Looking through last year’s crop reports can be telling sometimes.
It’s somewhat of a personal Farmer’s Almanac. We send out crop reports on our email blasts to alert our friends and customers of what’s happening in the field. If you have a CSA with us or if you frequent our table at the markets we attend then you’ll want to know what to expect as the summer months progress.
Looking back to last year is fun too.
This last week of really cold temperatures is enough to make you want to run south. But looking at these old crop reports made us realize that spring is coming soon! Not only that but the sun has been much warmer this last week than it has in months. It’s coming but it seems like it’s taking forever.
Here’s a few crop reports that we put on our blog from last year.
Here’s a few that might be interesting to you and of course, get you a bit excited for this year’s growing season. We can’t wait!
These three are from July of last year. It will give you an idea of what to look forward to, especially if this is your first CSA with us!
The fast approaching spring can’t come soon enough for many of us. But maybe these crop reports are more than just teasers. They really are time capsules into years past. We now have the internet and this web blog to thank for them being public, but this is nothing new for farmers and nothing new for a lot of us who have kept journals and diaries.
Have you noticed that the hours of daylight have been increasing?
December 21st is the shortest day with less than 9 hours of daylight. On January 21st this jumped to 9 hours 32 minutes and February 14th increased again to 10 hours 30 minutes. Doing the math, since December 21st we have gained 1 hour 30 minutes and these gains seem more noticeable each day.
The sun even feels much warmer when it decides to make an appearance. The combined longer daylight and warmer sun means it’s time to start planting again in the High Tunnel. Out with the old and in with the new.
This week we finished harvesting one of the beds of Asian Greens and began the process of replanting a new crop for early spring harvest.
We stagger the plantings so we can have a steady supply of greens throughout the spring. After we finished harvesting we used the broad fork to loosen the soil and then clear out the old plants and debris by hand. Just a simple tool that uses muscle to loosen and aerate the soil for the new crop. The goal is to loosen the soil but not disturb it too much and keep all the topsoil on the top layer.
Now we are almost ready to plant, but there is one more important step.
We need to till the top 2-3 inches to smooth it out and make the perfect seed bed. Keep in mind we are planting very tiny seeds and they need the best conditions as possible. The tool for this is called the tilther and uses a cordless electric drill to power it. A very cool tool that is specifically designed for this purpose.
Finally we can plant into that perfect seed bed.
I didn’t have to amend the soil for this planting because lettuce and radishes are not big feeders. Also, last fall we added compost to all the beds. For this job I use a little six row push seeder that does a pretty good job. It doesn’t singulate the seeds perfectly but for this job is serves the purpose.
Half the bed is lettuce mix.
Other half is red radishes.
Here are the finished beds and all that is left is to cover them with row cover to keep them warm on the cooler nights.
They are not going to germinate very fast but once they get going they should be ready in early April. Also we are trying an experiment this year and we wrapped the outside walls of the tunnel in a reflective insulated wrap. The goal is the keep it warmer and reflect more of that stippled sunlight to the ground.
Now I hope you have a new appreciation for St Valentine’s Day and we can’t wait to start harvesting the first new crops of 2019. Also new this week are micro greens and pea shoots. Be sure to stop by the market and give them a try.
In the last seven days we have seen many weather extremes that have made farm life interesting. We really didn’t enjoy the stretch of hot weather as it definitely shortened the work day and production levels. Then it was much cooler weather that made everyone feel much better but that was followed by almost three inches of rain. It has been a rather long run of wet days the last few weeks. Seems like it just starts to dry out and it rains again. We have not been able to dig potatoes for a few weeks and now we are out of harvested potatoes. Hopefully we can have some nice sunny days with a little breeze to help dry out the soil because there are still more than plenty in the ground!
All of the shallots have been pulled and we started on the red onions today. One more cycle in the greenhouse and all the onions will be dried for the season. The early planting of winter squash has been cut and piled. Hopefully in the next day or two we can get it all picked up and into storage. We have wagers going among the guys on how many 20 bushel bins we will fill. The high guess is 17 and the low is 8. I would be happy with any of those numbers and only time will tell.
Sadly, watermelons are all done for the year. We really enjoyed some of the sweetest melons we have had in a couple of years. I think it was a combination of a dry June and such warm weather. I know that many people will be asking for them at the market. Cantaloupes have slowed down but warm weather should pick their production back up. Tomatoes are at their peak right now with canning and freezing quantities available.
After a wet and cool market Monday I was inspired to make a warm hearty meal for dinner. Honestly the prep work took longer than the cooking and I think the results were amazing.
2 medium zucchini, cut up
2 ears of corn, cut off the cob
1 large onion, chopped
1 head of garlic, peeled and chopped
4 san marzano tomatoes, diced
Cook the onions and garlic in a frying pan with olive oil. When they are cooked add the rest of the ingredients at medium heat. Cover and stir for a few minutes. Transfer to a Pyrex pan and cook at 400 degrees for another 15 minutes. I added a little balsamic vinegar just before serving it. Sandi and I enjoyed it very much, the girls liked certain veggies more than others! For dessert we had baked apples with a little cinnamon and whipped cream. Nothing fancy but very tasty. Please share some of your favorite recipes and I will include them in the future newsletters.