After what seemed like the hottest, driest, longest summer we have ever had, it has come to a close. Although this week's temps look unusually high (today is going to be 70!), several cold nights in the 30's and one in the 20's has put an abrupt stop to most of my plants. Cleaning out the fields has been an interesting task this fall. Yes, the plants look tired but they are still LOADED with fruit! It was the same in the peppers and eggplants. We gleaned off all the mature fruit and we were still left with several tiny fruits everywhere. Too small to mature if we harvested, they were pulled from the field and will become compost for a future crop. I felt sort of bad for the plants, apologizing to them that they landed in cold Maine instead of warm California.
I think we may have tomatoes at Thanksgiving!
Last week we "popped" the garlic. This is the process of separating each individual clove from the bulb. Since the size of the clove you plant directly correlates with the size of the bulb you'll harvest, we pick the largest, most perfect looking bulbs to pop. I think because of the dry, most of my heads were pretty small this year, unlike my usual yields of ginormous bulbs. Hopefully next year we will be back on track. We planted 2-200' beds, each clove 8" apart in rows of 4, then covered it all with straw. The straw keeps the cloves from heaving out of the ground over the winter and suppresses weeds as the plants emerge in the spring and continue to grow most of the summer. Garlic cloves need the winter cold to indicate it's time to start sprouting. I like to think of them cozy under the straw all winter and then rallying together to be the first plants to emerge in the spring. Grow garlic! Grow!
Although there are still thousands of pounds of crops to harvest and several tasks to do before the snow flies, I find myself already planning for next spring. It's a good feeling, knowing that I am excited to start all over again even after a hard growing season. The work can be challenging/discouraging, but the rewards are usually high. I know we ate well this summer and our freezer and canning shelves are full of goodness waiting for winter consumption...I hope you have enjoyed this summer's bounty as well and will continue to do so into the next several months. Cheers and THANK YOU for loving Little Ridge Farm!
This Week's Bounty: lettuce mix, pac choi, chinese cabbage, spinach, fennel, chard, leeks, onions, pepper, tomato, carrot, potato, hakurei turnip, kohl rabi and winter squash