Posts Tagged ‘CobraHead Test Gardens’

Roasted Shishito Peppers

Thursday, November 9th, 2017
Blistered Shishito With Sesame Seed

Blistered Shishito With Sesame Seed

This year was not particularly good for our pepper harvest.  It may have been the location and the fact that the ever so tall Jerusalem artichokes  blocked the east sun from the patch.  That won’t happen next year.  Live and learn.

Luckily we had a late frost so when Noel pulled the last of the pepper plants from the garden on October 30th, we had a bonus – a couple dozen shishito peppers.  We had never grown them before so I thought they were immature wrinkly little things, but it turns out they were exactly as they should be.

I wasn’t sure what to do with them so I did an internet search on the various ways of preparing them.  The simplest way I found was roasting them at 500 degrees with olive oil, salt, pepper then sprinkling with toasted sesame seeds.  Here’s a link to the recipe and video of Michael Symon making them on a television show.

The peppers can also be roasted on the grill, pan blistered, stuffed with cheese, dipped in sauce, etc.  It all depends upon what you’re in the mood for and how much time you want to spend on the preparation.  No matter how you make them they’re sure to disappear quickly.

The seeds were from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company.   Check out their amazing website.  And, of course, don’t forget the tool section.  They might just have the CobraHead Weeder and the CobraHead “mini” Weeder in their offering.

Straw Bale Potato Storage

Thursday, November 19th, 2015
200 Pounds of Potatoes

200 Pounds of Potatoes

We had a huge potato harvest as the result of growing three beds rather than two and using seed potatoes from Wood Prairie Farm that gave us a much greater yield than previous seed sources. We ended up with over 300 pounds of potatoes from a 30 pound planting. I knew that if we didn’t find better storage than the basement, we would lose a lot of crop, so I made a quick cold storage set-up out of straw bales and an old wooden shipping crate.  Using a small stall in our little barn and about 20 small square straw bales, we put around 200 pounds into storage. The five varieties are in the picture above.

Shipping Crate in Straw

Shipping Crate in Straw

The wood box is nested inside straw bales stacked up in a barn stall.

Straw Bale Cold Storage

Straw Bale Cold Storage

The potatoes were harvested by early October and they are looking very good.  We’ve had a mild onset of winter so they haven’t been exposed to a hard freeze yet, but the barn gets pretty cold so I hope the straw does its job.  I’m sure we’ll get them well into next year. I’ve used this set-up for carrots and other root crops, previously, and I’m quite confident it will work well for the potatoes. This isn’t the slickest option for cold storage, but it is definitely very easy.

 

Garlic Planting in Open Raised Beds

Saturday, October 31st, 2015
Garlic

Garlic

Our target for planting garlic is the end of October. We hit it this year and I’m always happier when the cloves are set for their winter sprouting. Yesterday, I planted 76 saved seeds and added 38 new seeds, Lorz Italian, a softneck variety we purchased last week from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, our neighbors across the aisle at the Mother Earth News Fair in Topeka.

Open Raised Bed

Open Raised Bed

I had a bed nearly ready to go. Potatoes had been harvested from it, earlier.  It was clean and shaped.  Neither garlic nor any other onions had been planted there for a long time.

Tools for Making Ridges

Tools for Making Ridges

I used these tools to make three tall ridges in the bed. I softened the soil with my old five-tined cultivating hoe. I made deep troughs and tamped the soil with an old square hoe, which I’m guessing was originally sold as a cement hoe. And I used a steel rake to make everything smooth.

Bed Ridged for Garlic Planting

Bed Ridged for Garlic Planting

After I ridged up the bed, I planted the garlic. It likes to grow up high on the top of the ridge and I can use the rest of the bed, the slopes and the trough bottoms, to plant lettuces and other greens in the spring.

Garlic Seed Covered with Straw

Garlic Seed Covered with Straw

The garlic was planted along the ridges, six inches apart. I put the softneck seed in the middle row. After the cloves were planted I covered the bed using two small straw bales, fluffed up to be as loose as possible.

We can report excellent results with this method. Every year we supply ourselves with a lot of garlic. The softneck variety are supposed to be better keepers than the hardnecks which we’ve grown for many years, so we’ll see if we can develop a good Wisconsin strain from our southern bred seed.

2015 Sweet Potato Harvest

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015
Over Four Pounds

Over Four Pounds

As the garden season winds down, we’re happy to report that we’ve had another great sweet potato harvest.  I like to remind people that it’s easy to grow sweet potatoes even up north, here in Wisconsin.

Sweet Potato Bed

Sweet Potato Bed

Here are the potato vines, about two weeks ago.

Frost and Beetle Damage

Frost and Beetle Damage

We already had a light frost  and the leaves were pretty moth eaten from Japanese beetles.  I decided not to wait longer to get them out of the ground.

Vines Ready to Prune

Vines Ready to Prune

I stacked all the vines up in the center of the bed so I could easily prune them off using pruning lopers.

A Pile of Vines

A Pile of Vines

Here’s the bed with all the vines trimmed off.

Harvested Plants

Harvested Plants

Of the seventeen plants, most were quite robust, but three or four were on the puny side.

A Good Sized Plant

A Good Sized Plant

This one plant weighed over seven pounds.

Drying on the Kitchen Table

Drying on the Kitchen Table

Sweet potatoes need to be cured or allowed to dry out at a relatively warm temperature before being put into storage.  Here’s most of the harvest curing on the kitchen table.

Wrapped and Stored

Wrapped and Stored

After a two week curing, we wrap the larger potatoes in newspaper and store them in our heated basement.  They’ll keep a year in storage and maybe even a little longer.  Left too long, they’ll start to sprout, which is okay, because the sprouts are a good source for sweet potato starts to plant again next season.

We grow a variety named Jewel or Jewell.  It has consistently delivered good yields.  It produces a lot of nice fat potatoes with very few stringy unusable roots.  We harvested about 74 pounds of sweet potatoes.  Not our biggest ever harvest from a single bed, but still pretty good.