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!


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 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

Farm Update June 17, 2017

With some help from some volunteers and our hardworking farmers we covered the high tunnel frame with shade cloth Thursday morning. Thank you Elizabeth, John, Dianne, Ian and Steve !! The plants in the high tunnel will be shaded and this should increase their production through the summer. It will be very hot over the next few days, so the shade cloth was installed just in time.

The summer squash are finally producing. We have 3 types of patty pan and classic zucchini plants cranking out the squash right now.

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

Farm Update June 10, 2017

We had a fairly hot week out here at the farm, but there was a very light shower late Wednesday afternoon – no significant accumulation, but it cooled things down a bit and settled the dust for a few hours. The dry lightning associated with the storms also started some fires around here. To the east we can see the smoke from the Lizard Fire in the daytime and the flames at night. The fire is about 10 miles east of us.

I just received notice that our shade cloth order is waiting for pick up at the shipping terminal in Tucson. So we will be putting the new shade cloth on the high tunnel next week. This will create a cooler environment for all the crops under the high tunnel ñ tomatoes, chiles, peppers, cucumbers and summer squash.

As you can see in the images, the potato plants are blooming; this means the plants are starting to form the tubers. We will be harvesting tasty Kennebec spuds soon!

The zucchini and patty pan squash plants are also blooming, so we will also soon have zukes and patty pan at the market.

And —> the purple bush bean plants are loaded with flowers, so the beans are on the way.

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

Thank you for supporting local, sustainable agriculture!

squash blossoms
potato flowers

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 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 October 29, 2016

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.

the beets are growing quickly!
butternut ready to pick