Harvest Monday October 31, 2022

It’s time for Harvest Monday, where gardeners from all over celebrate all things harvest related. Once again I’ve decided it makes sense for me to take a break from the Harvest Monday posts for the winter months, until next February. Harvests are few and far between for many – including me, and I always enjoy taking a bit of downtime from gardening this time of year as do many other gardeners. I’ll be back with Harvest Monday on February 6th. Until then, I will post here about other garden news as it happens, and you can always follow my Facebook page and Instagram feed for harvests and other garden news. Thanks to all for reading and participating in this celebration of the harvest that has been going since 2009. Now, on to the harvests!

Our fall planted collard greens have sized up nicely, and I am cutting them on an as-needed basis. This year I’m growing one from the Heirloom Collard Project called Big Daddy Greasy Green, and my two plants look wildly different. One plant has typical smooth, dark green leaves, while the other one has frilly leaves. The frilly leaves looked familiar, and finally I realized they look a lot like the Portuguese Kale I have grown in the past. Regardless of the looks, both types had a good flavor, though not necessarily any better than others I’m growing. The project describes them as a “Tough variety that has some slight sweetness to it”, which is not exactly what I would call glowing praise!

Big Daddy Greasy Green collards

one type of Big Daddy Greasy Green

Big Daddy Greasy Green with collard leaves

I cut another batch of turnip greens last week, and these were tender and mild-flavored.  Topper is a hybrid that makes mostly leaves, though it will eventually make roots. I grow it for the leaves though, and it is prolific and dependable for me here. I sowed these back in August, making a slit in the woven row cover fabric. The fabric no doubt helped conserve soil moisture during our dry weather conditions, and weeds have not been an issue either.

Topper turnip greens

I pulled the last of the sweet peppers, and though the frosty weather had killed many of the plants it hadn’t seem to hurt these peppers at all. We still have a glut of them, and I am freezing many for later use. I am also thinking a roasted pepper soup might be on the menu soon.

last of the 2022 sweet peppers

As for hot peppers, I dried some of the Aji Colorado peppers and ground them up into chile powder. The listing at Adaptive Seeds (where I got my seeds) describes it as a “Thin-walled hot pepper great for drying and grinding into powder, and also good eaten fresh or made into hot sauce.” I was a bit hot for my tastes for fresh eating, but the heat seems to have mellowed a bit during drying and it made a tasty chile powder.

dried Aji Colorado peppers

Aji Colorado powder

I saved the most exciting harvest for last. I planted a persimmon tree here in 2016, and we are finally getting our first fruits! Nikita’s Gift is a cross between an American Persimmon variety and a Japanese variety. The fruit is astringent until ripe and soft, and so far only one has been ready to eat. That was a real treat, and I scooped out the orange flesh with a spoon and ate it as a snack. The tree gave us 14 fruits this year, and with any luck will give us even more in the years to come.

Nikita’s Gift persimmons

ready to eat persimmon

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 please take a minute and check out what everyone is harvesting!

 


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Harvest Monday October 24, 2022

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. As forecast, we got our first freeze last week, with temps dipping down below 30°F. In the days before, I harvested all the peppers and eggplant I could find, plus a few more of the mature Centercut squashes. The sweet peppers came on late this year, and we have so many now I will freeze some for later use. The somewhat shy yielding Sugar Rush Peach also gave us a few more to use for hot sauce.

late season harvest

last of the eggplant

The sweet potatoes are all safely curing in the warm basement now. I dug 64 pounds in all, which will keep us well supplied for the months to come. I will let them cure for several weeks before we get our first taste. Meanwhile, we are still eating on ones from last year. The tubers keep amazingly well if handled carefully during harvest, and then stored in a cool dry location after curing.

sweet potatoes curing

I brought in a huge haul of Aji Rico peppers before the freeze. I got five pounds from two large plants, and I decided to pickle a couple of jars as well as make hot sauce with some of them. This 2017 AAS Winner has a fruity flavor and medium heat, and is my favorite pepper for hot sauce. It’s also great for fresh use.

Aji Rico peppers

Aji Rico peppers closeup

And speaking of hot sauce, I have a selection of various types made now. I’ve still got a couple of batches fermenting, but it looks like I will have plenty to keep me warm this winter! We had an out of town friend visit last week, and I sent him away with one bottle.

assorted hot sauces

I didn’t plant a lot of radishes this fall, but I pulled all of what I did have growing in a cold frame bed. It’s a mix of varieties, including the long red Chinese Dragon radish I’m growing for the first time. We don’t eat a lot of radishes, and these keep well in the refrigerator until we use them.

radishes after pulling

fall radish harvest

Another hot pepper I harvested is called Tangerine Dream. There’s another variety with the same name that looks completely different, but the one I grew has round orange fruits with a mild heat level. In the past I pickled them, but this year I am going to try making a hot sauce with them.

Tangerine Dream peppers

One last pepper I’ll mention is one I’m growing for the first time called Desperado. It’s an Anaheim type, with large thick-walled fruits that have a mild heat level. I’ll roast and skin these, then chop them up and freeze for later use. The frozen Anaheim types are so much better than the canned ones, and great to have on hand.

Desperado peppers

With cold weather arriving, collard soup was on the menu last week. The first one I cut is an heirloom variety called North Carolina Yellow – and so appropriate for Vivian Howard’s soup recipe given her NC roots. We used beans for protein, and almost a pound of the collard leaves. This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy the collards, and any other sturdy green (like lacinato kale for instance) would also work well.

North Carolina Yellow collards

In non-harvest news, a couple of years ago I planted goldenrod, aster and a hardy mum in a perennial bed to give us some fall color and to provide a food source for pollinators and butterflies. The Country Girl mum is proving to be a popular place this time of year, with lots of bees and butterflies visiting it every day. The butterflies include Skippers, Sulfurs and I have seen several Buckeyes visiting lately. The blooms are fading now, but it has had a great run of color this year and should just keep getting bigger and better in the years to come.

Sulfur butterfly on mum

Buckeye and Skipper 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 please take a minute and check out what everyone is harvesting!

 


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Harvest Monday October 17, 2022

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. I started digging sweet potatoes last week, which is always a time of great anticipation. What is waiting there under the soil – will it be a good harvest? It looks like it won’t be a record year like 2021, but I believe we will be well-supplied with tasty tubers. Feeling my age, I’ve been breaking up the task into smaller digging sessions, and I hope to get the last ones dug today since freezing weather is in the forecast.

first of the sweet potatoes

I’ll do a full recap on the sweet potatoes later, but one of my favorites for baking is called Bonita. It seems to have done fairly well this year, though many of the roots are big enough to feed a family of four! Of course, the ones you see in the grocery have been graded out, and ones that are deemed too small or too large are used for processing and not the fresh market. Bonita has a sweet, moist white flesh and a light pink skin. My wife and I sometimes share the big ones.

Bonita sweet potato

I pulled the first turnip greens last week, starting with one called Topper that makes lots of tender leaves but no roots. My wife and I both love the greens, and as usual I sowed more greens than I did roots. We do enjoy eating them both, and I hope I will get some roots soon.

Topper turnip greens

The sweet peppers have been late to ripen this year, but we have a lot of them now. I’m growing mostly the bull’s horn types plus Jimmy Nardello’s frying pepper and Sweetie Pie mini-bell. They are really sweet when roasted or grilled, which is how we cook a lot of them.

Cornito Arancia and Cornito Giallo peppers

Cornito Rosso and Sweetie Pie peppers

The hot peppers have done well this year, and I harvested quite a few green jalapenos to turn into hot sauce. Emerald Fire and Early Flame have both been loaded with peppers.

jalapeno peppers

And, the shy producing Sugar Rush Peach finally gave us a decent harvest. A few of them could stand to ripen a bit more, so I will let them sit for a few days before I turn start them fermenting to turn into hot sauce.

Sugar Rush Peach peppers

I finished drying a batch of guajillo peppers last week, and ground them up for chile powder. The guajillo peppers make a fragrant and mildly hot chile powder, and they are my favorite for this use. The grinding process usually has me sneezing a few times, but the end product is well worth it to me.

dried guajillo peppers

guajillo chile powder

In non-harvest news, I baked another batch of sourdough rye focaccia bread. I used a recipe from Elaine Boddy’s Whole Grain Sourdough at Home, and uses a blend of bread flour and whole grain rye flour. It’s naturally leavened with my homegrown sourdough starter. I sprinkled course salt over the top and a bit of fresh rosemary on one end. I served it up with soup one night for dinner, and along with salad another day. Leftovers freeze well too.

sourdough rye focaccia bread

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 please take a minute and check out what everyone is harvesting!


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Harvest Monday October 10, 2022

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. The weather took a sudden turn colder last week, and we had moderate frosts a couple of mornings. I was scrambling to harvest all the frost sensitive crops I could, except for the sweet potatoes which will need to be dug this week. I got a lot of pole beans that I shelled and froze, plus a few eggplant. It has been a great year for eggplant, and we have had plenty to eat for several months now.

October harvest

I finally got a few ripe Sugar Rush Peach peppers, though hardly enough to make a decent amount of hot sauce. They have taken forever to ripen, and I believe I need to try a different seed source other than the one I got them from (Refining Fire Chiles). Adaptive Seeds lists it and says “Ripens early for a C. baccatum pepper and produces well even in cool growing conditions.” Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds says “super early, high yields of these exquisite sweet-hot peppers.” Neither of those describes the plants I have grown the last couple of years, which get big but are late bearing even in our hot climate.

Sugar Rush Peach peppers

On a happier note, I also found a few end of season tomatoes. The quality wasn’t great, but for October tomatoes I’ll gladly take them!

late season tomatoes

I used the tomatoes and eggplant along with sweet peppers from a previous harvest to make a batch of sheet pan ratatouille. I served it on creamy polenta, and this dish has become a favorite for us here. We really enjoyed this batch since it will surely be the last until next season.

sheet pan ratatouille and polenta

With frost approaching I picked all the ripe hot peppers I could find to make a bit more hot sauce. This round included Flaming Flare, Early Flame and Sweet Jalapeno. I also got a few more of the Garden Salsa which I am drying to make chile powder. If the frost spared the plants, I will harvest green ones for chile powder too.

assorted hot peppers

I also got a big harvest of the C. baccatum Aji Rico peppers – right at three pounds worth! This 2017 AAS Winner is truly a star producer for me here, and the ripe peppers have a great flavor along with a medium heat level. They make a tasty hot sauce, which is what I plan to do with these.

Aji Rico peppers

I also have a new one I’m trialing here this year called Aji Colorado. It has only ripened a few so far, and while the peppers have a good flavor I don’t think they are any match for Aji Rico.

Aji Colorado peppers

My wife used several of our Escamillo and Carmen sweet peppers to make a pepper quiche. We enjoyed it for dinner one night, and the leftovers were even tastier for lunch the next day.

sweet pepper quiche

pepper quiche with baked apples

It seemed like a good time to gather any winter squash that had matured, and I found six of the Centercut and one big Turkeyneck neck pumpkin. The Turkeyneck weighed a whopping 12.5 pounds, and the six Centercut squashes totaled 17 pounds. That should keep us supplied for our winter needs! The Turkeyneck squash get big, but I think the mature Centercut has a better flavor so I will likely grow more of it next year and skip the Turkeyneck. I also harvest the Centercut at the green, immature stage when it is great for roasting.

Centercut and Turkeyneck winter squashes

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 please take a minute and check out what everyone is harvesting!


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Harvest Monday October 3, 2022

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. It was a small harvest week for me here, since my wife and I went away for a week and visited Sedona, AZ. There were quite a few pole beans waiting for me on our return, as well as a decent amount of eggplant. I brought in over four pounds of beans, and there are a few more out there to be picked in a day or two.

beans and peppers

I also got a LOT of sweet peppers. My one Escamillo plant was loaded, as were my two Jimmy Nardello plants. I got a few Carmen and Sweetie Pie peppers too. I have requested that my wife bake one of her pepper pies, which is a quiche-like dish that features the peppers.

sweet peppers

I did get a few hot peppers too. I got enough of the Flaming Flare along with a few of the Hernandez to make a fermented hot sauce with these Fresno type peppers. Flaming Flare is a 2015 AAS Winner and a good producer for me here. Hernandez produced a bit earlier, but seems to have stalled out for the moment. Fresno types have about the same heat level as jalapenos, though the peppers usually have slightly thinner walls.

Flaming Flare and Hernandez peppers

Flaming Flare peppers

It’s my first year growing the Rose bean, which is named after the Rose family that grew it and passed on the seeds to others. It did well enough I decided I would save some for planting next year. The seeds themselves are beautiful, though of course the color is lost when cooked.

Rose beans

As for our trip, we did a lot of hiking in Sedona, and the condo we stayed at had great views of all the Red Rocks around us. One night we were treated to a double rainbow at sunset. I’ll try and share more pics later this week since I have plenty of them!

Sedona sunset rainbow

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 please take a minute and check out what everyone is harvesting!

 


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