Friday, July 1, 2011

July is here!!!

And that means things are going crazy in the garden! But before we get to that I figured I'd post a couple of photos of goings on at the farm. I was cultivating and 'hilling' more potatoes the other day in the amazingly high heat and humidity, sweating buckets even without a shirt on and I looked over to see Indy lounging placidly in his wallow. I though it deserved a photo.

And this morning when I was trying to feed and water the pigs I couldn't find one. I was worried until I noticed a set of hams sticking up out of a gargantuan hole in the ground. Pigs are so entertaining!

Also, here are a couple of shots of things to come. Look at the basil plants lining the walkways in the greenhouse like emergency lights in an airplane. Much more satisfying though. We love Basil in the Parker household so this is always a welcome sight. Especially since last night I dropped a freshly seeded tray of fall basil and dumped out the whole thing! I had to come look at this in the greenhouse after that to calm down...

And beside the basil, another welcome and warm sight. A future tomato harvest in the making. Hopefully this makes your mouth water as much as mine.

And now onto today's harvest. Last night we actually began the harvest by pulling off the Sugar Snap Peas for the first time. These are an amazing pea, not just for their flavor and thirst quenching, crisp texture, which by itself is worthy of praise, but also for the sheer quantity of biomass these things can create. It is truly amazing how fast and much these plants grow. They will get to be nearly 7 or 8 feet tall before they are done and I'm quite sure they could keep going if I didn't pull them off the trellis to start another crop. At this point we've mixed them in with the Sugar Ann's you've been getting but soon those will be done and it will be straight Sugar Snaps.

I also harvested another installment of Crunchy Royale Radishes. The crop is doing so well I just love to pull the row cover off and take a look. Here is the before shot.

And here is the after. This is how we bunch them in the field as it helps keep track and is easier to count, wash, pack, etc. Last week you received the radishes that were thinned from this row. This week, you're receiving a more uniform radish bunch in your share and don't forget you can use the greens if you wish. See our blog from last week's harvest to view a link.

The radishes would go nicely in a salad with the Tango Lettuce you're receiving in this week's share. We went with only the green since the Red Salad Bowl has bolted. I'll have to replant for a later crop. You might also consider including some of the Carrots in a salad but more on those later.

You may find that the lettuce is too wet in the bag. If so, open the bag and place a quartered paper towel on top of the lettuce. Place the bag, still open, in the crisper of your fridge. After about a day, remove the towel. It will have wicked all the excess water from the lettuce and will cause the harvest to last much longer in your fridge.

This shot is only to show how we do things on harvest day. We pick, cut, rinse, pack and bring everything from the garden into the cool of the milk house. Then we do what you see below, that is cover the crates and buckets with plastic bags to retain moisture. Respiration is one of the leading causes of loss on harvest day and can lead to limp, lifeless, vegetables. We don't want that after working so hard to produce them in the first place.

And now, to the masterpiece of the week. As you'll see from the picture in the header of the blog, we have carrots, full sized, ready to go, delicious, beautiful carrots! Brittany and I were chatting in the garden when we were harvesting these and frankly, I'm going to fore go humility for a moment. The fact that you have carrots in your share this week is nothing short of amazing. These carrots were planted in our mobile greenhouse on March 6th when there was still 3 feet of snow just the other side of a six mil piece of plastic. I then spent 3 weeks carrying 10 gallons of water to a trip out to the greenhouse from the house to get them to germinate and then water them after they had. Then, in April, Brittany weeded the majority of them and I got the rest (she really did most of that).

In short, I am very, very proud of these carrots and very happy to be able to provide our CSA members with carrots this early in the season. This says nothing of how they came out. Frankly, they're amazing. I had one for lunch and they are delicious. I hope you enjoy them and if you have friends that might participate in other CSA's, feel free to eat your carrots in front of them.


I wrote at the beginning of this post about things going crazy in the garden. There is a reason the ancients used to celebrate the Summer Solstice! It's like a light switch for the plant world. 'Oh yes, the days just started getting shorter...we'd better hurry up before winter is here."

One thing that makes its appearance at this time of year is the Garlic Scape. Below is a series of photos related to this little wonder. I call it that because Garlic Scapes are nature's answer to us just about running out of stored garlic from the last year. You can use these as a substitute for garlic cloves. I suggest this week our members use these and the Scarlet Nantes Carrot tops from the share to make Carrot Top Pesto. Delicious and healthy! Carrots are wonderful as a nutrient pump. That means they reach way down into the topsoil and bring up nutrients that other plants cannot get. Carrot tops are high in calcium and potassium and the don't forget chlorophyll will naturally detoxify your body.

Here is Brittany, waist deep in the garlic patch, harvesting all those wonderful scapes.

I truly hope everyone enjoys this week's share, and all the season's harvests. Please don't forget that I love to hear feedback from everyone to help me improve the CSA. Until next week, be well and thank you for your participation in our local food chain.

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