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,
The images in this newsletter are some night driptape irrigation art. As you may know, we use driptape to irrigate our beds. The tape we use has slits every 8 inches that drip water at a slow rate (0.67 gallons per minute per 100 feet of tape). The driptape applies the water right at the ground surface, which helps to minimize evaporation and water wastage. Depending on the particular crop in the bed, we space the tapes at different distances to optimize water delivery to the plants. Some plants occasionally receive topwatering with a hose or sprinklers, depending on the crop, stage of growth and ambient temperature. In June when it is really hot and very dry, we will run sprinklers in the heat of the day to cool down the plants and to create some humidity in the field.
We are starting to plant the fall/winter root crops. We will put in beets, carrots, parsnips, rutabagas, turnips and various onions, including cippolini.
We are also doing some final planting of summer squash, hoping to get in one more crop before it gets too cool.
Our chiles are starting to ripen. We have jalapeños, Sinajuisa (similar to serrano) and a small New Mexico type green/red chile named Jarales. The Sinajuisa and Jarales seeds were obtained from Native Seed/Search; this is the first time we have grown these two chile varieties and we are excited to find out how they taste. We also have a few poblano chile plants – not as many as last year, but we will have a few to sell.
We harvested the entire French red shallot crop on Tuesday. Wow! I didn’t weigh it yet, but I think the weight is somewhere between 200 and 400 pounds. We have shallots drying on many makeshift horizontal surfaces, as you can see in the images. And that is only about half of them; the loft of the Tiny House is also full of shallots as is two more temporary surfaces above what will be the living room. In 4 or 5 weeks the shallots will be cured and we will be able to reclaim those spaces and move the shallots into cold storage.
Our small hoophouse is now full of seedlings waiting to be transplanted into beds in the field. The images show some tomatoes, chiles and peppers.
This week we will continue the sign-up for the late spring/summer CSA. It will consist of 16 weeks of deliveries to the markets starting the third week. of May and continuing into September. The cost will be $250. We will have the signup forms at our farm stands and available online. Please let us know if you’d like to reserve a spot.