We have had some beautiful cloudy, rainy weather the last few days. The total precipitation at the farm was 1.55”. The plants are looking really healthy now and the green manure mix cover crop has all sprouted due to the plentiful soil moisture.
We planted nearly all of the ready seedlings on Wednesday morning and afternoon as the rain was moving in, so they got a nice soaking immediately after planting.
Yesterday’s harvest was a wet and cold one with lots of mud in the field that subsequently has been tracked into all the working and living spaces. We will be doing plenty of clean up once things dry out.
We continue to plant seedlings, another bed portion of broccoli and komatsuna. Additional seedlings we will plant in the coming days include more kale, more rapini, and red cabbage, among others.
This spring and summer we intend to grow more herbs. To that end, yesterday five trays of herb seeds were planted: cilantro, savory, oregano, dill and tarragon. We also transplanted some mint last week and our lemongrass is starting to green up.
This week we tilled up the bed portions that were formerly infested with bindweed. These beds have been covered with weed barrier for 3 years and keeping them covered has eradicated the bindweed. After the bed preparation, we planted a cover crop with a winter green manure seed mix consisting of winter rye, forage peas, red clover, hairy vetch, and annual ryegrass. In a couple months we will chop this cover crop down and incorporate into the soil. This will increase the soil fertility and improve its tilth.
Another project we started this week is the preparation for a new asparagus bed. This involves ripping the soil, opening up a trench with the plow and then mixing in soil amendments to create a rich soil bed for the asparagus crowns. We intend to use compost and cocopeat mixed with the field soil. We will complete the asparagus planting by the end of this month.
Thank you for supporting local, sustainable agriculture.
We have been enjoying the warm afternoons lately. The days start out pretty cold and it is shirtsleeve weather by noon. We have had a few mornings in the high teens and afternoons in the high 60s.
The long list of non-harvest tasks that built up during the labor shortage in the summer and fall is finally being addressed. One task that we worked on this week is enlarging the basins around our pomegranate trees in the north orchard. We moved the basin boundaries out beyond the drip line of the trees. Next week we will fertilize and mulch the trees and replace the protective cages that keep the rabbits and other rodents away from the trees.
We are also continuing to catch up with the planting. Another bed of lettuce and greens was planted yesterday and we also put in another bed of salad turnips. This next week we will be planting an array of herb seeds so that we can start to replace the beds of herbs that got cooked last June in the high heat. We lost the mint, sorrel and sage beds and intend to put in a few more herb varieties.
We are still seeking summer interns, so if you know of anyone who might be interested, please tell them to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The last few days we finally removed the soil cover and weed barrier from portions of our East Terrace, where we had the invasive bindweed infestation 3 years ago. We will soon find out if we successfully eradicated the bindweed from the beds where it had spread. Having these beds restored and available for planting will increase our available bed space by about 2,500 square feet. We will plant these beds as soon as we amend them with compost and prepare the soil.
Some of the beds in the high tunnel beds are finally ready to harvest – the SWF greens mix beds in particular are growing very well in the increased temperatures and humidity inside the structure. This is the first winter that we have crops in the high tunnel and we are experimenting and learning how best to use the space.
Thank you for supporting local, sustainable agriculture!
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.
Oh yes, it is still summer; the temperatures won’t let us forget that even though we had many days of sub triple-digit highs before this past week. It is nice to have the precipitation back. We had a decent rain out here yesterday and it is clouding up quickly this afternoon, so maybe we’ll get another bit of rain later today.
As has been the case the last few weeks, our Suyo Long cucumber production is amazing. We are now harvesting more than 100 pounds every other day. 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.
SouthWinds Farm has been invited to participate in the Hacienda del Sol Heritage Foods Festival, to be held in the evening on Sunday, September 3. If you are interested in more information about this event, stop by our farm stand and pick up a flyer or visit HaciendaDelSol.com.
Another week of monsoon and nearly another inch of rain at the farm. The plants and farmers are happy! Everything is growing very quickly and putting on lots of fruit. The tomato and cucumber vines are growing so fast that we are barely able to keep up with the trellising. These plants will both soon reach the top of their 9 foot trellises.
We will have some peaches and more black mission figs at the market this week. Both of these are from friends that have organic home orchards that are producing too much for them to use, so they are allowing us to harvest and sell the fruit.
So far we have had an entire week with no rattlesnake surprises in the field. I hope I didn’t just jinx us for the harvest.
As I write this I am hunkered down inside the TinyHouse trying to beat the heat. I harvested until a little after noon when the temperature climbed above 100 degrees. It is 105 out there right now. Of course, those of you living in Tucson have had to endure much higher temperatures.
I am currently running sprinklers in the field, moving them every hour or so to cool off the plants. I have been doing this all week. So far, the bush beans have fared the worse in the heat. About a quarter of the bean plants in one bed has perished – they just couldn’t deal with the 110+ heat earlier in the week. Luckily another bed of bush beans has survived okay. The greens beds are also suffering a bit, but there are some new beds on the way.
The plants in the high tunnel are doing much better as the 40% shade cloth is keeping it significantly cooler in there. They are still subject to the hot winds we have had the last few afternoons, but the sprinklers help quite a bit.
The onset of the monsoon should occur soon – can’t happened quickly enough for me! We have already had some decent cloud build-ups and a brief shower. I was in Sierra Vista Tuesday evening and there was a nice rain just after sunset.
We’ll see you this Sunday at the market and Monday at our Green Valley/Sahuarita CSA drop off.
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.