Week of July 16th – CSA Newsletter

Ok, so this is going to be one of those weather newsletters. It’s been dry and hot out there. So, I need everyone to put on their dancing shoes and start doing a rain dance. It’s not as bad as it was 2 years ago but we are definitely due for some rain. I’ve started to see some reports that we are approaching drought-like conditions. Because we got some good snow this winter and some really good rain events earlier this season, we are in pretty good shape. but a lot of the crops are in a holding pattern. We even took last week off from transplanting because I didn’t want the newly planted crops to struggle to survive. We have the ability to water but setting up the irrigation is very cumbersome so I just usually try to wait it out. I’m ever the optimist but I think my gray hair is getting a little grayer.

That being said, we kept plugging away with the weeding on the farm and made a huge headway. July is high time for weeds on a farm and we are doing our best to stay on top of everything. We made it through our onions and leeks last week and started to work our way through all of our other crops. I tried to make everyone feel a little better about all the weeding by letting folks know that I have friends that are hand-weeding 350 foot rows, so our 100 foot rows aren’t so bad. I’m not sure how that worked :). In addition to all of our weeding and cultivating that we did, we also managed to hill our potatoes. Hilling potatoes is an important job because it allows us to increase our yield per plant. The more of the plant that is covered with soil, the more potatoes we should get. It also helps with exposure to sun. With every rain event, we have a little bit of erosion, so we don’t want to expose those precious little tubers to the sun. We’ll hill again at least one more time before we start harvesting and if we’re lucky, we’ll get a third hilling in.

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Week of July 9th – CSA Newsletter

I hope that everyone had a good 4th and got time to enjoy the day with family and friends. It was mostly a quiet week on the farm with the students having a mini-break but we kept plugging away at our weekly list of tasks to do. July is primetime for weeds on the farm, so we are doing our best to stay on top (but mostly catch up) of them. We’ve made it through all of our onions and now just have a few beds of leeks and shallots to get through and then we’ll move onto the next priority area. Today we welcomed some new friends to the farm. This is our third summer partnering with Challenge Workforce Solutions as a job site for youth workers as part of their Youth Employment Program. It’s been a great partnership and I’m looking forward to another summer with them as part of our team.

Our hoophouse/greenhouse crops have really been enjoying this stretch of weather and this past week we spent a good amount of time in them. Our continual pruning and trellising of tomatoes, some solid weeding and the trellising of our sweet peppers all happened.

Trellised peppers

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Week of July 2nd – CSA Newsletter

We (and the plants) survived the mini heat wave. I hope that you did, as well. I would have been a little more stressed going into the weekend but we got just over an inch of rain last Wednesday right before the temps started to rise. After a heat index over 100, the rain this evening will really help to get things popping in the coming week. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Last week was another busy one with lots of things getting crossed off on our weekly lists. With all of our big plantings behind us, we are now able to turn our attention to cultivating and weeding. The big task we started was to start to liberate our onion/leek field. After last season’s complete onion failure, I am determined to have as a successful crop as we can. We put about 6000 transplants of sweet onions, red onions, yellow storage onions, leeks and shallots in the ground this season. And they will need a lot of maintenance throughout the season. We started with an early season cultivation but as we continued to get plants in the ground and start harvesting for the season, the weeds began to thrive. So, now we’re at the point of hand-weeding. It’s not the most glorious job and definitely not the fastest, but it sure is satisfying. To be able to look down a bed and see a nice stand of plants without any competition from weeds gives everyone on the farm a tangible accomplishment.

Hello! Onions, are you in there?
Oh, there you are.

(Shameless plug time.) If you want to come on out and enjoy that feeling, join us for a Farm Friday, from 10-12. 

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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 October 23rd – CSA Newsletter

After that brutal Monday morning last week, we had a pretty good frost Tuesday morning. There was definitely some collateral damage but all in all, the veggies were ok.

Frosty kale!

As I’ve mentioned in earlier weeks, a couple of frosts actually help to sweeten up some of our fall crops. I’m glad I was able to harvest the last of the field peppers but that third planting of beans definitely were lost and the chard didn’t make it through (a huge sigh of relief for some of you).

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Week of October 16th – CSA Newsletter

The oats/peas cover crop is coming along.

We’ve made it to the home stretch, folks. Week 19 of the CSA is upon us. There are 3 remaining weeks to the CSA season after this week. It’s been a roller coaster ride of a farm season that I’ll be sure to recap in the coming weeks.

But first, some farm updates. We finished getting the rest of the potatoes out of the ground last week. It definitely feels good to get a harvest like that done for the season. Potatoes aren’t one of the easiest of crops to harvest at the TC3 Farm. We really don’t grow enough potatoes to justify purchasing a potato harvester, so we dig our taters by using a digging fork. After loosening the soil with the forks, it’s on to our hands and knees to go searching for our “buried treasure”. It’s definitely a satisfying job but not always the easiest, especially when you have as many rocks in the field as we do.

After a beautiful weekend, today was the first real miserable day (mostly the morning) on the farm of the season. Even after all the wet weather we had this year, I can honestly say that. This was the kind of day that comes to mind when people comment to me on how awesome it must be to be working outside all the time. You know, that first really cold, wet kinda day. The one where your hands are really cold and they start to go numb while you harvest or do field work or wash veggies. Now, this isn’t a Puddles Pity Party, not in the least. I’m just saying that farmers work in all extremes to get done what needs to get done. And today that was harvesting.

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