Farm Happenings at Where the Redfearn Grows Natural Farm
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Final CSA Delivery Before Christmas

Posted on December 10th, 2022 by Dave Redfearn

You read that right, this is the last CSA delivery before 2023.  We’re taking a couple weeks off for the holidays so our next pickup after this week will be January 5th, 2023.  Wow, is it really almost 2023?  It’s hard to believe it.  We hope your 2022 has been blessed and that you enjoy the holiday season as we close out the year.  Aside from enjoying the Christmas season, over these next couple weeks we’ll be busy filling in empty spaces in the greenhouses with transplants and seeds for the early months of 2023.

This week we’re featuring ginger as we seek to make the final push to clear out the remainder in the tunnel so we can plant more greens for all of us to enjoy in January, February and March. Swiss chard is bright and beautiful and we also have tons of our amazing winter spinach ready for you.  We’ll harvest to order so feel free to stock up on those bulk bags.  If you leave them unwashed and unopened, they’ll surprise you how long they last.  

Have you tried the komatsuna? It’s a little known Asian green that you can stir fry like bok choy.  The bunches have been really generous going out and I hope you’ve enjoyed them.   We’re also sitting pretty with carrots and beets and sweet potatoes, and daikons, and turnips, so don’t be shy about grabbing extras of those either.  

Problems in the Lettuce Patch

Sadly, we’ve had some issues with some disease among some of our lettuce plantings, so salad mix is a little sparse right now and we’re having to replant in other areas.  The setback will hurt our lettuce availability for several weeks while we wait for the replacements to grow.  We hope to still have quite bit each week but not as much as we had hoped since we’ve lost about half our our planting area.  It’s just the way things go.  Winter organic growing can be challenging and there are some diseases that thrive in cool wet conditions.  Since we don’t fumigate the soil with chemical fungicides, we can build up some fungal diseases that can become an issue.  Too many cloudy days while the soil is too moist can be a deadly combination.  We try to water very infrequently in winter but sometimes the sun doesn’t come out when we expected it and things can take a turn for the worse.  In one greenhouse, the lettuce is fabulous and in another, it’s very sick and headed for the compost.  That’s part of why we diversify our crops between multiple locations. If disease or pest pressure sets in, we won’t loose everything we have.  So at least we’re at half strength on salad mix production.  

There is an organic approved method for eliminating these sorts of soil-borne diseases that thrive in winter.  The method involves steam cleaning the soil.  We don’t have the equipment to do that nor have we wanted to do it because you basically raise the soil temperature enough to kill all living things within the soil.  Just on a soil health and living food-web level, it just doesn’t seem like the best thing to do.  A literal scorched earth policy is not what we’re going for, so we’ll rotate crops throughout and try to introduce good microbes to help bring balance to the soil ecosystem and hope things work out better next time.  

Our perspective on human intervention in nature is informed by the Christian ideals of the goodness of all of creation and the purpose of all things under God.  Even though the land is cursed due to human sin and therefore we produce food from the dust of the earth by the sweat of our brow, yet there retains an original purpose for all of the creatures. God has left natural processes in place that can be harnessed to balance these systems.  Mankind has been granted dominion to till (or not till) the earth, to harness creation to make it more productive for the benefit of humanity.  As viceroys of the true Creator, we subcreate and use our creativity for beneficial means.  It’s possible that scorched earth means to eliminate microbes may be a God-ordained means for clearing land for a restart (like after a forest fire or a grass fire), so I won’t denounce anyone who uses such methods.  But I like to rely upon natural, living processes as much as possible and I find sterility very unusual in nature.  So I believe there usually are other means to work within the natural process to gain balance rather than to drop the proverbial atom bomb to attain hospital-like sterility.  What are your thoughts on using our God-given brains and powers to subdue creation?  Where do you think we should draw the line?

Bread and Cheese

Farm to Market 8-Grain Sliced

Hemme Brothers Garlic Dill curds 

Merry Christmas from your farmers,

The Redfearn’s