Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
SPINACH ~ CARROTS ~ CANTALOUPE OR WATERMELON ~ TOMATOES ~ GREEN/YELLOW BEANS ~ ONIONS ~ CHOICE OF HERBS ~ LETTUCE ~
Oh my, it has been a few weeks since posting a message from the farm on this here blog. Certainly, the fact that I have not dealt with my malfunctioning camera cord has contributed to the delay. . .new pictures are fun to share! But, I have dug into some old-ish ones to color today's news and hope to figure out the glitch soon. (But I have been told that I have to bring the whole computer brain into the shop, and as most highly wired people nowadays, I have a hard time imagining being "unplugged" for more than a few hours. Yikes. . . . It would probably be good for me.)
On to the vegetables!!
Melons. The plants did not kick the bucket during all that rain but it certainly stunted their growth. Now, as the fruits reach size and ripeness, there is not the day and nighttime warmth to really make them sweet. Heat leads to sugar production, so though they look and feel like melons, they (probably) won't be the sweetest things you have ever tasted. We had a great one for breakfast this morning so I hope CSA members received ones at least as good as that one.. .
It is dry out there now, but we are still registering losses from the early summer monsoon. We tilled in all the corn. Sad. So sad. Joseph had some multi-colored dry corn he was jazzed about, and we had many dollars and hours into sweet corn transplants that we had hoped would provide the CSA households with dozens and dozens of ears. Due to the weather stress, it just didn't grow taller than Benjamin and that is too short (for a corn plant) to produce anything worth eating. So we fed the plants back to the soil and cover cropped the large corn blocks with oats and vetch.
We fared extremely well in the tomato department this year and have been harvesting many pounds of multi-colored and shaped fruits for nearly two months. Many farmers and home gardeners had total crop losses due to the late blight wafting around in all that rain, but our applications of organically allowed copper fungicide and some luck seemed to have spared us. . . and you. The CSA model puts farmers and member-consumers in the "same boat," and after this year's weeks of rain, we have new found respect for a farmer-member "contract" which makes the shared risk aspect of supporting a farm through a CSA program very clear. In the past, we have felt that protecting our CSA members investments (i.e. providing you all with food equalling or exceeding your membership costs) could be accomplished by:
overplanting for the CSA
- maintaining wholesale accounts (again, having extra vegetables planted acts as a buffer for the CSA.)
- investing in irrigation equipment so that crops can get watered if necessary
- keeping "up to date" on best practices so that we continue to be good stewards/growers
- constantly putting the soil first. . .investing in the future crops by feeding and tending the soil well.
But after this year's deluge and season-long ramifications, we are thinking that it would be best to make sure all members and potential members understand the shared risk part of the CSA model at sign up time. We all fared well, considering all the stresses from weather and disease this year.
Prentice just took a few hours with his clipboard to walk through each garden, noting variety issues, row spacing, planting dates, tillage, amendments, etc. In many ways, autumn finds us planning for next spring and summer.
A neat and tidy row of fennel in the evening light. In the lower left hand corner you can see the neat and tidy rows left by the Brillion seeder, our new-used piece of equipment that drops, rolls and tamps-in cover crop seeds like winter rye, oats, barley, vetch, peas and buckwheat. All season long, as soon as a bed is harvested for the last time, we lightly disk or till it and then plant it with the Brillion so that there is never bare ground for long. Holding the soil in place for the winter months and spring freeze-thaw cycles is best done with plant roots. So we are busy planting those soil-holding plant roots now so they have a bit of time to grow and establish this fall.
Pasturing poultry is one of the many "chores" around our place June-late September. Prentice moves the "chicken tractors" three times a day, keeping the birds in/on fresh grass. We choose to organically feed our chickens (and all the other farm animals except the dog and barncat) because we believe in supporting organic grain farmers but also to cast our vote against genetically modification of crops. Most non-organic corn, soy and wheat are a genetically modified these days. If you are interested in buying some birds for the freezer, let us know soon. They are almost all sold for the year.
I know our sporadic postings haven't helped any one's shopping and meal plannings this summer, but should you want to stock up on Eggplant Parmesan ingredients, you will be receiving eggplants for the next few weeks. Also coming in the weeks ahead will be leeks, winter squashes of various stripes and shapes, celeriac, cabbage, potatoes, kohlrabi, chinese cabbage, spinach, kale and other greens and onions.