September already?

With our first round of tomatoes slowing down (we have a small second planting of red hybrids that will mature sometime in September), and school back in session, I think it’s time to give another update on what the farm is growing.  We have had a markedly decreased farm crew now that both student farm crew and apprentices are back in classes.  We are still getting help as schedules allow, but to make up for the loss of regular student help we’ve hired two new staff members, Josh and Bri, who will be with us throughout the Fall.

Striped German tomato on the vine

 

And into the Fall we come!  Although this week things are heating up once again, the mornings are a cool reminder that Fall is not far away.  The Fall transplants have made a worthy effort to stay alive through the shock of going into the ground in this dry heat, with help from some drip irrigation soaks. We’ve got broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, lettuces, and greens finding a new home out in the field.  Our first direct-seeded field didn’t fair so well, with less than 50% of the beds germinating satisfactorily.  We will be able to salvage some turnips, braising mix, and beets but plan to re-seed this week other crops that didn’t appreciate the dry weather.  Our second direct-seeded field looks great, however, with the spinach, beets, and radishes shooting their leaves up and making a stand.

On Monday we finished the potato harvest, having cleared both of our 2 fields of potatoes.  From fingerling to purples, big and small, we’ve got enough potatoes to last awhile.  Potatoes keep best when stored dry (often dirty), in a cool and dark environment.  And as many of you that have come out to pick beans, we’ve got more green beans!  If you’ve never picked green beans, it takes a long time to get a small quantity.  We try to only harvest beans when we have a large crew so that it will seem as if we are getting it done quickly.  Next up will be Royal Burgundy beans.  They are purple and oh so beautiful!

The peppers are slowing down as well, with no bell peppers in the share this week…although there are still plenty of hots! The eggplant made a resounding comeback this week, so we’ll include it also in the share.  More watermelons this week and hopefully next.  And if you’ve seen something that may look like corn or Johnson grass or simply just grass growing in our fields…its actually a summer cover crop.  The sorghum sudan grass, or sudex, was planted as a summer cover crop to help build our soil while it rests from intensive crop production.  It is planted with cowpeas (a legume to fix nitrogen in the soil) and will be mowed down at the end of Fall.  The residue left behind will create great organic material for building good soil tilth and nutrient-availability for next year’s crops.

And finally, in case you didn’t already know, vegetables taste delicious fried.  The farm crew has been frying potatoes and green tomatoes and zucchini and okra all week and it is a wonderful to enjoy that crunchy, greasy crust.  Alternatively, most things coming out of our fields also taste great grilled or roasted (peppers, eggplant, and squash), but there is something about that fried batter that makes my mouth start watering.

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