Monday, November 3, 2014

Harvest Monday - November 3, 2014


Guess what we woke up to on Saturday?
 
Snow Covered Kale
 
Yup – the first dusting of snow.  It didn’t last long, nor did it stick around but it is nonetheless a sure sign that fall is basically done and we are swiftly heading into winter.

Which is why my next harvest may come as a bit of a surprise.
 
Surprise Pepper Harvest
 
Surprised?  I thought so ;)

When I cleaned up the last pepper bed, the plants looked so nice and they had quite a few baby peppers on them.  I couldn’t bear to get rid of them so I decided to pot them up.  My plan wasn’t so much to harvest peppers over the winter months as to overwinter the plants and then replant them next year for a larger & earlier harvest.  Well, only one month in and my plan was thwarted by these:
 
Aphids Everywhere
 
They were everywhere.  I did try insecticidal soap, but the plants had so many leaves that getting to all of them on both sides was difficult.  I then moved the plants to the shed & kept them in the shed at night and brought them out during the day to see if I could get some natural predators happening.  And within a day, there were numerous ladybugs on the plants.  Unfortunately this wasn’t enough.  I was still seeing lots of aphids one week later.

I even considered trimming the plants down to the bare minimum and then spraying with soap again, but at that point, I was just too frustrated and decided to give up.  All it would take is for me to miss one little aphid and I would have a thriving colony again in no time.  So I picked all the peppers – even the tiny sweet peppers will be used, most likely minced in an omelet - and called it a day.  I will definitely try this again in the future, but next time I’ll be more aware of (and better prepared for) the pest potential.

Also tallied this week were the Trail of Tears beans that I harvested back in September.  I did not let the beans dry on the vine, but picked them as they matured.  For Trail of Tears, this is when they plump up and the pod turns a purplish colour.  I placed the pods on a chicken wire screen in the garage and just left them there for the last couple of months.  They dried beautifully.
 
Trail of Tears
Dried Pods Ready for Shelling
 
Once shelled, I was actually quite surprised at the amount I harvested - much more than I expected.  From a 4’ double row (seeds sown 8” apart so 12 plants total), I harvested 820 grams (1.81 lbs) of beans, enough to fill two 500 ml (one pint) jars.  Not too bad, especially considering that their yield was reduced somewhat by the bacterial brown spot that I had to contend with this season.
 
Trail of Tears - Shelled Beans
 
I also harvested a couple of heads of broccoli – unfortunately I waited a bit too long (again!) and they started to flower.
 
Flowering Broccoli
 
I keep waiting for the heads to get a bit bigger, but they keep flowering on me instead.  That’s ok – they still end up on the plate.  This was my first time growing broccoli, so all of my harvests, flowering or not, are valued.
 
I have one more small 2” head in this patch but that is about it.  I am just starting to see tiny ½” heads developing on some of the late planted Munchkin and Packman broccoli in the other beds.  I'm leaving them for now, but it's unlikely that these will amount to anything.

And lastly, another round of Chinese cabbage was harvested:
 
Joi Choi Hybrid
 
I’ve noticed a significant reduction in slug damage over the past week or so – that is definitely one benefit to the chillier weather.

Also harvested but not photographed was another nice bunch of parsley.  I made a batch of parsley pesto & divvied it up into ice cube trays for the freezer.  The recipe I used was from Our Happy Acres – thanks Dave – it’s delicious!

My harvest totals this week were:

Dried Beans – 820 grams (1.81 lbs)
Broccoli – 210 grams (0.46 lbs)
Chinese Cabbage – 702 grams (1.55 lbs)
Peppers – 194 grams (0.43 lbs)
Herbs – 282 grams (0.62 lbs)

Total for Week – 2,208 grams (4.87 lbs)

Total to Date – 222.08 kg (489.59 lbs)

To see what everyone else has been harvesting over the past week, head on over to Daphne’s Dandelions, our host for Harvest Mondays.

Till next time…

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things” ~~ Robert Brault

16 comments:

  1. Snow and peppers - yes, an unlikely combination there! Too bad about the aphids. They are usually so prolific and tenacious I have a tough time getting rid of them too. Those Trail of Tears beans are so lovely! Mine did not do that well this year for some reason. I let too many of mine dry on the vine and they do not like that here. And I'm glad you enjoyed the pesto. I'm planning on making a batch next week, since the parsley is growing so lush right about now.

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    1. Picking the Trail of Tears beans when they turn purple seems to do the trick for drying around here - probably because much of the humidity is gone by that time, around the end of August.

      Other than the Mei Qing Chinese cabbage, I haven't had any issues with aphids on other veg so I was surprised when I found them and, as you said, they are one tough bug to get rid of.

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  2. We had snow on and off yesterday. Luckily none of it stuck. It was so cold going out to pick things. Brrrr. Lovely beans. I really miss growing them if just for how pretty they are in jars.

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    1. My kids can't keep their hand out of the dried beans & I can't blame them - they even feel lovely ;)

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  3. Wow snow! Your harvests look good. My broccoli has flowered too. I really need a good session down the plot to sort everything out, may be this weekend.

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    1. We had a lovely day today - well, lovely for November, that is - and I spent a good part of the afternoon doing as many outside chores as possible. Gotta take advantage of the good days while there still are a few.

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  4. Did not get snow but had a hard freeze and frost. I too find it difficult to get rid of aphids and insecticidal soap does not work.

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    1. Winter is coming, that's for sure. And I'm thinking you are right about the insecticidal soap - it says you have to actually spray them for it to be effective but unless you soak the plant in a tub of soap, you will likely miss spots here and there and, of course, those spots will have mama aphids ready to repopulate the plant.

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  5. What a beautiful harvest! And peppers! Way to prolong the summer harvest. I'm very impressed with your dried beans as well - - I had really wanted to grow dried beans like that and my plants died from some unknown disease.

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    1. Ahhh..the unknown disease. I had a couple of those this year. Hopefully you have better luck with your beans next year..they are definitely worth it!

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  6. I love shelling dried beans (so long as there isn't a mountain of them), it's like slowly filling up a little pot of treasure. Snow! And peppers too! Seasonal whiplash...

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    1. Hee hee...funny! We love shelling beans around here too - once I set up the table for shelling, it was like a kid magnet.

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  7. Those beans look fantastic! I've just started growing drying beans and have purchased some black turtles for next season (I agree, they feel pretty nice too). The snow looks so pretty on the kale - I hope I remember that after our first dump later. :)

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    1. Dried beans are definitely one of those addictive crops - like peppers. So many wonderful varieties out there that it's hard to narrow it down to just one or two.

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  8. You are doing a super job of growing and using things. Not wasting a bit! I have been on vacation and thought maybe I would have lost the things in my cold frame as no one here to put the cover down but looks well yet! The marigolds are dead from the frost though. I am thinking of trying the parsley pesto. In what ways will you use yours? Nancy

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    1. I'm so glad that you came back to some good things growing in your cold frame. I'm sure you will be enjoying the meals you make from these goodies this week.

      So far I swirled a dollop of the pesto into some homemade cream of tomato soup - yum! It's also wonderful on crostini. And of course, it's the easiest way to liven up plain pasta!

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