When we hit mid-May I invariably look around and fearfully wonder what on earth we are going to harvest for the first pick-up of the season. The bunching onions are tiny, the leaf lettuce and spinach just filling in, and the kale and swiss chard are getting there legs under them from transplanting. Every year without fail I am blow away by what a couple of weeks of warm late spring can produce. The plants visibly grow by the day and when the first harvest dawn comes around there are full size leaves and delicate onions to cut.
Some Stunted Harvest
This year looking out over the vegetable fields, still more brown soil than greens, yellows and purples, I wonder what we are going to cut for our third pick-up. Approaching late June the fields resemble May. The brassicas (cabbage, broccoli, kale and brussel sprouts) that were transplanted May 7th are a tiny bit larger, the bunching onions have put on a couple of inches of height and the leaf lettuce is barely cuttable with a knife. Our field corn planting seems to be a lost cause and the green summer cabbage looks like it may have given up growing and decided to form gumballl size heads. But with a little luck from the weather all of the other crops look like they will make a good recovery—the potatoes (highly susceptible to rotting in cold wet soil) came in better than expected, the dry beans germinated beautifully and the peas couldn’t be happier. The verdict is still out on the sweet corn which was planted more recently.
The last two days of sun and no rain have been a godsend, allowing the ground a chance to absorb excess water and helping the newest leaves sprouting from the growing tips of the plants to green up. We are happy for every dry day we can get at this point, but are greedy for more than the forecast shows.
Abby and Lightning have been gaining their winter bellies back again, weeks standing at a hitching post don’t do much for your figure. To Abby’s chagrin they will be in fast forward through the weekend as we catch up on harrowing, cultivating and make our first cutting of hay today. Keep your fingers crossed for a dry Saturday.
In the Farm Shares
In the veggie share: asparagus, spinach, napa cabbage, rhubarb, lettuce heads, beet greens, dry beans and cornmeal. Peas are on the vines, they will be sized up for next week’s share!
In the meat share: Fresh whole broiler chickens are ready. Pork and beef in the freezer.
- Full and By Farm: Oversaturation (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Essex Farm: Alien Asparagus (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Essex Farm Institute (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Lake Champlain is Rising, Rising, Rising (rosslynredux.com)