Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. With a predicted frost coming this past weekend, it seems like I was in harvest-overdrive for much of last week. The biggest chore was digging the sweet potatoes, which I talked about in my last post. After I had dug the first few plants, I felt like it was going to be a great year for them. And when the digging was all done, it turned out to be a very good year indeed. I hauled in a little over 96 pounds of them. They are now all curing in our relatively warm (over 70°F) basement.
The total yield is considerably more than the 58 pounds I harvested last year from the same number of plants(28). Beauregard was the heaviest yielding, averaging 4 lbs/plant. Purple was second, yielding 3.2 lbs/plant, and Bonita was a respectable third with 2.6lbs/plant. It would seem that the abundant rain we got during the summer months favored the sweet potatoes, though adding kelp and a bit of bone meal probably also helped. In past years I have had considerable vole damage to the tubers, but this year it was minimal. I only saw damage on four or five of them, including one Purple that was gnawed in two. You can even see the tooth marks in the below photo.
Thankfully the other Purple sweet potatoes I dug are intact and lovely. This variety seems to make mostly straight and uniform tubers in my garden, unlike Beauregard which makes tubers of all shapes and sizes. Beauregard is a dependable performer though, and we enjoy its sweet and moist orange flesh. Purple is also great in the kitchen, and its slightly drier and less sweet purple flesh makes it great for a number of dishes, like the Rio Zape and Sweet Potato Salad I made a few months back. I’m really looking forward to trying the white fleshed Bonita once it has cured.
After the sweet potatoes were safely inside, it was time to work on the other veggies. I harvested one more of the Rai Kaw Tok winter squash, this one weighing a little over nine pounds. There were a couple more left on the vine that weren’t mature yet.
I got five more of the prolific Seminole squash. The color hasn’t completely turned to tan yet, but the rind is hard and I believe they are mature. I will let them sit for a few weeks before eating. The temperature wound up getting down to 26°F yesterday morning, so that will be it for the winter squash this year.
I harvested all the remaining peppers I could find before the frost/freeze, other than green ones from a few of the sweet peppers. The counter looks like Pepper Junction with all the peppers that came in from the cold! Some will get dehydrated, some smoked, and many of the bell peppers were chopped and frozen for later use. I also made a batch of Michelle’s Pepper Jam yesterday with the Aji Golden and Sweet Happy Yummy peppers.
My Aji Golden peppers were pretty hot to my tastes, so I removed the seeds from all the peppers before making the jam. I haven’t had a good pepper jam in ages, and I can’t wait to try this one out. I did sneak a little taste and I believe it is going to be yummy. Thanks to Michelle’s recipe, I now have one more thing to do with the baccatum peppers! I must have used less peppers than she did though, as I wound up with five jars of the finished jam instead of the seven jars she got.
The brassicas should be able to stand these first frosts and freezes, so I’m in no hurry to harvest all of them just yet. I did harvest the first of the fall cabbages, which were fully sized and ready. I only planted six of them, which is plenty of cabbage for the two of us to eat plus some for sauerkraut. I’ll save the sauerkraut details for a later post. In the below photo from left to right you see KY Cross, Farao and Parel. The Parel had split open, so it was definitely time to get it in while it was still edible. The three cabbages weighed a little over six pounds total, and while the flathead KY Cross is bigger it isn’t as dense as the roundhead Farao.
I also cut more of the fall broccoli. That’s Diplomat in the below photo. Last year it and Imperial made the largest heads in the fall garden, and they’re back this year to see if they can repeat the performance.
I used the broccoli to make a batch of Broccoli Walnut Salad. This salad is always a treat for me, and it made a nice accompaniment to some grilled salmon.
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!