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.
Our greens production is back up – not back to normal amounts, but there is enough for our CSA shareholders , some for the markets and a bit for our restaurant customers. We hope to have greens continuously from now on.
The other thing that is up is the weeds. WOW are they ever cranking. We are not keeping up with clearing them out, but we work on it some every day.
We received some good news from the NRCS and USDA this morning – our grant application for a high tunnel received final approval. The funds were obligated in the spring, but it has taken awhile to get the approval for engineering aspects of the project. A high tunnel is a greenhouse structure. Ours will be 30 feet wide by 150 feet long. This will allow us to extend our growing seasons and increase production. Our plan is to use it as a greenhouse in the winter and as a shade structure in the summer. We hope to construct the high tunnel this fall before the weather turns cold. We will host some weekend and weekday work sessions. If you are interested in helping with the construction, please let us know. We will also keep you informed as our construction planning proceeds.