Thursday, July 8, 2010

Farm Update and Vegetable Related Stresses

It's warm out here....really warm!

Not that I am complaining. The heat is a welcome addition to summer 2010. Thanks for showing up to the party Sun...better late than never!

I'd like to say that we aren't the type of people who stress and worry, but there has been a little bit of an 'oh shit?' feeling lately around Skeeter Farm. Until the heat showed up a few days ago, most of the crops out in the field that we had direct seeded seemed to be just hanging out, enjoying the view. Growing was not top of their mind, thats for sure.

Last year we waited until crops were ready to harvest to make our marketing commitments (harvest box and farmers markets), however, this year we diligently prebooked our markets and set a date for our first CSA delivery (which happens to be July 17th). Now we really wanted the first CSA delivery this year be a feast of veggies fit for a king...but its looking like the feasting might have to wait a couple weeks yet. Oh, we will send out boxes this week, however some of the contents may be more on the unusual side of things, requiring our customers to be open to trying out some new recipes. I will leave it at that, as we don't want to ruin the box o' surprises.

As for some other minor stresses at the farm:
This week meant dealing with some new pesky pest management issues that we haven't had before. Due to the soppy wet conditions some of our garlic was infected with rust. Rust is a fungal disease that doesn't result in much (or any) damage to the bulbs, but does attack foliage. In order to keep it at bay we removed all of the infected foliage from the plants and cooked up a spray made of baking soda and other household items to try to control it. Thanks to the powers of google for farming advice, it maybe worked? Anyways, it hasn't spread. We will start pulling garlic out in a couple of weeks.

We also lost some melon plants to hungry rodents (rabbits?) who were grazing the stem of the plant off right where it meets the soil. To help with that we used some of the yogurt containers that our nice friends have been collecting for us to create a barrier around the base of the plant. Its been three days and so far no more chewed plants!

Something has also been chewing at our nicely forming peppers in the greenhouse. At first we thought it was slugs (because we have been having some issues with them this year) but Amanda saw a little bunny checking them out last night....pesky rabbits! Perhaps those coyotes we hear howling sometimes will come take care of them for us.

On a lighter and more exciting note, we have added a pickler to our team at Skeeter Farm. The lovely Jacquay will be taking on the making of various pickled items for us to sell at farmers markets. So far she has made pickled garlic scapes, which were taste tested the other day. We are really excited to have some value-added production happening this year. We had good intentions to do this last year, but ended up being way too short on time to get on it ourselves.

Thats it for now. Happy summer eating!

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