Monday, October 10, 2016

Harvest Monday - October 10, 2016


It's the Thanksgiving long weekend here in Canada which is a celebration of the bounty of the harvest...especially for us veg gardeners, no?  Happy Thanksgiving to those that are celebrating this weekend, both here and abroad :)

Many of us are hunkering down with family and friends to enjoy some turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie.  As with most celebrations in my family, we had our big family dinner yesterday, leaving the holiday Monday as a day of relaxation and, just as important, leftovers :)

This year, we had dinner at my parents house and, wouldn't you know it, just as we are about to leave the weather network issues a frost alert.  Ugh!!

Beautiful but deadly...

There was not much I could do as we were already running late, so off we went and enjoyed a wonderful afternoon/evening.

As soon as we returned home, flashlights in hand, we grabbed the mower (thankfully it has headlights) and loaded up all the squash we could find.


Although some of the squash are not fully ripe, they are changing colour which indicates that they have attained their full size.  I'll be placing them in front of a south facing window for a few weeks to cure and/or ripen up.  Last year, I had butternuts at a similar stage and they all ripened up and stored amazingly well.

Frosty squash leaves this morning
confirmed we made the right decision

The squash, which are still sitting in the garage, will not be going into the tally until next week.

After we harvested the squash, it was off to the bean bed where we covered it with plastic.  Good thing too, from it's frosty appearance this morning (that's clear plastic on the bed):

Dried bean bed protected

The beans are not yet dry but the pods look mature and the plants are definitely on the decline as they had started to turn yellow.  I'll be picking those today and letting the pods dry out in the garage.

Thankfully, I went through the tomato beds yesterday and harvested any tomatoes that showed even the slightest bit of colour:


At this stage, the tomato plants still look ok, but sometimes it takes a few hours for the damage to show.  I'll be ripping out the sickest of the two remaining beds today as there is little left in it that is worthwhile.  The last bed I'll leave for now as there are still a lot of tomatoes that seem full size and are likely on the verge of starting to ripen.  Frosts are sometimes spotty - touching one part of the garden and not another - so there is a small chance that I may get a few more tomatoes from them.

Peppers were harvested earlier in the week, together with some broccoli:


Pepper plants, surprisingly, are a bit more resilient when it comes to frost than tomato plants.  There are still quite a few peppers left to pick, which I will do today, and then I'll clean up the bed.  With the heat of the summer officially gone and our temperatures back at seasonal levels, there's no point in leaving them any longer.

Unlike tomatoes, I've found that peppers don't ripen up very well indoors unless they are already well on their way to being fully ripe.  Now apparently this had a lot to do with factors such as humidity & temperature - I've read that some people have very good luck getting them from green to fully ripe without going soft.  Perhaps my kitchen counter just doesn't provide the best pepper ripening environment.

This past week, I finally had the opportunity to shell and tally up the dried beans that were harvested way back in August and have been drying in the garage ever since.

Clockwise from top left:  Cherokee Trail of Tears, Walcherse White,
Canadian Wonder, Speckled Cranberry

All told, I ended up with 2.1 kg/4.72 lbs of dried beans.  The total space used up by the above varieties was more or less equivalent to one 8'x4' bed, so not a huge yield, but not horribly bad either.  It was a dismal bean year, with all the heat, so I'm happy with what I got.

The last of the potatoes were harvested and the results were pretty much the same as those from the 1st half of the bed:

Left:  Caribe & a few leftover Bintje
Right:  Yukon Gold & Roko

Lastly, a big basket of basil was also harvested this past week:


Normally I would tally up a large herb harvest such as this, but I was in such hurry to get going on making some pesto that I completely forgot.

Also harvested but not photographed were a couple more pickings of raspberries and a small tromboncino, picked just before I pulled the vines.

Another frost warning was issued for tonight.  Looks like it's going to be a busy afternoon...

My harvest totals this week were:

Dried beans - 2,140 grams (4.72 lbs)
Broccoli - 342 grams (0.75 lbs)
Sweet Peppers - 310 grams (0.68 lbs)
Hot Peppers - 420 grams (0.93 lbs)
Potatoes - 5,767 grams (12.71 lbs)
Summer Squash - 156 grams (0.34 lbs)
Tomatoes - 3,062 grams (6.75 lbs)
Raspberries - 40 grams (0.09 lbs)

Total for Week – 12,237 grams (26.98 lbs)

Total to Date – 221.52 kg (488.35 lbs)

To see what everyone else has been harvesting over the past week, head on over to Our Happy Acres where Dave is our host for Harvest Mondays.

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

36 comments:

  1. It's action stations when that first frost alert comes, we had our first frost last weekend. Enjoy the rest of the weekend and happy Thanksgiving.

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    1. Thank you Jo - it truly is a race to get things harvested or protected. Must say, it's much easier to do that during the day :)

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  2. They didn't call for frost last night here, but the computer said it was 32...though my garden didn't show it. I'm looking at all this as a bonus, since we normally would have gotten frost a full month ago. Strange, wonky weather.....but nice to have an extention!
    I think you got a pretty good yield on those beans for a bed that size. But ugh--I hate shelling beans..............

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    1. I think the frost on Sunday night was a bit patchy so some stuff got hit while other stuff didn't. A month extension from the norm?? You ARE lucky!

      You know, when you think about it, the yield for the dried beans wasn't bad at all since you still have to reconstitute them. I should see how many cans of beans it translates to. And shelling...well, that's what kids are for ;)

      Have a wonderful week and enjoy your "balmy" October weather :)

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  3. I'm thankful I live in a somewhat warmer clime. I used to live in Michigan and couldn't take the long winters there. Looks like you made the right call and saved some very nice squash. Great harvest of dried beans.

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    1. Thanks! I quite like winter, but it can drag on - by February, I'm ready for spring. The squash are now in my family room where they will cure for the next month...I call it "fall decor" :)

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  4. Working in the garden by flashlight - now THAT sounds like something only a real dedicated gardener would do! The first frost here is always a call to action, for sure. It looks like a nice haul of squash too. It would seem you made your pesto just in time before the frost came, unless the basil was protected.

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    1. Only a few days ago it wasn't suppose to get close to freezing, so it never occured to me that there would be an issue - thank goodness for the alerts or all of my squash would have been frost nipped.

      You are right about the basil - so lucky that I harvested it when I did. It's in the same bed as the tomatoes and with the trellises, etc., just too much of a bother to protect. The plants were pretty much toast this morning with lots of blackened leaves, although the tomatoes are still standing.

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  5. What fun to hear about the frost. Such a different world. I'm glad you were able to salvage everything. Now you can rest.

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    1. Frost is so pretty and the air is always so crisp and clean on a frost morning.

      It will still be a while before we are done for the season (tomato plants to rip up, trellises to disassemble, pots & trays to clean, garlic to sow, hoses to put away, drip lines to blow out....). Hopefully I'll be done by November!

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  6. It seems the first frost likes to pick the most inconvenient times to arrive! I also have a pile of beans to shell in the garage and I probably won't find the time until our first frost arrives. They never seem to be very productive in comparison to the amount of space they take up.

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    1. I'm trying to clear out the garage now - I still have the onions and garlic to clean up and then I'll finally be able to park in there after two months on the driveway :)

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  7. Good that you were able to rescue your squash! I just arrived home in the dark after being away last night and sure enough the nasturtiums are all dead from what I could see in my car headlights. Good thing I pulled everything Sunday afternoon before heading out for my Thanksgiving meal!

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    1. Well, you had more foresight than I did! I hadn't really checked the weather for a couple of days and the last time I did, it wasn't supposed to go near freezing for the next week. I should be a bit more vigilant in checking it, obviously!

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  8. Oh gosh, frost time. Darn. We didn't get the recent frost that those just a little north of us had, but now we have it in the forecast for later this week. In the meantime, we're having a few days of mild weather. Maybe you'll get that, too, to stretch out the harvest a bit. I love the first photo showing a touch of frost--is that parsley?

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    1. We generally get a bout of good weather after a frost, so it's sometimes worth giving a plant or two some extra protection just to get it through the night. Tomorrow it's supposed to be 22C/72F! The frosty pic does look like parsley, doesn't it? But in fact is some strange weed that's growing in the lawn!

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  9. I love winter squash - so delicious.

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  10. I suppose we got to start thinking about bringing our squashes in and under cover.

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    1. I wanted to wait until the last minute to bring them in...didn't think it would actually be at the last minute!

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  11. Too bad you got that frost already. We're due for one soon (then it will be warm and sunny for another month). I've heard that a light frost won't hurt most winter squash. I see a lot of pumpkins and butternuts in the fields around here up until freeze.

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    1. That's always the way it is, isn't it...one cold night that does a plant in and then a few weeks of balmy weather that it would have enjoyed had the frost not got to it.

      I'm not sure about the squash - I've also read that you should harvest them after a frost kills the vines, but then on another site it said that they wouldn't store as well if they were touched by frost. I figured it was better safe than sorry, especially as it will obviously take a will to go through all of them!

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  12. Your squashes are amazing, we haven't had frost here - but it is getting cold indeed.

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    1. A frost can really sneak up on you - up until a week ago, the forecast called for nighttime temps over 5C for the coming week...then all of a sudden, we get a low of 0C that gets us scrambling.

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  13. I was out-of-town when our first frost was expected, fortunately my garden was not hit, another frost warning for last night and again my garden was spared, will not be so lucky next time.

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    1. Even in the same garden there are often hit and miss spots. I just noticed that my eggplant, which at tucked up beside the tomatoes, are still going. Good thing too as there are a few fruits hanging on them that I had completely forgotten to harvest.

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  14. I am glad you didn't lose all that produce to the frost! Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! Nancy

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    1. Thank you Nancy - Yes, some plants are much tougher than they seem and sail through frosts unscathed.

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  15. There's still a month or two before the first frost here but the garden is definitely on the decline. It comes so quickly for you, it seems like one week you're talking about extreme heat and then not long after it's the first frost. We are finally enjoying some summer like weather, but there's a very good chance of rain this weekend.

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    1. It is often a fast decline from summer to the chillier part of fall. We tend to get a lot of temperature swings at this time of year - even in the same day. The kids had to wear jackets to school this morning but I made sure they wore t-shirts as this afternoon it's going to be 22C/72F!

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  16. Happy Thanksgiving. How do you usually eat your dry beans? I'm always attracted to the pictures of dry beans in the seed catalogs, but the one year I grew some, I didn't eat hardly any. Good thing you got the squash harvested - that's a lot of squash.

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    1. Thank you k! It was lucky that we saw the frost alert - I would have been quite upset had I woken up the next day with frosty squash.

      We use beans in all sorts of dishes including chili, soups (esp. vegetable soup), and bean salads. There is a really nice salad that's a favourite with my son; I believe it's one of Giada De Laurentiis's recipes: white (i.e. navy) beans & tuna mixed with a bit of chopped onion and parsley, all tossed in a lemony olive oil vinaigrette...so good!

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  17. I hope you had a wonderful Canadian Thanksgiving. We will be heading back to Minneapolis to share the American holiday with my brother and younger son.

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    1. Thank you Jason! It would be nice going back to Minneapolis and revisiting some of the gardens at a slower pace, although I suppose winter will be setting in by then. I would probably go back to the Conservatory as I know I missed quite a lot of it.

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  18. Impressive harvest! And I love the dried beans - almost too pretty to plant or cook!

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    1. Thanks Barbara! I agree about the beans - I love all the colours, especially bi-coloured blotchy ones. Some are actually prettier before they are cooked in that they turn a bit gray afterwards...but they are all mmm, mmm good :)

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