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.
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 use 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.
In addition to getting all of those squash, cukes, melons and our other weekly transplanting, we also started planting some of our fall brassicas. This year, I’m excited that we planted brussel sprouts. I’ve been farming for 15 years and it still blows my mind that we plant fall brassicas before we finish harvesting and in the case of broccoli and cabbage, even start harvesting, crops planted in the spring. Speaking of broccoli and cabbage, they are a little weedy but we’re working our way through them and should have a crop ready in the next few weeks. That is, dare I say it, if we keep the woodchucks at bay. Woodchucks love broccoli. And instead of just enjoying a few plants here and there, they like to take a bite or two out of all the plants. We’ve seen a little damage but seem to be getting things under control. I still have a little PTSD from the Great Woodchuck Battle of 2016, when, due to the major drought we had, woodchucks were eating everything in sight.
The hoophouse tomatoes continue to enjoy this spell of weather we’re having and almost seem to double in size weekly.
There are starting to be lots of fruit clusters forming, especially on the cherry tomatoes. If the weather continues to cooperate, we should start seeing ripe tomatoes by the end of July/beginning of August. They should really enjoy the weather later this week, when it’s supposed to get into the 90s.
This week’s CSA share is going to feature 2 new items in the choice. There will be heads of bok choi and tat soi. These two Asian greens are closely related and are often used in stir fry’s or fried rice dishes. The stems take a little longer to cook, so I usually separate them from the leaves, chop them and put them in the pan first. They are wonderfully crunchy and a little sweet. Also in the choice this week, will be garlic scapes, carrots, hakurei turnips, kale, chard, stir fry greens, strawberries (probably the last week) and lettuce. This week’s lettuce will be a lettuce mix instead of the mini romaine heads. As always, there are also U-pick herbs available between the hoophouses.
In the coming week’s (maybe even next week), there will be snap peas, zucchini, summer squash, basil and cucumbers.
Have a great week!