News from the farm: May 26, 2010

What's going on at the farm?

Hello Members, hope you all had a nice week.  The big breaking news this week would be the RAIN!  While folks are always assuming I will be happy with the rain, as I mentioned in a previous newsletter, I would take it too dry over too wet any day.  And too wet is what we are!  Oh my!  Soupy soil, if we step foot on a growing bed instead of a pathway we sink in to mid calf!  Since we till the beds prior to planting, the soil is nice and loose (not compacted like the grass you walk on in your front yard).  Hence, the soupy sinking quick sand effect when it rains too much.  That is right, too much!  We got four inches in the first go around , and then it continued to rain each day after that about a half inch.  We haven’t seen the sun in a week (although here it is this morning J) which means that the excess wetness hasn’t dried off much.  So, here are a couple of frustrating things the rain did (just to vent then I will make sure to note some positives just to keep perspective for myself):  It was such a hard rain it knocked about half of the sugar snap pea vines off their trellis and on to the ground.  The hardness of it also knocked all of the carrot tops to the ground since they were so tall, and I am not sure if they are going to stand  back up!  This is okay, except that since the tops are in contact with the wet ground they are starting to rot, which is why we cut them off this week as you can see in your box.  It also makes them harder to harvest, to see where the root is.  WEEDS!  Specifically, Crabgrass.  An explosion of weeds, that had not been able to germinate thus far because it was so dry (and we irrigate with drip line which means that the water is only in contact with the soil at the base of the plant.  The rest of the bed does not get wet.)  We have not been able to hoe the weeds though due to the soupy nature of the soil, so they are getting big fast and that means it will be harder to get rid of them.  We need to plant our second tomato crop, and once again, that soupy soil is holding us back from getting the ground ready and the plants in the ground.  Lastly, that rain did those yummy strawberries in!  Holy rotten strawberries!  My goodness!  We had some sad customers on Saturday at market, local chefs with strawberries on their menus, and none to be found at market.  Strawberries do not have a skin, so if they stay wet for prolonged periods (which they most certainly did), they rot.  They had about another week or maybe two of fruit on them before they would have naturally stopped for the year, but they all went bye bye.  Okay, positives……I can do it…..lets see…….well, I haven’t had to irrigate in over a week which saves money on my electric bill because the pump that I use to irrigate from the pond is electric.  Things have seemed to really ‘jump’, meaning grow fast, as there really is that certain something that rain does that irrigation doesn’t.  The moisture in the rest of the bed activates microorganisms to start breaking down organic matter (ever notice how rotting happens faster with moisture?).  As the organic matter is broken down by the microorganisms they release nutrients into the soil that the plants can ‘eat’.  This is probably responsible for the ‘jump’, as the plants had been receiving plenty of water from irrigation prior to the rain. 
            Okay, enough about that!  Thanks for letting me get that off my chest J  As for your shares this week, lots of goodies!  The Sugar snap peas are the kind where you eat the shell and the pod.  Half shares have received White Satin Carrots, which are a fun white carrot that is mild and sweet.  Full shares have received Cosmic purple, which are purple on the outside and orange on the inside.  We will switch that for next week, so you will all get a chance to choose your favorite color after trialing them.  This may be the last week of beets, they came on hard and fast this year.  Usually we like to have beets through June (not going to happen apparently), but we had them early in May and have had a lot of nice ones for this month so far.  We trialed an orange variety this year called Touchstone Gold.  It did fairly well although we had a hard time getting the bulb to really size up.  We will grow more next year in hopes to have enough to give you guys a week to taste them.  The onions are just starting, and I am awfully proud.  They are growing very nicely, although quickly this year.  Soon we will have to harvest them all for drying (curing) and storage.  This is when the papery outside layers are formed, like you see at the grocery store.  Summer squash and zucchini are ready with a vengeance, we have lots!  For those who are not familiar with Zephyr squash, the kind that is in your box - half yellow, half light green- it is a yellow summer squash variety with a twist.  It really is just pretty, that is about all the half and half accomplishes I think, as the fruit taste very similar to any other yellow squash (except this is a very tasty variety in general.)
            So, in brief:  Last of the radishes, maybe last of the beets and no more strawberries.  Still to come:  Maybe sugar snaps next week, maybe done in by the falling vines.  More broccoli in a week or two as well as cauliflower.  Cabbage!  Starting to head up.  More summer crisp lettuce.  Basil is coming in a week or two!  More summer squash.  More onions.  Next week, leeks!   Plenty more carrots.  What else……well, the tomatoes look fabulous if I do say so myself, although it will be about a month before we have any ripe ones.  The potatoes look good, again, about a month though.  Cucumbers, that is right, they will be another week or two, but coming. 
            Okay, my morning cup of coffee is almost gone, and I think I have told most of what there is to tell.  I really hope you are all enjoying your veggies, we aim to please!  Let me know if you have any thoughts, feedback or concerns via email any time.  Thanks!  Elise.

What's in the box?

Full Box
Crop Amount  

Sugar Snap Peas                          1 lb.
Summer Squash and Zucchini   1.5 lb.
Cosmic Purple Carrots        1 bunch
Beets                 1 larger bunch
Onions             two white and one red
Lettuce              two small heads
French Breakfast Radishes    one bunch

Half Box
Crop Amount Price

Sugar Snap Peas                 ½ lb.
Summer Squash & Zucchini      1 lb.
White Satin Carrots                   1 bunch
Beets                                          1 bunch
Onions                    one white and one red
Lettuce                     one small head