15 Jun Taking it all in
In our team meeting today we reminded our crew to take a moment and look around as they are hustling from job to job. We are very ground focused- scouting for bugs, pulling weeds, checking soil moisture levels, installing irrigation, crawling around on our knees weeding and thinning, bending to the ground to harvest. Occasionally we look to the sky when it darkens or the wind picks up, or a hawk flies overhead. A reminder to take in the bigger picture can be necessary, the whole farm organism as a season. One minute we are harvesting spring radishes and strawberries, then in the blink of an eye, the weather changes, the season for that harvest ends and we are on to the next crop.
Our early spring beds are already being tilled under, fall crops like the winter squash and sweet potatoes are planted and growing, and we are focused on getting all our summer field tomatoes staked and trellised, and weeding crops like green beans (pictured above) and tomatillos (below).
Staking tomatoes is a serious upper body work out. Our crew is getting stronger and more fit by the day, learning not only what makes a good size bunch of beets, or a large enough head of lettuce, but also how to hold your body to maximize drive force when putting in hundreds and hundreds of stakes.
After the stakes are in, we’ll go through with boxes of tomato twine, and weave the tomatoes into a trellis. We will keep adding strings as they grow. This work on the front end will make the harvest easier in the long run. One of the first farms Tom and I worked on over 15 years ago did not trellis their 1000 foot beds of tomatoes. Let me tell you, there is nothing worse than crawling along searching for ripe tomatoes under a dense canopy of vines, in the heat of August, during one of the worst mosquito years I can recall. In that instance we learned how not to grow tomatoes, and we’ve embraced trellising ever since!
This season we are experimenting with undersowing our corn with a cover crop- a mix of crimson clover- a nitrogen fixing legume- and lacy phacelia, which attracts beneficial insects. Tonight’s much needed rainfall (keep your fingers crossed it comes) will get those seeds germinating and help with weed suppression over the harvest season. Pictured below, Jeff is using a spin seeder in the popcorn to spread the cover crop seed.
This week’s share sees the spring crops overlapping with the summer, the strawberries winding down, the peak of the sugar snap pea harvest, as well as the first of the freshly dug new red potatoes and the first pick of summer squash. Hard to believe that same planting of summer squash went through a frost just four weeks ago!
For new CSA members who are intimidated by the new (to you) vegetables you are seeing in the share, don’t forget you can search by vegetable (see the sidebar to the right) and pull up recipes we have posted in the blog over the years. I had lots of questions in the distribution room about kohlrabi- a search with that title brought up a few delicious recipes: “Roasted Beets and Kohlrabi with Fennel“, “Kohlrabi fritters with yogurt dill sauce“, and “Kohlrabi Dal with aromatic rice“. You can do the same search with garlic scapes or fennel. We will begin posting new recipes soon as well. Enjoy!
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.