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Archive for September, 2011

  • Green Beans
  • Summer Squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Honeydew Melon
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Greens Mix – Arugula, Mustard, Tat Soi – Try the Arugula salad recipe on the ‘recipes’ tab!
  • Garlic
  • Thyme
Enjoy!
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September Newsletter

Cool, cool rain!

We got about an inch of much needed rain Friday. Not only did it rain, but it was a nice slow soaking rain that seeped into the root zone instead of running off the baked hard soil. As I was preparing to share this news I realized how little I have shared with you since the season began. Through the CSA experience members are allowed to get closer to the source of their food, to know the farmer and the farm and to understand and share in the risks and benefits of farming. Members get to see the farm each Tuesday or Thursday during pick up, but miss out on a lot of the day to day. In this post I would like to catch you up on what has been happening this year as well as our plans for the future.

In market gardening timing is everything. While planning for a growing season we have to consider three facts of nature: 1. The number of frost free growing days in our zone; 2. The number of days to maturity of each crop species (the number of days from when the seedling emerges from the ground to the time you can expect to harvest); 3. Whether each crop is a cool season crop or a warm season crop. On top of that some plants can be direct seeded into the garden (carrots, lettuce and beets) and some need a head start in the greenhouse in order to have time to mature (broccoli, tomatoes and peppers). Lastly, all of this information has to be converted into a planting schedule that allows us to get the right number of ingredients in each weekly box. With some crops you have one shot at getting things right and other crops can be planted more or less continuously throughout the season.

This season has presented several challenges. Some crops that were started in the greenhouse were in the perfect stage for transplanting when the soil was too wet and cold to work and by the time the soil was dry the plants were too leggy and weak to fend for themselves so they ended up in the compost pile. Cʼest la vie.  In early June we had a week of very hot weather that pretty much put the hurt on most of the “cool season” crops like broccoli and cauliflower. On the other hand, the earliest of three plantings of peas was in soil blocks in February.  We got the transplants in the garden in early March and beat the heat.  Hopefully all the peas took your mind off the the absence of broccoli.

The big weather event of 2011 surely did not escape anyoneʼs notice. During midsummer we battled over thirty days with temperatures over 95 and no measurable rain from the first week of June until yesterday. During July and August we usually make multiple subsequent plantings of all the fall crops (spinach, lettuce, peas, carrots, beets, scallions etc.) The excessive heat precluded these subsequent plantings as almost no seeds germinate in soil over 80-85 degrees (through most of the summer our soil was gently simmering). Trying to obey the calendar and respect the weather we tried a lot of different things to make it work. We used shade cloth and a lot of overhead sprinkling to try and keep the soil moist and cool, but to no avail. The good news to come out of the long hot dry spell is that all the beds that we were trying to reseed have gone through an extended “stale bed” condition. Stale bedding is a technique used by organic gardeners to kill weeds while avoiding herbicides. The idea is to prep the bed for planting and water it as if you had planted it, but to hold off planting for 7-10 days. During the waiting period the weed seeds in the top half inch or so of the soil sprout. When the weeds are 1/4” tall or so you very lightly cultivate to uproot them, and then plant your crop seeds. The crop now can germinate and emerge without weeds stealing their sunlight and moisture. During the current cool down we have been able to plant a bunch of fall stuff (spinach, radishes, lettuce, mustard, scallions, kale, tat soi etc.) Now we just need a little Indian summer to allow us to get the most out of these crops.

Lastly, I would like to talk about our long-term goals for the farm.  Building upon our current membership, we would like to establish a core group of CSA members interested in spending an increasing percentage of their total grocery budget with us.  Our program will be expanded at both ends of the typical growing season until we can provide food year-round including more of the staple foods such as potatoes, onions, eggs, meat, etc… .  We continue to improve the infrastructure around the farm and shape our processes to become more resilient when the weather is less than ideal for growing food.  The farm will evolve towards these goals while continuing to offer the freshest, organic, local food available.

Subscriptions for our 2012 CSA program will be available soon.

The Farm at Kraut Run has recently become Certified Naturally Grown (CNG).  We believe this to be a stricter standard than the National Organic Standard as well as a standard that is better geared towards small, local growers. Visit the CNG website for more information – http://www.naturallygrown.org.

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  • Tomatoes
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Summer Squash
  • Green Beans
  • Cucumbers
  • Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Garlic
  • Basil
Enjoy!

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