Our soils are naturally quite sandy, but the recent lack of rain combined with the heat has made our fields sometimes feel like a beach rather than a vegetable farm! With the last substantial rain of the season occurring on June 5th, setting up and running irrigation has been one of the primary tasks on the farm for the past 3 weeks (aside from the usual harvesting, planting and weeding that occupy our time every June!).
Our systems for irrigation vary by crop, depending on factors like how long the crop is in the ground before harvesting, the length of harvest window, how the irrigation system fits in with the weed control methods used on the crop, and also how the nearby crops get irrigated. Many of our heat-loving summer crops, like tomatoes, squash, eggplant and peppers, are planted into black plastic mulch with a drip irrigation line running underneath. These crops have been holding up the best during the hot dry weather, as the plastic mulch helps hold moisture and nutrients in the soil around the plants.
Not everything can be planted into a nice moist plastic-covered environment, however. Some crops like carrots, beets, potatoes and greens are seeded directly into the bare ground. Many transplanted crops, like lettuce, are in the ground for too short a time to justify the effort of laying plastic and drip lines (lettuce also doesn't appreciate the extra heat in the soil generated by black plastic). For these crops, we often set up low-volume overhead sprinklers to keep the soil moist while seeds are germinating or transplants are settling in to life outside the greenhouse.
In spite of our vigorous irrigation efforts, we haven't had enough time to give all of our crops the water that they need, and a few crops have suffered as a result. Strawberries and peas saw a slightly earlier-than-usual demise due to the dry heat. Some of our lettuce plantings have also struggled this past week. Overall, though, we are happy that we've managed to sustain most of our crops, and the future is looking bright for our summer and fall crops!
In the Vegetable CSA:
- Summer squash
- Garlic Scapes
- Red Russian Kale
- Baby Bok Choi
CSA Pick-your-own: Strawberries and peas were finished off by the drought, and beans and sunflowers are still a week or two away, so this week the picking is the following herbs:
In the store: All of the crops available in the CSA will also be available in the store. In addition we will have eggs, mushrooms and possibly radishes.
Vegetable Summer Rolls
Gourmet | May 2001
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped onion
- 1 small garlic clove (or one garlic scape), minced
- 3/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 3/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1 ounce bean thread noodles (cellophane noodles)
- 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
- 4 (8-inch) rice-paper rounds
- 2 lettuce leaves, ribs cut out and discarded and leaves halved
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced baby bok choi
- 1/3 cup coarsely shredded carrot (1 medium)
- You can also add scallions or shredded kohlrabi
Cook onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes in oil in a small heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until pale golden, about 4 minutes. Whisk in remaining sauce ingredients. Simmer, whisking, 1 minute, then cool.
Make summer rolls:
Cover noodles with boiling-hot water and soak 15 minutes, then drain well in a sieve. Pat dry between paper towels and toss with vinegar and salt to taste. Put a double thickness of paper towel on a work surface and fill a shallow baking pan with warm water. Soak 1 rice-paper round (make sure there are no holes) in warm water until pliable, 30 seconds to 1 minute, then transfer to paper towels. Arrange 1 piece of lettuce on bottom half of soaked rice paper, folding or tearing to fit and leaving a 1-inch border along edge. Spread one fourth of peanut sauce over lettuce and top with one fourth each of mint, basil, cabbage, and noodles. Roll up rice paper tightly around filling and, after rolling halfway, arrange one fourth of cilantro and carrot along crease. Then fold in sides and continue rolling. Transfer summer roll to a plate and cover with dampened paper towels. Make 3 more rolls in same manner. Serve rolls halved on the diagonal.