October Greenhouse Tour

Today I want to give a quick tour of the greenhouse to show what’s growing in there this time of year. All the summer plants have been cleared out now, and I have started planting crops for fall and winter growing. I’ve also begun the process of bringing in potted herbs to overwinter in there, which will provide us with fresh herbs for much of the winter. Any bit of green is welcome in winter, and our greenhouse is big enough to give us a good variety of greens and herbs in the cooler months.

the greenhouse in October

It has been cool enough in the greenhouse lately to plant lettuce. It’s way too hot in there in summer, so I don’t even try and grow it then. I started the seeds indoors under lights about a month ago. I have several old favorites planted plus a few new ones like the Navara red oakleaf. I’m growing it in one of my homemade salad boxes, and I had room for one extra plant which is a green leafy type.

Navara lettuce

The Salanova line of lettuces do well for me in the greenhouse. I have the Red and Green Oakleaf varieties planted in one small salad box, and Red and Green Butter planted in a larger box. These lettuces should be ready to start cutting sometime in early November.

Salanova oakleaf lettuce

I plant more lettuce and other greens in small planter boxes. They are easier to move about than the salad boxes, and give me additional growing capacity.

lettuce in planter box

I also worked up the beds I have running down both side of the greenhouse, adding organic fertilizer and a bit of compost. I use shredded newspaper and cardboard for mulch in these beds, which breaks down over time and adds organic material. Slugs and sowbugs are often a problem in the beds, and I use Sluggo Plus pellets as an organic control for them.

greenhouse beds

On one side, I planted ten purple sprouting broccoli plants. This year I am growing Burgundy, Santee and Rudolph. These should begin yielding sometime in January, and keep going until mid-March. I started these plants back in late July, and they were getting tall and needed to be planted.

Rudolph broccoli

On the other side I planted eight kale plants. I’m growing Western Front, True Siberian, and Groninger Blue there. These plants were a bit smaller than the broccoli, but still good sized. They will supply us with leaves and kale rapini when they start blooming early next spring.

True Siberian kale

I’ve brought in a few container parsley plants I had growing in Smart Pots. These have kept us supplied all summer, and should keep going until spring when I have new plants to set out. We do use a lot of parsley, and I like to keep a good amount of it growing.

parsley plants

I still have more lettuce seedlings to plant in the greenhouse beds, plus some more in containers. And I have a few more herbs to bring inside, including oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme and lemongrass. There’s no frost in our weather forecasts yet, so I will likely leave them outside for a bit longer. I hope you have enjoyed this look at our greenhouse in October, and I’ll be back soon with another update!

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Harvest Monday October 18, 2021

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where gardeners from all over celebrate all things harvest related. The weather here is now a bit more seasonal, with cooler temperatures and less humidity. We haven’t had anything close to a frost yet, but it usually happens sometimes in late October or early November. The garden is still pumping out beans and peppers, with a few eggplants and squashes joining in. I even found a few paste tomatoes last week, which joined in with the peppers and eggplant for ratatouille we had for dinner one night. I also found another tromboncino squash setting on the vines.

October harvest

Turkey Craw is a prolific heirloom pole bean that has big and flavorful seeds. It can be used as a snap bean, as a fresh shell bean or as a dried bean. The original seed is said to have come from a turkey’s craw brought home by a hunter. Consider me skeptical about that, but it certainly makes for an interesting story!

beans and winter squash

Regardless of the origins, this bean is popular in the area within a hundred mile radius of Cumberland Gap where the states of Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee join. I dried quite a few last year for planting and for cooking, and it is a distinctive looking bean to say the least, brown with tan flecks.

dried Turkey Craw beans

We are still well supplied with sweet peppers. Escamillo is a big yellow Italian bulls horn type, and a 2016 AAS Winner. Like Carmen, it was bred by Johnny’s Selected Seeds and the two make great companions in the garden and in the kitchen.

Escamillo peppers

Sweetie Pie is a thick-walled ‘mini’ bell pepper, and also an AAS Winner.

Sweetie Pie peppers

Cornito Arancia is a new introduction, and was also bred by Johnny’s. It has a deep orange color when ripe, and is a similar size to Cornito Rosso, which I am holding next to it. We’ve been enjoying all the sweet peppers, and they have appeared in a number of dishes.

Cornito Arancia and Cornito Rosso peppers

The eggplant has slowed down considerably but we’re still getting a few each week. The one I’m holding (Nadia) got sliced and roasted for eggplant sandwiches. I’ve harvested almost 40 pounds of eggplant so far this year, and it is one of our favorite vegetables. We don’t generally buy them at the grocery, so we enjoy them from the garden while we can.

Nadia eggplant

Gretel and Fairy Tale eggplant

The guajillo peppers are finally ripening. I dry these and grind them up to make a mild chile powder. I often smoke the green ones left at the end of the season and turn them into a smoked chile powder.

Guajillo and Aji Delight peppers

My wife found a bag of frozen spinach from a previous year’s garden and turned it into a crustless spinach and cheese pie last week. It’s much like a crust-less quiche, though with only a couple of eggs and a bit of whole wheat flour to help hold it all together. It was seasoned with fresh parsley and chives from the garden plus feta cheese and a little dried dill weed.

crustless spinach pie

In other news, I’m growing a hardy chrysanthemum in the Wild Garden that has just now started blooming. It has three inch pink flowers, and they have been visited by butterflies and bees since they opened. The plant really took off after I set it out this spring, and will likely need to be pruned to keep it from overtaking its neighbor plants! I spotted both skippers and sulphur butterflies on it, though the sulphur I saw was camera shy and kept flying away.

butterfly on mum

honey bee on mum

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting!


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Harvest Monday October 11, 2021

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where gardeners from all over celebrate all things harvest related. I harvested only a few times last week, as we had a busy week full of other activities. We got our Covid-19 booster shots on Friday, and I had a little muscle soreness at the injection site for about 24 hours. Other than that it wasn’t any worse than the flu shots we got a week before that. On to the garden news! I am continuing to bring in the winter squashes, which are all neck pumpkins at this point. We should be well supplied in this staple for the winter months.

October harvest

The Korean avocado squash (Early Bulam) is still blooming though, and made another good-sized squash for us last week. This is a moschata type winter squash that is used at the green stage, and it has a rich, full flavor when cooked.

Early Bulam squash

I’m still getting quite a few of the sweet ripe cornito (little bulls) peppers. Cornito Arancia has orange flesh when ripe, while Cornito Giallo (a 2016 AAS Winner) has crisp yellow flesh. Both have done well for me this year, though they were a bit slow to start ripening.

Cornito Arancia and Cornito Giallo peppers

The hot peppers are going gangbusters now, and I started another batch of fermented peppers last week for making hot sauce.

hot pepper harvest

Senorita is a hybrid jalapeno I grow with large peppers and a ‘mild’ jalapeno heat level.

Senorita jalapeno peppers

The climbing beans are still going strong here, and I made a harvest of the Pink Tip Greasy beans last week that weighed over three pounds. I cooked up a pound of them, and they were very tasty and tender. Even the mature ones like I’m holding have tender pods, though at this stage they fall apart and the almost-mature seeds inside fall out into the pot. I usually slow-cook them in the Instant Pot, as well as use them in soups. That brought our bean harvest up to 46 pounds for the year, which might be more than last year’s total if they give us a few more harvests. They are still setting pods, so it is likely indeed!

Pink Tip Greasy beans

Since it was a somewhat stressful week here, I made a blackberry cobbler for a sweet treat. I’ve been using the monkfruit sweetener instead of sugar, which cuts calories and makes fruit desserts like this less of a guilty pleasure.

blackberry cobbler

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting!

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Photo Friday: October Blooms

Here’s a peek at what’s blooming here in our gardens in early October. Over the years we have selected plants with an eye for having blooms throughout the growing season, and that planning is paying off now with lots of fall color. The native Goldenrod always puts on a good show this time of year, and I see it everywhere now along the roads and in un-mowed areas around Happy Acres. We have a couple of named varieties that are blooming for us now.

Fireworks Goldenrod

Fireworks has tiny yellow flowers on long, arching flower spikes. It nearly glows in the afternoon sunlight, and is attractive to butterflies and small pollinators.


The purple coneflowers have been blooming for several months now, and are a favorite of butterflies and bees. I saw both on them last week, and occasionally they were on the same flower at once.

bees and butterfly on purple coneflower

The fall blooming asters are also a favorite of the butterflies. I saw a skipper flying around from flower to flower one day. The nearby sedum flowers are done for the season, and they were a favorite of bees and butterflies too.

skipper on aster flower

The hardy hibiscus have been blooming for a couple of months now. Even though the individual flowers only last for a day, there are usually several open on any given day. Hummingbirds are attracted to them for the nectar, and I have seen butterflies on them as well.

hardy hibiscus

The helianthus Low Down and Sweet Daisy Birdy make colorful companions.

helianthus ‘Low Down’ and Sweet Daisy Birdy

Sweet Daisy Cher is on the other side of the Wild Garden, and has bloomed off and on all summer with waves of blossoms.

Sweet Daisy Cher

The butterfly weed is done blooming for the year, but the seed pods are opening to reveal the seeds which are attached to feathery cotton strands to enable them to travel with the wind.

butterfly weed seeds

We’ve had warmer than usual autumn weather here, and that has no doubt helped keep many of the perennials blooming. Before long cold weather will eventually arrive, and until then we will enjoy the flowers while they last. I hope you have enjoyed this update on what’s happening here at Happy Acres!

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Harvest Monday October 4, 2021

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where gardeners from all over celebrate all things harvest related.  It’s another month, and time for a slower pace in the garden here. I’m harvesting a couple of times a week now, unless we need something specific. I’m bringing in more winter squash, and shelling peas and stringing beans for freezing. I’m still finding a few tomatoes for fresh use, though most of the plants are done for.

October Harvest

I harvested over five pounds of pole beans last week, and we cooked one pound of them for fresh eating and I froze the rest. It has been a good year for them here, and I’ve harvested a bit over 40 pounds of them so far. The freezer is now full of this winter staple, and I’m letting a lot of the pods get to the shelling stage now and freezing them like that.

pole bean harvest

The sweet peppers are ripening, and we are eating all we can fresh. I have started dehydrating them also for later use. Meals are often planned around using peppers, and I made ratatouille (again) one night for dinner and served it with pasta. I cooked the veggies on a sheet pan after tossing with olive oil and adding a few herbs. We liked it so much, it’s on the menu again this week!

assorted sweet peppers

Sweetie Pie, Escamillo and Carmen are three AAS Winners that are doing well for me this year. Carmen always does great for me in containers and for in-ground plantings. Sweetie Pie is classed as a mini bell pepper, but it has thick walls and typically weighs almost as much as a full sized bell pepper. Escamillo and Carmen are two hybrid bulls horn peppers that were bred by Johnny’s Selected Seeds.

Sweetie Pie, Escamillo and Carmen peppers

Senorita is a jalapeno pepper with a mild to moderate heat level, at least as jalapenos go. It is plenty hot for me, and I usually turn a lot of them into hot sauce or smoke and dry them to make chipotles. I’ve got quite a few hot peppers ripening now and I will need to harvest and process them soon.

Senorita jalapenos

The container eggplants have gotten a second wind after I trimmed back the plants and gave them a drink of fish and seaweed fertilizer. Gretel and Fairy Tale are two AAS Winners that do quite well in containers, and they are two of my favorite eggplant varieties. They are mild and sweet tasting, and prolific as well.

Gretel and Fairy Tale eggplant

I have been cleaning out the greenhouse in my ‘spare’ time, getting it ready for winter plantings. It was full of cucumber plants this summer, but they are all on the compost pile now. Soon I will be setting out kale and purple sprouting broccoli plants in the beds, and planting lettuce and other greens in containers. The brassicas are now in individual pots in the greenhouse, are are ready to go once I finished prepping the beds with added compost and a bit of fertilizer.

looking in the greenhouse

I also processed a jar of the fermented smoked peppers last week. I used my Sriracha-Style Hot Sauce recipe for one bottle, and my Basic Fermented Hot Sauce recipe to make a second bottle with the peppers. This is only my second year to ferment the smoked peppers, and I am still experimenting with how to use them. Last year I made sriracha style hot sauce and it has been a big winner. The combination of sweet, smoky, hot and tangy really works well for me. Mixed with yogurt it makes a tangy salad dressing or dipping sauce that packs a mild heat and a lot of flavor.

making smoked hot sauces

making smoked hot sauces

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting!

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