Tag Archives: water

Summer Week 8—Broccoli and Basil

Dulce is here with her first calf, Charlotte (on the left), and Juniper's calf, Darkwing (on the right). Beauty (Dulce's 16-year-old mom) is due any day with her 12th calf.

Dulce is here with her first calf, Charlotte (on the left), and Juniper’s calf, Darkwing (on the right). Beauty (Dulce’s 16-year-old mom) is due any day with her 12th calf.

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• Broccoli or Cauliflower
• “Red Norland” New Potatoes (best steamed, roasted, or boiled)d
Cucumbers
• 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.

COMING SOON:
Spinach
Romano Beans
Arugula
Cilantro
U-Pick Beans

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.

Clubroot is a fungus that affects mainly the Brassica family (all the broccoli, cabbage, turnips, kale, etc.). Once it's in your soil, it's there for seven or so years. The fungus inhabits the roots of the plant, making it impossible for it to uptake water and nutrients.

Clubroot is a fungus that affects mainly the Brassica family (all the broccoli, cabbage, turnips, kale, etc.). Once it’s in your soil, it’s there for seven or so years. The fungus inhabits the roots of the plant, making it impossible for it to uptake water and nutrients.

Last year's Cauliflower and Broccoli crop—decimated by Clubroot.

Last year’s Cauliflower and Broccoli crop—decimated by Clubroot.

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.

This year's Broccoli crop—beautiful and Clubroot-free on the neighbor's property. These plants are behind T & M's raspberry plants.

This year’s Broccoli crop—beautiful and Clubroot-free on the neighbor’s property. These plants are behind T & M’s raspberry plants.

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.

Here's a tidy little broccoli crown. The broccoli this year is amazing!

Here’s a tidy little broccoli crown. The broccoli this year is amazing!

Our favorite variety of broccoli is "Packman". Don't know why it's called that, but it's several decades old and produces a nice first crown. But the real reason to grow it is for the successive crops of side shoots—those little heads of broccoli that come in waves after the main crown is cut off. Look at all of them!

Our favorite variety of broccoli is “Packman”. Don’t know why it’s called that, but it’s several decades old and produces a nice first crown. But the real reason to grow it is for the successive crops of side shoots—those little heads of broccoli that come in waves after the main crown is cut off. Look at all of them!

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.

This week in FarmKids Club, the kids inscribed their future Halloween pumpkins.

This week in FarmKids Club, the kids inscribed their future Halloween pumpkins.

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.

This little girl keeps me company in the cucumber greenhouse. I think she enjoys the bed of nasturtium flowers when I'm not watching. She may have a nest in there, but I can't find it.

This little girl keeps me company in the cucumber greenhouse. I think she enjoys the bed of nasturtium flowers when I’m not watching. She may have a nest in there, but I can’t find it.

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.

Summer Week 6

Basil production is peaking already! It's luscious and tender, and perfect for Pesto!

Basil production is peaking already! It’s luscious and tender, and perfect for Pesto!

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• Sugar Snow Peas
• “Yukon Gold” New Potatoes (best steamed, roasted, or boiled)
• Carrots
• Garlic
• Swiss Chard
Fennel
• Genovese Basil

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

COMING SOON:
Spinach
Green Beans
Fava Beans
Summer Squashes
Cucumbers
Broccoli
Cauliflower

Canning Class at the farm this Saturday!
We still have a few spaces left in the class on July 27, 1:00. Just $25 to learn how to make small batches of jams and canned fruits. You’ll even get a jar of goodies to take home! Let me know ASAP!

We’re into the full swing of summer, so get ready to eat more veggies! The summer squashes, cucumbers, and broccoli and cauliflower are nearly ready, as are the snap beans. We are also into the height of farm-work season, because not only are we working to clean and harvest (and keep planting) summer crops, it’s also time to get the fall and winter crops in. It’s double duty, and we are getting used to (somewhat) 12- and 14-hour work days. I apologize if we’re hard to reach right now.

So what is the frilly, ferny vegetable you got this week? It’s Fennel, also called Finocchio. Think of it as celery, but flavored like licorice. Use the stems chopped up in tuna or chicken salad, or in a green salad. Slice the bulb thinly and eat raw, or try cutting the bulb into wedges and grilling or roasting it. It’s delicious!

Due to the wonder of WordPress, who hosts our website and farm blog, I am able to “view statistics”. Sometimes I poke around at the top of my WordPress window, and see what I can see. Among the interesting topics are 1. Number of views per day (page views and individual visitors), 2. Search Terms, and 3. Pages viewed.

I like to see the change in the bar graph from day to day, because it helps me decide if people find what I’m writing to be interesting. There’s always an upswelling when I get a new post posted, which is reassuring. And I like to see if visitors are looking at the newest post, or a particular recipe page, or if people are interested in our CSA.

But the most interesting one is “Search Terms”. I can actually see what path people took to get to our website, and via which search engine! What always surprises me is how many people find us by searching “Chicories” or “Escarole” or “Radicchio”. Really? We are one of the top results for the bitter greens?

This summer, we are getting a lot of hits from people searching for “Ice Plant Edible”, meaning Purslane. But today here are my top favorite search terms:

1. Mink waterer (I don’t know what these folks found out)
2. Farm bunnies eat beet leaves
3. How to do a farmer’s whistle just your mouth
4. Edible Spaceship (which leads to Kohlrabi)
5. White roots, red green leaves
6. Salsify production in India
7. Only bean known in Europe before new world (being the Fava bean)

At any rate, the list goes on. I can search up to a year in the past. It just fascinates me to have created something that might be so useful to people all over the world. Someone actually visited our site from Lithuania and the Philippines, and yesterday from Zimbabwe and Spain. I’ve received crazy questions about chickens and cows from all over the world. THAT is the world wide web.

Summer Week 4

Like Christmas in July. Sugar Snap Peas!

Like Christmas in July. Sugar Snap Peas!

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• Sugar Snap Peas
• “Irish Cobbler” New Potatoes (best steamed, roasted, or boiled)
• Fresh “Spanish Roja” Garlic
• Beet Greens
• Salad Greens
• Purslane (click on the link for recipe ideas)
• Fresh Dill (try it in a potato salad, or chop up and add some to your green salad)

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

COMING SOON:
Baby Carrots
Spinach
Fennel
Green Beans

Hot weather means we need to water. The problem is, everything needs water at the same time. It’s not too difficult for the crops that we plant in black plastic mulch, because we use drip irrigation tape underneath. It’s just the flip of a switch. The drip tape conserves water, and the black plastic holds in the moisture. Everything else uses sprinklers, and there are only so many of them around here, so we end up moving the pipes around all day long to make sure everything gets wet.

Honeybees need water too! We shut off the sprinklers and the honeybees came in for a drink.

Honeybees need water too! We shut off the sprinklers and the honeybees came in for a drink.

The animals need water as well, and that includes the bees. I caught them sneaking water from the puddles left behind after shutting down the sprinklers. We don’t think about insects needing water, but they do. There’s not enough moisture in flower nectar.

This is the busiest time of year for us, and now that Teo is happily married and back from his honeymoon we can work towards getting caught up. We have many crops still to plant, and it’s time to get the winter crops in the ground as well. AND they all need to be weeded and kept clean and watered, even though we won’t harvest much of them for several months.

The cucumbers are starting to bloom—two weeks until we are overrun with fruits!

The cucumbers are starting to bloom—two weeks until we are overrun with fruits!

When we push to get so much work done in a short time, it’s all the more rewarding to find glimpses of the rewards, like the first cucumber and squash blossoms. Or to dig the first new potatoes.

Have a great week!