Late May and the first half of June is probably the busiest time of the year on the farm. It is a big transplanting time, with large blocks of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, summer squash, zucchini, watermelon, winter squash, and flowers going into the ground. We also have to keep up with our weekly lettuce plantings and greens seedings, as well as smaller successions of herbs, beans and sunflowers. May 25th alone takes up 6 pages of our 27 page planting schedule!
Weeds also begin to take off this time of year, requiring cultivating tractors to be running most days and crew members out in the fields hand weeding and hoeing every sunny day. Longer-term weed prevention is also on our mind now, as the mulch and landscape fabric we manage to get down this time of year will save us many hours in late June and early July (though it can seem hard to prioritize when your greenhouse is bursting with plants that need to go in the ground).
Animal and insect pressure also weigh on our minds. The deer have been grazing on our asparagus this year, highlighting the importance of all the time we spend setting up and maintaining fences. (With some crops we have to wait until the fences are up before we can plant.) We also see enormous pest pressure from flea beetles and Colorado potato beetles this time of year. We take the time to put row cover on every weekly greens seeding so that the arugula won’t be filled with holes, and last Friday afternoon we planted out all of our eggplant and then immediately began covering them with row cover to keep out the dreaded potato beetle. We are preparing to hand pick the beetles off the potato plants this week, a task that will take our whole crew hours to do, and which will need to be repeated again in the next week or two.
Thankfully, we’ve had plenty of rain this year, so we’ve been able to spread out irrigation set up. Other years we’ve had to put all other projects on hold until we could ensure each field was ready to be irrigated before planting.
Finally, harvesting begins in earnest this time of year. Because of the way the calendar works out this year, the CSA is starting a few days later than in past years. This means that we can focus on planting, weeding and pest control a little longer before we start devoting full mornings to harvesting and washing. The extra time and a really strong and experienced crew have led to us feeling really confident about the course of the season (and only moderately on edge about the length of our to-do list, rather than the usual sense of panic!)
In spite of the cold spring, harvests for the store have been going well, with abundant spinach and arugula, as well as strong asparagus harvests on the days following warm nights. We also enjoyed the first strawberries of the season at the end of last week. It was a limited supply, but they’re ripening faster now, so we should have enough most days to last beyond the first hour that we’re open!
The store is now staffed, so come in and say hello to our Shopkeepers Molly, Ione and Debbie this week. They spent last week fine tuning our new credit card system, and we are excited to announce that we can now take credit cards in the store (we still appreciate cash for smaller purchases!). The CSA begins next Tuesday June 11th, and it is now sold out with 235 members. We can’t wait to see everyone back on the farm!
This week in the store:
Strawberries - We’ll have a better supply this week than the first few pints of strawberries we enjoyed last week, but we still anticipate selling out early most days.
Baby bok choi
Kale - green curly and red curly (new this year!)
Plants - basil and parsley
Mushrooms from Fat Moon Farm
Honey from Double B (produced from hives on the property)