Monday, November 13, 2017

Harvest Monday - November 13, 2017

This week I'm feeling a little justified in my extraordinary battle with the rodents for my corn. I managed to save all the ears of Santo Domingo Rainbow with damage to the end of only one ear. 

Santo Domingo Rainbow
I stripped the orange and red ears separately from the blue and white ones. The red and yellow mix is particularly beautiful in my opinion. It feels wonderful to run my hands through the bowl of kernels, it makes me feel rich! They are like precious gems. Definitely precious considering the grief and work I went through because of the rodents.

Santo Domingo Rainbow
I lost nearly half of the ears of Hopi Greasy Head. These ripened earlier than the Santo Domingo and of course the rodents figured that out so they chomped through a lot of it before I figured out how to effectively deter them. I think a number of the ears are smaller than they could be because the rodents didn't wait for the corn to mature, they started in early on the silks before the ears were even fully pollinated. At this point I'm just grateful for what I managed to harvest. Will I go through the battles again next year? I'm not sure.

Hopi Greasy Head
This week is Aji Week, at least so far as peppers go. Aji Golden and Aji Angelo were the first to fill the harvest basket. The plants are large and both turned out to be generous producers. That's 1.4 pounds of Aji Golden and 1.8 pounds of Aji Angelo peppers. I was a bit worried about the Aji Angelos earlier in the season, they looked to be larger and a bit more wrinkled than what I remembered in the past.

Aji Golden and Aji Angelo
Looking back to 2013 harvests when I last had a plant growing in a garden bed I can see that the peppers this year are indeed larger than those 2013 peppers. I had a plant in 2014 also but it was growing in a pot and it wasn't happy. But in looking even further back at growing this pepper I think that the plants weren't getting a chance to prove their potential. The last time that I planted Aji Angelo into the garden was in 2009. That was before I had my current big deep planting boxes so the plants were growing in shallow soil and most likely had to compete with oak tree roots for water and nutrients. In subsequent years I grew Aji Angelo in pots which always limits both the size of the plants and the peppers. In 2013 it or a similar pepper volunteered in the garden and the plant produced some pretty nice peppers. But that was before I started using mycorrhizal and bacterial inoculants in the garden. Those inoculants have made a big difference in the health of my pepper plants. The plants are larger with larger leaves and larger peppers. I've never had an Aji Angelo plant grow as big as it has gotten to be this year so I suppose it should be no surprise that the peppers are larger also. The flavor and heat level aren't different from what I remember so I'm pretty sure that these are the real deal.

I made a pepper jam using half Aji Angelos and half Ometepe peppers to make a moderately spicy jam. Most of the rest of the Aji Angelos have been halved and seeded and are fermenting away in a mild unseasoned brine solution. My plan is to let them ferment for a week or two and then dehydrate them and grind them into flakes.

Aji Angelo and Aji Golden
Aji Golden is a new pepper for me this year. You may recall seeing them in Dave's (Our Happy Acres) harvest posts. Last year he offered seeds and I took him up on his offer and I'm so happy that I did. It's is a sweet, fruity, and moderately hot baccatum pepper, really delicious. I haven't put any of them to use yet other than to just sample them. I think that they will make a really delicious pepper jam. 

Baby Aji Amarillo
Baby Aji Amarillo is back for the third year. The first year I grew it the seed producer simply called it Aji Amarillo, but then they started carrying a much larger yellow Aji so they called the new one Aji Amarillo Grande and changed the first pepper to Baby Aji Amarillo. I've been growing both peppers since last year. The Baby version differs quite a bit from the Grande version. The plants and fruits are smaller and the peppers ripen quite a bit earlier and are more mild. The plants that I grew the first two years produced peppers that were almost entirely sweet. But the peppers from the two plants that I started this year have a surprising heat level, only medium hot but significantly hotter than what the previous plants produced so it was a surprise when I first tasted them. I kept the harvests from the 2 plants separate because as you can see one plant had larger peppers than the other and I wanted to see if there was any difference in flavor or heat as well. It turned out that the only differences are the size and that the smaller peppers started ripening earlier. I still have one plant from last year which has produced a nice crop and those peppers turned out to be just as mild and sweet as the peppers it produced last year. It's interesting that the plants started this year from the same packet of seeds turned out to be so much spicier. I used about half of the latest harvest to make a batch of pepper jam and unlike the jams I made in previous years this time I removed the cores and seeds to tame the heat.

There's still a trickle of tomatoes ripening but the trickle is about to turn into a slight drip.

Most of the sweet peppers are done except for a couple of late producers which are holding well in the garden for the moment so I've left them there since I'm still dealing with the peppers that I harvested the week before last.

Cosmic Purple
And one last colorful and new harvest - Cosmic Purple carrots. The only thing that I don't like about these carrots is that the color is only skin deep, if you scrub them the color comes right off. They aren't as sugary sweet as some orange carrots either but that's not a flaw in my opinion, sometimes I just don't want my veggies to be that sweet.

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. The corn pinwheels are gorgeous! My mouth waters thinking of pepper jam. A beautifully colored late harvest. Good for you for persisting.

    1. Honestly, I kept wondering why the heck I bothered. I was so tempted to just rip all the corn out but now I'm so glad I didn't.

  2. The corn is sure lovely and I'm guessing it will taste all the better given your battles with the rodents. And I'm glad you are enjoying Aji Golden. I was happy to share it with you after you shared Aji Angelo with me a few years back. Both are not exactly widely available, so I hope to keep them both going here.

    Interesting about your Baby Aji's. Last year I set out two plants. One made very hot peppers of the typical size and shape, while the other made milder ones with a different shape. Artisan Seeds decided it was a baccatum/chinense cross, accidentally crossed with their chinense seasoning peppers. I wonder too if the Aji Amarillos are truly stable. I didn't plant any this year, since I had plenty of others I wanted to try.

    1. That's interesting that the Baby Aji's might be a cross, that would explain why some plants have hot peppers and others sweet ones. I've got a 4th plant in a pot that I just sampled a pepper from and it had barely a hint of heat. I've got another Grande plant this year so it will be interesting to see how it compares to the peppers from last year. There's one more Aji in the garden called Joe's Giant and it's living up to its name but it's going to be some time before I get a ripe one to sample.

  3. I am so impressed by your corn harvest! Could you please share how you deterred the rats, as we have a problem with them too. I would appreciate your help on this one!!

    1. Oh my, I'm not so sure you want to go to the extreme that I did. I actually encased every single ear of corn in 1/4-inch hardware cloth. Check out my post on Sept. 29 for photos. That's why I'm not so sure that I'll be growing corn again.

    2. The sweet corn is amazing. I’ve only ever grown the yellow varieties. Are the multicoloured Ines as sweet?

    3. These corns are not as sweet because they aren't meant to be harvested fresh, they are flour corns which are allowed to dry on the plants and then shelled to make cornmeal and other dry corn products. It is possible to eat them fresh and they are sweet but nowhere near as sweet as corn bred for fresh eating.


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