Farm News- September 30, 2010
Summer has officially ended and with it go the warm weather crops. The tomatoes are definitely over for the season; the peppers should continue producing for a few more weeks. The eggplants are full of small fruit but they are sizing up very slowly. We will give them a rest this week in hopes of getting one more large harvest of medium size fruit for next week. The late summer squash planting peaked last week and production will begin to decline rapidly. Many of the plants already have powdery mildew issues and with wet weather coming will probably fade quickly. We still have a good supply for the shares this week. We have a good winter squash crop which we are in the process of harvesting. Next week we will begin the rotation of the various varieties of winter squash; from acorn to spaghetti, which will take us to the end of the season.
The first large broccoli planting is heading up nicely and we should have sufficient quantities for everyone this week. If we run short we will substitute kale and ship broccoli to those groups next week. We have put in nearly 10,000 plants so expect broccoli frequently during the remainder of the season. There are also thousands of cauliflower and cabbage plant which will begin to mature during October. I expect to have lettuce in the shares again by next week. We have some spinach which is large enough to pick, principally a red stemmed variety. We need to harvest this type first because it is more prone to bolting and also because the deer have decided that they like it!
I just returned from the Garlic Festival in Saugerties NY where I went in search of seed garlic for next year’s crop. Garlic is grown from individual cloves which we plant in late October. It will begin to grow some roots and then emerge in early spring as soon as the ground thaws. Seed garlic is rather scarce at present and prices are high, due to both increased demand for the richly flavored stiffneck varieties as well as a recently discovered nematode problem in NY State. Nematodes are microscopic worm -like creatures that attack the roots of the plant and are spread on infected bulbs. One bulb can contain as many as 50,000 organisms! This is a serious problem which also affects onion crops, so those who have the problem have had their crops quarantined. For many others testing is necessary to insure the absence of these critters and prevent the spread of the plague. Since I never seem to have as much garlic as I would like (or as you would like!) to put in the shares, I was anxious to obtain a substantial quantity for next season. I came back with my Subaru loaded down with nearly 600 lbs. of several varieties that I am fairly confidant do not harbor the pest. I spent $4000 on this haul. Farming is like that, we are always reinvesting the profits in the next crop or the next season. I look on it as money in the bank, only a bank without FDIC insurance and that is subject to frequent robberies!
The share for this week will be: Red skinned potatoes, yellow onions, spinach or chard, summer squash, broccoli, string beans, peppers, carrots, choice of arugula, tatsoi or other mustard greens, and choice of an herb.