Harvest Monday September 11, 2017

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. We are finally getting some ripe peppers here, after a late and problematical start to my pepper plants. I had issues with aphids that set the plants back considerably, then I wound up having to replant almost half of the plants. Thank goodness we have a long growing season! It’s Cornito Rosso, Cornito Gialla and Carmen hanging out with a Pepitas Pumpkin in the below group photo. We grilled most of these peppers, though one wound up in a bean salad.

Cornito Rossa, Cornito Giallo and Carmen peppers

Pepitas pumpkin with Cornito Rossa, Cornito Giallo and Carmen peppers

As the peppers enter the scene, I made the last harvest of the greenhouse cucumbers before I pulled the vines and prepped the beds for fall and winter plantings. It was a great year for the cukes in there, and I had less problems than usual with spider mites and whiteflies. I got 26 pounds of cucumbers this year, which was up from the 15 pounds I got last year. I had good results with the pickling cucumbers Excelsior, Vertina and Harmonie which I grew for the first time. I made a lot of pickles with them, and we are still eating on those. In the below photo though it’s Socrates, two Corinto and Tasty Jade, which are all slicing types.

Socrates, Corinto and Tasty Jade cucumbers

Socrates, Corinto and Tasty Jade cucumbers

The two container eggplants put on a flush of new growth, and I harvested enough for grilling last week. I have one plant each of Patio Baby and Fairy Tale growing in pots, and they have been pumping out fruit all summer long.

Fairy Tale and Patio Baby eggplants

Fairy Tale and Patio Baby eggplants

I’m not getting many slicing tomatoes now but there’s still lots of the small fruited ones. Midnight Snack is our new favorite, with a taste that’s hard for me to describe, but very likable. I’m getting ones that have been exposed to sunlight and have a good indigo coloring. Plant breeder James Irvine says he bred Midnight Snack because he wanted to have an indigo tomato that he wanted to eat. My wife and I think he succeeded, and it’s definitely one we enjoy eating. This 2017 AAS Winner will be back in my garden next year for sure. I also think it’s pretty, which is always a plus. These went on a salad we had for lunch yesterday.

Midnight Snack tomatoes

Midnight Snack tomatoes

Another taste sensation this year has been an heirloom pole bean called Bertie Best Greasy Bean (BBGB). Bertie Best was the aunt of bean grower and author Bill Best, who founded the Sustainable Mountain Agriculture Center. I’ve been growing a few of their beans for about three years now, but it’s my first time growing BBGB. Greasy beans are so named because the pods are slick and lack the usual fuzz of other bean pods. They also lack the ‘tough’ gene that is present in most modern bean varieties, and even when the beans have started to swell in the pods they are still tender. They do have strings though, but I find it is fairly easy to string the beans before cooking. When cooked the pods fall apart and the shelly beans inside are tender and flavorful.

Bertie Best Greasy Beans

Bertie Best Greasy Beans

Interestingly, the seeds of BBGB come in three colors – white, tan and black. According to the catalog listing it “has been grown this way for at least 150 years with no attempts to separate the colors.” Who am I to mess with a tradition like that, and I like the idea I am growing a bean that seems to be color blind!

Bertie Best Greasy Bean seeds

Bertie Best Greasy Bean seeds

I harvested another of the Dickinson pumpkins, and this one weighed a bit over 13 pounds. I haven’t cooked any of these moschata type pumpkins yet, since I want them to cure a bit and let the flavor to develop. That gives us over 40 pounds of them so far, plus there’s a couple more smaller ones still on the vines. We may need to find some pumpkin lovers to share the bounty with. There’s also a few more BBGB I found on the vines.

Dickinson pumpkin and greasy beans

Dickinson pumpkin and greasy beans

I decided to pull the kale plants from the cold frame bed and replant with fresh transplants for fall. I cut all the leaves from the five plants, and got just over three pounds. These were all the variety Prizm that did quite well from a spring planting.

Prizm kale

Prizm kale

And my bread of the week was baked about five weeks ago, and has been in the freezer since then. I pop the loaf in a 350°F oven and warm it for 10 minutes in foil, then 10 minutes without foil. The crust gets crisp again and the bread is almost as good as it was before freezing. This is a sourdough loaf I made using a stiff preferment that is refrigerated for a few days before baking the bread. It’s a bit of extra work, but it does give the finished bread a nice tangy taste.

sourdough bread

sourdough bread

In other news, we cooked the first of the Thelma Sanders Sweet Potato squashes. I think this heirloom acorn squash is a keeper for sure, and it had a rich and sweet flavor. Next time I think I will try cutting them into slices and roasting like that. I’ll have to grow this one again in 2018.

cooked Thelma Sanders winter squash

cooked Thelma Sanders winter squash

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 September 11, 2017

  1. Michelle says:

    Interesting that you had such problems with aphids on your peppers and this is the first year in a long time that they didn’t plague mine.

    Midnight Snack looks like one to put on my must try list. I really like growing a good quantity of cherry tomatoes because dried seasoned cherry tomatoes have become one of my favorite snacks and I do like to have a few varieties. The Bumble Bee varieties from Artisan are really tasty but they aren’t very productive so I’ll be looking to replace one or two or at least add another variety.
    Michelle recently posted…Harvest Monday – September 11, 2017My Profile

    • Dave says:

      Midnight Snack has been very productive. I put one vine in a remesh cage and it has spilled out and over and is almost reaching the ground. I have roasted the tomatoes but I haven’t tried drying them yet. We’ve been eating them up so fast there haven’t been any extras!

  2. shaheen says:

    Your midnight snack tomatoes and aubergines have me envious. I am afriad that blight may be taking hold of our tomatoes 🙁 as for kale, the white cabbage butteffly got them all – I wish we could swap veg, but then I would not have much to share with you that you don’t already have, maybe some Plums 🙂 Thanks for hosting Dave. A pleasure to join in when I can, but my garden produce is beginning to dwindle now as I dont have much in the way of winter crop.

  3. Susie says:

    I love tomatoes with a deep, dark colour – they instantly seem like they are going to taste better (though I know that’s not a fact!).

    Good luck with the pumpkins on using or giving them away – a small amount goes a long way so those Dickinson can take a while to use.
    Susie recently posted…Harvest Monday: September 11, 2017My Profile

  4. Will - Eight Gate Farm - NH says:

    The BBGB are really interesting. I’m not sure if they are edible whole, as snaps, or just for shelling (fresh or dried). Glad that your peppers are coming into their own, and that you had time to start more seedlings. We have such a short window for peppers here.

    • Dave says:

      The BBGB are edible at every stage. I let them get full, then eat them as a snap bean (with shellys). They can be shelled at the fresh or dried stage too.

  5. Mike R says:

    My peppers got off to a good start, but whether the bulk of the anchos ripen before frost remains to be seen. I don’t think they got enough warm weather to their liking. The BBGB sound good. I like a plump bean for bean stews, they have more substance and flavor, but most beans that get too plump develop a tough pod. Any more Dickinson pumpkins, and you will have to start giving away pies to strangers.
    Mike R recently posted…Monday September 11My Profile

  6. Margaret says:

    Oy, sounds like we both had pest related pepper issues – you are so fortunate that your growing season allows for a 2nd sowing. Those greasy beans sound interesting – when you say the pod falls apart when cooked, what does that mean? Do you end up with a bowl of pods mixed with beans after cooking rather than pods with beans inside?

    And that bread looks SO good!
    Margaret recently posted…À ParisMy Profile

    • Dave says:

      You wind up with a pot of mixed pods and beans, though some of the younger pods may stay together. It’s similar to cooking shellys and pods at the same time.

  7. Kathy says:

    Dave I love the sound of Bertie’s Best Greasy Beans, and the back story! I do wish we could get these here in the UK, but so far not.

    And your bread, as always, looks delicious!!

  8. How strange that those beans have different coloured seeds. Do you shell them to cook with or to save seed for next year?
    Susan Garrett recently posted…A surprising recovery.My Profile

  9. Wow, yep really interesting beans. I love the shape of them with the developed bean inside.

    The bread is outstanding. Our bakers is closed this week, so we bought an extra loaf of sourdough to help us through. If only we could make it like yours (sadly neither of us is talented in the bread-making dept!).
    Lou@rainbowchard recently posted…Harvest Monday – nuts! And a visit to Henry Moore’s HouseMy Profile

  10. Kaman says:

    Hi Dave, I am wondering if you can give me some advice on the aphid problems. I saw you mentioning the aphids attacked your greenhouse plants the past winter and also your pepper plants earlier this year. My biggest challenge these 2 years apart from poor health and working without help is the aphids. Last year the aphids started by attaching the cherry tomato plants, sweet peppers, and my snow peas in the spring. I used just plain dishwashing soap spray and sprayed the plants 3 times within 2 weeks and the problem was gone for the entire summer. This year I just finally raise the white flag and surrender. Early in the spring being a new gardener I failed to notice the aphids eggs..foolishly they were just dirt or pollen or dust. By the time I saw the aphids emerging they were all over the tomatoes. The aphids attacked all my plants this spring …bush and pole beans, peas, winter squashes, summer squashes, cucumbers, and of course the tomatoes. I started by using the dishsoap spray. Repeated 3 times. The beans and tomatos started to have browning leaves. The aphids…3 colors this year….green,white, and red! won’t go away. I then remembered reading one of your posts mentioning Michelle advice you on using Pyrethrin. I ordered it from Amazon and
    after 2 spraying the aphids finally were under control with a manageable population …never totally gone unlike last year. They continue to attack the beans and the tomatoes but since the number were much smaller I can just use spot control with the Pyrethrin or just killed them with my bare hands. Then a month ago the aphids come back with a vengeance . I sprayed the tomatoes with Neem Oil twice. But that seems to kill off the tomato leaves and the aphid population continue to increase. Finally I just give up. I can no longer sprayed since the plants are so big and tall and all plant surfaces are covered by the aphids. I am wondering if it is something I didn’t do right n terms of growing practice that leads to the enormous aphids problem? Unfortunately, the ladybugs do not come to my garden or any other aphid predators. The mildew and fungus problems I can deal with. With the aphids I just don’t know to do anymore . Sincerely,Kaman

    • Dave says:

      I’m sorry to hear you are having so many problems with aphids, Kaman! They are a formidable pest for sure. The soap spray usually works for mild infestations, but like you and I found out it isn’t always enough when you have lots of them. Michelle recommended I try Pyganic, which is a pyrethin based organic insecticide. I used that on my seedlings, and I’ve been using it in the garden for other insects like flea beetles on the eggplant. It seems to work better than the pyrethrin insecticide I was using before, so you might give that a try if you haven’t already. I do think early control is also important. I let the aphids go too long on my seedlings before I got aggressive with the spraying. You can also order ladybugs online, though that might be an expensive route to go. Also, I find neem oil can definitely burn the leaves of some plants, especially the young ones. So I use it sparingly, and I add it in small quantities to the sprayer when I spray Pyganic. I also use a wetting agent called Coco-Wet which helps the spray cover the leaves (and the pests). I hope all this helps you in the future!

  11. Kaman says:

    Thank you Dave for the advice. Can you tell me the Pyganic concentration that you use? I search on the web and it comes as a 1.4% and 5 % concentration.

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