Author Archives: saugeenrivercsa

About saugeenrivercsa

Farmer/owner Saugeen River CSA

Garlic and Broccoli

A few members have been asking about garlic.  Well, it did not do well this year on my farm.

There is a new organic garlic grower in the area who is selling his garlic at $8/lb.  There’s limited supply, so if anyone would like to place an order for some, I’ll be making a list: first come first served.

The reason garlic did poorly here is from the gradual increase in Leek Moth activity.  I will have to skip a year in growing any garlic or leeks on the farm to hopefully not provide habitat.  We will have some leeks later, since a friend offered to raise our leeks at their place, as they hadn’t had the moth yet (although it has arrived this year).  The general solution for organic growers is to cover the crop with row cover.  Although I can do that for many crops, the nature of how garlic and leeks grow require a frame to keep the cover from pressing on the plants.  In my windy area this has proven impractical.  I’ll keep working on experiments.

Speaking of experiments.  Last week’s CSA saw a “broccoli experiment.” I said I’d explain it in a post. So… everyone loves broccoli.  By everyone I mean flea beetles, cabbage worms, groundhogs, dear, Swedish Midge, and of course dinosaurs (parents will get this reference).  Row cover works for the beetles and worms, but not for groundhogs and dear (they rip through it) so I’ve done various fences to keep the four legged ones out.  The most challenging pest is the Swedish Midge.  It finds the smallest of holes in the cover and attacks the growth point of the broccoli which often leads to big beautiful looking plants that never make a head.  I’ve had too many total broccoli crop failures because of the Midge I have tried various solutions that have not consistently worked.  So my experiment this year was to grow what’s called ‘sprouting’ broccoli that doesn’t only make a head, but puts more energy into side shoots.  This would be an answer to the Midge, however it seems to offer erratic timing of harvest.  This means that the stand of broccoli is at so many different stages that to get enough to provide for the CSA from one harvest I would have to grow a much larger number of plants.  I’ll keep experimenting, since everyone does love broccoli.

Organic Wood Fired Sourdough Bread

Just a reminder that you can get bread delivered for you at the CSA on Tuesdays.  Aster Lane Farm’s bread is amazing and easy to order.  Go to http://www.asterlanebread.com to see what they do.  Send them an email to orders@asterlanebread.com and get on the list to order from their weekly selection. They send out what is available each week on the weekend, you just need to fill in their form by Monday morning.  All communication is with Bennett and Catherine, so ask them more questions through the email.

Let Us Talk About Lettuce!

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.

CSA full for this season!

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!