Can this really be week #5?? The season is whizzing by, and more and more different varieties of veggies are coming on strong as we head into the second half of July, including cherry tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash, peppers, broccoli, and more. Help with the harvest today came from our latest farm WWOOFer, Allison Ridington, a first grade teacher from Philadelphia who decided to give farming a try as part of her off time this summer. Welcome, and thanks for your help!
We’re generally pleased with how things are growing this season. We’ve managed to keep the weeds in check on most of the farm so far…the key is early and aggressive hoeing, and we were on top of it this year. Some areas…the carrot patch, for one…need hand-weeding, but that’s inevitable at this time of year. A few crops, like big tomatoes and cucumbers, are lagging behind a bit due to late plantings after that stretch of cool, wet weather we endured this spring. Now, ironically, we could really use a rainy day or two. Our biggest problem has been bugs. We’ve got a little of everything this season, and it seems to be a banner year for pests. The flea beetles had a feeding frenzy earlier in the season, and they’ve now been replaced by a host of other critters. We have cucumber beetles in abundance, and gray squash bugs are beginning to appear. Leafhoppers are enjoying the beans and potatoes. By far our biggest problem, though, has been with Colorado potato beetles. This seems to be a particularly bad year for them in general, and they’re having a great time here on our farm, in spite of the fact that we scouted through all the potato plants TWICE earlier this summer and plucked off adult beetles and their eggs (cleverly laid on the underside of the plant’s leaves but not-so-cleverly neon orange in color). These pests eat the plants down to nothing, and I’ve been forced to bring in the heavy artillery: We’ve ordered an organically approved pesticide called Entrust from Johnny’s that is effective against the potato beetle, and I plan to start spraying as soon as it arrives. We try to avoid things like this as much as possible, but we feel we have to do something in this case or we could lose a lot of our crop.
The fifth CSA share of the 2011 season includes the following:
1/2 lb bag of salad mix
1 bunch of scallions
1 bunch of turnips
2 lbs of zucchini and/or summer squash
1 head of lettuce
CHOOSE ONE: 1 head of broccoli -OR- 1/2 lb bag of arugula
CHOOSE ONE: Pint of cherry tomatoes -OR- 1 lb of slicing tomatoes
CHOOSE ONE herb: basil, oregano, cilantro, or dill
1 lb bag of mixed sugar snap and snow peas
1/2 pint of raspberries
We’re so thrilled with the raspberries! We put most of the plants in three years ago and have been waiting patiently for them to grow, fill in, and produce. We started harvesting some berries last season, but this season the plants seem fully established and are really cranking out the fruit. Hooray! Hopefully, they’ll keep on going and produce another flush in the fall.
Hey, don’t throw out those turnip greens! Popular down south, turnip greens are great steamed or sauteed. They can be a bit bitter, so consider adding a bit of honey or other sweetener to them before serving. We’re pleased to offer broccoli in abundance this week, too. We’ve had mixed results with broccoli in the past, chiefly because of our planting dates being a little off. Sonya’s confident she’s got it right now, and results so far certainly back her up. Enjoy!
We had a great time last week with Ron and Drenda Theriault, Sonya’s dad and stepmom, during their visit to the farm (they live in Cape Coral, Florida). As usual, Ron was a big help with random farm projects. He purchased and assembled a portable garage for us to use as the sheep’s winter quarters. He also armed himself with my chainsaw and hit the back woods to cut down a few straight oaks that will eventually be used as posts. A friend of ours is going to build a roof off the side of the CSA barn later this summer to give the tractor and assorted implements some cover, and Ron’s trees will be the main supports. Drenda spent a lot of time hanging with Lydi and taking her on adventures…the beach, the Gray animal park, etc. Thanks, guys!