Farm Update May 20, 2017

This week we planted the sweet pepper seedlings in the high tunnel – corno di toro and lunchbox peppers. Today we will plant cucumber seedlings and some of the chile plants – jalapeños and Aleppo peppers.

This upcoming week we will finally put our sweet potato slips into the ground. We are a bit late planting these, but they should be ready to dig in late September while it is still warm.

As a reminder, we will take next weekend off – Memorial Day Weekend. We will not be distributing CSA shares, nor will we be selling at the Rillito market.

We’ll see you this Sunday at the market and Monday at our Green Valley/Sahuarita CSA drop off.

potato plants after hilling up
asparagus growing tall

Farm Update May 14, 2017

This week at the farm, we finally got our tomato seedling in the ground, after putting up a 9-foot (!) trellis inside the high tunnel. We also planted the second round of summer squash seeds (zucchini and 3 kinds of patty pan) in the high tunnel. We are going to experiment with growing the summer squash on trellis to minimize the space needed to grow squash. Should be interesting to see how it works.

Today we are digging garlic. The curing process will take place in our pumphouse on top of the water tank on a drying rack and on just about any other shaded horizontal space we can find on the farm. Last year the entire loft of the Tiny House was filled with garlic, but that space is already full of household items now as the ground floor construction occurs.

We will have plenty of fresh garlic for sale this week and for months to come.

We’ll see you at the markets!

garlic ready for curing
garlic ready for digging

Farm Update May 6, 2017

We started harvesting extra early this morning to beat the heat. By around 5:30a we were working in the field. We will stop by about 1pm and take a break until 6pm, then work until a little after dark.

On Wednesday we put in 77 t-posts to support our trellises in the high tunnel. We should have the high tunnel fully planted within about 2 weeks if all goes well.

There are tiny berries on the blackberry bushes. Our plan is to put the shadecloth and bird netting up by the end of May, hopefully sooner.

Right now we are in the transition between the spring crops and the summer crops, so we will have a bit less variety at the market, but we will have plenty of greens, beets, carrots, cabbage, kale and onions.

The spring/summer CSA share distribution will start in about 2 weeks – May 14 at Rillito and May 15 in Green Valley. We still have shares available. If you know of anyone who might be interested, send them our way! The forms are available at the markets, and in the CSA box on the right sidebar of this website, and here. We will stick with a 50-share program this round, so please let us know if you are interested in a spot. The summer shares will include potatoes, blackberries, tomatoes, peppers, chiles, flowers, cucumbers,  melons, okra, squash, salad mixes, among many other delicious ingredients.

sweet potato slips

Farm Update April 8, 2017

Our order of seed potatoes arrived yesterday late in the day. We have been getting the beds ready for planting and there is a bit more to do before the soil is ready for planting. We will rip the soil deeply and then add cocopeat and compost. Then we will turn the soil a couple more times to mix it all thoroughly. Finally, we will dig furrows and plant the seed potatoes. This season we are planting Kennebec russets. They store longer than the Colorado Rose potatoes that we grew last year. We have also increased the number of rows, so we should have a larger harvest than last year. We will find out in early June when we dig the potato crop.

This week we did our last market in Green Valley for awhile. We will likely return to the market there in the late fall. Thank you to all our customers in Green Valley! We will miss you this summer.

We will be delivering CSA shares to the Good Shepherd Church on Monday mornings between 9:30a and 11:30a. Our Green Valley customers who are not CSA shareholders this summer are welcome to email us your orders by noon on Saturday and we will bring your order to the CSA distribution location. Please email or call if you need more information.

Yesterday we provided a farm tour to a group of middle school students from The Gregory School. We showed them our solar panels, our watering system, our seedlings in the hoophouse, the growing beds, the new high tunnel and our washing/prep facilities. They asked lots of great questions. We served them some freshly harvested baby carrots and sent them home with some big bags of spinach to share.

This week at the market we continue to reserve spots and accept payments for the spring/summer CSA program. The forms are available at the markets, and in the CSA box on the right sidebar of this website, and here. We will stick with a 50-share program this round, so please let us know if you are interested in a spot. The summer shares will include potatoes, blackberries, tomatoes, peppers, chiles, flowers, cucumbers,  melons, okra, squash, salad mixes, among many other tasty ingredients.

We’ll see you at the markets!

late season broccoli
kennebec seed potatoes

Farm Update April 1, 2017

Today is a busy one at the farm. One crew is harvesting, another is making a new asparagus bed and we are also working on installing fixtures in the tiny house.

Yesterday was cool and blustery most of the day. A full rainbow was visible to the west for over an hour as the rain was moving through the area while the harvest progressed.

We started delivering to the Sierra Vista Food Co-op again after a hiatus since last September. Yesterday I delivered red and green salad mix and large leaf spinach in 5 oz. deli boxes. This packaging is made from bioplastic and is compostable.

I also made an early evening delivery to The Quarry in Bisbee. If you are in southeastern AZ, check out our produce at either of these two places.

This week at the markets we continue to reserve spots and accept payments for the spring/summer CSA program. The forms are available at the markets, and in the CSA box on the right sidebar of this website, and here. We will stick with a 50-share program this round, so please let us know if you are interested in a spot. The summer shares will include potatoes, blackberries, tomatoes, peppers, chiles, flowers, cucumbers,  melons, okra, squash, salad mixes, among many other tasty ingredients.

new asparagus bed
new bed of braising mix

Farm Update March 18, 2017

Next week at the markets we will start to reserve spots and accept payments for the spring/summer CSA program. We will stick with a 50-share program this round, so please let us know if you are interested in a spot. The summer shares will include potatoes, blackberries, tomatoes, peppers, chiles, flowers, cucumbers,  melons, okra, squash, salad mixes, among many other tasty ingredients.

As you have also likely experienced this week, it continues to be warmer than normal for this time of year. This is mainly a good thing for our crops, but certain ones are sending up seed stalks – primarily the greens beds that we use for our salad mixes. Fortunately the spinach and baby romaine haven’t bolted, but it won’t take many more 90 degree plus days to precipitate it. Our collard greens think it is summer and the plants in the newer bed are bolting. Stay tuned for more wild weather! It isn’t even spring yet.

We’ll see you at the markets!

These carrots will be ready to pull in about 3 weeks!
New red and green lettuce mix

Farm Update March 11, 2017

We finally put the cover on the high-tunnel!! Thank you to all our volunteers that helped with all the construction phases. Without your assistance, we would not have  been able to get it constructed. I am so relieved to have the greenhouse film on the frame and attached. We will finish a few remaining tasks for the construction by the end of the day.

The next steps will involve preparing the soil under the high-tunnel for planting, putting in the trellises, and then planting the  tomato, chile, sweet pepper and cucumber seedlings. After that we will procure a large piece of shade cloth and put it over the plastic to create some excellent growing conditions for those summer crops.

Another crop we will be planting very soon is potatoes; we are going to try a Kennebec variety this round. With some luck we will be harvesting some tasty spuds in about 90 days from now.

We’ll see you at the markets!

high tunnel with cover !
our garlic plants are developing bulbs

Farm Update March 4, 2017

We had a minor setback on the high-tunnel construction Thursday morning. The day dawned clear and windless. We started early laying out the greenhouse film ñ a sheet of 6 mil plastic 150 feet long and about 50 feet wide. While we were pulling it up and over the frame a very slight breeze started stirring. Within about 10 minutes, the wind changed direction and increased considerably. It picked up the cover like a big sail and blew it off completely as we yelled and scrambled to limit the damage. It was probably pretty funny to watch, but not too funny to experience. Fortunately no one fell off the ladders and no one was hurt. The cover was slightly damaged, but only on the edges where it was attached to the ropes.

We will make a second attempt this upcoming Thursday morning and are seeking volunteers to help with task. We will start even earlier this time so that we can get the cover on and secured before the breeze comes up.

On a happier note, we now have a crew of 4 working at the farm, so our workdays are a bit shorter and the harvests not as intense. One more intern will join the crew by the end of March, so we will be in good shape for the spring planting season which is upon us.

Thank you for your support.

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fennel
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baby romaine

Farm Update February 25, 2017

I guess it is still winter; it was 29° this morning at sunrise. Good thing we covered the asparagus beds last night! We should have a few pounds at the markets this week. It is now starting to come up more rapidly. No roadrunner damage this week. I have seen it walking around in the field, but it has been leaving the asparagus alone.

Our labor shortage should be ending this week – two additional interns and one HelpX helper are scheduled to arrive soon. In the meantime we have had timely volunteer help from a few of our CSA members. Harper harvested the Tuesday before last and Jack & Ellie helped by harvesting all day in the wind last Saturday and also plan to help us this Saturday. Thank you so much volunteers!! And thank you Bobby (currently our lone intern) for all the extra work lately.

We plan to finish the high-tunnel this upcoming Thursday, if anyone is interested in helping. We will send you home with some fresh veggies. Please email or call if you are interested joe@southwindsfarm.org or 520-909-4903.

As a reminder, the Rillito market will open at 8a and close at noon again this Sunday due to the horse racing season. Parking will still be free for farmers’ market customers.

We’ll see you at the markets!

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Swiss Chard
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Middle Terrace

Farm Update February 18, 2017

Another harvest day out here at the farm. We are once again racing to get as much done today before the weather sets in this evening and Saturday. The wind has already started to pick up. We are supposed to get a nice dose of free water from the sky!

Our asparagus is popping up rapidly now. We will have a little bit at the markets this week and more as the weeks go by. There should be enough to put in the CSA shares within a few weeks if we can keep the roadrunners away from the plants. It took me a couple of days to figure out what was snipping off the tender tops, but on Monday I saw our friendly roadrunner in the asparagus beds. I chased it away and then checked out the beds and there was fresh damage. Who knew that roadrunners liked asparagus?!

The broccoli is cranking now and should be for the next couple months. Our romanesco cauliflower is also heading up rapidly, as you can see in the image.

We are getting ready to plant seeds for tomatoes, chiles, peppers and cucumbers. We will grow these plants in the small hoophouse until it is time to plant them in our new high-tunnel.

As a reminder, the Rillito market will open at 8a and close at noon again this Sunday due to the horse racing season. Parking will still be free for farmers’ market customers.

We’ll see you at the markets!

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romanesco cauliflower
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baby, baby romaine lettuce heads