08 Sep Hot and dry heading towards fall
Hurricane Hermine brought us a whole lot of nothing in the way of rainfall. The dry weather continues, with an added dose of late summer high temps reaching the hundreds over the next few days. The spiking temperatures are pushing along our late tomato planting, just as the first rotation dips off. Hopefully that means we won’t have much of a gap in the tomato harvest. Jeff is pictured here mixing up a fish kelp and sea salt fertilizer to run through the drip lines of the tomato plants. It is a mild concentration to support plant growth during fruit set.
The summer crops of peppers and eggplants are peaking, and we are getting back into harvesting some of the fall greens- currently rainbow swiss chard, tuscan and curly kale.
With weather this dry we have to keep the irrigation pipes moving. Since the only moisture in the ground is coming from the morning dew, we need to irrigate to get the direct sown crops to germinate and continue growing. Pictured in the very top photo are teeny carrot seedlings in the beds to the left of the irrigation pipe and larger beets on the right.
We’ve also direct sown purple top and hukurei turnips (we’ll be harvesting the hakurei’s in the next week or so), broccoli raab, arugula, and winter radishes- (pictured below).
The harvest of our popcorn crop has begun… we grew a larger eared variety this year so we could run it though a hand crank popcorn sheller, and prevent a lot of blisters from getting the kernels off with small hand tools. We are excited to try the three new varieties we chose- Dakota Black, Pennsylvania Dutch Butter Flavored and Calico.
Many of our CSA members have seen our note attached to the onions we are giving out in the share. You may remember this spring we mentioned the appearance of a new insect to our region- Pennsylvania experienced a “First in the Nation” sighting (lucky us) of the allium leafminer, introduced from Europe. The Department of Ag used our farm as an observation site- monitoring the bugs life cycle with sticky traps. Unfortunately the dire warnings were well founded. In addition to losses we experienced in the spring onions, we are seeing major damage in our storage onions as well as garlic. We made the decision not to plant leeks this fall until there is more information about how to prevent infestations- I can guarantee you it will be a hot topic at the PASA conference this winter. The onions you are receiving in the share are not the best quality. But we decided to give them out quickly, with the thought you can cut off any bad spots, rather than us composting them all. As our note read, if this is not to your liking, it’s probably best you don’t take them from the share.
The winter squash harvest is complete- it was a bountiful butternut year, along with kabocha and delicata. Kristin Moyer did a chef demo Tuesday at the farm featuring grilled spaghetti squash, acorn squash and root veggies, with herbs and greens that was absolutely delicious. We will be posting her recipes shortly. We will also share recipes from today’s demo with personal Chef Rich Baringer.
And last but not least I feel I need to introduce our resident spider. Or should I say spiders. We are now up to three spiders greeting you as you walk down the path next to the CSA distribution room (they are along the wall of the red shed, under the pear trees). They’ve been there for a number of weeks, happily stringing their beautiful webs and catching lots of bugs, being the subjects of lots of photographs and attention. They are orb weaver spiders, specifically yellow garden spiders (or zipper spider as I’ve always called them), argiope aurantia, and all three are females. They make a vertical zigzag band or zipper, above and below the middle of the web. They are not dangerous to humans, and are unlikely to bite unless provoked (best to observe from a distance, as we do want them to stay).
Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner. Tricia and her husband Tom have been farming together since 2000. Blooming Glen Farm is celebrating its 11th season bringing high quality certified organic vegetables, herbs, fruits and cut flowers to our local community.