Welcome to July – we’re definitely into the summer now. Some of the cool weather crops like the lettuce and peas are beginning to show signs of fatigue, and the radishes are pretty much dunzo. But this isn’t bad, it’s just the cycle of the seasons – and to make up for it, the hot weather crops are really becoming vigorous.
The eggplant, beans, zucchini, pepper, and tomato plants are growing up and out, and looking very promising. The tomatoes are the healthiest and happiest I’ve ever seen them at this time of year, and seem to really like the new mulch and trellising system we’re trying out.
The week’s work involved more hay muching and more organic insecticide (manual pickin’ & squishin’) of potato beetle grubs and squash vine borer eggs.
We started preparing a bed for the fall crop of salad greens, using a technique known as a “stale seedbed” – in which we create moist, warm, happy conditions for the lurking weed seeds, using transparent plastic applied to a row after a good rain. This will encourage all the weeds to germinate under the ideal conditions – and when they come up all new & tender, we will gently remove the cover … and greet them with a propane flamethrower. And then it’ll be safe to plant the fall salad.
Last week, Kristin found a bunch of tadpole babies in some water buckets we were using as weights – she and WWOOFer Reynaldo thought we should create a tadpole hatching pool, so we alley-scavenged up a kid’s pool when we came to the cities last week, and this week we turned it into sweet digs for future farm frogs.
We woke up at 5:00 am on the 4th of July, to harvest for the Saint Croix Falls farmer’s market – for the first time this year, due to the casualties the cutworms and voles inflicted upon our early spring crops.
Then a bunch of friends came out from the cities to celebrate the holiday weekend together on the Farm, and the next day a new WWOOFer, Ariel from Maryland came out to help out for a couple of weeks. We had a long soaking rain the next day – at least 2 inches fell over the course of a day, giving all the crops a well-timed drink the day before the CSA harvest – today!
We had a good crew helping out, making the harvest go smoothly even as we did our first dual-harvest of the year – everything for you all, plus some surplus veggies for the HealthPartners cafeteria. Much thanks to our WWOOFers, Kristin’s parents, and our friend Mark who helped make it come together today!
Week 5 Box:
- Week 5 Salad Mix – Red Ruby, Buttercrunch bibb, and frizzy green lettuces, baby Red Russian & Dwarf curly blue kale, arugula, pea tips, tat soi, & mizuna
- Sugar Snap Peas – the pea(k) season is passing now, alas … but the pea plants are still putting out a whole lot of sweet, tasty pods.
- Kohlrabi – This is the alien lookin’ fellow in your box. These are the survivors of the vole assault this spring – the ones we took back in from the field after transplanting to nurse back to health. They are usually peeled – we usually just use a sharp knife to cut off the tough outer skin. The leaves are also edible, best if cooked. We think the root is tasty served cold, sliced and salted – but here’s a good post with other good ideas for eating yours.
- Fresh Herbs – Basil, Spearmint, & Lemon Balm – (the lemon balm has the twine around it to help you know which is which). Here’re some ideas for how you can use your basil. Lemon balm is great for tea (Fill a jar with fresh leaves. Pour simmering hot water into the jar then cover the top with a saucer so that none of the vapors escape. Let steep until cool enough to drink & sweeten to taste.) Spearmint is most excellent served outdoors in a strong mojito on a sunny afternoon while playing hooky from your job.
- Broccoli – Every part is edible – some people think the best part is the middle of the stalks, and call it broccoli candy. Fact. This week we enjoyed some in a stew, as we dried off and warmed up from working in the soaking rain.
- Radishes & Salad Turnips
- Kale (Red Russian, Dino, and Dwarf Curly Blue varieties) – Have you tried kale chips yet? They are so darn good … although I usually eat the entire batch in one sitting, so they don’t last all that long …
- Cauliflower (large shares only) – cauliflower doesn’t much like our sandy soil, and we have a hard time getting much of it. We had just enough for the big boxes this week. We were given some from a new friend at the market this week, which we grilled up on the rocket stove – it was delicious,and the leftovers went into the rainy day stew.
That’s it for this week – let us know if you have any feedback, questions, photos, or recipes to share.
Thanks again for joining us this year – we’re grateful every day that we have the opportunity to live this life, and grateful for all the people that have helped make it a possibility – including you.
Have a wonderful week!
– the Sehrs