Monday, October 23, 2017

Harvest Monday - October 23, 2017

It was a big week again for sweet peppers but the harvests will slow down quickly because most of the plants have finished producing or are nearly done. It's been a good year with a total harvest of 61 pounds so far, and that's just the sweet peppers.

Ajvarski has become my new favorite roasting pepper. I will definitely be growing lots more of them. The peppers are large and thick fleshed and the flesh stays firm after roasting. There's something about the skin that makes them blacken quickly when I roast them over a charcoal fire and then the blackened skin peels off very easily. The shape of the pepper is also conducive to roasting, the flesh resists forming dents and the stems are not sunk into the top which makes it easier to blacken and peel the flesh around the stem. It's very sweet and has a faintly spicy aroma and rich flavor. The plants are a good size also, about 2 feet tall or more which is a good height for allowing the peppers room to develop without getting squished in the branches but not so large that they are space hogs. It's the closest I've found to the perfect roasting pepper.

Hungarian Magyar and Shepherd's Ramshorn
Shepherd's Ramshorn was my favorite roasting pepper at one time. The plants are compact, prolific, and early producers. The peppers are thick fleshed and sweet. But because the plants are on the short side it means that a number of the peppers get wedged in between the branches which distorts their shape. You can also see that the stems are sunk into the tops of the peppers which makes them harder to roast. So they are a really good pepper but not quite perfect.

I got another nice big flush of Hungarian Magyar peppers. Those are bred to be used for making paprika so I've been dehydrating them but I haven't ground any of them yet.

Rosso Dolce da Appendere
Rosso Dolce da Appendere is an Italian sweet pepper which I've been using as a roasting pepper but it's actually billed as a frying pepper. It's also supposed to be good as a dried pepper. It seems rather large and thick fleshed for a frying pepper but on the other hand it doesn't quite hold up to roasting because the flesh softens a bit too much. There's a fair amount of variability in the shapes and sizes of the peppers as you can see above. Actually, none of the peppers that I've grown even look like the ones on the seed packet. The most significant fault that I find with this variety is that the plants are too tall. The long stems can fold over with the weight of the heavy peppers and the large plants are space hogs. The peppers are good tasting but I'm just not sure that I've figured out the best use for them. Perhaps I'll try drying some of them and see what I think of them that way.
Lady Bell
Lady Bell has been my go to bell pepper for a number of years now. It's a reliable producer of sweet ripe peppers and it is well adapted to my cool coastal climate. I like ripe red bells for eating fresh or cutting into rings to dehydrate or even to roast. It's a nice multi-purpose sweet pepper.

Unnamed Turkish, Violet Sparkle, Gogosar
That's the last of the Violet Sparkle peppers. Some of them had seemingly not developed properly and had some spots that didn't ripen. There's still a number of Gogosar and Turkish peppers ripening so there will be a trickle of those coming in for another week or so. I made another batch of stuffed peppers with some of the Gogosars but used freekeh instead of rice and changed the seasonings. Dave really liked the texture of the freekeh so I'll have to write up the recipe so that I can make it again.

That little Habanada is not representative of what the majority of the peppers look like. I picked just one to taste to see if it was fully ripe. Some of the reviews of this pepper say to not pick them underripe because they have no flavor and some reviewers say they actually taste awful when they're green. And at least one reviewer didn't even like them ripe. These are billed as the first truly heat free Habanero, although there are plenty of sweet Habanero cousins around. It was indeed entirely sweet and had a very fruity flavor that lingered on the palate. I liked it.

Jazz, Pantano, Jaune Flamme
Tomato harvests aren't over yet either. Jazz just started ripening recently, Panto just put out a big flush of ripe peppers, and Jaune Flamme has been producing steadily for weeks now.

Pantano and Jazz

Marzano Fire
Marzano Fire is still putting out a lot of ripe peppers too. I've now got 10 1/2-cup jars of concentrated Marzano Fire tomato paste in the freezer and that doesn't include that bunch of tomatoes above.

Jaune Flamme

Sunrise and Purple Bumble Bee, Green Bee
The Bee cherry tomatoes are still producing a nice moderate stream of fruits. Just enough to keep us snacking.

Sweet Gold and Piccolo Dattero
Sweet Gold is just about finished but Piccolo Dattero is still prolific. I've used a lot of the Sweet Gold and Piccolo Dattero tomatoes to make dried spiced snacking tomatoes.

Tromba D'Albenga
The Tromba vines are still big and healthy but they aren't producing as many squash now. The squash develop much more slowing in the shorter days of fall. In the summer it seemed like the squash could double in size overnight and now it takes a few days.

The two Terremoto squash at the bottom of the photo are cured and ready to either eat or put into storage. The two at the top just came in from the garden yesterday. The gray-green one weighed in at 10.3 pounds and the orange one at 7.6 pounds. I'll weigh the other squash after they've cured for a couple of weeks. There's 3 more smaller squash still on the vines.

Speedy Arugula
I seemed to have gotten my timing right when I sowed the fall arugula. I can harvest a nice basketful of leaves every week or 10 days and they don't seem to be inclined to bolt. There is hot weather that is descending on us for the next few days so I hope that it doesn't push the arugula to bolt. I've been keeping a light shade cover over the plants so perhaps that will help to keep them happy.

Orion Fennel
Second generation fennel bulb! I neglected to pull up a couple of roots of the spring sown fennel when I cleared out the space and they resprouted and produced some nice bulbs. Next year I'll have to remember to leave the roots in place and interplant with a quick green that will be done when the resprouted fennel starts to size up. I accidentally did that this year when I sowed the cleared space with some Ethiopian mustard greens and some baby Tuscan kale.

Fioretto Stick Cauliflower
Summer sown stick cauliflower definitely produces more shoots than spring sown. I'll have to sow a few more now to see if fall sown plants can be as productive. The stick cauliflower isn't really productive for the space it occupies but it is fairly quick to produce and it is really quite delicious so I'm going to continue working with it to figure out how best to grow it.

Other harvests that I didn't photograph included more Pink Plume celery, a few wonky cucumbers, some baby carrots (thinnings), Petite Marseillais, Florina, and Ethiopian Brown peppers,  and Manoa lettuce.

In general it's turning out to be a good year in the garden even though there were some things that I usually grow that I didn't get around to sowing or getting into the garden. The annual tally so far has exceeded 800 pounds (the total shown on the side bar doesn't include the Terremoto squash) so it seems likely that I'll get close to 1000 pounds for the year which has been the average total for the past 5 or 6 years.

Harvest Monday is hosted by Dave on his blog Our Happy Acres, head on over there to see what other garden bloggers have been harvesting lately.


  1. If a large pepper doesn't roast well, I don't grow it again. There's too many good varieties for grilling to waste time trying to deskin a pepper that won't cooperate. Nice late-season haul of tomatoes!

  2. Really beautiful peppers and tomatoes. It's odd that the Terremoto squash has such diverse colors. I don't tally the overall weight of my produce, but if I did, I'm sure it wouldn't come close to yours.

  3. Wow on all those sweet peppers! It looks like you've found a number of them that suit your climate and your needs. I'm sure they are keeping you busy. I'm still struggling to get a first generation of fennel to grow, but it looks I might have some soon. So you just cut the bulbs and it re-sprouts, much like a lettuce or cabbage plant?

  4. Wonderful harvests - so many beautifully ripe tomatoes & peppers! When I'm in a hurry to deal with the pepper harvest, I just bung sliced sweet peppers into a zip lock bag and off they go to the freezer. I don't grow the variety that you do but so far, I haven't met a sweet pepper that I didn't like after a quick stir fry. Maybe I'm just not that particular :)

    The Terremoto squash are so pretty - I would use those around the house for fall decor before putting them in storage.

  5. What lovely harvests.. I have struggled to find a good roasting pepper so I am glad to know there is one out there! Like Margaret, we eat most of ours stir fried, but I do like brined or pickled peppers too

  6. The stick cauliflower is interesting. Is it a type of broccoli?


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