Farm News- September 15, 2011

Circle Brook Farm
Circle Brook Farm

Hello Everyone,

It’s been a difficult couple of weeks on the farm as I’m sure you can imagine. The rain from the remnants of Hurricane Lee dropped another 5 inches of rain on already saturated ground and swollen streams. The lake that formed in my lower field during Irene returned and swallowed even more of the fall brassicas than before. I estimate that we have lost nearly 10,000 plants.

The prolonged wet and overcast conditions have also taken their toll on other crops; accelerating the demise of the tomatoes, slowing the production of the peppers, and promoting fungal diseases in a late planting of zucchini and cucumbers. Harvesting has been difficult as my workers sink in the muddy furrows in between the beds and we are unable to machine dig potatoes. I have been delayed in continuing my fall planting of direct seeded crops such as spinach, mustards, and turnips.

While it’s heartbreaking to lose so many crops, I still feel fortunate to be farming on sandy, well drained soils. And while this news may seem dire for you, the members, we still have many crops unharmed by the bad weather.

We are just a few weeks away from beginning to harvest spinach, arugula and other mustard greens. The Rattlesnake pole beans are producing heavily and the late planting of bush string beans and cranberry beans is flowering profusely. There will not be lettuce in this week’s share because of the losses we incurred in lettuce we had in storage, due to loss of power and hence refrigeration. The next round of lettuce should be ready by next week and I expect a steady supply for the rest of the season.

We have replanted thousands of broccoli, kohlrabi, and kale plants and the spring planted kale is beginning to grow nicely again.

The weather for the week ahead looks to be relatively dry and sunny albeit a bit on the cool side. While the shares for the next week or two may be a little lean I expect we will be back on track for a good fall season soon. We will try to include as many “extras” in the shares as we can during the next 2 weeks to attempt to offset the somewhat meeker regular shares.

I know that many of you are interested in lending a hand on the farm. I did not ask for volunteers during the past 2 weeks because of the uncertain weather. We will host volunteer work days on the next four Sundays to help with bean picking and with the winter squash harvest. These will begin at 10 am at 141 Brighton Rd. Andover. The dates are: 9/18, 9/25, 10/2 and 10/ 9. Your assistance will be greatly appreciated.

The share for this week will be:
Leeks, radishes, garlic, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant and broccoli or Swiss chard.

Farmer John

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