Week of June 25th – CSA Newsletter

Well, June has zipped right by. It’s hard to believe but the summer internship for the Sustainable Farming and Food Systems students is just about halfway over. The students continue to impress me with their work ethic and how quickly they are picking up life on vegetable farm during the summer. Last week was a big week of transplanting on the farm. We got all of our winter squash, melons and second round of summer squash and cucumbers in the ground.

A field of winter squash planted and covered.

It was a lot of work to get them planted, fertilized and covered with remay, aka row cover. We use row cover on our cucurbits (and brassicas) to protect them from pests while they are getting established. The main pest that goes after all the squash, cukes and melons are cucumber beetles. These little buggers can affect the plants in a few different ways. First, they can stunt the plant’s growth, especially when they eat the flowers. They also can transmit bacterial wilt and do damage to the fruit. There aren’t many effective organic sprays that also won’t harm our many wonderful beneficials, including bees. So, we don’t do any spraying. Instead we useĀ cultural controls, which includes row cover. We also try to select varieties that have good disease resistance. This season we are also using a trap crop to hopefully lure the cucumber beetles away from our main crop. We have two beds of a Hubbard squash that is supposedly more attractive to cucumber beetles not covered. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that it has a positive outcome.

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Week of June 18th CSA Newsletter

Ok, so it was hot out there today! But we managed to get in most of the harvest by mid-morning. Now, if you’re new to the TC3 Farm CSA, you’ll soon find out that I end up giving a lot of weather updates and how it’s affecting the season. It’s inevitable. I won’t dive too much into it this week, but I just wanted to acknowledge that. This past week, we were kept busy with more transplanting, lots of cultivating (aka, weeding with tools) and hoophouse tomato management. We are growing 25 different varieties of beefsteak, cherry and heirloom tomatoes in a fairly intensive system. All the varieties are indeterminate, which means that they will grow as tall as we let them (or season length). We keep a single “leader” and each week we go through the houses and “sucker and trellis” the 730 plants.

Suckering and trellising tomatoes

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Week of June 11th – CSA Newsletter

Well folks, we made it! The start of the TC3 Farm CSA is here. It’s hard to believe, but we are embarking on our 5th season and I’m appreciative that you are taking this journey with us. We have a long way to go, but the farm has grown immensely since our first summer when it was me and a rototiller. It’s been a whirlwind start to the season. We broke ground about 3 weeks later than we usually do because of the cold wet spring we had and then things got unseasonably warm. Definitely a strange start to the season but we are doing our best to be resilient. There’s a great group of student interns this summer who have been working their tails off since they started at the end of May. We’ve been doing our best to get ourselves caught up. I don’t have an exact number but there are probably close to 20,000 plants in the ground already. I think we’re about a week behind at the moment and with all the uncertainties that come with farming, I’d say that’s pretty good. I could go on and on with all that we’ve been up to but that would take way too long. Some highlights so far for this season are: we have 25 varieties (700 plus plants) of beefsteak, cherry and heirloom tomatoes planted in the hoophouses, 1000 new strawberry plants got put in the ground and after last season’s complete onion failure (I don’t even want to get into it), there are 6000 onions, leeks and shallots in the ground and they are doing pretty good.

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