Harvest Monday November 1, 2021

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where gardeners from all over celebrate all things harvest related. With frosty weather in the forecast for the coming week, I’ve been busy getting the garden ready and harvesting tender vegetables and herbs. It’s about that time, and actually a tad later than the first frosts came last year. I also made the first cutting of collard greens last week. I think the flavor improves after a few frosts, but these were still tasty enough now.

harvest of collard greens and peppers

Yellow Cabbage Collard leaf

Sweet potatoes are a big crop for us, and they definitely don’t like the freezing temperatures. I saw one good sized one peeking up out of the soil, which was a good sign it was time to dig them. I grow the sweet potatoes in a raised ridge, which lets the roots form more easily in loose soil. It also makes for easier digging, and I was able to root around with my hands and pull out most of them. For the rest I used my trusty digging fork! I am happy to report no one got speared, though one did break in two as I pulled it out. These need to be cured in a warm place for several weeks before eating.

sweet potato poking up from hill

Last year the yields were disappointing, which I put down to a lack of rain while the roots were sizing up. This year they made up for it, and I got 90 pounds of them from 25 hills. That was double last year’s haul, and from the same varieties no less. Beauregard is a variety with moist orange flesh that generally makes big potatoes for me, and it didn’t disappoint this year. I got 18 pounds from 5 hills, and the one in my hand weighed 2.5 pounds. I’ll do a review of the rest of them later.

Beauregard sweet potatoes

My wife and I both love greens of all kinds, with the exception of chard and beet greens. Turnbroc is a green that resulted from a cross between turnips and broccoli. It has smooth leaves that look more like turnips than broccoli, and had a mild flavor when I cooked them up. Frost should improve its flavor too, and I have more growing. I got the seeds from Kitazawa Seed Company.

Turnbroc greens

I have several hot peppers growing in containers. One I’m growing for the first time is Early Thai from Adaptive Seeds. It has done well in its first showing for me, though I haven’t tasted the peppers yet to determine their heat level.  I sometimes put one of the dried peppers in my homemade kombucha to give it a little kick, as well as using them in cooking. These small Thai peppers are usually quite hot, so I am guessing these will keep me supplied for a while!

Early Thai pepper plant

Early Thai peppers

There’s no heat in the Aji Delight peppers though. It is a baccatum pepper with a sweet, fruity taste and crunchy flesh. We use most of these fresh, though I do sometime pickle a few.

Aji Delight peppers

That’s all the harvests I have for the week. 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 25, 2021

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where gardeners from all over celebrate all things harvest related. Lately I have been taking advantage of the cooler weather to work in the greenhouse, planting things and getting ready for winter. I have been harvesting a few times each week, sometimes to get something specific we need. We’re still enjoying the abundant harvests of ripe peppers, along with smaller amounts of eggplant.

October harvest

Last week I began pulling the first of the turnips so we could enjoy the greens and the baby turnips themselves cooked together. I’m growing Hakurei this fall, along with Topper and All-Top turnip greens that don’t make edible roots but have tender and mild leaves. This first batch is from Hakurei, and served to give the short row a final thinning as well as to give us something to eat.

Hakurei turnips and greens

I’ve got other greens growing in the greenhouse, including the Tuscan Baby Leaf Kale and the dark purple Miz America mizuna. These add color and flavor to salads and our breakfast smoothies.

mixed greens for salad

The pole beans also gave up one more harvest of pods. I cooked up this batch, and we had enough for a couple of meals. That might be the last of the bean for this year, but we’ve hauled in over 50 pounds already.

another October harvest

I harvested one variety of Guajillo peppers that I save seed from. It’s a good yielding pepper, and the original source of my seeds is no longer in business, so I save them every couple of years to keep them going.

Guajillo peppers

After cutting open the peppers and harvesting the seeds, I dried the peppers themselves in the dehydrator. I grind these up to make a mildly spicy chile powder.

dried guajillo peppers

I also dried a batch of the hybrid Minero peppers, another guajillo type I turn into chile powder. The dehydrator stays busy this time of the year drying peppers, and I keep it on the front porch to keep the heat and sometimes pungent aromas outside!

dried Minero peppers

Ratatouille was on the menu again last week. I roasted the veggies on a foil covered sheet pan for easy cleanup, then served it over rice along with baked fish. This is one of our favorite ways to use these late summer veggies, and we’ve served it over both rice and pasta as well as all on its own. I always use a generous amount of olive oil plus herbs like oregano, basil and thyme.

ratatouille roasting on sheet pan

ratatouille on rice

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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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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