Harvest Monday October 19, 2015

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related.  With a predicted frost coming this past weekend, it seems like I was in harvest-overdrive for much of last week.  The biggest chore was digging the sweet potatoes, which I talked about in my last post. After I had dug the first few plants, I felt like it was going to be a great year for them. And when the digging was all done, it turned out to be a very good year indeed. I hauled in a little over 96 pounds of them. They are now all curing in our relatively warm (over 70°F) basement.

sweet potatoes curing

sweet potatoes curing

The total yield is considerably more than the 58 pounds I harvested last year from the same number of plants(28). Beauregard was the heaviest yielding, averaging 4 lbs/plant. Purple was second, yielding 3.2 lbs/plant, and Bonita was a respectable third with 2.6lbs/plant. It would seem that the abundant rain we got during the summer months favored the sweet potatoes, though adding kelp and a bit of bone meal probably also helped. In past years I have had considerable vole damage to the tubers, but this year it was minimal. I only saw damage on four or five of them, including one Purple that was gnawed in two. You can even see the tooth marks in the below photo.

vole damage to Purple sweet potato

vole damage to Purple sweet potato

Thankfully the other Purple sweet potatoes I dug are intact and lovely. This variety seems to make mostly straight and uniform tubers in my garden, unlike Beauregard which makes tubers of all shapes and sizes. Beauregard is a dependable performer though, and we enjoy its sweet and moist orange flesh. Purple is also great in the kitchen, and its slightly drier and less sweet purple flesh makes it great for a number of dishes, like the Rio Zape and Sweet Potato Salad I made a few months back. I’m really looking forward to trying the white fleshed Bonita once it has cured.

Purple sweet potatoes

Purple sweet potatoes

After the sweet potatoes were safely inside, it was time to work on the other veggies. I harvested one more of the Rai Kaw Tok winter squash, this one weighing a little over nine pounds. There were a couple more left on the vine that weren’t mature yet.

Rai Kaw Tok winter squash

Rai Kaw Tok winter squash

I got five more of the prolific Seminole squash. The color hasn’t completely turned to tan yet, but the rind is hard and I believe they are mature. I will let them sit for a few weeks before eating. The temperature wound up getting down to 26°F yesterday morning, so that will be it for the winter squash this year.

harvest of Seminole winter squash

harvest of Seminole winter squash

I harvested all the remaining peppers I could find before the frost/freeze, other than green ones from a few of the sweet peppers. The counter looks like Pepper Junction with all the peppers that came in from the cold! Some will get dehydrated, some smoked, and many of the bell peppers were chopped and frozen for later use. I also made a batch of Michelle’s Pepper Jam yesterday with the Aji Golden and Sweet Happy Yummy peppers.

peppers hanging out on the kitchen counter

peppers hanging out on the kitchen counter

My Aji Golden peppers were pretty hot to my tastes, so I removed the seeds from all the peppers before making the jam. I haven’t had a good pepper jam in ages, and I can’t wait to try this one out. I did sneak a little taste and I believe it is going to be yummy. Thanks to Michelle’s recipe, I now have one more thing to do with the baccatum peppers! I must have used less peppers than she did though, as I wound up with five jars of the finished jam instead of the seven jars she got.

pepper jam

pepper jam

The brassicas should be able to stand these first frosts and freezes, so I’m in no hurry to harvest all of them just yet. I did harvest the first of the fall cabbages, which were fully sized and ready. I only planted six of them, which is plenty of cabbage for the two of us to eat plus some for sauerkraut. I’ll save the sauerkraut details for a later post. In the below photo from left to right you see KY Cross, Farao and Parel. The Parel had split open, so it was definitely time to get it in while it was still edible. The three cabbages weighed a little over six pounds total, and while the flathead KY Cross is bigger it isn’t as dense as the roundhead Farao.

KY Cross, Farao and Parel cabbages

KY Cross, Farao and Parel cabbages

I also cut more of the fall broccoli. That’s Diplomat in the below photo. Last year it and Imperial made the largest heads in the fall garden, and they’re back this year to see if they can repeat the performance.

Diplomat broccoli

Diplomat broccoli

I used the broccoli to make a batch of Broccoli Walnut Salad.  This salad is always a treat for me, and it made a nice accompaniment to some grilled salmon.

Broccoli Walnut Salad

Broccoli Walnut Salad

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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17 Responses to Harvest Monday October 19, 2015

  1. Norma Chang says:

    96 pounds of sweet potatoes, fantastic haul, you can have a sweet potatoes stand :) My purple sweet potatoes do not grow straight and tall, they behave more like your Beauregard producing tubers of all shapes and sizes. Your Rai Kaw Tok winter squash sure is a fair’s blue ribbon winner, so gorgeous and perfect.
    Norma Chang recently posted…Harvest Monday, October 19, 2015 – First Frost & Hard Freeze + Putting Container Fig Tree to BedMy Profile

  2. Will - Eight Gate Farm - NH says:

    Pepper Junction sounds like a fun place! I’d really like to sample your pepper jam. And wow on the 96 pounds of sweet potatoes.

  3. Susie says:

    Wow, what an amazing harvest! You still have so much coming in – 96 pounds!? Those darn voles, I have a lot of them here too, but luckily didn’t have a lot of damage this year (a few carrots). My fall broccoli isn’t ready yet and that freeze last night is going to slow things down, but looks like a nice week ahead.
    Susie recently posted…Harvest Monday: October 19, 2015My Profile

  4. Melissa says:

    Wow! 96 pounds is phenomenal! Congratulations!
    Melissa recently posted…I’d planned for rain…My Profile

  5. Rachel says:

    Your sweet potatoes are the star of this week’s harvest. Whatever you are doing is working out perfectly. There are some amazing sized tubers in there. I am glad the voles didn’t do too much damage. Michelle’s pepper jam sounds delicious. The jars are very pretty.
    Rachel recently posted…Weekly Harvest: October 19, 2015My Profile

  6. Jenny says:

    Very nice squash and sweet potatoes. Haven’t had much luck with sweet potatoes here as it’s not enough time for them and too cold really, but maybe next year. Love the pepper jam.
    Jenny recently posted…Last harvest of the yearMy Profile

  7. Wouldn’t it be nice to have 96 pounds of sweet potatoes in storage! Enjoyed reading your About page this morning. Looks like you’ve not slowed down–just changed work locations. As with Daphne, I anticipate learning from your gardening experiences. I garden in zone 11 but remember the frantic harvests before a frost in my eastern Massachusetts garden. And you garden in New Hampshire? Thanks for hosting Harvest Monday.
    edible gardens point loma recently posted…In My San Diego Garden & Kitchen 10-19-15My Profile

  8. Margaret says:

    Wow – almost 100 lbs of sweet potatoes! I think my jaw dropped inadvertently when I saw that amount 😉 And that is a phenomenal increase in your sweet potato yield from last year – congrats! It always feels so good when you make a change or two and your yield goes up, especially that significantly. And your comment on how much the rain likely contributed to their growth reaffirmed my feeling that my sweet potatoes suffered a lot from lack of water.

    And that broccoli walnut salad looks so delicious – I’ve added it to our meal plan for the week. I don’t often include bacon in our meals, so my family is in for a treat!
    Margaret recently posted…Harvest Monday – October 19, 2015My Profile

  9. Stoney Acres says:

    Wow, what a great harvest this week Dave!! We had a terrible year for peppers so I’m a bit jealous of yours! I think we maybe had 4 peppers the entire year! I have no idea what the problem was, but the plants just didn’t produce!
    Stoney Acres recently posted…Monday Harvest Report – October 19, 2015My Profile

  10. Michelle says:

    What a fabulous haul of sweet potatoes! That’s one veggie that I’ve not attempted to grow, I don’t think it’s hot enough here, but I’m tempted to try some in containers. I think your jam production was bigger than mine actually, it looks like you have 8 ounce jars and I put mine in 4 ounce jars. But we’re already into the second jar so I may try to make another batch with some ripe jalapeños if I can harvest enough. I’ve got a glut of broccoli waiting to be harvested, so it looks like Broccoli Walnut Salad may be on the menu this week.
    Michelle recently posted…Harvest Monday – October 19, 2015My Profile

    • Dave says:

      The jam made 4-1/2 jars, so I guess I did have more peppers in there than you! It already tasted great shortly after it gelled. Too bad I didn’t have more of the Ajis to use, but I will know next year to save some for jam – or plant more!

  11. Mike R says:

    Nice late season harvest of peppers, and an impressive harvest of sweet potatoes.

  12. Ooh wow, those sweet potatoes are amazing. And the photos are lovely, everything looks delicious!
    Lou@rainbowchard recently posted…Harvest Monday – sort of quince cheeseMy Profile

  13. Sue Garrett says:

    The first time that I had raw broccoli in a salad I was surprised by just how much I liked it
    Sue Garrett recently posted…We have a little nut treeMy Profile

  14. Wow what a beautiful bounty of potatoes. And that Rai Kaw Tok winter squash – a piece of art by itself! Nice seeing your harvest… I’ll have to join the Harvest Monday club!

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