Farm News – August 5, 2010

Circle Brook Farm
Circle Brook Farm

Hello Folks, We’ve arrived at August, having survived a scorching July, and happy for the more moderate temperatures we’ve enjoyed over the past week. A few passing storms have brought us just enough rain to keep the crops happy and to help germinate the many seeds I’ve sown during the week. I’ve planted more beans, cucumbers and summer squash for a late September harvest as well as beets and carrots for October. We have also begun transplanting the brassica crops for the fall as well.

We’ve been busy in the greenhouse seeding escarole, radicchio, and lettuces to be transplanted out into the field in 2 or 3 weeks. We have to work in the greenhouse on overcast days or during the early morning hours before the heat becomes unbearable. We also have to trick the lettuces into germinating by placing them on a cool concrete floor in the barn for several days until they begin to emerge. Lettuce seed has a trait known as heat dormancy by which, if exposed to high temperatures and moisture it will refuse to germinate under any circumstances for about a month. We have to watch them carefully because they will quickly get too leggy if not moved into the light as soon as they begin to emerge.

It’s not easy being (a) green, especially during a hot summer in New Jersey. The spinach and mustard greens are long gone and the kale is laced with holes courtesy of 2 pests; the flea beetle and the tarnished plant bug. I have sprayed it twice to try to control them but they continue to migrate in from the broccoli and cabbage plants which are finished and waiting to be plowed under. The Swiss chard has been over-cut and needs time and cooler weather to recover. About the only greens we have in abundance are the dandelion kind; not a big favorite (the insects don’t seem to like it much either). We will continue to send it as an extra for those who like it bitter. I am planting spinach, arugula, and other mustard greens this week, so we should start to have greens in the share again in September.

In the meantime, we will have to make do, with the summer crops – peppers will begin this week, and eggplant the next. Tomatoes will become more abundant with each passing week. The melon crop is looking good and some fruit should begin to ripen in the next 2 weeks.

We are still experiencing a dearth of beans, but the pole beans have begun to flower and the beleaguered bush beans are trying to produce a second crop, so we should be back in the bean business soon.

The share for this week will be: Lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, summer squash, white onions, carrots, red gold potatoes, and choice of an herb.

Enjoy! Farmer John

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