Farm Update January 6th, 2018

Happy New Year!

We are back at it after a nice break. Today we completed the fall treatment of the asparagus beds – a bit late but finished nevertheless. We should have a pretty good asparagus harvest this spring with two beds that we can fully cut and one bed that we should be able to harvest very lightly. We will prepare and plant a fourth bed later this month.

We continue to plant apace. In the high tunnel we recently planted a partial bed of baby romaine lettuce, with the remainder of that bed to be planted with more romaine tomorrow. Today a half bed of arugula was seeded. Tomorrow we will transplant kohlrabi, spigariello, fennel and rainbow Swiss chard.

We are looking forward to delivering delicious, healthy, sustainably grown food to  you this year!

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new greens bed basking in the warmth of the high tunnel
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purple prickly pear cacti

 

Farm Update September 30, 2017

Wow, that was a quick month! October here we come.

The grasshopper population is still increasing and now they are chewing on just about everything. The last week we cleared quite a few of the weeds in the east terrace and thereby eliminated a lot of hopper habitat, so many of them moved to the squash and into the high tunnel. We should be able to get them under control this following week as we eliminate most of the rest of the weeds and use neem oil derivatives to slow down their reproduction and development.

Removing the weeds has also opened up beds for planting, so we have been applying compost, preparing the beds and doing some direct seeding. The spinach is in and yesterday I planted another bed of greens mix.

We had a few mornings in the 40s and one in the high 30s over the last week. These cool morning temperatures really slowed down the ripening of the tomatoes. In just a few weeks, the weekly harvest plummeted from about 400 pounds down to less than 100. There are still many green tomatoes on the vines, so we will have them for awhile. Once we get the new cover on the high tunnel, the tomatoes (along with the sweet peppers and chiles) will have a warmer environment in which to grow.

As we have been mentioning the last few weeks, we will be selling CSA shares for our fall & winter CSA season that will start on November 12 and continue until mid-March. The fall & winter CSA program is now about 1/3 subscribed. The forms will be available at the Sunday market, and in the CSA box on the right sidebar of this website,

We will see you at the market!

delicata squash and blossom
new spinach bed

Farm Update September 23, 2017

We are finally starting to put together a fall/winter crew of farmworkers after an entire summer without full time or even part time helpers. Full-season interns and HelpXers will start to arrive in late October and by mid-November we should have a full crew. Various short-term wwoofers and HelpXers will come and go throughout the winter season

Thank you so much to all the volunteers that have helped and continue to assist me through this difficult time. I would not have been able to make it through the summer without your help. Although I am not out of the proverbial woods (desert?) yet regarding help on the farm, I can at least see the edge of the trees (cacti?) now.

This week I ordered the materials to complete our high tunnel. This includes roll-up doors on each end, a new 12 mil woven cover, and additional tie-down straps. These should help to prevent another dust devil disaster like the one at the beginning of the summer that shredded the old cover. We will also be improving the structure by replacing the 1”x3” ribbon boards with 2”x4”s. Once all this is in place we will have a large greenhouse for the winter that should extend our tomato, chile and pepper season, along with allowing us to have a steady supply of greens regardless of the winter low temperatures.

If you are inclined to volunteer, we will be needing a fairly large crew when we install the new high tunnel cover. Additional information will be included in succeeding newsletters as we approach the day.

As we have been mentioning the last few weeks, we will be selling CSA shares for our fall & winter CSA season that will start on November 12 and continue until mid-March. The forms will be available at the Sunday market, and in the CSA box on the right sidebar of this website, and here.

The first set of CSA share income is what paid for the high tunnel materials. The next thing we will do with the share sale income is to replace our old battery bank with a new and better one. Thanks for your support!

We will see you at the market!

sweet potato bed
five beds of winter squash, butternut and delicata

Farm Update September 16, 2017

It is a little chilly this morning, the temperature as I write this is 58 degrees. It is starting to feel like we are easing into fall; another summer is winding down.

The Rillito farmers’ market will be having a chile festival this weekend and we will be selling sinahuisa, jalapeño, poblano and Aleppo chiles.

As mentioned last week, we will be selling CSA shares for our fall & winter CSA season that will start on November 12 and continue until mid-March. The forms will be available at the Sunday market, and in the CSA box on the right sidebar of this website, and here.

We will see you at the market!

baby patty pan squash
freshly picked shishito peppers

Farm Update September 9, 2017

We are slowly getting the weeds under control, with help from our volunteers John and Chris. Once the weeds are gone, the grasshopper plague should be more manageable.

We are harvesting a bumper crop of tomatoes, over 400 pounds per week. If you or any friends are interested in making and/or canning some tasty tomato sauce, please let us know and we will sell you tomatoes in bulk for a great price.

Our chile plants are now producing nicely. We have sinajuisa (similar to a serrano, but better flavor), jalapeños, poblanos and Aleppo. All of these will be at the market on Sunday.

Our late summer succession of summer squash is also cranking. We will have zucchini and patty pan at the market again starting this weekend.

We will be selling CSA shares for our fall & winter CSA season that will start on November 12 and continue until mid-March. The forms will be available at the Sunday market, and in the CSA box on the right sidebar of this website, and here.

We will see you at the market!

a pomegranate (var. Parfianka) from our mini-orchard
tomato vines loaded with fruit

 

Farm Update September 2, 2017

The grasshoppers are thick on our plants now. As we have cleared the weeds, they have moved on to the vegetable plants. We will now have them until it freezes in a couple months.

We are finishing up the planning for our fall and winter plantings. We will soon be putting in broccoli, beets, carrots, various kales, onions, swiss chard, rutabagas,  and snow/snap peas. A second round planted a bit later will include radishes, turnips, spinach, romaine lettuce and various greens.

This weekend we will start selling CSA shares for our fall & winter CSA season that will start on November 12 and continue until mid-March. We will have the CSA forms at the market stand on Sunday and up on the website by early next week.

Our plans for the CSA share income this fall include a new battery bank for our solar energy system and a new cover for the high tunnel to replace the one destroyed by the big dust devil early in the summer. We will also start the process to develop another field.

Thanks again for your support!

Tomatoes!

Farm Update August 26, 2017

The Great Ripening is upon us! We are harvesting loads of plum tomatoes now. Yesterday we harvested about 80 pounds from about 2/3 of the row. We have the tomatoes at the market this Sunday and should have them until early December.

Also, the corno di toro Italian sweet peppers are finally ripening en masse, as are the jalapeños and lunchbox peppers. All of these plants should continue to produce for a couple months at least.

We have had a few volunteers this week and have been able to get a bit more done on controlling the massive volume of weeds in our field. Little by little we are getting a handle on the weeds.

We will soon be selling CSA shares for our fall & winter CSA season that will start in early November and continue until mid-February. Please let us know if you want us to reserve a share for you.

Thank you for supporting local, organic, sustainable farming in southern AZ !

garlic, california early white
verona plum tomatoes

Farm Update August 19, 2017

This week we finally transplanted the butternut squash seedlings. This is the latest we have ever transplanted winter squash. There should be just enough time for them to ripen before the first freeze. I am hoping for a warm fall and a late first freeze!

As can be seen in the images below, our sweet peppers are finally starting to ripen. This is much later than last year even though they were transplanted at the same time of the year. I think it may have to do with them being under 40% shadecloth in the high tunnel. One of the plants on the south end of the row that gets direct sunlight most of the day has corno di toro peppers that started ripening much earlier than the rest of the row, which is now catching up.

We will have a few of both varieties of sweet peppers at the market this week.

As mentioned last week SouthWinds Farm has been invited to participate in the Hacienda del Sol Heritage Foods Festival. This event will be held in the evening on Sunday, September 3. If you are interested in more information about this event, stop by our farm stand and pick up a flyer or visit HaciendaDelSol.com.

We will see you at the market!

lunchbox pepper
corno di toro, Italian sweet peppers

Farm Update August 12, 2017

Oh yes, it is still summer; the temperatures won’t let us forget that even though we had many days of sub triple-digit highs before this past week. It is nice to have the precipitation back. We had a decent rain out here yesterday and it is clouding up quickly this afternoon, so maybe we’ll get another bit of rain later today.

As has been the case the last few weeks, our Suyo Long cucumber production is amazing. We are now harvesting more than 100 pounds every other day. If you are interested in some for pickling, let us know by noon on Saturday and we will be happy to provide them in bulk (20# minimum) at a significantly lower price than we sell them at the market.

SouthWinds Farm has been invited to participate in the Hacienda del Sol Heritage Foods Festival, to be held in the evening on Sunday, September 3. If you are interested in more information about this event, stop by our farm stand and pick up a flyer or visit HaciendaDelSol.com.

We will see you at the market!

new bed of lettuce mix
weeds trying to take over the middle terrace

Farm Update August 5, 2017

Nearly all of the winter squash seeds we planted last week have sprouted. Now we will clear the weeds from the beds they will occupy and prepare to plant the seedlings. We are hoping to be ready to plant within a week and will be arranging a volunteer planting opportunity for those of you who may be interested. More details to follow on our Instagram feed (@southwindsfarmaz), webpage and in a special newsletter edition. Please ask for details at the market if you are interested.

Our shishito pepper plants are finally producing a decent amount of peppers. We had a few at the market last week; we will be bringing more this week and to subsequent markets.

As mentioned last week, our Suyo Long cucumber production has exploded; we are harvesting more than 80 pounds every other day now and the rate is still increasing. If you are interested in some for pickling, let us know by noon on Saturday and we will be happy to provide them in bulk (20# minimum) at a significantly lower price than we sell them at the market.

Finally, what about the weather!? Hottest June on record followed by the wettest July. What’s next?

We will see you at the market!

shishito peppers

the great wall of cucumbers with sinajuisa chiles in the foreground