may, gone in a puff of smoke / by alex redfield

May, That Month When Everything Must Be Planted Now, has been hitting us hard, but we're holding our ground. We still have seedlings that are more than ready to make the move from trays in the driveway to their new home in the soil, but slowly but surely we're working through getting them in the ground. Despite the dry spring, loads of plants are poking through the dirt and beginning their photosynethic journeys to our bellies: the peas, beets, beans, potatoes, onions, leeks, beans, dill, scallions and more are growing with as much vigor as they can muster. The zucchini's looking swell and the aphids have only eaten some of the fava beans...

At this point in the season, we're really focused on the fun part - planting. Because of our decision (and your decisions!) to move our crops through a summer long CSA, our schedule is a bit different from other small vegetable farms. We're really focused on the CSA season, meaning we schedule our plantings to ripen at a particular date for a particular week's share. Contrast this to a farm that sells at a farmers' market, for example; they want to have spinach every week all season long so that customers looking for spinach will always know where to find it. With our CSA, though, we only want spinach a few times, because...let's face it - 'all spinach all the time' is maybe not the best marketing angle for us. In reality, this translates into pretty precise planting schedules and a whole lot of faith that weather will generally cooperate. We know that the arugula that Hillary planted this morning should be ready for the first or second week, we know that the Georgia Candy Roaster squash (!!) that Hillary is going to plant tomorrow should be ready for the 13th week, and so on for each of the 50 or so crops we're growing and each time they get planted. This means we have some pretty funky spreadsheets, working out when stuff gets planted, how much of it gets planted, and how we're going to compose each week's share throughout the season.

Then again - it's nature. Stuff changes. Sometimes it doesn't rain for four weeks (pleaserainpleaserainpleaseplease). Sometimes you learn that beets need more boron to germinate well and to grow real fast. And sometimes stuff just seems to defy every lesson you've learned and just sit there. So we'll just keep on following the schedule and watching how things develop, making tweaks whenever we can to make sure there's good food ready for everyone when things start up at the end of the month.

We realize that pictures of our crop plan are not the kind of pictures most people are looking for on our blog - but the farm's really pretty right now. So here are a couple gems to hold you over until we can highlight some snazzy produce later this season.

late night deer fence session

late night deer fence session

a good view of the leeks a few weeks back. the black tarp behind them is one of our weed control methods called occultation - essentially you create the ideal climate for weed germination under the tarp (warm, wet soil) so things sprout, but then the tarp is heavy enough to not let any light through, so the weeds die off after all of their stored energy is used up. a great technique for new gardens getting established where grass used to be!

a good view of the leeks a few weeks back. the black tarp behind them is one of our weed control methods called occultation - essentially you create the ideal climate for weed germination under the tarp (warm, wet soil) so things sprout, but then the tarp is heavy enough to not let any light through, so the weeds die off after all of their stored energy is used up. a great technique for new gardens getting established where grass used to be!

 

What's in: ageratum, dahlias, snapdragons, zinnias, cosmos, nasturtium, ginger, tumeric, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, chinese cabbage, leeks, onions, kales, radishes, carrots, hakurei turnips, fava beans, sugar snap peas, filet beans, experimental spring romanesco (cross your fingers), fennel, zucchini, summer squash, spicy salad mix, dill, cilantro, parsley and billions of gorgeous looking garlic plants.

What's this week: winter squash, all of the melons you could ever dream of, cucumbers, eggplant, hot peppers, shiso, buplerum, sunflowers, white dill, and lots more! surprises ahead!