Farm News- August 12, 2010
It’s been getting rather dry again here on the farm — nearly 2 weeks without a substantial rainfall — and while there is still some moisture deeper in the ground, the surface is essentially dust. This makes it a bit challenging to get good germination on the many crops that we are currently seeding, such as carrots, turnips, and mustard greens.
These crops have fairly tiny seeds and thus must be sown quite shallowly. We have set up the sprinklers on the fall carrot planting, because they are slow germinators and need to be kept constantly damp to ensure good emergence. The fall brassicas that we transplanted recently have taken root well, but are being devoured by the voracious flea beetle. We have sprayed them twice during the past week, and while the populations have been substantially reduced, they are still a problem. These pests generally disappear about the end of August, going underground to over-winter. Until then they are a serious plague, capable of completely defoliating plants; anything I can do to reduce their numbers will also mitigate the severity of the infestation when they emerge next spring.
The tomato deluge has begun, with fruit ripening abundantly in all of the early varieties. There are a number of “maybes” in this week’s share; the one thing that is certain is that you will get lots of tomatoes. The heirloom tomatoes are also beginning to mature large volumes of fruit, although many of these have been cracking. Be sure to use the heirlooms quickly as they have a very short shelf life. Melons have started to ripen as well. The variety that we have the most of at the moment is a Korean melon called Sun Jewel. These are small, yellow, oblong fruits with a crisp texture like a pear, and very sweet. There are also some white honey dews and some canary melons. Soon we will have cantaloupes and watermelons. We may not have enough at present for all groups. The eggplant is flowering abundantly but there are still not enough large fruit to harvest for all groups. Some folks received eggplant last week; if you didn’t, it should be in your share this week.
The share for this week will be: Swiss chard, multi colored carrots, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, red onions, beans, red cabbage, sweet corn (conventionally grown) and choice of an herb. The fruit share will be Paula red apples and nectarines.