Thursday, September 26, 2013

September 25 CSA Final Share, Numéro 16

field guide to your taters

Sincere thanks to everyone in my CSA. Every dimension of my micro farm is very much a learning experience. This type of farming is all about doing things the wrong way, then trying again, and again. Being able to hand a share to each family directly makes all this work more than worthwhile. I wouldn't trade this part of farming for anything.

Squeezing 16 shares into the space between freezing temperatures is no easy feat. My goal seems so simple, to provide a variety of fresh, healthy, great tasting veggies each week. But the number of possibilites is mind boggling. Every year I can build on what I learned the season before. It's hopefully only going to get better.

potatoes
Approximately 10# of assorted potatoes. You may not be able to distinguish all of these. In cases where they look similar, they are also very similar in type. Now that I look at the photo more closely, it looks like one of the Tanana Purples has crept up into the All Blues pile! Sneaky spuds. I'll have a talk with the photographer.

The Tanana Purples are particularly interesting to me. Two years ago, a friend gave me about five pale purple potatoes she had been growing. I'm not sure I remembered the name correctly. Anyway, I put them in my root cellar, planted them in spring. Voles nearly ate all my potatoes in 2012, but I managed to save a handful. This year I planted those few and dug up 40 pounds of beautiful pale purple potatoes, some streaked with yellow. No seed company involved. Just local, gardener to gardener. So simple, yet this is not the way things are done anymore. I marvel at how we've made life so complicated. When all you really need in this case is a friend, a garden, and a deep hole in the ground where winter can't go.

carrots
If the folks in the lower 48 knew what they were missing! Nothing like big crunchy carrots pulled from cold soil. If they had an sense, they'd all be up here in September packing their coolers full of roots.

beets
They might be have odd sizes and shapes, but they are colorful. And they exist. I'll leave it at that. Beets were a bit lacking for me this year, a combination of variety problems and not enough thinning. Better luck with the beet dimension next year!



Thursday, September 5, 2013

September 6 CSA Share

Snug as a bug in a rug.

Here we are at share number fifteen. I had to retrieve my headlamp for the first time tonight. Couldn't see what I was doing. If anyone from the lower 48 reads this, they must wonder. Darkness comes as an odd and surprising inconvenience after four months of continual light.

winter squash and pumpkins
Stupendous squash year. The three main types are Blue Hubbard, Red Kuri, and Baby Pam Pie Pumkins. There are a two others in the photo in smaller numbers. Every share receives three.

Storage info: Winter squash are ideally stored at 50 F with 60 to 70 per cent humidity. This is a hard condition for me to achieve. A typical house is too warm and our winters are too dry. I think room temperature is fine, but plan to eat them within 3 months. This usually works out anyway with the holidays rolling around and pie being on one's mind. In my opinion, winter squash make the best "pumpkin" pie. You get more meat out of a winter squash. But I still grow the pie pumpkins. Can't help myself.

carrots

celeriac
I can see those puzzled looks already. Looks like celery up top, but what is in the world is going on at the bottom? That is the best part. Can be eaten raw or cooked. Can be diced, grated, sliced... you name it. Great flavor, especially good in soups and stocks.

peppers

thyme
Hoping to make everyone a good sized bunch for drying. Super easy, just hang it.

beets
Probably a bag of small beet roots. Time to pull everything up.

leeks
Well, if you can't say anything nice.... You'll like them I'm sure. You don't have to look at half the row which decided to bloom. I've never had this happen before. Not sure if the variety or the hot summer is to blame.

onions
A smallish bag of assorted onions. Now this is important:
         do not leave in the plastic bag.
These need to continue drying. Set out at room temp on a plate or basket. They need air, just like the garlic.

kale
Have to include something leafy.

cherry tomatoes
Talk about momentum.



Thursday, August 29, 2013

August 30 CSA Share


We've gone from hot, dry dust straight to boot-sticking mud. The August rains are here, along with a pretty decent frost last weekend. I am glad to be perched just a wee bit above the valley bottom at a time like this. And I'm happy to spend a few days or weeks in my rubber boots if it means I get a bit more time to harvest.

garlic
Ready to roll after slightly over two weeks of curing (hanging to dry). Garlic is best stored at 60 to 65 F with air circulation. Hang in a mesh bag or keep in a basket. Do not put in a plastic bag. Do not store in the refrigerator.

lettuce
Beautiful miniature romaine heads.

carrots

peppers

beets

kale
Now this will be good braised with that fresh garlic.

tomatoes
No slowing down yet.

cabbage
This might be a huge smooth green jobbie or a smaller green storage type. I might not distribute them to everyone this time around. There are some which could benefit from a little more time in the ground.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

August 23 CSA Share



On August 19th, I pulled most of the onions. Later that day, I opened up my notes on onions to see when I pulled them last year. It was August 19th. Such a different summer weather-wise, yet the time to pull onions is somehow exactly the same.

carrots

onions
The only onions I did not pull for drying are the Ailsa Craigs. Their leaves are still upright and green. I think we can bunch them for this share.

snap peas
The vines appear to have maxed out last week. Suddenly everything is on the decline.

beans
This will be our last beans for the season. The rattlesnake pole beans apparently exhausted themselves with that last flush. I don't usually see them come on so strong, then stop production altogether. Maybe our previously warm weather is to thank for this.

beets

cucumber
These are also on the decline. They are not in an ideal location and the cold nights will bring them to a halt.

cherry tomatoes

zucchini

peppers

kale or chard
Not sure which at this point.


Black krims among the sun golds.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

August 16 CSA Share

Rosa Bianca eggplant (first one, more to come)
cherry tomatoes

snap beans

red cabbage or kohlrabi (you choose until the red cabbage runs out)

kale

celery

scallions

beets

carrots
These are the last of the densely planted carrots in my raised beds. Smaller than I'd like, but too overcrowded to get much bigger. Might as well finish them up and move on to the next batch which are planted at a better spacing.

zucchini
This week I made sourdough zucchini bread (a sweet quick bread) with good success. Didn't put the slightest dent into my zucchini arsenal unfortunately.

peppers

snap peas

cucumbers



Carmen, Purple Beauty, & King Krimson peppers

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

August 8 CSA Share

Record harvest thanks to a record hot summer.
Here we are on a Thursday because I am boarding a plane soon after.

cherry tomatoes

baby chard
This will be taking the place of the usual kale/chard for a week. It is young and tender. May be eaten raw in salads or on sandwiches. Or cooked in any of the ways you would for full grown chard or spinach.

romanesco
This turns out to be a favorite with voles. Tonight I discovered one with all the little green points nibbled off. Maybe it's a picky eater, only eats the tips. I'm very familiar with these sorts of problems.

sugar snap peas

beans

carrots

radishes

scallions

peppers

and the inescapable summer squash

Thursday, August 1, 2013

August 2 CSA Share

A Sun Gold spectrum.


The tomatoes are shifting into high gear. The basil is bursting out of its tunnel. The cucumbers are intruding on the basil, the peas, and the midget cantaloupe, which has yet to form a midget. Meanwhile the entire pea row is swooping over to one side, merging with the cucumbers and eliminating any place for a person to stand and pick. So much for that big wide aisle. One simply can not remember how enormous plants can grow when spring planning.

snap beans
A mix of green and burgundy bush beans with rattlesnake pole beans.

GIANT kohlrabi
All those previous kohlrabi were only getting you primed to tackle this one.

broccoli and/or romanesco
Not entirely sure how I will divide these two up yet.

scallions

cherry tomatoes
I think the high tunnel is going through a ‘sun gold tomato event.’ I have never seen so many tomatoes ripen at the same time. I’m picking equal amounts 3 days in a row now.

zucchini

carrots
Although the first carrots from my raised beds proved remarkable, that particular kind (Yaya) was only planted in a small area. The rest of the boxes are taking longer than expected to get big, probably due to crowding.

small head lettuce

cucumbers

salad turnips

kale or chard

basil

sprouting broccoli