Farm News- October 28, 2010

Circle Brook Farm
Circle Brook Farm

Hi Folks,

Things are beginning to wind down a bit here on the farm. We are done seeding and transplanting crops for harvest this season. We have finished digging the sweet potatoes and most of the white potatoes as well.

Besides the daily harvesting of greens and root crops for the shares and the markets, we are focused on clean up. My crew has been dismantling the trellis for the tomatoes, removing hundreds of posts and stakes, and pulling the plastic mulch. I have been busy broadcasting cover crop seed winter rye and hairy vetch, which will protect the fields from wind erosion during the winter months. These cover crops also improve the soil by adding organic matter and nitrogen which is “fixed” by the vetch. Members of the Legume family like vetch take nitrogen from the atmosphere and store it in nodules which form on their roots. We are also preparing ground to plant the garlic and shallots for next year’s crop. Garlic is grown from the individual cloves, each of which will produce a new bulb next July. Planted now, the cloves will begin to grow roots, so they will emerge and begin to grow rapidly as soon as the ground thaws in early spring. I plan to put in about 600 lbs. of seed garlic, 50% more than last year, as we never seem to have enough of the popular stuff.

We are still waiting on the broccoli heads to size up, a process that is painfully slow during the fall, with shorter days and cold nights. The good news is that the quality is generally high when they are ready, and many different varieties are beginning to mature. Once we can begin harvesting we should have it consistently during the final weeks of the season. In the meantime we have kale as the brassica of the week. The red potatoes we are sending with the shares this week are a bit ugly, with a lot of russeting of the skin. You will probably want to peel them. Fortunately they are fairly large so this won’t be a terribly difficult task. We will be shipping some pumpkins this week as a choice with a large gray kabocha type squash called Sweet Mama. All pumpkins are edible, but some are better eating than the ornamental types. These are excellent for baking as well as for soups and in any recipe which calls for pumpkin. The root of the week will be salad turnips. Don’t forget that the greens are edible and very nutritious.

The share for this week will be:
Red potatoes, leeks, salad tur­ nips, choice of romaine or a red romaine –like variety, arugula, kale, choice of orna­ mental pumpkin or kabocha squash and choice of an herb (mostly parsley).

Farmer John

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