Thursday, June 23, 2011

One month of local, beyond organic food!

Greetings from the height of summer in the Parker Produce Garden! Hopefully everyone has enjoyed the first month of the CSA season. This is a good time to take stock and offer feedback about your experience. Remember, the more we hear from you, the better we can be at improving our CSA this season and in the coming years.

This week's share includes spinach, chard, lettuce mix, radishes, peas and new this week, Red Russian Kale. Be sure to check out our recipe page by clicking the link at the right and look at the Kale Chips recipe. We love this in the Parker household!

And here is an interesting link for ideas to use radish greens.
I'm very excited by this radish crop, it's the best crop I've ever had! I've had nice radishes before but never edible greens. Usually the flea beetles render them tough and inedible and leave them looking unappetizing. Not so this year due to some extra work and vigilance! Enjoy!

Here is a shot of a wonderful sight. A lush carpet of radish greens just uncovered for an evening harvest. I harvest root crops in the evening the night before the CSA harvest. That way they have all day to metabolize sugars and since they keep so well in the milk house, it saves me some time on Fridays.

I was walking through the Quonset Hut Greenhouse yesterday and noticed this moth. Quite long as it doesn't eat my sweet potatoes!

This morning, I dug about 21 rows of walking paths and composted them all. You can see from the photo, this is all done by hand. After adding compost, I rake out the row with the 3-tine cultivation rake you see in the wheelbarrow. Then I switch to one of the most useful tools in my belt - the 30" bed-prep rake. This is a ton of work but it looks very nice and makes planting and harvesting more efficient. Any home gardener who has ever tried to harvest when they didn't leave themselves walking paths knows what a nightmare that can be.

Here's a quick shot of the piglets. You've not lived until you've seen pigs who are waiting 'patiently' for their supper, dive in head first! Better than T.V.

Here is another shot of those radishes. These are the ones from your share this week. Crunchy Royale is one of my favorite varieties for small round radishes. As you can see in the foreground, I interplanted with cucumbers.

And now to what I spent about 2.5 days working on this week. Hilling potatoes. In this shot they are all uncovered (i.e. the row cover is off) and I'm using the shade of a potato plant to help keep my water cool. I needed lots of water during this project.

After uncovering the first step is to take this wheeled cultivator and try to get some of the weeds and grass and loosen the soil between the rows.

Blogspot doesn't upload the photos in the order I input them. That's annoying! So this is a bit out of context but this homemade tractor implement is what I used originally to create the furrows for the potatoes. It works quite well for that.

Here is just a fun shot I thought of when I saw this image. I garden in bare feet whenever possible. It's a true perk of this gig to walk around the 'office' without shoes all summer long.

Here is the potato field all covered with Agribon - 19 Floating Row cover. Hopefully it keeps the Colorado Potato Beetles OFF my potato plants.

And here is why I have to cover over all those beautiful potato plants. I'm not sure who thought the Colorado Potato Beetle was a good idea but I'd like to have a talk with that person. This little beetle, and more specifically it's larvae, can do some serious damage to a potato crop. If the infestation gets bad, the entire crop can be devastated. Hopefully the row cover works!!!

Here is the potato field in the middle of being uncovered for hilling. You see the rows of soil between the green? I shoveled each and everyone of those over a two day period. Why anyone would pay for a gym membership is beyond me. Go outside and work on a small diversified farm for a few weeks and you'll wonder why you ever though the gym was a good idea.

Those are hay wagons in the background. It's definitely summer when John starts haying!

I'll close today with a little pontificating about local food vs. the industrial alternative. Local, fresh food is always better. The radishes in your share are a great example. Many people instantly default to 'I don't like radishes' when you mention these little beauties. But my contention is that that person simply hasn't tasted a radish. What you can get a the supermarket simply cannot compare. There are a lot of things like that.

Enjoy and have a great weekend.

1 comment:

  1. The chard was wonderful. Were there a couple of bok choy leaves in there too? I came on to see what the lavender color stemed things were. Never seen them before. Beautiful! Now I know they are Russian Kale. Look out kale chips. LOL. Thanks again. Spinach was great. will try raddish recipe.