Monday, November 7, 2016

Harvest Monday 11/7/16

Our frost free days are numbered here.  The forecast shows below freezing temperatures for this coming weekend.  That means I'm going to be busy this week!

The summer veggies may be making their last appearance.  I harvested some of the remaining green beans.  I've had a good green bean year and have plenty in the freezer.

Blue Coco and Garden of Eden Beans
My giant okra plant that flopped over still produces.  I find it much easier to harvest when it is sideways, especially when I'm only five feet tall!  

Basket of okra from my sideways plant
The tomatoes slowly ripen although many of them have been damaged by an assortment of insects.  I've been harvesting them as soon as they are the tiniest bit red to get to them before the bugs do.  There's still quite a few green tomatoes out there. 

A mix of paste tomatoes
The summer veggie I always miss the most are sweet bell peppers.  I can't complain because this year has been a record pepper year for me, but I will still miss them.

How many peppers can I pile in a pail?
I'm also harvesting eggplants and more Seminole pumpkins.  I have quite a pumpkin pile growing on my kitchen counter.  This winter I will need to explore some new pumpkin recipes.

Seminole Pumpkins and Eggplants
I've also been working on shelling dried beans.  I've yet to weigh them, but the black beans have been the most productive.  I've also got pinto and kidney beans in there along with a few soybeans, which I'll be saving to replant next spring.  

A bowl of dried beans
On Sunday, two friends texted and asked what we were doing and I replied, digging up sweet potatoes.  Well, they showed up with a shovel and with four people it only took about 30 minutes to dig up all the sweet potatoes!  I've yet to weigh them, but there were some good sized potatoes.  There's definitely less than last year, but I did plant less because last year was 175 lbs and that was just ridiculous.  They need to cure for about two weeks at a warm temperature and high humidity. To attempt to get those conditions I put them on a heat mat and place a container of water inside while leaving the lid ajar. 

Sweet Potato Bounty
My harvested peanuts from last week should be dry by now.  I'm sure the squirrels ate some, but there seems to be plenty left.  I also had a suspiciously turned over wheelbarrow next to the fence where the peanuts were drying with some peanut shells scattered about.

Weekly Harvests (lbs):
Chard  0.81
Peppers  4.62
Okra   1.04
Green beans  0.88
Tomatoes   5.99
Eggplant 1.83
Winter squash 5.28
Sweet potato greens  0.42

Yearly Harvests: 954.6 lbs

That's all the harvests coming from my garden this week.  To see what others are harvesting, check out Harvest Monday on Our Happy Acres.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Harvest Monday 10/31/16

Last weekend we camped in the mountains of North Carolina and explored the Blue Ridge Parkway to view autumn leaves.  I missed harvest Monday last week because of our trip, so today's report is a two week harvest.  I love autumn with all the beautiful leaves, blue skies, cool weather and garden harvests, especially pumpkins!

Autumn along the Blue Ridge Parkway
In honor of Halloween, I'm updating the status of my big pumpkin that fell off the vine before it ripened.  I'm happy to say it is much, much more orange than before, but it does have a soft spot on one side.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that my big pumpkin continues to ripen and not rot.

My slowly ripening Dickinson Pumpkin
On the topic of pumpkins, I harvested another almost 2 lb Seminole pumpkin.

Seminole Pumpkin
I have gotten creative with cooking pumpkin.  My latest concoction is pumpkin pizza.  Instead of tomato sauce I used pumpkin puree with onions, garlic and fresh thyme.  I topped it with sauteed sweet potato greens, onions, mozzarella and parmesan.  I thought it was delicious!  J refused to try it, so I don't have a second opinion to report.

Pumpkin, sweet potato leaves and onion pizza
The biggest harvest over the past two weeks are peppers at 7.4 lbs.  I chopped and froze a bunch of them.  The rest have been roasted or sauteed with eggs for breakfast.  Peppers broke my harvest record this year at 77 lbs while last year I had 68 lbs.

Peppers and more peppers
I finally picked a descent amount of tomatoes this week.  I haven't harvested many tomatoes since August.  It looks like we don't have a first frost in the ten day forecast, so maybe I'll get even more tomatoes.  Our average first frost date is usually the end of October, but this year it looks like we should make it to at least the middle of November.

Paste Tomatoes
Green beans and okra continue to produce a bit each week.  Roasting is still my preferred cooking method for okra.  On our camping trip we cooked green beans and potatoes over the fire one night and bell peppers and onions another night.  We also had pumpkin muffins along with the greens and cheese hand pies I had made previously and froze.  It's fun to take the garden harvests along on a camping trip!

Green beans and okra
The first of the fall peas ripened in the garden.  Germination was not very successful, so I doubt there will be very many peas this fall.  We devoured these as soon as I took the photo!

The first of the fall peas
I finally shelled the dried cowpeas that have been sitting in the garage for at least a month.  This year was a very good year for cowpeas.  These jars hold 8 cups and there's still some cowpeas in the garden.

Dried Cowpeas
This is the season of digging in the garden for me.  The peanut leaves began to yellow, which meant it was time to harvest.  I dug up the peanuts and now they are drying on the fence.  I'm hoping the squirrels don't steal them all!  They need to dry for at least a week.  For once I am happy to see no rain in the weekly forecast so that my peanuts can dry.

Peanuts drying on the fence
Peanuts hang all around the garden.  The peanut harvest appears to be abundant this year.  We will see how many I end up with after the drying period.

Peanut harvesting and drying

Two Week Harvests (lbs):
Peas 0.14
Peppers 7.40
Okra   1.36
Green beans  2.39
Tomatoes   4.14
Eggplant 6.38
Melon  3.93
Winter squash 1.94

Yearly Harvests: 933.8 lbs

That's all the harvests coming from my garden this week.  To see what others are harvesting, check out Harvest Monday on Our Happy Acres.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Harvest Monday 10/17/16

We had perfect fall weather this past week and I spent some time cleaning up the garden.  What I really need to do is start digging up all the sweet potatoes.  The coming week is predicted to be warmer and the first frost is nowhere is sight for the next ten days, which means I will procrastinate digging up sweet potatoes!

Late fall garden with abundant sweet potato vines
With such nice weather, I spent time just being in the garden while procrastinating hard work like digging up sweet potatoes!  It won't be long until all the green will be gone, so it is time to savory the garden and all the critters that enjoy it as much as I do.

A bee enjoying marigolds
Some critters that enjoy my garden are not on the guest list, including this giant grasshopper.  I'm suspecting that he may be responsible for my disappearing fall seedlings!

Giant grasshopper on chard
As for harvests, the eggplants continue to produce well.  The plants have bent over with the weight of fruits.  I'm getting tired of eating eggplants, so these were passed on to a coworker.

Florida Market Eggplants
I spotted another giant grasshopper in the green beans.  Luckily the beans continue to provide harvests even though the leaves are looking munched and sad.  This week I roasted green beans with potatoes with a creamy tarragon dressing.  Delicious!  I have tarragon growing in the herb bed, but it is something I don't use often.  This dressing recipe may change that.

Garden of Eden and Blue Coco Beans
I harvested another little Seminole pumpkin at about 2 1/2 pounds.  I counted at least a dozen more little pumpkins growing on the same vine.  They may not all ripen before our first frost, but it has definitely been my best pumpkin year ever.

Seminole Pumpkin
The okra plant that toppled over from all the rain ended up toppling over in the opposite direction.  I attempted to right it again and broke a major part of the stem.  I decided to just leave it toppled over.  Despite all its troubles, I did harvest a bit of okra this week.  The tomatoes are slowly trying to make a comeback.  I will take all I can get!

A few tomatoes and okra
Peppers were the most abundant harvest this week at 3.9 lbs.  I have now harvested more peppers this year than last year.  I've been roasting and eating them with plans of freezing the extra.  However, for some reason I never seem to have extras.

Basket full of Peppers
Last week I harvested sweet potato leaves and this week I cooked them into these greens and cheese hand pies.  I really like these although I did change the recipe a bit to use whole wheat flour and coconut oil.  I froze a bunch of them before baking.  I hope they taste good after being frozen.  If so, I may be using a lot of sweet potato leaves to make hand pies to keep in the freezer.

Sweet Potato Greens and Cheese Hand Pies

Weekly Harvests (lbs):
Peppers 3.9
Okra 0.3
Green beans 1.6
Tomatoes 0.3
Eggplant 2.4
Winter squash 2.6

Yearly Harvests: 906.1 lbs

That's all the harvests coming from my garden this week.  To see what others are harvesting, check out Harvest Monday on Our Happy Acres.