Fall officially starts Wednesday, but it really doesn't feel like it outside. The summer started really slow with a long cool spring but now it doesn't seem to want to go away. Days are getting shorter and evenings are a bit cooler and the forecast says cooler weather is just around the corner. The extended above average temps have thrown us a bit for a loop because, well, its still hot out there!
As fall roll around our planting schedules reflect the cooler temperatures and anticipation of the upcoming winter. Normally, the greens slow down a little so we taper off plantings. Quick growing greens like arugula or salad mix tend to slow down and we can take our time harvesting. We sort of stockpile many beds of greens that stay nice and small over a long period, but this year, everything continues to grow quickly in the heat.
We've blown past our planned final outdoor planting dates for some greens because they've become overgrown and we had to continue to plant further successions. Also cool loving greens like spinach haven't fared so well. The first couple plantings of those died in the heat and we are just now starting to get some seedings get good germination and seem to thrive. In the greenhouses too, we've been a little at a loss what to do. Normally you need to get summer crops out of there so you have time to get your fall and winter crops planted and established before the cool sets in, but the heat has been excessive for some of those crops as well and we've lost our first plantings of some of our favorite greens there. No worries, we'll just try again. The cool weather forecast for this week may be just what we needed. What we don't want is for it to stay hot and then go right to super cold winter conditions. We hope we can actually have a fall this year!
It's the project time of year on the farm so Dave has stripped the plastic off one of the tunnels to do some retrofitting. That tunnel is our hottest/worst ventilated tunnel. We're installing an additional vent along the entire roof of the tunnel that we can leave open all summer to let out some of the excessive heat. That will be great! Trouble is, now we're under a time crunch to finish the building and get the skin back on before it gets cold again (the turmeric and ginger are in there and we want to keep them happy).
Sweet potato harvest is also just around the corner. We're hoping for a big yield of amazing tubers. You really don't know until you start digging. When conditions are right, we'll send out a call to see if you want to come join us in the harvest. Sweet potato harvest is a family fun event where you hunt for the plowed up tubers in the soft moist soil. Maybe the week of September 26th or the week of October 3rd. We'll keep you posted.
What's in the garden
You guys, seriously, the peppers, especially spicy peppers, are going bonkers! And so are the okra and pole beans (yellow, purple, Romano and long). We have a decent bit of green beans but our big fall planting of green beans are just a week or two away. The greens are fabulous and plentiful as well, so dig in on those. You might have noticed yellow zucchini for the first time last week. We've got some of those again. Don't get me started on all the problems growing organic zucchini, but we couldn't resist trying a final fall planting of those hoping to avoid the bulk of the bug pressure. The bugs are killing them, but we'll get a few more nice squash before the bugs finish them off. Totally not worth the effort, but for the sake of a few nice squash, we'll probably give it another try next year (even though we keep saying we are going to stop trying).
Bread and Cheese
Cheese: Hemme Brothers Original Cheese Curds
Bread: Farm to Market Sourdough Artisan Loaf
For those of you who pick up at the farm, we've dying to tell you about an opportunity coming up. You're going to like it, I promise. All I can say is the date will be October 7th (the last CSA pickup for the season). Just a hint that you might want to be clearing out space in your freezer in advance....More on that later.
Have a wonderful first day of fall, y'all!
Dave and Sheri