June 25, 2012
June 25, 2012
The Harvest Season continues into Week 7:
Summer is here! It's hot, it's dry.... it's always the season we know & love....
To new members, (and as a reminder to returning members), here are some tips on what to expect as summers comes in full force:
- First, there is a major transition taking place in crop availability at the onset of summer. Our 'cool' weather crops (greens, radishes, turnips) are finished at the same time that summer crops are just beginning to mature. There can be gaps in production if summer crops need more time to mature, or if cool weather crops face too-early demise. Or there can be bountiful harvests if overlap occurs...
- Summer crops (tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant) often start slow.... you'll often see only 1 tomato... or 1 pepper, etc.... as these crops begin to mature. But, production of each should build up as the season progresses. That first fruit is a sign of more to come!
- Production very often follows weather patterns. Under extreme heat, even the heat-loving crops will shut down to conserve moisture....
- When crops are forced to 'shut down' in extreme heat, the effect on harvests is noticed only after 2-4 weeks. When temperatures exceed 95 degrees, almost all plants cease growing. Tomatoes fail to set fruit, for instance. DURING the heat wave, production can be high.... but 2-4 weeks later we often experience the dip in production due to the heat wave.
- If we ever 'lose' a crop due to extreme weather, we most often adjust our ensuing planting schedule to make up for the loss. Although the response is never immediate, we love doing our best to make up for losses during the season.
- We hope you love the summer crops! BUT, if you find yourself missing the cool season crops, never fear.... most spring crops return better than ever in the fall. In fact, we'll soon sow a LOT of fall crops in the next week or so...
Here's what you should expect in your share this week (*there may be changes to this list by harvest time.... we'll send updates if this is so):
We're picking cherry tomatoes & tomatoes, too, so as soon as they're ready, they'll be in your shares!
* Now that we're into our summer crops, generally each share will receive them each week, at a ratio of 2:1 between the Full & Individual Shares.
Coming Soon: Tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, garlic, and potatoes.
Recipe for the Week
Mediterranean Cucumber Salad
from Cooking from the Garden, edited by Ruth Lively, 2010, p. 76
2 cups ¼-inch diced cucumber
1 cup crumbled feta
½ cup thinly sliced red onion
2 Tbsp chopped Kalamata olives
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 cup ½-inch cubes of stale bread
Juice of 1 lemon
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Combine the cucumber, feta, onion, olives, parsley, and bread. Mix the lemon juice with the olive oil, then pour three-quarters of it onto the salad and stir gently.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Add more dressing if necessary to moisten the bread. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
Recipe by Frederique Lavoiepierre
Photo's from Last Week at the Farm
It was the garlic harvest last week, and we enjoyed a banner crop. The garlic is gorgeous again this year, with plenty of large, robust bulbs for sharing galore. Harvest consisted of pulled the bulbs out of the ground, clipping the bulb from the rest of the plant, & storing the garlic on chicken-wire tables for curing. Garlic should be ready for distribution any week now.
Garlic was planted last October, and spent the warm winter putting on roots... the leafing out in the spring. We wait patiently until the time is just right for picking, which is usually 2-3 weeks after the plants send out their flower shoots, the 'scapes' you've received in your share the past couple weeks. Truth be told, harvest-time came about 2 weeks earlier than usual, so we continue to need to stay alert more than ever to the needs of the crops.
We also need to stay alert in taking care of ourselves! Farming under 100-degree-plus heat indexes requires drinking enough water, and pacing our time in the sun, to ensure a long, productive summer.
A successful harvest season also requires that we always stay about 1-2 months ahead of ourselves in planting, irrigating & weeding. At this time of year, we prioritize everyone's favorite crops when it comes to weeding & irrigating. Above, you can see Oscar & John finishing weed-pulling in our first bean rotation... and you can see us laying drip in from young, and freshly weeded carrots. In addition to these favorites, last week we put time into weeding watermelon & next-years strawberries.
Above, Bailey & Oscar pull weeds from an older bed of carrots....
And, onions.... we love good, well-tended, beautiful, fresh-picked onions, and spend a commensurate amount of time doing our best to ensure the best harvests. For those who might be less familiar with growing onions, onions can be a challenge due to their shallow roots & inability to handle weed pressure at all. Onions require more weeding than any other crop, and we've already put in more than our fair share of effort into weeding them. So... here's to onions!
Hope everyone is enjoying the harvests! If you have any questions, or if any problems come up, we're always here....
Until Next Time,
Kris, Stacey, Jacob & Anna,
and everyone else at Riverbend Roots Farm