Farm News – June 8, 2010

Circle Brook Farm
Circle Brook Farm

Hello Everyone, The battle is in full swing now and we are completely and exhaustingly engaged. Make no mistake about it; producing quality vegetables is a battle from start to finish. It’s quite amazing how many critters there are that want to dine on your veggies before they can make it to your plate.

We have fenced around the pea patch to keep the deer out and buried fence along the periphery of one field to try (unsuccessfully) to exclude the ground hogs. Compared to the four-legged creatures, the six-legged ones don’t eat as much but they’re much more numerous. Our 2 worst insect pests, the flea beetle and the cucumber beetle have attacked with a vengeance this spring, and we are spraying to control them before their populations explode even further. We use only approved organic materials, products that are naturally derived, have low toxicity to humans and breakdown quickly.

The weather has been okay, too hot and a bit too dry, but it’s better than wet and cold! Most of our chances for rain over the past 3 weeks have been from scattered thunderstorms and none of these potential storms have materialized so far. We have a cool front moving in for the week ahead, which will make working conditions much more tolerable and hopefully bring some rain ahead of the front.

We are in the process of transplanting out into the field all the warm season crops. We have planted about a third of the 5,000 tomato plant and all of the eggplants, 1800 or so. On Friday the sweet potato plants arrived and we needed to get those in immediately as they have hardly any root and wilt quickly. They looked quite sad as they baked in the blazing sun, but most of them should take root. This week we will be planting the peppers, melons, summer squash, ground cherries, and the rest of the tomatoes. We also have herbs and flowers to set out.

The peas are flowering profusely and I expect an abundant supply for the first delivery and during the subsequent 3-4 weeks. The brassicas (broccoli, cabbage, etc.) are growing well for the most part. They could use a good rain and will enjoy the cooler temps forecast for the week ahead. One of the early varieties of broccoli is showing sign of “buttoning” because of the stress of several extremely cold nights in early May. Buttoning means flowering when the plant is still too small and producing a tiny head. If this variety is a complete loss, it will reduce the number of weeks we will have broccoli in the shares during the early summer harvest. I have also had problems with the emergence on my potato crop. Several varieties did not come up at all, and several others came up so spotty that I will have to abandon them. These few problems notwithstanding, most everything is growing well and we have lots of great stuff coming on for the beginning of the season; now just a little more than a week away.

Thanks to the volunteers who came out to help with covering the greenhouse on May 15th. We were able to get it done on the first try this year!
I look forward to seeing many of you at the farm visit next Saturday. Remember if you can’t make it on Saturday, you are welcome to come on Sunday.

Farmer John

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