We’re holding out for a good (yet non-damaging) thunderstorm to roll through here this afternoon and break the heat and humidity. We purchased all of the parts and pieces of an irrigation system three years ago following another particularly hot, dry summer. After two wet years sandwiched around a perfect year everything was still in boxes and rolls under the barn steps until a few weeks ago. James has been working on setting it all up, sandwiched around haymaking windows, and is finishing the final touches this afternoon to get it up and running. This system will pump water from the pond, saving our precious spring water for drinking and will be able to irrigate an acre at a time. In addition to giving little seeds a boost in germinating it will also provide more even water to the crops. An improvement that should help many of the winter storage crops keep better over the winter. There is nothing so good as turning on irrigation to get a brewing storm to hit, so I expect that rain momentarily…
Despite the heat and dry skies the veggies are still having a wonderful year. The tomatoes are already loaded with full size, green fruit. The potato plants are healthy and generous and the onions are sizing up nicely. Green beans are covered with flowers and the cabbage heads are early, big and beautiful. We’ve had a particularly vicious round of cucumber beetles this season, they mowed down several sections of squash completely and put a hurting on the cucumbers and summer squash. The cucs, zucs and winter squash are a little bedraggled but for the most part are bouncing back well now. We’ll still see their fruits before too long, but they may be a bit slow coming in to start.
Short Strawberry Season
The other struggling crop news is the short strawberry season. We had an infestation of strawberry grubs move in last fall. They overwinter in the soil and in the spring eat the plant roots, seriously stunting the plants and berries. We held out with harvest as long as we could, often traveling an entire row just to fill a quart with small fruits compared with last year’s 16 quarts per row average. We decided this week to abandon the crop completely since it was no longer worth picking. We are working with Cornell Extension on a bio-control plan to breed nematodes which we will spread on the field to infect the grubs. Fingers cropped we will make some head-way before next year’s crop!
Broccoli & Leeks
Three weeks of broccoli all headed up at once last week. Which means we had two stellar broccoli weeks back to back and are now on to the side shoots. If you haven’t cooked with these in the past they are quite good, and very easy to use since they are essentially a pre-separated broccoli head. Don’t hesitate to use the greens either, they are one of the best parts. Toss the leaves in to the pan first to give them a head start on the florets which take a little less time. We also have baby leeks in the share this week. These are sweeter and more mild than bunching onions, though perhaps a little tougher, so you may find they are better cooked than raw. The true allium lover will be happy with them any which way however.
In the Farm Shares
In the veggie share: baby leeks, carrots, beets, green cabbage, peas, broccoli shoots with leaves, garlic scapes, basil, lettuce heads, chard, kale, radishes, napa cabbage, oat and wheat berries, cornmeal, whole wheat flour. Coming soon: zucchini, summer onions and green beans
In the meat share: All cuts of beef, pork and broiler chickens in the freezer. Lard available by request.