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This Week on the Farm 9/9
We have already sold half of our honey! So if you are interested in purchasing some honey from our farm, now is the time to do so! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, pick-up location, and the number of one pound jars you are interested in purchasing and I will get back to you ASAP with availability and delivery information. Don’t miss out!
Tyler and Shelbi spent a good deal of Friday prepping the high tunnel for a fall planting of spinach. Our spring planting did not do very well and we think a large part of that was due to poor soil fertility. So, after Tyler tilled the tunnel they broadcast several fifty pound bags of chickity doo doo. That was one job I was glad I didn’t have to do! After they had spread the composted manure they had to rake the ground to get rid of any remaining grass trash on the surface. Since they used our special lettuce seeder, they had to make sure that there was nothing on the ground that could jam up the seeder. It is a very sensitive piece of equipment and the smallest piece of grass will gum up the works.
After the ground was totally prepped Shelbi seeded the tunnel not once, but twice to make sure that the seed was on thick enough. She then watered everything in by hand. We have watered every day since Friday. It will be another couple of days before we see how good the germination rate is this time around. We decided to plant the spinach in the high tunnel because it can overwinter well if kept protected. We are going to experiment with a frost blanket this winter and see how far into the winter we can keep harvesting. Our long term goal is to extend our CSA season into the winter, but we need to expand our knowledge/experience base before we are able to do that.
Speaking of frost… The weather stations forecast temperatures in the upper 30s this coming Friday night. Tyler had a minor freakout when he saw the forecast because that means it is time to get all of our frost protection equipment in place. A lot of crops won’t be bothered by temperatures in the upper 30s, but it does signal colder weather and we want to make sure that the tomatoes in particular are protected. So that means it is time to haul out the hoses and sprinklers and time to fill our bulk tanks with water in preparation for frost. I am not too worried about Friday as of tonight, but if that forecast dips any lower Tyler and I will start worrying pretty quickly. Keep your fingers crossed that they raise the forecast up to at least 40.
We hope you have enjoyed the couple of bean free weeks and are ready to start eating green beans again. This week we have yellow wax beans which are actually the second flush of fruit and Italian flat beans, which are from a new planting. Next week our dragon beans should be ready. The dragon beans are very similar to the Italian flat beans in flavor and texture, but they are a white bean with purple stripes. As with the purple beans you received earlier this season, the purple color goes away when cooked, but if you eat them raw in a pasta salad you are still able to enjoy the color.
The winter squash are almost ready to be harvested. Another week and we should be able to start harvesting the delicata squash. We took a walk through the field on Sunday and the powdery mildew isn’t spreading as rapidly as it has in past years. I think the wider plant spacing is really working to our advantage.
The onions are done curing in the greenhouse and I am hoping to get a chance on Wednesday to move them up to the barn to get them out of the sun. My plan is to put them in five pound bags and hang them so that they are still able to have good air circulation and be protected from the elements. We may have to adjust the weight once we start bagging them to find the optimal amount for our mesh bags.
The tomatoes this season have been producing really well. I have been particularly pleased with the Esterina tomatoes (the yellow cherry tomatoes). We have some fruit clusters with 15 tomatoes on them!! Every week when we harvest them I think to myself “I really like this variety.” It doesn’t split when it matures like the red cherry we have and it is easier to pick since it is a little larger, but yet it is still sweet. I like it so much that I have actually been thinking of writing to our seed company to ask them to make sure they supply it next year.
If you are wondering what the larger yellow, round veggie that feels like a peach is that you might get in your box, it is actually a tomato! The variety name is Wapsipinicon Peach and the description that was given in the seed catalog is that it has a “fruity bite of sweet and balanced flavors.” Let us know what you think. This was one of our novelty tomatoes this year and we always like feedback on whether or not we should grow it again.
We are getting really excited for Bike the Barns which is this coming Sunday, September 14. We have heard that there are still tickets available, so if you like to bike and would like to help make CSA shares available to low income families you should sign-up.
My sister and her family came down this past weekend to help us prep for Bike the Barns. We had painting to finish up on the outside of the packing shed, a mulch pile to spread out, a greenhouse frame to move into the barn, and, as always, mowing to do. They got almost all of our to do list completed this past weekend and we just have repair work on the one doorway to finish. I am also hoping that we will have time to get our farm sign up. Tyler’s mom painted a sign for us last fall, but we haven’t had time to put it up yet. She did a really nice job and I am excited to see it go up.