Friday, May 29, 2009

lots of water

sweet potato slips ready to be cut and planted in the field

those same sweet potatoes a month ago

It has been raining- even indoors as I will explain- but we will not complain about the rain! It has come mostly slow and steady in intervals over the last week and a half. We have been able to work between showers (and occasionally during them) and have gotten quite a bit more planted.

Our second planting of corn is complete. The first planting was weeded yesterday and is knee-high. I won't complain about the rain but I will whine a bit about the humidity. Weeding yesterday was like working in soup.

We also planted roughly as many beans as we can possibly keep picked. How many bushels of beans can you pick in an hour? We're growing several varieties this year including Provider. Both the beans and the second planting of corn have germinated and are looking good.

We have aphids in the greenhouse. This isn't a problem to categorize as catastrophic; more of an annoyance and something we can control. We have sprayed insecticidal soap that is approved for organic production. It is doing the job but this is where the story gets interesting. Because we've sprayed all the plants with soap we can no longer water them from above but must dip each flat in water so as not to wash the soap off the leaves. This process takes much longer but it beats having a full blown aphid infestation.

Of course this meant we had to find a way to water thousands of plants by submerging them in water without taking hours of labor everyday. Not a problem. On Wednesday of this week Brad built a temporary float bed that allows us to float flats of transplants in water without washing off the necessary soap. The problem occurred when I stepped in to help fill the float bed with water. You see I put in the hose and turned on the water but forgot to turn it off. Other farm-related tasks required attention and I forgot the water was running. The float bed filled up and then the greenhouse floor flooded. It looked as if it had rained indoors as well as out. We got the problem cleaned up and Brad and Eric have yet something else to pick on me about.

In addition to the corn and beans we planted about 300 tomatoes (more soon) and more than 1000 pepper plants. In terms of bell peppers we are growing Ace, California Wonder and Sweet Chocolate. Peppers take a long time to get started. We've been caring for these peppers for more than three months in the greenhouse and now they're out in the field and ready to take off.

We also planted several thousand Swiss Chard transplants a little more than a week ago. They've made the transition into the field very well. If you've never cooked with Chard I think you're going to be pleasantly surprised.

Here's a recipe to get you thinking

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Pinch of dried crushed red pepper
  • 2 large bunches Swiss chard, stems trimmed, leaves cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips

Melt butter with oil in heavy large pot over medium-low heat. Add garlic and crushed red pepper. Sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chard; stir to coat. Cover; cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Transfer to bowl and serve.

Hopefully I'll have a start date for pick ups for you by the next email update. The squash and zucchini are growing quickly and the Kale and Collards are producing more each week. Garlic will be ready fairly soon so we'll be able to fill out a basket in the near future. It's coming! Remember you can give me a call any time with questions. 704/305.6654

I hope everyone has a great weekend.


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