Farm News- July 14, 2011

Circle Brook Farm
Circle Brook Farm

Hi Folks,

It was another good weather week here on the farm: plenty of sunshine but not terribly hot. We had a torrential downpour accompanied by some strong winds on Friday evening but it didn’t last long and caused no damage. Our greatest challenge in recent weeks has been the critters, both the four-legged and six-legged kinds. The deer, having developed a taste for summer squash, have been overcoming our attempts to keep them out of the squash patch and have eaten or destroyed (half eaten) hundreds of pounds of the fruit. The worst part is that the plants were at the peak of their productivity and will now begin to decline, especially because now that they are fenced in, I cannot easily spray to control the fungal diseases to which they are susceptible. I much prefer giving the members veggies rather than excuses, but there may not be a lot of zucchini until the next planting comes into production in a few weeks. The main six-legged enemy at present is a sucking insect called a leafhopper. They are a perennial problem on the potatoes but this season, they have spread onto many other crops which are not normally attacked, such as the beets, chard and the beans. I am in the process of spraying to control the populations but it’s not easy because I can’t spray all affected crops at one time. Since organic spray materials are short lived in their effectiveness, these flying insects can re-infest an area that has been treated from one that has not yet been sprayed. The good news is that we are harvesting lots of cucumbers. These have some cosmetic damage due to another bane of my existence — the cucumber beetle; however they are really nice cukes.

Last week’s share was quite large. I suspect that many of you are still trying to eat your way through it! This week may seem rather small by comparison. One of the many things I have no control over is when the crops mature. I normally don’t send more than one or two members of the brassica (cabbage) family per week, but last week some of you received four. We were in danger of losing the Napa cabbage if it was not harvested and when the broccoli and cauliflower is ready, it has to be cut. If you have not yet had cauliflower, you should see some this week or next. We are still cutting broccoli but the main crop is done, so this will probably be the last week for it until the fall crop begins. We are at the point in the season when we are transitioning from spring, cool weather crops, to the summer crops like peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, and beans. Due to the wet spring and subsequent late planting, the latter are still a few weeks away. Greens (other than lettuce) are also scarce and will remain so until late August. We will begin having potatoes and onions next week.

The share for this week will be:
Romaine lettuce, some kind of peas, cucumbers or summer squash, broccoli, cauliflower or kale, carrots, and basil. We will try to send a variety of items as extras such as turnips, radishes, dandelion greens, etc.

Farmer John

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