Monday, September 15, 2014

Harvest Monday - September 15, 2014

The peppers are ripening! I love to grow sweet peppers that are easy to roast. All the ones shown below were roasted in my outdoor portable fire pit. I built a nice hot almond wood fire and when it had died down to hot hot coals I roasted the peppers by placing them directly into the coals. It's a really quick way to roast the peppers (other than waiting for the fire to die down), the skin chars quickly leaving the flesh nice and firm. The peppers shown below are adapted to growing in short season growing regions or cool climates. I've grown Odessa Market and Shephard's Ramshorn for a few years now, the Giallo di Cuneo Yellow bell is new for me this year. I've been searching for a good yellow pepper that won't take too long to ripen and this one seems good so far.

Odessa Market, Shephard's Ramshorn, and Giallo di Cuneo
Another new pepper in my garden this year is Stocky Red Roaster, another cool climate, short season adapted pepper. Lady Bell has become my favorite red bell pepper, it's always productive, early, and good tasting.

Stocky Red Roaster, Lady Bell, Odessa Market

Stocky Red Roaster and Giallo di Cuneo

Tarahumara Chile Colorado is a mild New Mexico type chile pepper. It's good either green or red, roasts up beautifully and also dries well. This was one of my favorites of the many Southwestern types of chile peppers that I tried last year.

Tarahumara Chile Colorado (good green too!)

The Padron plants are still producing loads of peppers.

Padron peppers
The tomato harvests are getting into high gear now. Chianti Rose is one of the healthiest plants in the tomato patch, or at least the slowest to succumb to the diseases that are running rampant in the patch this year. That tomato in the middle weighed over 2 pounds. Dave and I have a repertoire of favorite tomato dishes that we go through during tomato season. Chianti Rose tomatoes are perfect for one dish that I call Tomato Steaks, thick slices of tomato wrapped in prosciutto which are quickly seared and served with balsamico and basil. A few of these cracked as I harvested them so I wanted to use them up quickly so I whizzed up a batch of my favorite Tomato Gazpacho, perfect for lunch on the patio yesterday.

Chianti Rose

Black Krim, ugh, the plant is nearly dead, many of the tomatoes are getting sunburned because there's no leaf coverage anymore. It's a real disappointment this year and I won't be growing it again.

Black Krim
Jaune Flamme on the other hand has been a real trouper. It's growing right next to the Black Krim and showing it how the job should be done.

Jaune Flamme

Both cherry tomato plants are looking bad but hanging in there, they are putting out nice amounts of fruit but not too much. The Sweet Golds aren't cracking as much since I turned the water off for a cycle and reduced the time when I turned it back on. All the cracked tomatoes and the ones that are still around when I harvest another round have gone into the dehydrator. Many of the "good" ones go into Dave's lunch bag or my lunch salads. And I adapted a recipe from the Sierra Mar cookbook (a local resort restaurant) that warms cherry tomato halves in a mixture of brown butter, garlic, and whole wilted basil leaves. The recipe pairs the tomatoes with abalone but I used it to top planked salmon and before that I served them with pan roasted sand dabs. I think it's going to become a tomato season classic recipe.

Isis Candy and Sweet Gold

I didn't harvest any eggplant for 12 days and here's the result - loads of it. 


These are the first Sicilian eggplants I've harvested this year. Unfortunately they aren't looking their best, the plants were really set back by a serious attack of spider mites and it's showing in the eggplants. I haven't tried any of these yet so I'm not sure if they are as tasty as usual, these are usually very mild and fine textured.


After I roasted the peppers in the fire pit I set up a grill that attaches to the pit and grilled a bunch of thickly sliced eggplant. The grilled eggplant will keep for a few days in the refrigerator. I plan to use some of it to make a casserole similar to Eggplant Parmesan except that I use ricotta instead of mozzarella. The rest of the grilled eggplant can be frozen.


There were more of the usual suspects, including cucumbers...

Garden Oasis and Tasty Treat

more cucumbers, plenty of zucchini (most of it not photographed)...

Garden Oasis and Tasty Treat Cucumbers
Romanesco zucchini


Ruby Streaks mizuna


Speedy Arugula

Tokyo Bekana, gai lan...

Tokyo Bekana napa cabbage and Green Lance gai lan

and broccoli shoots.

Di Ciccio broccoli

My first significant harvest of gai lan (Chinese broccoli). I had much better success getting this variety of gai lan to germinate and survive.

Te You gai lan

I've saved dessert for last. The first melon of the year! You can see how the stem just slipped right off. It was harvested at the perfect time, this melon was nice and sweet.

Alvaro Charentais melon

I also harvested but didn't photograph enough Amish Paste tomatoes to put up another 8 quarts of canned tomatoes. The Musica bean vines are putting out a small second harvest and the Golden Gate beans are producing a few as well. And a few more Tromba d'Albenga squash were ready to harvest as well. I used a couple of the Tromba squash to make Lamb and Rice Stuffed Zucchini Boats again.

It was a huge week of harvests, here's the details:

Speedy arugula - 14.3 oz.
Golden Gate beans - 4.8 oz.
Musica beans - 10.5 oz.
Di Ciccio broccoli - 1 lb., 14.2 oz.
Tokyo Bekana napa cabbage - 22.5 oz.
Garden Oasis cucumbers - 1 lb., .9 oz.
Tasty Treat cucumbers - 3 lb. 14.7 oz.
Bonica eggplants - 9 lb., 4.2 oz.
Salangana eggplants - 8 lb., 10.2 oz.
Sicilian eggplants - 3 lb., 13.9 oz.
Green Lance gai lan - 4.6 oz.
Te You gai lan - 1 lb., 9.2 oz.
Ruby Streaks mizuna - 7 oz.
Candy onion - 1 lb., 8 oz.
Giallo di Cuneo bell peppers - 1 lb., 2.8 oz.
Lady Bell bell pepper - 9.8 oz.
Odessa market peppers - 1 lb., 14 oz.
Padron peppers - 1b., 3.9 oz.
Shephard's Ramshorn peppers - 11.4 oz.
Stocky Red Roaster peppers - 15.8 oz.
Tarahumara Chile Colorado peppers - 3.4 oz.
Amish Paste tomatoes - 22 lb., 7.1 oz.
Black Krim tomatoes - 4 lb., 15 oz.
Chianti Rose tomatoes - 13 lb., 12.1 oz.
Isis Candy cherry tomatoes - 3 lb., .5 oz.
Jaune Flamme tomatoes - 5 lb., 15.6 oz.
Sweet Gold cherry tomatoes - 3 lb., 7 oz.
Romanesco zucchini - 6 lb., .3 oz.
Tromba d'Albenga zucchini - 5 lb., 1.9 oz.

Weekly harvest totals - 107 lb., 3.6 oz. (48.6 kg.)
2014 harvest totals - 745 lb., 3.9 oz. (338 kg.)

Harvest Monday is hosted by Daphne on her blog Daphne's Dandelions, head on over there to see what other garden bloggers have been harvesting lately.


  1. I have had the same problems with Black Krim this year in Portland, Oregon - I think there was maybe one week this summer where it wasn't stressed about something or other. Mine is also dying back early, but still producing on newer growth. Delicious tomatoes, though! Do you have any suggestions for a similar tasting tomato with a less anxious disposition?

    1. My favorite black tomato used to be Paul Robeson. I haven't grown it in years but I may try it again next year. I really can't remember why I stopped growing it though, hopefully not because it was sickly or not suited to my climate.

  2. What a bounty of goodies! The peppers are ripening here as well, and I roasted some of the NuMex types today, though I used the gas grill. I love those Jaune Flamme. They are so good roasted and dried, as well as fresh. But they weren't that productive here so I stopped growing them. They obviously like your climate better, especially if they are serving as cheerleader for the other tomatoes!

    1. I think the Jaune Flammes are really well suited to my cooler climate, unlike something like a Brandywine which can ripen here eventually but they don't have any flavor, I think they need heat to develop that vaunted flavor.

  3. Just amazing. The variety and quantities are simply enviable. And I'll have to try "Tomato Steaks," but not until next year--all tomatoes gone here.

  4. You have so many wonderful goodies coming from your garden - I think I say that every week ;) That sounds like a wonderful way to roast peppers - I often have the issue where by the time the skins are blackened, the flesh is too soft. Whenever you mention that you have to grow short season crops it always floors me - I always envision California as having endless summers with nonstop wonderful weather.

    1. One of the idosyncrasies of my microclimate is that it is relatively cool so it's difficult to grow some heat loving vegetables. We rarely get nights that stay above the mid-50F range, even in summer. We had lows of 46F and 47F just a few nights ago and that's also typical in June and even into July. I've found that short season varieties also tend to be tolerant of cool climates so that's what I tend to look for in tomatoes and peppers. Other than that I do enjoy a very long growing season and usually mild weather - not too hot and not too cold.

  5. Absolutely. Gorgeous. Peppers! Tomatoes! Eggplant!! What incredibly perfect veggies - outstanding job this week (as with most weeks!) on the harvest and the pictures.

  6. What an amazing harvest, your Te You gai lan looks very tender, where did you get the seeds?

    1. The seeds came from Kitazawa, they sell online.

  7. Wow that is a huge week. I wouldn't know what to do with it all if I got that much in a week. You live in such a strange climate to have your big harvests in the fall.

  8. Holly cow! That's amazing harvest you got there. Gorgeous tomatoes, peppers eggplants and congrats on first melon.

  9. I live in Watsonville, and there is so much disease on my tomatoes and all the others I've seen in peoples yards. Not sure what's going on this year. I LOVE Black Krim, but won't be growing it again, it's not worth it, the contstant care it needs to only get a few toms, no thanks. I didn't grow riesentraube tomatos this year, but will next, they are very disease resistant and good producers. Paul Robeson didn't do very good for me in years past. Still on the hunt for a decent purple tom....

    1. That's good to know about Paul Robeson and probably why I stopped growing it, I just forgot... It would be nice to find a good purple one that will grow here.

  10. WOW, that is amazing! How much space do have in gardens? I really can't wait for tomatoes and peppers. We have a poly tunnel, but it's still going to be at least until late December before I get the first ones coming in.

    1. There's more than 500 square feet or about 50 square meters of bed space in my garden. I guess when you are awash in tomatoes and peppers my fresh ones will only be a memory and I'll be eyeing photos of yours with envy. Wow, tomatoes in December for you would be like tomatoes in June for me, an impossible dream...


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