This week we finally removed the shade cloth and the bird netting from the blackberry bed. We will be doing a final weeding and mulching of the bed in preparation for the winter. Our blackberry harvest last summer was a bit disappointing, mostly due to the unseasonable and extremely hot 3 days right at the peak of the bloom. Next year we will use a heavier shadecloth maybe 40% or 50% and will also install an overhead watering line to help lower the temperature and increase the humidity around the blackberry bushes. That should help to substantially increase the yield.
We are also preparing two beds for planting garlic. Our plan is to triple the amount of garlic we plant because it was so popular last summer with our CSA shareholders and in the markets. We will likely plant the cloves next week. This is about as late as we can plant it, but the unseasonably warm temperatures in the long-term forecast should allow the plants to be established before it gets too cold.
If you signed up for a fall/winter CSA share, you will receive an email this weekend with the revised starting dates (starting 13Nov at Rillito and 16Nov at Green Valley) and other pertinent information.
We are still signing up CSA shareholders. If you would like to sign up for the next season, we will continue taking payments/reservations for our 16-week fall/winter CSA share program, deliveries for which will begin the middle of November and run through the middle of March 2017. Shares will cost $250 for 16 weekly deliveries.
We will have the forms at the markets this weekend, and they are also available on our website, here.
Yesterday we finished putting the bird netting and shade cloth over and around the blackberry bushes. We finished this task just in time because the first berries ripened this week. Of course we have eaten all of the very few ripe ones that we have seen. It looks like we should have enough for the CSA shares and maybe even for the markets within a few weeks.
We partly completed trellising the tomato plants this week. Most of the plants have many small tomatoes and more blossoms are opening every day, so it looks like we will have an abundant tomato harvest. Now we just have to wait for them to ripen; it always seems like the first ones take forever to be ready to pick. We will keep you up to date on their progress.
We started harvesting at 5a this morning and quit a little after noon. It is 102 degrees out in the field right now. I just put some additional shade over some seedlings we planted last evening. They were looking pretty wilted, but will perk up as soon as the sun gets low and the temperature moderates. Tomorrow will be even hotter !!
We are planting more herbs this summer than last. We currently have white sage, spearmint, cilantro, and sorrel growing; you may have seen these at our markets.
We just planted basil and dill. We will start seeds of thyme, parsley, oregano and summer savory this weekend.
If you have suggestions as to additional herbs that you would like to see in our farm stand at the markets or if you have a favorite variety that you think would be a good one for us to grow, please email us or tell us when you stop by at the market.
It is going to be a delicious season this round. The images show some of the tasty vegetables and fruit that you will see in your shares.
I saw the first tomato yesterday. The plants really took off growing this week. Our newest farmer-in-training, Stephen, spent some hours pruning the plants yesterday, removing the suckers below the first set of flowers and all the branches touching the ground. Now those plants are primed to grow and provide us a bounty of mouth-watering plum tomatoes. I can’t wait!
The blackberry plants are loaded with fruit, exceeding my expectations for this season. This will only be the second harvest from these brambles. Last year we picked about 35 pounds – well, we picked a lot more, but many were eaten right off the vine. Anyway, we had 35 pounds that went to the market and nearly all went to our CSA members; there just weren’t enough to sell at the market. This year it looks like we might harvest 100 pounds ! That’s a lot of cobbler, jam, ice cream sauce, fruit compote!
The potatoes, variety Colorado Rose, are growing very rapidly now. Many of them have flower buds almost ready to open. That means we will soon be able to steal a few baby new potatoes from the plants. Those baby new potatoes won’t make it to the market (we will scarf them down at the farm), but as soon as the new potatoes are ready to harvest, they will be showing up in CSA shares and at the markets.
The red cabbage is heading up – a few will make it to the market tomorrow and Wednesday.
The Rainbow Swiss chard plants have finally taken off. To my eye, this is one of the most beautiful plants we grow.
Okay, I need to get back out into the field. There is still lots to plant and a big harvest to get in before the sun goes down.