20 Jun June Farm Update
After almost 12 inches of rainfall in the month of May and early June (that’s triple our average monthly rainfall, and not just any month, but one of the most crucial planting months of the season), the flood waters have receded. We’ve been able to till, make beds, cultivate and plant with the dry sunny weather of the past two weeks. We are however still seeing the results of all that water stress on many plants. At this point we know what we have lost (sadly an entire field of sugar snap peas that was at least a foot tall turned yellow and died- a heartbreaker I know, for it is a crop that we all love dearly) but we are also seeing what will pull through, and with a flurry of activity on the farm and long days stretching from sunrise to sunset when we had windows of perfect weather, we have caught up on our planting.
The approach of the summer solstice signifies the window of opportunity closing to get many of our fall crops in. Looking ahead 100 days for some crops, particularly winter squash (pictured above), brings us to the beginning of October. So it’s crucial that we get all that stuff transplanted by the solstice. Summer cabbages, pictured below, won’t be long until they are ready for harvest, but we are also busy planting fall cabbages, broccoli, beets, brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes.
Looking at the summer crops that were planted in the midst of all that wet weather, they now seem to be doubling in size with the heat and sun. Field tomatoes that looked so sad in the rain are rebounding with their usual resilience. Peppers and eggplants are also happy now that they are weeded and warm. The onion fields required loads and loads of hand weeding, which we’ve now done a number of times with wonderful results (thank you farm crew!!!). It won’t be long until we can enjoy fresh garlic and big juicy sweet onions.
The early variety of red salad greenhouse tomatoes aren’t far from being ready for harvest (shown below)- pruning and trellising these keep us busy even on rainy days. We also have all our grafted heirloom tomatoes in a high tunnel, protected from the elements. They’ll be along a little later, in early August. We have a second planting of heirloom tomatoes to go into another tunnel next week, so we can have tomatoes late into the fall. That’s the theme of this season- crappy spring, killer fall!
Direct seeded carrots, pictured below, germinated nicely after seeding with our precision vacuum seeder, and flame weeding them post sowing, (but pre-emersion). After all the direct sowing’s that washed away in May, we’re pretty excited about this stand of carrots. Something to look forward to!
We have multiple plantings of melons and corn in the ground (those are melons pictured in the very first photo), all of which are moving along, as are the many fields of potatoes. We will be digging new red potatoes for the CSA starting the week of July 3, giving them just another week to size up. We will have a limited amount at market before then if you can’t wait that long or need some for your weekend barbecues (CSA members receive 10% off at our roadstand open Mon and Fridays, 2-6pm, and Saturdays 10-2pm). We continue to plant successions of weekly greens as well as green beans. The earliest green bean plantings may have suffered in the wet, and we missed a few because of the wet field conditions, but the next ones are doing great and we will keep planting every week to 10 days in order to have beans up until the frost.
The pick-your-own flower field we are watching closely. The plants do seem shorter and less robust than usual, we lost plants in the wet ends of the fields and they are definitely behind schedule, despite us sticking to the same planting schedule as previous years. Flowers can be more fickle then vegetables, and are very susceptible to throwing out blooms on shorter stems when stressed out. We will be transplanting a late rotation of sunflowers and zinnias this week, hoping to push the flowers late into the fall since we are getting a bit of a late start. We will let you know as soon as we have enough bloom to open up for member picking.
We can’t thank everyone enough who reached out to us in support over the past month. It really meant all the difference to hear your words of encouragement, and it was a wonderful reminder of why we do what we do. It really is a crazy thing to be in a line of work that no matter if you plan every last detail and work your absolute hardest, there is still a huge variable like the weather that just cannot be controlled or predicted. And we wouldn’t be able to continue in this line of work if we didn’t have the support of customers who seriously understand that. Grocery stores sure make it easy to have everything we desire at our fingertips, and at cheap prices that in no way reflect the true cost of growing that food. With so much available at our fingertips, trucked in from places like California, Mexico and Florida, it has to be a constant choice to say yes, I want to support our local farms and farmers, I want to eat seasonally when I can, whatever that particular season provides. It really does strengthen that connection among us all- the growers, the eaters, the earth, the weather, and the choices we make that ripple out through the environment. So thank you, from all of us at Blooming Glen Farm, for holding that connection sacred.
We hope you’ll join us at the farm tomorrow, Thursday evening, June 21st at 7 pm, for a free family-friendly ritual and solstice blessing in the fields of the farm, led by Rebekah Barnes of Rooted Rhythms, where we will come together to sing, and give thanks for the turning of the wheel of the seasons. I for one will be giving thanks for the sun, and for all of you.
Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner. Some photos and photo editing by Dakota Borneman Murtha. Tricia and her husband Tom have been farming together since 2000. Blooming Glen Farm is celebrating its 13th season bringing high quality certified organic vegetables, herbs, fruits and cut flowers to our local community.