Tag Archives: Baby Turnips

Summer Week 3—Heatwave!

Ladybugs, baby! Parent and larva, hunting aphids. A single ladybug can eat 5,000 aphids in its lifetime, so these are definitely beneficial to the farm!

Ladybugs, baby! Parent and larva, hunting aphids. A single ladybug can eat 5,000 aphids in its lifetime, so these are definitely beneficial to the farm!

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• Romaine Lettuce
• Red Russian Kale or Swiss Chard or Collard Greens
• Italian Torpedo Onions
• Fava Beans
• Fresh Basil
• Fresh Dill
• Arugula

LARGE SHARES: (also available in the Trading Box)
• Zucchini
• Cucumbers
• Snow Peas

Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.

COMING SOON: Cilantro, Napa Cabbage, Carrots, Beets

Wowza! It was nearly 100° here today! We are happy about the heat because it will make everything grow quickly, but too much too fast makes it hard to water everything to keep it from dying!

Good news is that the outdoor herbs (basils, parsley, cilantro, dill) are all doing great and we will be picking them soon. The carrots, beets, and turnips will be ready sooner than planned, and so will the broccoli and cabbage. Even the beans will be along in another week or two, and that is speedy! Our next (and larger) plot of peas will be ready next week, too, so you’ll be getting more crunchy sweetness.

The new greenhouse is nearly done. It just needs the skin and end walls. So close!

The new greenhouse is nearly done. It just needs the skin and end walls. So close!

Many people have been asking about the u-pick area—next week! We just need to make some improvements to the entryway and get the signs posted, and we’ll be all set. Don’t want anyone tripping in their excitement to pick peas and herbs!

We were able to get an early patch of snap beans planted, back in April, and here they are! Just another week or two until we can start picking!

We were able to get an early patch of snap beans planted, back in April, and here they are! Just another week or two until we can start picking!

I’ve been searching up some good fava bean recipes, especially any that don’t require cooking, so be sure and check out the Fava Bean page here. It IS salad season, so here’s a handy salad dressing guide. We have enjoyed the BLT salad, but there are so many ways, and with this week’s gigantic romaine heads—I’m screaming for a grilled chicken Caesar!

My apologies to those who don't like snakes, but this garter snake was so beautiful! Usually they have blue stripes, sometimes red or yellow, but I haven't seen one so vividly orange before. A real beauty, and so valuable to the farm!

My apologies to those who don’t like snakes, but this garter snake was so beautiful! Usually they have blue stripes, sometimes red or yellow, but I haven’t seen one so vividly orange before. A real beauty, and so valuable to the farm!

 

Summer Week 1—Lettuce Begin!

Beautiful Mayan Jaguar lettuce. It's a romaine, so when it grows up a bit more, it will be a carnival of crunchiness.

Beautiful Mayan Jaguar lettuce. It’s a romaine, so when it grows up a bit more, it will be a carnival of crunchiness.

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• Lots of Lettuce Heads
• Red Russian Kale or Swiss Chard
• Green Onions
• Snow or Sugar Snap Peas
• Basil
LARGE SHARES:
• Nasturtium Flowers (to spice up your salad)
• Beet Greens with Baby Beets
• Fresh Garlic

Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.

COMING SOON: Peas, Fava Beans, Cilantro, Napa Cabbage, Torpedo Onions, Fennel, Carrots

I know we have a lot of new subscribers this season. Welcome!

The beginning weeks of our summer season are a sort of warm-up—because many people aren’t used to eating vegetables they’re not used to, and many families just don’t eat many vegetables at all! THAT is about to change, for the better.

Right now, we have a lot of lettuce. Make lots of salads! Actually, this is the only time of year I really LOVE salad, and so we eat a lot of them. We typically use 2-3 heads of lettuce for a dinner. For three adults and two kids. I like a big salad, and when the lettuces are succulent, sweet, and delicious it’s so easy to be a pig about it. Lettuce, a few herbs, and a good dressing. I’m trying a BLT salad tonight—I’ll take a picture and share it, but it sounds delicious. And I’ll be making my  own mayonnaise! Finally ran out of the jar.

Greens are typical for early summer. But the carrots, potatoes, and beets are growing, the squash and cucumbers are flowering, and the beans are about to bloom. Our early planting of peas is always a gamble, but this year’s March planting paid off and we have some to pick. Not a lot, mind you, but there were enough this week to give everyone a taste of snow peas (some got sugar snaps because we ran out) for a tasty stir-fry, perhaps.

There has been enough of some things, that I have been stashing leftover bits away in the freezer already. Unheard of in June! But I got a bit of kale and peas frozen, and some leftover berries and rhubarb from a farmers market. Little by little I can store up enough food to get us through the dearth of winter. I love my vacuum sealer, and just a few bags each week of green things gets us through the doldrums of January/February/March, until growth starts again in April.

It's that time: I'm already putting away extras for winter. Strawberries, peas, that leftover bunch of spinach. Whatever. I just stash it away in a freezer bag for later.

It’s that time: I’m already putting away extras for winter. Strawberries, peas, that leftover bunch of spinach. Whatever. I just stash it away in a freezer bag for later.

Because we opted for a higher-grossing Seattle market on Saturdays, we are not participating in the Kent Market this year. Instead, Cosmo has opened a farm stand! He is open from Noon-2:00 on Saturdays. Next week he will also be open on Thursdays from 5:00-7:00. He had a great opening day, and thank you to everyone who came to support his new venture!

Cosmo opened his farm stand last Saturday. He will be open every Saturday between noon and 2:00. We are working on a weekday post-work time as well. Probably Thursdays. We'll keep you posted.

Cosmo opened his farm stand last Saturday. He will be open every Saturday between noon and 2:00. We are working on a weekday post-work time as well. Probably Thursdays. We’ll keep you posted.

We’ve had some adventures of late with the cows. Many of you have heard the frightening tale of the young bull who finally found himself and turned into a crazed beast overnight. Well, this week’s escape was much milder—he is now in the barn, having been vetted and fixed, but the girls all escaped to visit. They were well-behaved though, and we found them all waiting by the gate to be let in. The next morning we followed their tracks all over the farm, and luckily nothing was damaged.  This time.

The cows escaped and went walkabout the other night. It's always interesting to see where they've been.

The cows escaped and went walkabout the other night. It’s always interesting to see where they’ve been.

Early summer is also the height of weed season. The alternating spells of sun and rain make our crops grow like crazy, but the weeds are even more vigorous. We are looking for a weeding crew, and will pay. Let us know if you’re interested—or we will resort to a Weed Dating party!

What do you think? Should we try this?

What do you think? Should we try this?

Have a great week!

Spring Week 10—Spring is Over!

Summer is early this year! Never before have we been able to provide basil and nasturtiums in our Spring CSA.

Summer is early this year! Never before have we been able to provide basil and nasturtiums in our Spring CSA.

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• Choice of Lettuce Heads
• Orach or Pea Shoots
• Fresh Garlic
• Basil
• Nasturtium Flowers (to spice up your salad)
• Red Russian Kale

Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.

COMING SOON: Peas, Fava Beans, Cilantro, Swiss Chard, Napa Cabbage, Torpedo Onions

Last year Cosmo hung this birdhouse up by the greenhouses. He is really excited that it is occupied this summer by a Bewicks Wren.

Last year Cosmo hung this birdhouse up by the greenhouses. He is really excited that it is occupied this summer by a Bewicks Wren.

We have reached the end of our spring season. There is always an overabundance of something in the spring season and this year it was pea shoots. My apologies if you are sick and tired of them, but they were bountiful and we are all about sharing the bounty.

But summer is early! We have been picking basil, peas are nearly ready to pick, and so much is on the horizon. Next week we start our summer season.

It doesn't look like much, but next week we will be planting tomatoes in this new greenhouse!

It doesn’t look like much, but next week we will be planting tomatoes in this new greenhouse!

We decided to build another greenhouse—this one will be filled with our tomato plants. The carrots that were in greenhouse 4 are now completely harvested and we can plant the peppers and eggplant in their place. The cucumbers in greenhouse #3 are ready to be trellised, and soon the basil in greenhouse #2 will be spent and we will replace it with melons. I love having greenhouses!

Rogue Hen #2 for this year popped out of the bushes last week with her brood. This one has 14 chicks, and she really enjoys getting into the barrels of brewers grain and kicking them out for her babies. She hangs out around the farm stand, so keep an eye out, but please give her space so the chicks don't get separated.

Rogue Hen #2 for this year popped out of the bushes last week with her brood. This one has 14 chicks, and she really enjoys getting into the barrels of brewers grain and kicking them out for her babies. She hangs out around the farm stand, so keep an eye out, but please give her space so the chicks don’t get separated.

We spent a lot of time working on the u-pick garden yesterday. The cherry tomatoes are blooming, and the beans are ready for their trellis as well. The peas are coming along but will still be a couple of weeks away. The cilantro, dill, and basil are nearly ready to pick, and the flowers will be coming along by the end of June.

We still have some shares of ground beef available—$65 for ten 1-pound packages. And, we have some fryer/broiler chickens available as well. Just let us know if you’re interested. We start butchering next week.

Everything is shaping up for an amazing summer. It feels like July, but it’s only June!

Spring Week 8—Things are Hopping!

800# of potatoes are planted! A little late, but the ground was so wet, this was the soonest we could get it ready. New potatoes should be ready in July!

800# of potatoes are planted! A little late, but the ground was so wet, this was the soonest we could get it ready. New potatoes should be ready in July!

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• Baby Carrots
• Pea Shoots
• More Pea Shoots
Orach (link goes to a NY Times article with recipes!)
• Purple Salad Mustard
Green Garlic

Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.

COMING SOON: Green Onions, Spinach, Basil!, Peas, Fava Beans

We are sure enjoying the carrots! Sadly, they are in a greenhouse, so they will be done in a few weeks, but it’s sure a treat to have them this early. The first outdoor crop is planted, so we will only have a small gap of carrotlessness.

First Sugar Snap Pea blooms! First crop of peas will be coming in June!

First Sugar Snap Pea blooms! First crop of peas will be coming in June!

The Pea Shoots are especially bountiful now that we’ve had some warm weather—they are tender and succulent now, and delicious. Great for salad, with a lemony dressing!  Our early planting of Sugar Snap and Shelling Peas are starting to bloom, so we can look forward to counting the weeks until those sweet pods are ready to pick. Still several weeks earlier than last year.

Rainbow-colored Orach, or "Mountain Spinach". It's a nutritious, cool-weather green that is very similar to spinach.

Rainbow-colored Orach, or “Mountain Spinach”. It’s a nutritious, cool-weather green that is very similar to spinach.

Our Spinach is not quite big enough to bunch, so we started picking the Orach this week. It is very similar to spinach, and can be used raw or cooked. It’s pretty too! We were hoping that the arugula would be ready, but sadly, the dreaded flea beetles found it first and it is not very tasty at all now, and it’s full of holes. Soon a new planting will be ready.

You've seen those row cover tunnels from the outside, but this is the inside view. Harvesting purple salad mustard. Good thing we're not claustrophobic.

You’ve seen those row cover tunnels from the outside, but this is the inside view. Harvesting purple salad mustard. Good thing we’re not claustrophobic.

The extremes in weather are fine for humans, but hard on plants. Many plant families respond to both changing day length AND temperature, so when we go from cold, cloudy days that feel about 12 hours long to suddenly hot, bright days that are 16 hours long, the plants’ internal clock says, “Whoa! I gotta get my flowers on!” So they elongate, bloom, and finish their life cycles. Unfortunately, we never know when exactly this will happen. This is why Spring is the trickiest season for harvesting.

Our first rogue hatch of 2014! This hen has secretly been setting on a nest of eggs and appeared the other day with 10 chicks. Happy birthday! I'm sure there will be more new families as the weeks go by.

Our first rogue hatch of 2014! This hen has secretly been setting on a nest of eggs and appeared the other day with 10 chicks. Happy birthday! I’m sure there will be more new families as the weeks go by.

That increasing day length also tells the chickens that it’s baby making time. Around April, those hens who feel the motherly yearning start stealing away to make nests in the bushes, behind a pile of lumber, or any tucked-away, secluded place. Sometimes they collect only their own eggs, and others are really skilled at luring other hens to help by laying their eggs in the nest as well. Those are the hens who can get to setting soonest. Our first “rogue” hen just appeared this week with her clutch of hatchlings—10 of them. Very cute, and they are still wandering around and peeping. Cosmo has decided that she’s a very good mom, because she always waits for all the chicks to follow. (Some hens are not very good and keeping everyone together and lose them.)

Our first bunch of fryers finally got moved to grass! It's been too wet to make the big move—they stress easily. But the weather seems to have settled, and Mike was able to do a lot of mowing.

Our first bunch of fryers finally got moved to grass! It’s been too wet to make the big move—they stress easily. But the weather seems to have settled, and Mike was able to do a lot of mowing.

Our first batch of fryer/broiler chickens finally  made it out to pasture this week. It’s been so cold, wet and unpredictable that we didn’t want to have them make the move. But they’re outside, and happily wandering and eating greens. We still have quite a few available in both of our June harvest dates, so let us know if you’re interested. They are juicy and delicious! Click here for the reservation form. And if you’d like to read more about our poultry-raising practices, click here.

Spring Week 7—Summer in May!

Is there anything sweeter than the first carrot harvest of spring? We get a jump on it by planting the first week of March, in a greenhouse.

Is there anything sweeter than the first carrot harvest of spring? We get a jump on it by planting the first week of March, in a greenhouse.

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• Baby Lettuce Mix
• Baby Carrots
• Pea Shoots
• More Pea Shoots
• Chervil
• Tiny Rapini

Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.

COMING SOON: Pea Shoots, Arugula, Mizuna, Green Onions, Spinach

This new weather cycle is not completely bad: one week of rain, one week of sun, etc. The rain is a little excessive—2-3 inches in a week requires a lot of drying time in order to get ground ready, but it takes the pressure off of irrigating.

The downside of sunny, warm weather is the first emergence of Flea Beetles. They love all things brassica, and anything in the potato/tomato family. We go to great lengths to keep our spring brassicas free of the nasty little biters. Our number one line of defense is floating row cover, but sometimes we have to do a quick spray of Pyrethrin to knock them down first. You can tell they've already been busy by the holes in the leaves.

The downside of sunny, warm weather is the first emergence of Flea Beetles. They love all things brassica, and anything in the potato/tomato family. We go to great lengths to keep our spring brassicas free of the nasty little biters. Our number one line of defense is floating row cover, but sometimes we have to do a quick spray of Pyrethrin to knock them down first. You can tell they’ve already been busy by the holes in the leaves.

This week we are busy covering the crops in the ground to protect them from insect damage. Flea Beetles are by far our worst pest—really the only one that requires us to do anything. Other pests we can avoid by not planting crops that they enjoy, but Flea Beetles love all things Brassica, and since nearly everyone relishes that family year-round, intervention is necessary. This large plant family includes not only the bigger Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage (and others), but also the delicate Arugula, Mizuna, Napa, and Mustards (and others). How can we live through the summer without any of them? Not going to happen. So we use row covers, and when the flea beetles emerge before we can cover, we use a spray of Pyrethrin, a short-lived botanical pesticide derived from Chrysanthemums. Unfortunately it kills all insects that it touches, but fortunately it acts quickly and disappears in 24 hours, so it is relatively safe. When we spray, the only insects around are flea beetles anyway. Nothing else is interested in tiny brassica seedlings.

This is how the row cover looks when it's secured. We have pretty steady wind blow through every evening, so they need to be anchored well or they blow away.

This is how the row cover looks when it’s secured. We have pretty steady wind blow through every evening, so they need to be anchored well or they blow away.

We are hoping to get all of our first big planting of Broccoli (five exciting varieties this year) and Cauliflower, and some juicy Cabbages planted. They will be so happy to get out of the hot greenhouse. Also, the first planting of Radicchios and other Chicories. Friday we hope to finally get our Potatoes planted. The ground has been so wet, Mike hasn’t been able to plow yet.

Bright green and delicious! Pea Shoot Pesto!

Bright green and delicious! Pea Shoot Pesto!

For now, we have lots of Pea Shoots! You probably noticed. We are short of greens for ourselves as well, so we had Pea Shoot Pesto for dinner. You can follow the recipe on our Pea Shoot page, but I winged it and added a cup of toasted walnuts and a few sprigs of mint instead of limes, since I didn’t have any of those.

We got our Fava Beans in nice and early this year, and they're already starting to bloom. Should have beans mid-late June! Those notches around the leaves are from the dreaded Cucumber Beetle. Usually not too horrible a problem, but this year they are voracious. We're not convinced they are doing any real harm, so we are hoping the birds start feasting on them.

We got our Fava Beans in nice and early this year, and they’re already starting to bloom. Should have beans mid-late June! Those notches around the leaves are from the dreaded Cucumber Beetle. Usually not too horrible a problem, but this year they are voracious. We’re not convinced they are doing any real harm, so we are hoping the birds start feasting on them.

The benefit of early planting is early harvest, and it’s looking good for the Fava Beans. We planted a full month ahead of last year, and they’re blooming already, hoping for beans to harvest in late June. The Peas should be getting close to blooming as well, which means early- or mid-June harvest.

Spring Week 5—Summer in April

Lovely little radishes. We are having them in our salads, but sadly, the tops are too tiny for bunching. They will need another week before we can harvest.

Lovely little radishes. We are having them in our salads, but sadly, the tops are too tiny for bunching. They will need another week before we can harvest.

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• Baby Lettuce Mix
• Baby Turnip Greens with Tiny Turnips
• Pea Shoots
• Chervil
Sorrel
• Beet Greens

Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.

COMING SOON: Arugula, Carrots, Spinach

We got an early start with our kale and chard this year, by starting seeds in the greenhouse in March. Isn't it cool how even their roots are the color of the eventual leaves?

We got an early start with our kale and chard this year, by starting seeds in the greenhouse in March. Isn’t it cool how even their roots are the color of the eventual leaves?

After my depressing post last week, it’s time for the upswing. The sunny weather did, in fact, come to pass. And it has been GLORIOUS! We have been working like crazy people, planting and cultivating, and planting some more. We actually even had to get the irrigation going, since little plants set into the ground on a 80+ degree day needs a wee drink. We planted all of our early kale and chard plants (9,000 and 5,000, respectively), our first planting of lettuces (4,000), green onions (1,500 bunches), and napa cabbage (600). We also seeded carrots, pea shoots, arugula, and spinach. Before the weekend, we will also be putting in second planting of peas, a first planting of snap beans, and the u-pick garden.

Sarah and Cosmo are getting the May batch of meat chickens settled. These little guys will be ready for harvest in July.

Sarah and Cosmo are getting the May batch of meat chickens settled. These little guys will be ready for harvest in July.

If the weather holds, we should be able to get even more planted, but we have run out of prepared ground. Mike will continue to get more ground worked up for the potatoes, and everything else. If it stays warm we could even be planting squashes this week. Over the past several weeks, Teo has also been planting our enormous onion crop—roughly 14,000 Italian Torpedo, 12,000 Walla Walla Sweet (even though we can’t really call them that) and yellow and red storage onions. We have replanted our mint beds, and tarragon (in a cold frame inside a greenhouse, to keep it safe).

This week's weather forecast: Looking promising for getting all of our new plantings settled—and we're ready for a wee break again anyway.

This week’s weather forecast: Looking promising for getting all of our new plantings settled—and we’re ready for a wee break again anyway.

At this point, we are definitely looking good for summer harvest!

The garlic and shallots are growing beautifully in this warm spring weather. Just finished rototilling between the beds at dusk.

The garlic and shallots are growing beautifully in this warm spring weather. Just finished rototilling between the beds at dusk.

Please be sure to check the links for our menu items this week. Pea Shoots are new, but they and the other unusual greens have a page dedicated to their preparation.

We still have about 60 pounds (6 ten-pound units) of delicious grass-fed, ground beef available for pre-order. $65 per unit. Let us know if you’re interested—the butcher comes next week.

Weather—The Bane of Spring

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The greenhouse is full of plants. So full that there is no room to start the next round of lettuces, green onions, fennel, chicories, and brassicas. It’s a good feeling, watching it fill up with flats loaded with potential. Hundreds of thousands of baby plants growing strong, ready to live up to their expectations and feed folks.

But it’s frustrating when we wait and wait for a dry stretch of weather, so we can get them all planted. When it rains for another week. Hard. And we think about how many days it will take to dry out again, so we can get the tractor back into the field and work up soil to make it fluffy and receptive to seeds and baby plants. After a very rainy week, it can take several days of dry weather to make the soil workable. If we take heavy machinery out too early, we can compact and ruin the structure of the soil, and while we may be able to plant, we pay for it in the weeks to come, when the ground is so compacted and hard that we can’t cultivate easily, and the plants grow slowly from lack of oxygen to the roots.

That full greenhouse feels great. Until the second planting of broccoli and cauliflower outgrow the first planting, and the first planting is looking purple around the edges from the stress of being root-bound. They’ve been in the greenhouse for too many weeks, and they long to stretch their roots into soil. They don’t want to be bonsai.

When we started out the season a month ahead of where we were last year because of an early warm spell, and we watch that month close in on standard time, and we realize that we can’t possibly replant hundreds of thousands of transplants into bigger pots. And we struggle to figure out the best solution: do we toss out those plants and start over, or wait it out another week.

And so we wait.

And wait.

We watch the weather forecast. Oh! It looks like Monday will start to dry, and then Tuesday it’s just cloudy and wind. Wind is good! Wind helps draw moisture from the ground, and speeds up drying. Then, no, showers for Wednesday. But Thursday might be sunny!

 

But, the Weather Man is wrong. We get just one sunny day before it rains for three more days, and the wheel ruts and low spots are full of water again.

It’s hard not to feel helpless.

We look for the positive things. The peas are growing! The carrots are growing in the greenhouse! Oh, but those won’t last forever. We need to get the outdoor carrots in the ground or we’ll run out. Everyone loves carrots, we need to try to  keep everyone happy. We need to plant the lettuces, because the early salad mix we’re picking will run out in another week. Then what will we feed everyone!? This is an anxiety attack. All these people have already paid us to feed them, and we haven’t been able to plant the second succession.

We bargain with the weather gods. I say to myself, “OK. I can handle another rainy weekend at farmers markets, if we can just have a week to get a bunch of things planted.” I’ll take it. I’ll work hard. “We just want to feed everyone!” I plead.

Will it work this time? Rainy markets are no fun, but neither is a rainy week where we all just sit around and wait. Wait and feel pressured, because the longer we wait, the more there will be to do, and in an ever-shorter amount of time. There are only a few of us to do all that work, and we are human.

That adds up to more hours we need to pay in labor, and more money we need to earn at farmers markets to pay those labor hours. And what if we don’t have enough to sell, after we’ve harvested for our CSA families?

Deep breath. This is spring.