Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. Our weather went from summer to winter in just a few days time. On October 5th we had a high temperature of 91°F, and a week later on the 12th the low dipped down to 35°F. I found a little bit of frost on the grass that morning, but it wasn’t enough to hurt the garden.
The cool temps will slow everything down though. Which is not a bad thing, as the cool weather crops have been suffering in the heat. I even have delayed planting lettuce because it has just been too hot for it, though the seedlings are ready to go. We got the first heads of broccoli this week from Artwork. It’s a broccolini type, and the real attraction will be the side shoots that follow. Artwork is consistently earlier in my garden than Apollo, though I like both of them. My wife cut up these first two heads and roasted them in a cast iron skillet.
With cold weather in the forecast, I brought in more of the winter squash that are maturing on the vines. Here’s a collection of the Turkeyneck squashes which shows how prolific they have been. They average from 8 to 10 pounds each. They are basically big butternuts, and I’m letting them cure and age before we start eating any of them. We’ve been eating the delicatas and acorn squash first since they are not good keepers.
The biggest of the Turkeyneck squashes weighed in at 13 pounds. That will make a lot of pumpkin pie! We will use it for savory dishes too, and I will be giving some of them away to folks who aren’t afraid of a big squash. New cat Ally photobombed me one morning while I was getting this pic of the squash straight from the garden. This was before it turned cold and I was still working in shorts.
I cut another of the Rancho Marques winter squash. This one weighed in at 9.5 pounds. I still have one more giant one on the vines that I’m going to let grow a bit longer since it was late to set. It’s a land race moschata type from Native Seeds/Search.
I also got a decent harvest of ripe peppers before the big chill came. There’s enough of the Malawi Piquante peppers to make a quart jar of pickled peppers.
The sweet peppers are still ripening, at least they were before it turned cold. I got a mixture of Orange Blaze, P.A.S.S., Sweetie Pie and Criolla di Cocina. I chopped these up and froze them, since we still had plenty of other sweet ones from earlier harvests. The green one fell off accidentally so I chopped it up too.
And I got more sweet paprika peppers from the Dulce Rojo and Hungarian Magyar plants. It has been a good year for peppers here, which is making up for a poor showing last year.
I smoked most of these, along with a few green jalapenos I found. I smoke them on a charcoal grill using indirect heat, so I only fill half of the grill so I can keep the peppers away from the fire. After smoking I dehydrated them.
Still in the pepper department, I got a couple of ripe Mad Hatter peppers. These baccatum peppers are a 2017 AAS Winner, and they have such a sweet and mild taste I’ve been eating a lot of them raw, much like you would an apple. The heat seems to be concentrated around the seeds, so if you avoid them you can avoid the heat. I want to try pickling a few of them too.
I finished digging the sweet potatoes last week. And I did it just in time before frosty weather got here too. 51 hills made a total of 118 pounds of tubers, which is way more than we can eat. I planted several test varieties, and next year I will reduce the plantings to around 30 hills. That should keep us well supplied. One new one I grew is an orange fleshed one called Ginseng, and it was the third best producer for me, behind Bonita and Murasaki which both have white flesh. It’s my first year growing Murasaki too, and it made a great showing. The real test will come when we get our first taste in a few weeks, after they’ve cured. I’ll wait until tasting time to do a full review of them.
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 of any size or shape you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. There are no rules or regulations, and wonky veggies are always as welcome as the prize winners. And please be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting, or wishing they were harvesting!
Those Mad Hatter peppers are cute. The sweet potatoes that we buy in the shops all have an orange flesh and at the moment they are seem small and thin. They never give a variety name and are just sold as sweet potatoes as if there is only one sort.
We got that same light frost 2 days later. I am growing Mad Hatter too, but they sure are slow to turn red. That’s a funny picture of you with the squash. You should have held it the other way so it would look like a caveman club. All your harvests are enviable, once again.
That’s a great looking squash you’re holding there. New cat Ally is adorable. It’s amazing you’re already getting some light frosts. Makes me think I really need to get my sweet potatoes dug. I’m very interested in what you think of the different varieties of sweets you grew out this year.
I still am amazed by the turkey neck squash. Do they require a larger area than a butternut plant? One would feed a moderate sized Thanksgiving gathering! I can feel that turn from summer to fall in the garden which keeps gardeners connected to the seasons a bit more than others.
The Turkeyneck has long vines, at least 25 feet long. I have it growing along the fencing around the perimeter of the garden.
You won’t be hungry this winter with all those squash and sweet potatoes, what a bounty! Mad Hatters look like a great pepper, I may have to try them some day.
Wow it sounds like you guys had a more brutal summer than we did here in LA!
We’ve had 6 months of summer. It turned hot in April, and kept it up until last week!
Those mad hatter chillies look a lot like bishops crown chillies which are very hot indeed!
They are a mild version of the Bishops Crown. I took a small bite to make sure they were really mild before eating the whole thing!
Wow – incredible harvest of sweet potatoes! We’ve had the same scorching summer, followed by chilly winterish weather in the past week – moderate weather/temps are more and more elusive! I’ve been meaning to try “Mad Hatter” ever since I heard of it – that’s good to know about the seeds as I had assumed the entire pepper was mild.
I think the heat around the seeds depends on growing conditions. Since it’s been so hot here, I found a bit of heat in them, but the ‘wings’ of flesh were quite sweet.