My favorite month, September. The temperatures are starting to cool off now and I am reveling. The balloon that has been inflating all summer long is finally beginning to deflate a little. The pressure is letting off we’re even getting a little more sleep now! I love September!
We spent the week continuing the green bean and tomato harvesting and picking up a little more on the onion harvest. We’re about half way thru the onion harvest and I expect that we should be finishing that up next week, quite easily. The onions get dumped into the greenhouse where the cure down and grow their skins and the tops die off to prepare them for either delivering or storing. We did a little more weeding and mowing this week to continue the battle against the fox tail, the rage weed and the lamb’s quarters. The garden feels a little more under control now that all the planting is done, and it’s time to just focus on harvesting and more weeding here and there.
We are in desperate need of rain at the farm. For the plants that are still trying to grow and mature, there isn’t a whole lot of new growth coming on as everything seems to be stagnant and thirsty for la juvia, the life-giving rain. We have maybe gotten a total of 1 inch of rain the last four weeks! This is quite serious to us as one inch per week is desirable during the growing season. We have been running irrigation lines a little in some of the areas where we made fresh plantings, but it’s impossible to water everything. As the plants become stressed and look like they need rain, we become a little stressed ourselves and start watching the clouds more often hopefully.
I am hoping that next week I can begin the cover cropping. Cover cropping will be simply tilling the soil again in the beds where we are finished planting and harvesting and planting down some winter rye grass to help restore the nutrients in the soil and prevent weeds from taking over. This project will continue on for the remainder of the season until the last potatoes and carrots have been dug!
This last weekend we had two new visitors who arrived on the farm to stay with us for a few weeks, their names are Aiko and Iyo and they are from Japan. Aiko and Iyo found us thru the ‘Little Country School’ which is a program that connects Japanese and European students with organic farmers in our area who are interested in being a host family for them. The students come here to learn about country life, some country crafts and some English. This is a new program started by Clovis and Keiko Siemon who live in our area. They have a fond appreciation for international culture.
While the girls are here staying with us we are showing them the basics of our basic life. They are helping us take down and clean our garlic as it is finished its curing stages, help us harvest onions, and helping mom with a little of her canning. It’s a nice change of pace as we slow down a little for them and share the work load a little in some areas and learn about each other’s culture. The girls will visit some other farms while they are here, take some cooking classes and go camping, canoeing, visit the University in Madison and more. All the while we are preparing good food from the farm and learning more about good food from farms in general and how it is raised. Aiko and Iyo will be here for our harvest potluck on Sunday the 14th if you plan on coming next weekend.
So….WHAT’S in the BOX???
Beets- A little variety added in this week with either a chioggia or a burpee’s golden beet mixed in.
Yellow Onion– Does not need refrigeration.
Green Cabbage— Our purple cabbages still aren’t ready yet. They’re looking really good though! The green ones will have to get us thru.
Yellow or Purple Beans- This very well may be the last giving of beans for this year. I hope you enjoyed them while they lasted!
Bell Pepper, Ancho Pepper, Hot Pepper- Beautiful peppers.
Hot Peppers- Be on the look out for those small but feisty jalapeno’s and Hungarian hot wax peppers.
Cherry Tomatoes and/or Tomatoes!- The cherry tomatoes are supposed to be orange. Do not wait for them to turn red! You may have also received heirloom tomatoes (abnormal shaping and scarring, these are great to eat, don’t judge them by their appearance). Do not refrigerated tomatoes for peak flavor. If they need further ripening, just let them sit on the kitchen counter for a day or two. It doesn’t take long with these varieties not chosen for shelf life.
Celery- We know, there is no comparison to California celery, but this is more for flavor than for crispy crunchy and texture. Strong celery flavor. Must be stored in a plastic bag to preserve moisture, or it will wilt. Nearly all of our celery had some rotting in the centers. If you got one without it, you’re lucky. We’ve had better celery years, but it was either send this celery, or not to send any celery at all. I would recommend breaking the heads apart and cutting up the good parts and putting the good stalks in a sealed plastic bag. There was a lot of waste during this harvest:(
Cantelope- Beautiful AND delicious!
Next week! A short list of items that we may have next week, but will not promise to have. Due to the unexpectedness of the season, anything could pop up or go down hill in no time. Carrots, Potatoes, Kale, Basil, Tomatoes, Peppers, Green Beans, onions