THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• Broccoli or Cauliflower
• “Red Norland” New Potatoes (best steamed, roasted, or boiled)d
• Green Onions
• Summer Squash or Zucchini
• Baby Lettuces
• Napoletano Basil
• Thai or Lime Basil
Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.
The U-pick area is open for cut-flowers. Herbs and more beans are coming soon!
It’s crunch time here, so my apologies for the lack of update last week. Not only are we taking care of and harvesting summer crops, we also are working furiously to get all the fall and winter crops in the ground, since we only have a couple of months of growing time left. July and August are by far the busiest months. Add to that the ever-growing cow population, Della’s new goat, and the need to move the turkeys, and it’s a very long to-do list.
The broccoli is in full swing now. I held my breath for several months, waiting to see if we would have any this year, after The Great Brassica Disaster of 2012. We lost our entire drop of thousands of cauliflower and broccoli plants to the dreaded Clubroot, a fungus that inhabits the roots of plants in the brassica family and slowly starves them. It affects other plant families as well, but it’s really evident in the brassicas because they have such a small root system to support a lot of top growth. The fungus lives in the soil and can remain there for decades. So, our organic control method is to not grow any brassicas on our farm. WHAT? That means no kale, turnips, cabbage, arugula—it’s a long, long list. We depend on brassicas here.
The good news? We have wonderful neighbors, who are renting us plots to expand our crop rotation. (We hope to eventually assimilate those properties, and expand our farm, so watch for news.) We have planted our entire crop of summer and winter brassicas next door, on T&M land, which has been fallow (well, it’s had a sod of clover and dandelions on it) for several years. The results are beautiful. We once again have a lovely crop of broccoli. The cauliflower, not so much because we lost control of weeds, but the fall cauliflower will be delicious come October.
There has been a tragedy in the broccoli seed business. Our favorite variety, Packman, is no longer available. We’ve grown it for 15 years, it’s the best for us. It makes a nice little crown, and we can pick it for three more weeks, harvesting little side shoots of tasty broccoli. Makes the entire business of broccoli growing worthwhile. But sadly, the breeder has discontinued it. How do you replace something like that? I’ve been trying other varieties, but none are quite as perfect.
The FarmKids Club met this week, and we made ice cream from Juniper’s milk, picked blackberries to eat with the ice cream, and inscribed their names on green pumpkins. Those pumpkins will have their names emblazoned on them in the u-pick patch, come October.
And here’s a nice moment captured in the greenhouse. This little female Anna’s Hummingbird spends a lot of time with the cucumbers and nasturtiums. She chirps at me while I’m working in there, but doesn’t leave. I’ve been able to overwinter a little group of them for three years now, with careful feeder maintenance. I wonder which generation she is.