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On the farm . . .

On the farm . . .

During the whole month of August, the availability and variety of local produce has been declining dramatically.  This is a natural seasonal phenomenon, resulting from the end of the growing season of crops planted after the last frost, like squash and tomatoes.

To alleviate some of the availability and lack of variety problems, I have temporarily moved all deliveries to every other week.   If you are already on an every other week schedule, you probably didn’t get a call from me to discuss this, as things won’t change for you.

Don’t worry, it won’t last long.  I saw the first tiny baby squash on my plants yesterday, and we have green tomatoes that will soon be red, and other growers have cucumbers coming on, and we bought the first bunches of greens this week.  The chickens are laying more eggs.  Things are looking up!

Next year we may take a break from deliveries during August.  It is a busy time for life outside of the farm, with kids going back to school, and it is a time of low farm productivity, because early crops are tiring and late crops haven’t come on,   and high farm demand on the grower, with watering being critical and the intense heat making every hour of work feel like four hours.

Behind the scenes things are happening!  Delivery trucks bring boxes of seeds, the results of hours of pouring over catalogs, comparing varieties, scrutinizing planting charts and zone maps, and moaning and crying over this summer’s closing of Roy D. Hopkins Feed and Seed.  It is over – no more choosing seeds from little wooden drawers, scooped out by hand and carefully measured on a beautiful worn scale.  No more discussing the merits of one type of pea over another with an experienced seedsman.  No more trying to decipher the handwritten scrawl on the package that seemed clear when we bought it, but after a couple of months becomes cryptic.  I am just thankful we were able to experience it at all – Hopkins, you are missed!

But back to the goings on – we have planted garlic and bunching onions already today.  More ground is prepared for more garlic!  Garlic in all its forms is good, but freshly dug garlic is wonderful!  I can’t wait for you to try it  – but it will be next year, because the garlic must grow all fall and winter.

Seedlings are sprouting and growing in the refrigerated greenhouse (formerly known as my living space!).  There are all the winter brassicas coming up now – the familiar ones like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower, and some exciting plants growing such as ‘Romanesca’, a living fractal – see it below, and Brussels sprouts – a family favorite.

I’ve never grown this stuff before – I have two varieties in the trial this year, one is much faster to mature than the other.  It will be cool weather before either are ready to taste, if they grow at all!  I am hoping for the best!

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