24 May Sunshine and strawberries
What is that bright shining orb in the sky?? I don’t recognize it! May almost came and went without a legitimately sunny day. But looks like here in the last week we will squeeze a few in. A great reminder that yes, plants really do need the sun to grow. What a month. On the 15th we had probably the latest frost we’ve seen here at the farm. We rushed around the evening before in the ferocious howling wind, attempting to batten down row covers (without a doubt all frost and cold weather events are precipitated by crazy wind- leaving us to look like a bunch of kindergarteners playing parachute games). The next morning we had a little bit of damage here and there- the cantaloupes, basil and green beans weren’t happy, but nothing insurmountable. Over the course of the month, we also saw some light hail, plenty of wind, rain and thunderstorms, and now finally some heat and sunshine, and with it, the tidal wave of strawberries approaching.
One crop LOVED the cool rainy weather. The sugar snap peas look the best they have in years. It seems as quick as we add a string of trellis, they reach their tendrils high above, and are ready for another. This season we planted two different varieties, a shorter and a taller type, which should hopefully result in a longer harvest window. We are already seeing signs of the first baby peas.
Snug in their warm protected high tunnel, the heirloom tomatoes are growing quickly. We experimented by throwing in a few rows of cherry tomatoes in the tunnel- those have teeny fruit already. The field tomatoes were definitely sitting around waiting for the sun, but should get jumping with the heat this week. We’ll be planting out the eggplants in the next few days as well as the final batch of peppers.
Looking ahead to late summer harvests, we transplanted our spaghetti squash and winter squash varieties. To help protect the transplants from all the bugs that find them delectable, we dunk the plants in a clay mix. The clay irritates the bugs enough that they stay away, at least until the transplants are bigger and hardier, and can withstand any damage.
The carrots are starting to size up- it should only be a few more weeks until the first batch is ready to harvest. Not everything is roses (it never is!). We lost a planting of radishes and broccoli raab that got too wet in all the rain, the row covers battered some crops in the winds, and we are battling a new insect that is wreaking havoc on our alliums and has us concerned for our garlic crop. The flowers, despite the weather ups and downs, are thriving and finally starting to grow. The cold weather has set bloom time back a bit though, so it will probably be another 3 weeks or so until we see any flowers to cut, but when we do, it will be a sight to see!
Speaking of flowers, a dear friend of mine, and a fabulous painter and teacher, will be holding a plein air (or open air) oil painting class at the farm this summer- mark your calendars for August 27th and 28th. It will be held over two days, painting in the light of the mornings and late afternoons out on the farm with the gorgeous summer fields and flowers. Artists of all levels are encouraged to attend- from beginner to experienced. For more information and to register, head on over to Heather’s website. I cannot wait!
With the return of the sun comes the return of the CSA season. On farm pick-up: Full shares start next week- May 31st, as well as half shares/week A. Half shares/week B start the week of June 7th. (Please email us if you are unsure of your pick-up day or week assignment. Or log in to your account on the website.) Weekly delivery shares of large and medium boxes begin Wednesday June 1st.
The first CSA shares will contain some of our beautiful spring heads of lettuce as well as cooking greens and hakurei turnips and other goodies. You’ll have to be surprised as to the details…we typically wait until the day before, and sometimes even the morning of, to make our decision as to what to harvest, since we’ve learned over the years that weather and other factors can alter even our expectations. Or as the saying goes, don’t count your chickens before they hatch, or your tomatoes before you harvest.
Some pick-up tips to remember: BYOB (Bring your own bags and baskets!). On-farm pick-up is between the hours of 1 and 7:30 pm. Please do not arrive before 1pm- we harvest the morning of the share pick-up, so we need every minute to get your produce picked, washed and ready to go. We will start cleaning up the distribution room at 7:30 pm, so please arrive earlier than that so you have time to collect your share. There will be pick-you-own strawberries, and possibly sugar snap peas the first week, so come prepared to head out to the fields.
For Wednesday delivery shares- your share will be boxed up (they will not have specific names on them, but will be labeled large or medium). You will need to check your name off in the sign in book, transfer your share from the box to your own bags and leave the box at the delivery sight. Your pick-up times are according to your delivery site- Summa Crossfit Doylestown is 4:30-7:30pm, Beth El Yardley is 4:30-7pm and Langan office (employees only) pick-up will be delivered midday during office hours.
A reminder that final CSA payments are due June 1st. If you are unsure of your balance, you can click the registration link and login as a member with your email address. Then you can view payments made and owed.
We are looking forward to the start of the CSA season! It’s not too late to sign up for a pasture raised chicken or pork share with Ledamete Grass Farm. They will deliver your share to the freezers at Blooming Glen Farm for you to pick-up at the farm with your veggie share. You can also sign up for a bread share with Bakers on Broad. Please click here for a sign-up form. Registration and payment is directly through Bakers on Broad. Any questions please contact Bakers on Broad directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call #215-703-0518.
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.