CSA members have finished the first planting of lettuce. It did better than I expected, although it wasn’t the best we’ve had. I set the plants out in the field early May. They then were buried under 6 inches of snow on Mother’s Day weekend, followed by 30 degree temperatures ten days later, followed by near frost again ten days after that. I’m surprised they didn’t bolt to flower sooner. I plant nearly 20 different varieties in that first planting (oak leaves, butterheads, romaines, bibbs, different colours and textures), since if it is a cool spring they do well.
I aim to seed lettuce every ten days, having 11 seedings through the growing season. This is with the hope to have a continuous supply. Life doesn’t always work out that way and usually there’s a break here or there in the summer. For the remainder of the plantings, I seed Summer Crisp (or Batavian) varieties. These are lettuces that do better in heat, don’t tend to bolt to flower as fast, and resist going bitter in the heat more than other varieties.
I’m telling you all this because it looks like the second and third plantings are going to come on about the same time. I will be giving out more lettuce over the next few harvests. If you found the first planting too bitter, give these next varieties a try. They are made for summer.
For folks who don’t have a share, or would like a bit extra, the farm market will begin this week, Friday’s from 3-7pm. It will be similar to last year, only there is a limit to two people in the store at any one time. Hope to see you there!
So you made it through the first bounty of 2020! I haven’t mentioned this for a while, and maybe it’s too late for last week’s harvest, but if you do not have a way to compost veggie scraps at home, you are welcome to bring them back to the farm and I can add them to our compost pile. I’d prefer you don’t bring all your kitchen scraps, since that might be a mix of things that attract critters, but any cuttings, peelings, stalks and whatnot left over from veggies, I’m happy to take.
Also, for several years I’ve encouraged members to come out to help for half a day in exchange for $50 off the share price. I have some seeding in flats to catch up on and some fall brassica transplants to put in the ground. If anyone would be interested in helping out with those things let me know.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me,
Just a reminder that tomorrow is the first CSA pick-up of the 2020 season. Please bring your own containers (bags or box). usually I say the large share is about a bushel, the medium about half a bushel, and the small about a third bushel… however this week there will be large leafy things that may take up more space than that. I’ll have pre-weighed and bagged some items, but most will be for you to select. I will have it displayed so you can easily see what you are selecting and I would like you have a ‘you touch it you take it’ policy.
I wanted to let you know, since there may not be time to talk to everyone tomorrow, I will do something I’ve never done before: You’ll be getting what I’m calling “Flowering Spinach Bundles”! The CSA is, if anything, always an educational experience! Anyone who has grown spinach before knows that there is a very narrow window between it being fully mature and when it starts to flower (usually less than a week!). The spring weather can make the maturing date quite variable. I seeded it, aiming to have it ready the third week of June, now. It germinated well and was coming along when suddenly, from one day to the next, I saw that about two fifth of it was gone. Just gone. I suspect a chipmunk, or herd of them, though I never saw what it was. This is a significant amount, but not enough to justify plowing it under and starting over. I had intended to thin it to four to six inches and harvest full plants to give out by weight. With that much gone, I changed plans and decided to let it be thick and risk the possibility of encouraging it to flower in order to maximize the yield for what was remaining. Unfortunately the hot weather sped up the spinach and it was prime about two weeks ago. Should I start the whole harvest schedule for just spinach, since nothing else was ready? and when I was still in the depths of intense planting season? I decided to wait, and harvest the spinach when it was in flower so that there would be other crops to compliment it. Spinach quality does not go down much as it flowers, unlike other crops like lettuce or beets.
Now for a fun aspect to this! Spinach is Dioecious. This is a biology term meaning ‘two houses.’ So there are male spinach plants and female spinach plants. When you usually harvest the plants, it’s before they even start to stem up, so you can’t tell which is which. However once they flower, you can. Each bundle likely has a mix of the two. Can you tell which are the male (pollen bearing) and which are the female (seed bearing) plants in your bundle?
So the crops are bursting forth now, and it’s always a challenge to predict the best start date for harvesting, but we’ll start Tuesday June 23 at the farm from 3 – 6 pm. Please bring your own bags or boxes. I would like to limit the number of people in the pick-up space to two at a time. This usually won’t be a problem, but there’s the odd time when there might be more. Please wait outside or in your vehicle if the weather is poor. I’ll try to make sure everything goes smoothly 🙂 Food is one of the least likely surfaces to carry the COVID virus, but I will arrange the produce so there will be minimal sorting, and I’d appreciate if you can take what you pick-up without handling the veggies more than necessary. Please respond to this post by commenting or sending me an email to make sure you have gotten the message, or if you have any questions. Thank you and see you soon!
Anyone who was a member the last few years, but has not rejoined, please let me know if you would like a share, since I could squeeze you in, but registration is now closed for any new members.
An update: This is the closest to a ‘normal’ spring that we’ve had for a while. Over the 24 springs the CSA has been operating, on average I have managed to get the first crops in the ground before the end of April. The last five springs this has not been possible with it either being still covered in snow! or just too wet. This week I managed (with help) to get the first lettuce and scallions transplanted and the first peas and carrots seeded ahead of this rain.
Let’s hope for a not too wet, and not too dry season!
I was asked to post a list of what plants I will have.
Red slicing tomatoes, red paste tomatoes, several different cherry tomatoes, tomatillos, hot peppers, kohlrabi, kale, fall cabbage, basil, holy basil, parsley, oregano, slicing cucumbers, pickling cucumbers, zucchinis, winter squashes, sunflowers, and some other things, just ask. If you do want to place an order I need specific numbers. I may not be able to accommodate everyone, but I’ll do my best
Since all the events where I normally sell plants in the spring are cancelled, I’m taking orders from folks wanting seedlings from the farm. Please let me know ASAP what you would like. If I have extra plants after filling everyone’s orders, I may have a plant sale at the farm the first weekend on June. Keep posted.
So with the changing social dynamics there’s been a very noticeable increase in interest in the CSA this year! For those members who have not renewed their share for the coming season and are interested in ensuring a supply of farm produce, please let me know what your intentions are for the season, as I expect to be selling out of shares very soon. If you can’t manage a first payment just at the moment, tell me what size share you want and I’ll hold it for you. I just want to make sure all past members are able to renew!
Even though the harvest season is still few months off, many summer events and plans are changing. We will see what the state of the world is come June, but just to put it out there, even if I have to, I can deliver shares door to door. I’m planting as though it will be a full season. You will get your veggies!
And those of you who usually get eggs, just send me a message about a time you would like to pick them up and I can put them in an agreed place… 🙂