We have had some spectacular skies this last week or so; you can see a small sample in the images.
Our tomato plants are finally cranking out a decent amount to harvest now. The tomato hornworms are thick on the plants, so we have been picking them off every morning. They are hard to see at first until your eyes get dialed in and then it is pretty easy to find them. Of course it is really clear where to look for the fat worms because they strip all the leaves and small branches from the plants, so there are lots of bare branches where they have been.
The date for the Agustín Kitchen farm dinner has been changed. Please pardon any inconvenience this may cause. The dinner will be in the evening on Sunday, August 21.
This weekend is the Tomato & Basil Festival at the Rillito market, so if you like tomatoes and/or basil check out the market Sunday morning.
Where is the rain? We’re waiting on it – not so patiently. I am simulating the monsoon in the field by watering with sprinklers during the heat of the day. That makes it nice and humid in the field and a little bit cooler than the surrounding desert.
Our cucumber vines are finally producing! The variety we are growing this summer is Suyo Long, originating in northern China. These cukes are slightly spiny, but the skins are pretty thin and the flesh is sweet and crunchy. We should be bringing these to the market for a couple months. We are growing this variety this summer because they are resistant to cucumber beetle damage and are also resistant to the bacterial wilt that the cucumber beetles spread. Last year the beetles wiped out our cucumber and melon plants, so we have changed our varieties and some of our cultivation practices. For example, this spring we started the cucumber plants in pots and transplanted them after they were fairly large. This prevents the cuke beetles from killing the seedlings as they sprout.
The blackberries are almost finished; we should be able to harvest a few pounds over the next 2 weeks, but no more large harvests.
As mentioned in an earlier newsletter, Agustín Kitchen will be hosting a farm dinner using our produce. The dinner will be in the evening on Sunday, August 7. We will send out a flyer later this week, plus make announcements on Facebook and on Instagram @southwindsfarmaz.
As you have likely noticed the moisture that fuels the monsoon is starting to creep in to southeastern Arizona. The cloud buildups have been visible south and east of the farm for the last week or so and there has been a teaser shower or two at the farm in the last few days. We are impatiently waiting on the monsoon rains to begin. When they start, everything will grow more quickly and the plants will be a lot happier. Lately they have been really droopy in the afternoon heat and are perked back up by the morning, only to repeat the cycle.