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This Week on the Farm 7/14
You have celery in this weeks box! This is not your ordinary, water logged, flavorless vehicle for peanut butter that you get at the grocery store. This is an intense flavor that kicks up soups, hot dishes, and just about any “salad” you can think of. Also, please use the leaves! They have just as much flavor as the stem and can by used in almost any recipe where it calls for celery. These plants are not the behemoths that you find in the store, but they are way more flavorful!
This is the last week for kohlrabi. Check out the multiple kohlrabi recipes that members have submitted and pick your favorite to try this week. Remember that you can enter into our storage share drawing by sending us recipes. If you don’t see your recipe on the next newsletter it just means that I am saving it for when the ingredients are in the box again. Thanks to everyone who has sent in tips and recipes so far this season! Keep them coming!
This is the first and only week that potatoes will be in your boxes this year. Like I mentioned earlier in the season, the heavy rains we had in early June prevented us from being able to get into that field to cultivate and to keep the insects under control. So enjoy every bite because it took all of our helpers most of Monday to harvest them.
We could definitely see an improvement from last year to this year in the potatoes with the fertilizer application that was done at planting. This year (in the drier areas) we had a lot more potatoes per plant, but each spud just did not size up well because of weed and insect pressure. Next year the potatoes are going to be on higher ground, so we shouldn’t have problems with flooding keeping us out of the field at the critical time to control Colorado Potato Beetles. Combine that with the lesson learned about fertilizing with chickity doo doo at planting, and we are looking forward to much better yields. This is one of the most frustrating things about farming. You learn your lesson and then have to wait seven to ten months before you are able to apply that lesson!
It was a somewhat frustrating week as our main tractor was out of commission for most of the week. The three point arms went haywire and were stuck in the “up” position. Without being able to lower the three point arms we couldn’t use any implements to plant or cultivate. Tyler and Don dug out the manual and ended up taking the seat off of the tractor to get access to the hydraulics. After consulting with the manual (and Devin) they found the problem which was a stuck valve. They were able to get the valve to unstick and while they had everything torn apart Don replaced the hydraulic oil and the motor oil for good measure.
Unsticking the valve revealed another issue that we thought might be a problem, but we weren’t sure where or what exactly was going on. During heavy work such as transplanting, that tractor has had a tendency to slowly drop the implement and not be able to pick it back up. This happens more often when it is hot outside. Somehow by adjusting the valve on the three point arm we now know that the hydraulic piston has a leaky seal. We thought that this might be the case, but we weren’t sure where to go to fix it. Now we know. Tyler has added ripping the engine apart to replace the seals to his list of winter tasks. Hopefully this will be something that he is able to do himself since we don’t want to buy a new tractor.
Despite going without a tractor for a week during the height of weed control season, we did manage to get a significant amount of weeding done last week. Tyler spent a good chunk of Wednesday and Friday rototilling in the tomatoes and eggplant. He managed to get through both of those crops even though he broke multiple tines that then needed to get replaced. Something always seems to break when you are farming!
The tomatoes are looking really good. We even have a few tiny green tomatoes out there. Some of our new members may be wondering when we are going to start putting tomatoes in the boxes. It will be awhile yet. We don’t have high tunnels that we grow our tomatoes in, so we can’t plant them super early in the season. We have to wait until the end of May when the chance for frost is totally gone before we set those precious plants out. This means that the plants get a later start than some of those that you see at farmers markets. We also have to wait until we have enough tomatoes to put in everyones box. So although we might have 50 ripe tomatoes one week (which would be enough to take to a market) we have to wait until we have over 200 ready to go at once. So hold tight!