Sweet Potatoes, Green Tomatoes and Persimmons

Our first frost forecasts came a bit earlier than usual this year. Frosty weather, or the threat of frost, always has me scrambling to harvest all the sensitive crops like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and sweet potatoes. Which also means I have to get busy and do something with all those veggies coming in! The kitchen has seen a flurry of activity the last few days, and the refrigerator is now stuffed with peppers and eggplant. I’m not sure if we’ve actually got frost yet, but the temps dipped into the thirties.

2012 sweet potatoes (click on any image to enlarge)

I dug the sweet potatoes late last week. We wound up with right at 35 pounds of them, less than the 62 pounds we got last year but more than the 25 pounds we got in 2010. Between the drought conditions, and a rabbit that got inside the fenced in garden and munched on the vines, some of the plants just didn’t make many sweet potatoes. I had two varieties planted this year: Beauregard and Hernandez. This year the Hernandez did much better than Beauregard, but I believe it was mainly because the rabbit feasted more on the Beauregard vines and left Hernandez alone. Last year the two varieties produced about the same amount. The 35 pounds of sweet potatoes will be plenty for us to dine on in the coming months.

Ancho and Numex Sunrise peppers for roasting

I also picked as many peppers as I could this week, ripe and green. The peppers produced about the same as they did last year. We have been dehydrating them, and dicing and freezing them for later use. My one Ancho 211 plant made lots of peppers, and I will dry the red ones for powder and roast the green ones on the grill, then chop them up and freeze them. I’m going to stuff some of the bell peppers and freeze them for later meals. I’ve found that’s a great way to enjoy peppers in the winter months. Of course I’ll probably make some more hot sauce with some of the hot peppers.

last eggplants of the season

It’s been a pretty good year for eggplants too. The last harvest brought the yearly totals to about 36 pounds, which is a couple of pounds more than last year. We’ve enjoyed them grilled, stir-fried and made into Baba Ghanoush. I always enjoy them in season and then miss them when they’re gone!

green tomatoes for salsa

I got quite a few green tomatoes off the vines, enough to make a batch of Green Tomato Salsa Verde and still have lots left over. I need to share that recipe, because it’s a great thing to do with green tomatoes at the end of the season. I freeze the salsa instead of canning it, and it does quite well that way. I also saved some of the bigger ones for frying. I wanted one last taste of fried green tomatoes! That’s on the menu for tonight. I also started a couple of jars of lacto-fermented green tomatoes. I am having fun with this old-fashioned way of pickling things without vinegar. I’m wanting to try pickling carrots, radishes, turnips and kohlrabi this way too. It won’t be long before those veggies are ready.

bowl of green Juliet tomatoes

Another real treat we are just now enjoying is the Asian persimmons. I have two trees planted: Gwang Yang and Ichy Ki Kei Jiro. We have a total of 15 persimmons on the two trees, which will be our biggest harvest to date if they all ripen. These two trees are non-astringent types, which means they can be eaten when they are still firm like an apple and you won’t pucker up! I would like to plant one astringent type because I like them too. Hachiya probably won’t do well here, but I am looking into planting either a Tanenashi or Saijo tree.

Gwang Yang persimmons

I’ve started harvesting the fall kale. I got a mix of Lacinato and Beedy’s Camden that I fixed for a side dish one night, and some went into a kale soup. I’ve also got Rainbow Lacinato kale planted. I skipped planting collard greens this year, though we planted some at the Impact Community Garden. I need to get down there with my camera and get some photos. We’ve got a lovely fall garden going down there.

Beedy’s Camden kale

That’s a peek at what we’ve been harvesting here in early October. To see what other goodies gardeners from all over the world are harvesting, visit Daphne’s Dandelions, host of Harvest Mondays. And Happy Growing to all of you gardeners out there!

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17 Responses to Sweet Potatoes, Green Tomatoes and Persimmons

  1. Daphne says:

    Beautiful harvests. How do you cure your sweet potatoes? This is the first year of them for me and I’m always interested in how others do it.

  2. Bee Girl says:

    What a wonderful variety! Your sweet potatoes have me envious! I really must find a way to grow them next year! Where did you order your shoots from?

    I harvested several Happy Yummy Peppers last weekend and posted about them in my Harvest Monday post. They’ve been a great success this year, whereas the Happy Hots started off strong, they never really produced much.

    • Dave says:

      I got the sweet potato starts from a local garden center. I do believe that is a great way to get them, if you can find them that way.

      The Happy Yummys are pretty variable. Here, the hot ones did better than the sweets. I am hoping I got some good saved seed for growing next year.

  3. Patsy says:

    What a varied garden you grow! So many interesting things! Your sweet potatoes look so good I wonder about trying to grow them sometime. Great harvest!

  4. kitsapFG says:

    I am always envious of those of you who can grow sweet potatoes. Just not an option in my growing region. It would be lovely though if I could, as they are so tasty. Everyone seems to be pulling in peppers and tomatoes this week. We will be too shortly but have at least another week of mild weather forecasted so I am putting it off until I need to.

    My Beedy’s Camden kale is ready for harvesting too. Thanks for sending the seed earlier this year.

  5. Jenny says:

    What a wonderful bounty of sweet potatoes, peppers and eggplants! But my favorite would be persimons – I LOVE them! sadly they only available in stores for short time. I did plant 1 tree this year but it will take few years to start producing.

  6. Shawn Ann says:

    great harvest! I had something munch on my vines too, I just buried them and they did great! I got the largest potato from those vines.

  7. I like what you said about eggplants, how you always eat them in season and miss them all winter. That’s me, too. Next year I am going to start some early like I did this year, and then I am going to start some more later in the year for fall harvest. All my plants were pooped by the middle of the summer.

  8. Michelle says:

    Wow, 35 pounds of beautiful sweet potatoes! Do you only eat eggplant in season, you don’t preserve any? I like to freeze grilled eggplant slices, they make great off season eggplant parmesan. The lacto fermented veggies sound interesting, I might have to give that a try someday.

    • Dave says:

      I do grill some and freeze them for later use. We also dehydrated some last year, but struggled to find uses for those.

  9. Mike R says:

    Beautiful persimmons. I used to pick persimmons from a tree near Lake Monroe that I found on a hike. It was always loaded in the fall. After the frost they looked awful but were sweet and tasty. Also a nice harvest of sweet potatoes. I added a bed this year and will have to try growing some.

  10. Norma Chang says:

    No sweet potatoes for me this year, beautiful vines, but the critters took care of the tubers, leaving me with partially eaten ones. Should have harvest when I first observed tunnels in the beds, just didn’t think the critters would wipe me out.
    How fortunate that you are able to grow persimmons. How many years before the tree bear fruits?

    • Dave says:

      This is the fourth year for the trees. The Ichy tree had a few persimmons on it the second year. Both trees are now only about 6-7 feet tall.

  11. I’m so envious of your sweet potatoes. I tried finding organic slips locally, but finally gave up. I’ll have to try again next year. I love to use them in roasted veggie medleys or soups, like my carrot soup, to give the color and flavor a little kick.

    It’s been all about the peppers here too this week. Not so much for frost, but the threat of rain. I made the mistake of harvesting almost 20 lbs yesterday, with the intent of pickling and marinating them, but quite honestly, after four batches, I’m ready to simply slice and freeze the rest. I really need to get that dehydrator. After a good tomato year this year, I really could have used it! Maybe I’ll have to talk nice to Santa 😉

    Oh, and congrats on the persimmons. Our sum total this year is…zero. But that’s ok, our tree is still very young.

  12. Jeanne says:

    Any chance of sending a SASE for a few seeds of Beedy’s Camden Kale ? I would love to grow it…I can also trade you for most any OP pepper or tomato…Many Italian varieties of greens …Also a portuguese kale that is nice in the summer and thrives on heat and neglect…


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