Farm Happenings at Earth Spring Farm CSA
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Farm Happenings for August 17, 2018 - A Tomato Story

Posted on August 12th, 2018 by Mike Nolan

Hello Everyone

Before I launch into the tomato update...I hope that the harvests have been arriving to your kitchens in good supply and fresh.  With the exception of the farm pickup, for DC and MD this week I am going back to building your orders in the barn and then delivering in our usual CSA boxes.  This will simplify my Saturday deliveries and I can help out at the Mt Pleasant Market or chain drink coffee, or both.  Please look for your name on your box label.  If your order includes fruit then it will be in your box already.  Per usual your milk and eggs will be in the coolers at your drop point.

Tomatoes are typically one of our most treasured and profitable crops. Last fall I had the opportunity to purchase a used greenhouse frame from a farm friend who is no longer growing.  It's a beautiful 30' x 96' house just like our others and we put the frame up this spring.  I decided to make 7 beds in the house with 5 that are tomatoes planted with 2 rows each. The other two beds are basil and poblano peppers.  Tomatoes do best when the watering schedule is tightly controlled and this year has been all but impossible for consistent harvests is you are growing commercially outdoors.  Record rains wreak havoc force the plants to uptake more water than usual and then starts the splitting, fusarium disease and blights to name a few. Even with our new house and new soils that I brought in we still have problems with disease but the splitting is almost non-existent.  Right now I am battling with what is probably sclerotinia in some of the plants.  Sclerotinia is a nasty stem disease that eats away at the xylem and phloem and kills the plant. Some of the plants can fight it off which is amazing to see happen.  Two years ago we had a similar disease go through our peppers and I used a product called Rootshield that stopped the disease from killing off the whole acre.  It's always exciting and nerve racking but we are making progress.  The other problem is early blight and late blight. We have been busy pruning leaves off of each plant, hauling them away and burning them with the other dead plants. A spray bottle of bleach is at the door to spray our shoes and we always wear disposable rubber gloves and clean clothes. But we still need sun!  The harvests have been trickling in so far and we are looking at more rainy weather this week.  At some point we will have your boxes loaded with tomatoes.

Feel free to stop by the farm and gawk at the most incredible crop of tomatoes that we grafted in the winter growing in house #3.  But don't go inside.  It's better that way.