Harvest Monday October 21, 2019

Once again it’s time for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. With colder weather and more frost predicted, my first order of business last week was to get the sweet potatoes dug. I did this in three sessions. The Saturday session was the longest, when I dug 20 hills and hauled in over 50 pounds of sweet potatoes. Centennial is one I haven’t grown in many year, and it did quite well for me. I’ll do a full review of them all later. It would apprea we will be well supplied with this starchy staple though!

Centennial sweet potato

I got another cutting of kale last week, this time the Wild Garden Mix kale. Some of this wound up in soup and some in a side dish. I love this ‘mother gene pool’ mix of kale. The plants are all different, but all are tasty and productive for me here.

Wild Garden kale mix

Fall is truly the season for greens here, and I made another cutting of collards too. This is White Mountain Cabbage collard, a family heirloom from South Carolina. The leaves were tender and mild tasting. We love our greens, and my wife and I are both really enjoying the collards.

White Mountain Cabbage collards

In other news, I pulled a lot of green and ripe hot peppers to smoke and dehydrate. The first batch was jalapenos, and a later batch was Anaheim types like Biggie Chili. After drying I grind them up into a smoky chile powder with mild heat that I like to use for seasoning.

smoking jalapeno peppers

smoking Anaheim type peppers

And I made the first cutting of the Apollo and Artwork broccolini plants. I set out four plants of each variety, so there are more to come. This batch got roasted, which is our favorite way to prepare them.

Apollo and Artwork broccoli

Despite a couple of frosts in the garden I found a few eggplants that had set on. The plants themselves are still alive so it’s possible there might be one or two more before a freeze does the plants in. Eggplant this time of year is a real treat. I took the biggest of these and grilled slices for an open-faced eggplant sandwich. I also roasted a few of our sweet peppers to go on the sandwich, which I topped with melted cheddar cheese.

Dancer and Nadia eggplant

eggplant sandwich

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 14, 2019

Once again it’s time for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. Last week we had our first frost, largely unpredicted until the last minute. That had me scurrying around Friday harvesting all the peppers and squash I could find. The temperature got down to the freezing mark briefly Saturday morning, with frost in the garden for sure. Time will tell how much damage it did to the tender plants. I managed to find a decent amount of the Malawi Piquante peppers. These are the ones used to make the pricey Peppadew peppers you see in stores on the salad bars. I will pickle these in a sweet brine much like the Peppadews.

Malawi Piquante peppers

Malawi Piquante peppers

The Turkeyneck winter squash are finally maturing, and I brought in several of them. The ones in the below photo weighed a bit over 8 pounds each. The neck is solid flesh, and these have become my favorite squash to puree for use in pies, muffins and my morning smoothies. I also found several of the Mashed Potatoes acorn squash. I am anxious to see how the taste compares to the Cream of the Crop squash which was much more prolific for us. And I found another Centercut squash, which has also been a great producer for us this year.

Turkeyneck squash

Mashed Potatoes and Centercut squash

In the greens department, I cut more collard greens for fresh eating. This time it was an heirloom called Georgia Cabbage collards, another one that sometimes tries to form a small head. And I cut two heads of Soloist napa cabbage to make a batch of kimchi. I had enough from these two to make three quarts of kimchi, which should last me for a bit. The outer leaves were a little wonky but still quite edible and I didn’t find any slugs while cleaning it up. Along with the cabbage I used our garlic and gochugaru powder for the kimchi, and store-bought green onions and daikon radish. I made the gochugaru powder mostly from the Kimchi and Amazing 2 peppers.

Georgia Cabbage collards

Soloist cabbage

cutting up the cabbage for kimchi

jars of kimchi fermenting

I also made the first cutting of the fall kale. This is a variety I’m growing for the first time called Purple Russian, and the big leaves were tender and tasty. I got the seed for it from Restoration Seeds.

Purple Russian kale

Purple Russian kale

And I found what will likely be the last eggplant of the year as well as more of the fall planted Happy Rich broccoli. The fall brassicas are looking good if I do say so myself, and we got a little bit of rain last week that I’m sure they appreciated.

eggplant and brpoccolini

I also got what could be the last of the pole beans. It’s a little bit of everything in this batch which weighed a little over a pound. There were lots of shell out beans in this bunch, and I cooked them all up for dinner one night.

pole beans

I’ll close with a greenhouse update. I have most of the inside work done, and I’ve planted kale, parsley and purple sprouting broccoli in the beds. It’s starting to look like a working greenhouse, and just in time for the colder months when we rely on it to give us fresh greens.

inside look of the new greenhouse

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 7, 2019

Once again it’s time for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. It was a light harvest week for me here as I concentrated most of my efforts in getting the new greenhouse put up. I did get a few things though, including a few more winter squashes. Festival acorn squash has been a great producer and is tasty as well, so it is in the plans for next year. Baked Potatoes was also a great producer, and I found one of them I had missed harvesting earlier. This batch weighed five pounds total, with the largest Festival coming in at 1.75 pounds. They both seem to be pretty good keepers too, at least so far.

Festival and Baked Potatoes squashes

I made another cutting of collards greens too. This batch was one I grew last year called Yellow Cabbage. It has mild tasting and tender leaves, and I believe it is my favorite of the ones I’ve tasted so far this year. The so-called “cabbage” collards are ones that try and form a small head, though these haven’t done so yet.

Yellow Cabbage collards

The first of the fall broccoli was ready for cutting last week. This was Happy Rich and my wife got a pic of me cutting it one morning when she went with me to the garden. The fall brassicas are doing well despite the unusually hot weather and the drought, which is a testimony to the benefits of mulching. This was just enough broccoli for a taste, but I also have more plants showing signs of heading. With these broccolini types it’s more about the side shoots anyway, which should keep going until really cold weather gets here.

me harvesting broccoli

Happy Rich broccoli

I managed to find a couple of pounds of pole beans last week too. I haven’t watered the plants, so the ones that are still producing are real troopers for sure! Most of these wound up in the freezer.

bean harvest

And I found some ripe sweet peppers as well. Lemme’s Italian is an heirloom Italian frying pepper I’m growing for the first time this year. It’s a bit shorter and quite a bit later than Jimmy Nardello, but otherwise similar in shape and in taste. A whole flush of these ripened at once to give us a much needed bit of sweet peppers.

Lemme’s Italian Peppers

In non-harvest news, we did manage to get the greenhouse up last week, and I’ve been busy finishing the inside and outside work. I hope to do another update on the project later this week.

greenhouse assembled

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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New Greenhouse Update

I’ve been busy the last couple of weeks, getting ready for the new greenhouse project. The old one has some issues, and I’ve been anxious to get the new one up before cold weather gets here. We started work this week, and it has gone well all things considered. I enlisted the aid of our favorite handyman and his brother to do most of the heavy work, and also to haul off the old greenhouse. The first step was to prepare the site, and I did the initial work last week.

spot for new greenhouse

Next up was making a level footer for the base of the greenhouse. Our land slopes down away from the house, and the drop where the greenhouse sits was at least a couple of inches. First we dug a little trench down a few inches deep. Then we used a fine rock that tamps down well to fill the trench and leveled it off.  The rock should provide good drainage for the base, which is a composite material made of recycled plastic and wood and is rot resistant and sturdy.

digging trench for the base

Once the base was level and in place, it was time to start putting the greenhouse itself together. It came in eight large boxes weighing over 700 pounds total, and had been waiting in the garage for several weeks. Much labor was involved just getting the parts where they were needed as well as to get everything assembled. We were hoping for cool weather, since it’s the beginning of October, but instead we got record setting heat that has been over 90°F every day. I’ve been doing most of my part early in the day to beat the heat as best I can.

greenhouse going up

The new greenhouse was not fabricated nearly as well as the old one, despite coming from the same manufacturer. It required a lot of finessing to get it together, and a lot of tweaking to get some things to fit. There were also large air gaps between the roof and the ends that required adding pieces of red cedar to make it more weather tight. Thankfully our handyman is a skilled carpenter, which is one of the many reasons we had him to do the job and not just me doing it alone.

greenhouse in progress

another shot of the greenhouse

I spent most of my time this week cleaning out the old greenhouse and getting it ready for removal. Since it gets hot in there pretty quickly once the sun hits it, one of the first things I did was remove the back wall to let more air come through. That helped, but it still got hot in there. With temps outside over 90°F, the temperature inside the greenhouse can get over 110°F sometimes, so any help is a good thing! I also worked to remove paving stones I used on the floor so they could be reused in the new greenhouse, and cleared the bench and table so they could be easily moved as needed. I also removed all the shelving, which I decided to replace since it had a lot of rusted spots. I couldn’t bring myself to put the rusty shelving in the new greenhouse, and it gave me a chance to get longer ones that will give me more room for flats of seedlings.

inside of old greenhouse

We finished getting the new greenhouse together yesterday, and the old one has been hauled off to the dump. Next I will work on finishing the inside. I need to install the new shelving, put down the pavers, move the bench and table back in, and make the planting beds inside. I have no idea exactly how long that will take, and thankfully cooler weather is forecast here starting tomorrow which will help. And after I finish inside, I need to work on landscaping the outside. I plan to put down weed control fabric and cover it with mulch, plus I need to do something to make a nice entrance walkway.  At some point, I actually have transplants ready to go in the new beds, so I will be busy to say the least. I’ll be back with another update soon on this project and other happenings here at Happy Acres!


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Harvest Monday September 30, 2019

Once again it’s time for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. I got a nice haul of pole beans last week. I let some of them get big for ‘shelly’ beans, since we like the mix of pods and beans and the seeds add a lot of protein to the mix.

harvest of pole beans

Turkey Craw is an exceptionally tasty bean. There are lots of different beans with this name, all having reportedly been found in the craw of a wild turkey. I got these seeds from Sustainable Mountain Agriculture Center, where I get many of my heirloom bean seeds. The pods turn pinkish as the seeds inside swell, and I shelled out quite a few of these.

Turkey Craw beans

I harvested a few more squashes too, mostly winter types but also Centercut which we use like a summer squash. The mini butternut called 898 from Row 7 Seed is truly a mini, and some have even been more like appetizer size. It and Festival Acorn have been very productive for me this year. The Festival is an acorn/sweet dumpling type that is more of a typical size for those classes of squash. It has a sweet, buttery taste when roasted, and is a new favorite around here.

September harvest of squashes

Festival Acorn squash

The sweet peppers are continuing to ripen with the hot weather we’ve been having. Carmen and Escamillo are two Italian bull’s horn types that do well for me here.

Escamillo and Carmen sweet peppers

I’m growing a new baccatum pepper called Aji Delight which promised the fruity flavor of the baccatums but with zero heat. It delivered, and my one plant is loaded with these sweet and juicy peppers. We’ve enjoyed them on salads, and I put a few in a salsa I made last week. I find they make for tasty snacking as well.

Aji Delight peppers

The drying peppers are in their prime now. I dehydrated the ones in the below photo which included Kimchi and the paprika peppers Dulce Rojo and Nora.

peppers for drying

I got enough hot peppers to start another batch of fermented hot sauce. This batch included Emerald Fire, Honeypeno, Red Ember, Senorita and Flaming Flare.

peppers for hot sauce

And I got a nice harvest of the Aji Rico baccatum peppers for ferment for hot sauce. These 2017 AAS Winners have a mild heat and a fruity flavor, and make for great fresh use as well as for turning into hot sauce.

Aji Rico peppers

The last batch of jalapenos I fermented were ready to turn into hot sauce. Three pints of fermented peppers yielded three five-ounce bottles of thin Tabasco style sauce. It has a mild heat and a depth of flavor that the fermenting gives to the peppers. The basic process I use to ferment the peppers is here: Fermented Pepper Mash. The peppers have been productive enough this year that I’ve had plenty of hot sauce to share with friends, since I surely couldn’t eat it all myself! It’s pretty easy to find a home for the extras.

fermented hot sauce

I made a cutting of collard greens last week to cook up. I’m trialing several varieties this year, and this one is called Ellen Felton Dark. It’s an heirloom variety dating back to at least the 1930s, and I got the seed from the Seed Savers Exchange. All these came from one plant, and the nine leaves weighed almost a pound! These are sturdy greens that need a long slow braising. I’m also hoping to make some collard kraut later this year.

Ellen Felton collard greens

Last but not least, I got another head of the Purple Peacock broccoli. It looks much like purple sprouting broccoli to me, though the leaves are frilly like a curly kale. I’m leaving the leaves for now and only cutting the small heads.

Purple Peacock broccoli

This week promises to be a busy one as we start putting up the new greenhouse. I’ve got someone to help me with the heavy work of that job, but I will be doing the finishing work inside with the benches, beds and shelving. I am looking forward to getting this done so I can start using it for the crops I overwinter in there.

spot for new greenhouse

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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