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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

July 24th and 27th: Hoophouse

HOOPHOUSE

At the end of last season, I asked shareholders to fill out a survey.  One of the questions asked "if I were to extend the season on a crop, which would you choose?"  The order was: tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans.  In an effort to meet this request, I did a few new things on the farm. 

First off, I planted cucumbers in the big hoophouse by the community barn.  I wasn't sure how they would like it in there as it gets well over a hundred degrees in there on a hot day.  But currently they are thriving.  And even though the cucumbers may not have seemed early to you in this hot summer, they were, by about 2 weeks.  Plus I got to try a couple new varieties.  Since they would be in the hoophouse, and may not get visited by many bees, I had to chose parthenocarpic varities--this means they are self pollinating.  So I tried a dark green skinned American slicing cucumber, Cornito, and a slender, thin-skinned, Japanese cuke called Tasty Jade.  Next year maybe I will take the time to trellis them whic makes them eve nlonger and prettier.

The second thing I did to fill shareholders' request was to erect another, smaller hoophouse.  In there I am experimenting with growing tomatoes and eggplant (yes, eggplant--several of you requested this as a new veg so here we go).  The plants look AWESOME in here and even though you may only get 3 mini tomatoes at pick up, it is 3 more, 4 weeks earlier than you have ever gotten them here before!

EGGPLANT

JULIET TOMATO

The not so Nitty Gritty on GARLIC

I had a discussion with a farmer friend the other day about how much detail we should go into when explaining the farm's ups and downs to shareholders during the season.  Since you are shareholders, this farm is a partly yours and I feel an obligation to keep you up to date on what's happening in the fields.  However, I also don't want to make my stress your stress and/or make you feel like I am struggling so bad I am about to fall apart (although sometimes that may be true!).  So in conclusion, we decide there needs to be a balance, it may be hard to find, which is why I decided I would give y'all the "Gritty" without the "Nitty".  So here goes...

Usually when there is a blight, insect infestation, torrential down pour, hail, etc it effects the summer shares negatively.  Well this year, one microscopic insect has actually made your share better this summer.  Sadly I bought in garlic seed last year with a hitchhiker.  This hitchhiker has made my garlic unstorageable and therefore we need to eat it fresh.  Good for you, bad for the winter shares.  My idea is that I will give some of it out for summer shares (yeah!), hopefully trade some of it for storage garlic so the winter shares get at least one head and then sell the rest so that I can use the money to buy new, hitchhiker-free, (extremely expensive) garlic seed this fall.

I am sad...garlic seed is VERY expensive and I have spent the past 4 years carefully selecting seed to make the biggest most tastiest bulbs while bulking up my planting so that I could give out more garlic throughout the year and alas, I have to start from scratch again.  So farming goes...maybe that was too much nitty....

This week's harvest:
lettuce, hakurei turnips with greens, fresh garlic, dill, a bit o' basil, cucumbers, zucchini!, some summer squash, purple scallions, beets with greens and 3 Juliet tomaotes : )

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