Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What's new at the Farm? 8/18/10

The middle of August already! Summer is moving way too fast, although everyone is about tired of the hot and humid conditions of the past few weeks. The birds have all fledged and fall is approaching fast. The weather feels like September even though it's only the middle of August. The harvest is fast approaching; seems there's little time between crop maintenance and harvesting now. Tomatoes will be coming right up as will the Swiss chard for seed and cucurbits afterwards. Cucumbers are towards the end of the summer like fall weather and Sweet Annie is after that; last in fact.

We're planting a fall summer squash trial in one of our hoop houses. You heard right; fall summer squash. Because much of the summer squash and zucchini that's available in the fall is old and tasteless, why not harvest some that's young and bursting with flavor like we do in the summer? Well, it's worth a try anyways. I like summer squash and would eat it all spring, summer and fall if it were available.

Fall spinach will get seeded this week and fall lettuce will get transplanted shortly. Our summer lettuce trial bolted quickly but grown in the coolness of the fall it will be crisp and we'll have a longer harvest window.

The onion trial is looking pretty poor right now. This year we transplanted all the onions and this worked great for producing a good stand. Thrips are the biggest problems with onions. Scouting for thrips usually starts around the middle of June because by the time you see their damage it's usually too late to cure the damage and get any sort of regrowth. Thrips are tiny and hide in between the leaves of onions so you really have to look for them to find them. A spray of Pyganic or Entrust or another insecticide two to three times during the season will kill them off. It is important that the spray penetrate the sections between the leaves because that's where thrips typically hide. Rotation is important on farms to avoid thrips as they overwinter in the soil and on plant debris. Next year we'll move the onions to a different field.

Most everyone has sweet corn now so it'll be a good time to freeze some. Most every year we freeze 20 quarts or so to enjoy during the winter months; a far cry from that frozen stuff they call corn in the supermarket. We blanch it in the turkey fryer and use our electric knife to cut it off the ears, then vacuum seal it and we're done. 20 quarts shouldn't take us more than a couple of hours to do. We should do some green beans while we're at it. This fall we'll do Brussels sprouts and we'll be done for the season.

Next week I'm taking my annual vacation before the harvesting starts. Peggy is taking the same week so we can do some things together. Going to the coast ranks right up there as we haven't been this year. I've only been to camp once this summer and that was to bush hog; guess I'll spend a day or two down there as well. I suppose I should think about getting my wood in, but I'd rather be fishing so that will take precedence now. The first cold morning and I'll be getting my wood in anyways.

Until next month, Brian.

No comments: