“Adirondack Red” Potatoes, Candy Carrots, Beets, Delicata Squash, Arugula, Baby Red Butter Lettuce, Green Oaky Lettuce, Garlic
THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• “Adirondack Red” or “Natasha” Potatoes
• Choice of Various Squashes
• Candy Carrots
• Turnips or Daikon
• Baby Red Butter Lettuce
• Baby Green Oaky Lettuce
• Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.
COMING SOON: Parsnips, Leeks, Savoy Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts
Had I planted just two weeks earlier in the greenhouse, or had the fall been slightly brighter and warmer, these lovely lettuce heads would be full-size by now. But, alas, the gods of farm logistics did not want it so. Nevertheless, lettuce in December is a treat, no matter the size. And the experiment proved that these varieties are, indeed highly resistant to Downy Mildew, the reason why we can’t have lettuce in winter.
I’ve observed that there are primarily two ways to approach farming; we can either work against nature, fighting natural processes, wildlife, and the environment in an effort to conquer and be productive; or we can concentrate our efforts on working with and alongside nature, doing our best to coexist while producing harvestable crops. Both methods have their simplicities and their challenges, but I choose the latter.
In the coexistence model, balance is key. This year, the farm predator population has been low. Last year, the neighbors did away with the resident coyote… and that meant trouble this year, as the rabbit population exploded. Even though a pair of Red-Tailed Hawks nested nearby and hunted regularly, there were rabbits everywhere, eating everything. When I planted peas and beans, the rabbits came out by night and munched the tender shoots to nubs… overnight half of each new patch disappeared. When I planted the fall brassicas, Cosmo and I built a low fence around them to deny them entry. The greenhouses needed to be sealed with chicken wire to keep them out or I’d have lost all the plants. Cosmo did some hunting, and Mario the Corgi/Terrier did his part, but while we did our part to control them, the population remained high. Because rabbits breed like… well, rabbits.
So I was recently thrilled to come home one night and hear a pair of Great Horned Owls hooting at each other. Typically they don’t come down from the hills, but they are most welcome to join the Barn Owls in their evening bunny feasts.
I was equally happy to hear a pair of Coyotes caroling last week. I hope they come closer, I encourage them to wander through, or even take up residence in the farm. As long as they stay out of the neighbor’s property they’ll be safe. I welcome them here.
Also new visitors, and hopefully future residents, are a pair of Ravens. They, too are rarely seen here, although their cousins the Crows and Scrub Jays and Stellar’s Jays pass through nearly daily. They may not be directly beneficial, but they definitely add character and are welcome
All these beasts add to the growing winter biodiversity on the farm; the migrating and resident songbirds, insects, and the unseen microorganisms that make this a urban oasis.
What’s a pirate’s favorite vegetable? Aaaarugula! Not just because it’s fun to say, but because it’s high in vitamin C, so it prevents scurvy! This sowing, done outside in September, is proving its special value in its winter-hardiness, surviving the last week of night temperatures in the -teens with no protection.
There are now two weeks left of the 2019 season… and I would love to have your commitment for the 2020 season. I’m happy to make payment arrangements, and you can pay by credit card as well as by check. Here’s the link to the enrollment form.