harvest

Late this week, TKG appropriated all my cayenne and Habanero peppers, and made mashes for what she calls "fermentation" but I call "science projects."

Fermenting Habanero and cayenne pepper mashes

That's all for this week. Thanks for reading, and I hope your harvests are coming in nicely. Thanks also to Dave at for hosting Harvest Monday.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Harvest Monday - 11 September 2023

We had July in September this past week, with temps over 90f (32+c), and high humidity. Very uncomfortable, but good for the crops. A number of "firsts" came in, starting with hot peppers.

I'm a big fan of cayennes, and we use them for a varietal hot sauce as well as dehydrating. Of course, we'll need a lot more than this. Last year at this time I was already bottling sauce.

Cayenne (OP)

Guajillo is a beautiful pepper, large and with deep color. We make an aromatic chile powder with them. The seeds were provided by none other than our Harvest Monday host, Dave.

Guajillo (OP)

Anaheim is another versatile pepper, typically with a little bit of kick. We use them for chile rellenos, and dry them for powder too.

Anaheim (OP)

The Kitchen Goddess made me some rellenos, which were amazing, but I didn't detect any heat from the peppers.

Chile rellenos

The hybrid sweet bell pepper "Ace" made its first appearance this season. 

Ace (F1)

I finally got the first ripe Pink Brandywine tomato. Independent taste tests, including our own, frequently rank Brandywine at the top. In my area, they are slow, prone to disease, and not productive, but I have to grow it for the taste.

Pink Brandywine (heirloom)

It was also time to dig the entire crop of Kennebec potatoes. I love them for their creamy taste and long storage. We got a nice crop this year.


But that's not all! I was apparently not diligent in harvesting all our potatoes last year, and the overlooked ones grew and multiplied. These are both Kennebec and Yukon Gold.

Volunteer potatoes

The last "first harvest" was this entire crop of Alicia Craig onions. They have a nice flavor, but don't store for very long, so we have to use these first.

Alicia Craig onions (OP)

 Some of these get quite large. As I've said before, it amazes me that something this big can grow from a little wispy seedling.

Alicia Craig

Now on to the general harvests. On Tuesday I picked a good amount of eggplant at the request of a friend.

Italian and Asian-style eggplant

Here was Wednesday's general harvest.

Wednesday general harvest

And here was Friday's.

Friday general harvest

Can't forget to show the amazing harvest TKG and her mom got from their community garden plot.

Community garden plot harvest

One day this week TKG turned this...

...into this. Five quarts of chopped tomatoes.

Canned chopped tomatoes.

So my prediction that we would not have enough tomatoes this year to do any canning was wrong, but not by much I still believe.

This coming week the temperature is supposed to moderate and be more seasonal. "Most" of me wants that to come true, but the heat really does help in ripening. Thanks for reading, and thanks once again to Dave at for hosting Harvest Monday.

Monday, September 4, 2023

Harvest Monday - 4 September 2023

Happy Labor Day from Eight Gate Farm. The "first harvests" are slowing down, understandably, but we are still getting a few.

I picked the first red-ripe Hungarian Cheese peppers. While technically a stuffing pepper, their thick walls make them ideal for drying and making paprika, which is what we will do.

Hungarian Cheese peppers for paprika

 I also took the entire crops of two different onions. The first is "Talon," a hybrid yellow onion that I have had success with for several years, and stores very well. Some were very large.

Talon (F1) yellow onions

The second is "Barolo," a hybrid red onion. It's the first time I've grown it. Some are also very large. I hope it's another one that stores well.

Barolo (F1) red onions

Shown together, they make a gratifying display.

Red and yellow onions

Our wise Harvest Monday host, Dave, doesn't now spend much time or effort growing what he calls "commodity crops" like onions or potatoes. He's right, of course. They are very cheap, even in the specialty organic markets. But I still like doing it, and enjoy using them throughout the winter.

Now for "general harvests";  crops that have already been singly featured in my posts. Tuesday's harvest was something red...

Tuesday tomato harvest

...and something green:

Tuesday other harvest

Every night was a harvest of sweet corn. Sadly, I'm just unable to eat more than two ears lately. I used to devour it. So the remainder is cut from the cob and stored in the freezer.

Honey Select hybrid sweet corn

Here was Thursday's harvest. The red raspberries, which were pouting in the summer heat, are starting to get their full fall flush now.

Thursday general harvest

Here is Sunday's harvest. It's interesting that I'm still getting small harvests of broccoli side-shoots.

Sunday general harvest

Also on Sunday I picked all the remaining Honey Select corn, from the first batch I planted. The second batch should be appearing soon. This "baker's dozen" (what a strange term!) has some second ears from the stalks. Usually they suffer from poor pollination and this time was no exception.

Honey Select corn

Labor Day weekend is when the Vermont Garlic Festival in Bennington, Vermont is held. We go there to buy the seed garlic we will use for the coming year. This weekend, we took a two-night "mini vacay" to do this, and had a lovely time.

Bennington is about 2.5 hours west of us. For the last three years, it's no longer sited in the big beautiful hayfield on the outskirts of town, but has relocated right into the town itself. Hence, the festival has been renamed "Garlic Town USA." We feel the number of vendors has been reduced, but it still gives you an opportunity to interact directly with the garlic farmers, which I prefer rather than buying online. We were still able to source all the seed garlic we needed.

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