CSA News from Windflower Farm – Week 3

CSA News from Windflower Farm

Delivery #3, Week of June 18, 2018

This week’s share contents.

The third share of the season will be coming your way this week. You’ll get more salad items, including lettuces, sweet Japanese turnips or red and white ‘Fakir’ radishes, arugula, young mustard greens, scallions and kohlrabi. You’ll also have the cooking greens, koji, choy, kale and Swiss chard, to choose from, along with garlic scapes and zucchini. Your fruit will be strawberries (primarily from Yonder Farm this week) and rhubarb. Cucumbers appear to be just around the corner.

What’s new on the farm.

It may be hard to believe, but we have not had a meaningful rain for a month. The farm is parched, and temperatures are ramping up. You’d think it was August the way the lawn is already burning out. Although we expect droughty stretches in summer, spring usually provides the farm with adequate rainfall. So, it seems odd to us that we have been irrigating around the clock. Like most vegetable soils, ours are coarse textured, which means they drain very well. That’s a benefit early in the season, because a well-drained soil warms sooner, and warm soils provide crop nutrients and good growth sooner than cool soils. But our coarse soils are working against us now – some crops are wilting, others are slowing down.

There is little cause for concern at the moment. So far, we are keeping up with our irrigation schedule. Although our back pond is already running low, our middle pond has deep reserves, and our well also appears to have ample water. We have two irrigation reels and miles of trickle irrigation lines to do the job, and most of it is fully functional (although a reel broke down last week, the parts needed to fix it arrived on Friday, and it should be working in the sweet corn by Monday morning). Moreover, the forecast for Monday is calling for afternoon showers. So, there’s room for optimism.

Working with water provided a cool respite from today’s heat. The middle pond is a world away from our manicured vegetable fields. Nestled at the base of a ravine and surrounded by dense woods, the pond is a cool, wild place. As I refueled the pump, I was in the company of tadpoles the size of marshmallows, snapping turtles and Great Blue Herons.

It will be a huge relief when rainfall comes, but with some effort we can fill these gaps between rains. Here’s a look at today’s irrigation activities. Back pond: we irrigated a field of leeks, a field of cabbages and collards and a block of small greenhouses containing peppers, tomatoes, ginger and basil. Middle pond: we irrigated a field of melons, cucumbers, eggplants and cutting flowers. Front well: we irrigated two blocks of cutting flowers, a broccoli field and a bank of small greenhouses containing flowers, more peppers and more tomatoes. If we water every day at this pace, we can irrigate the whole farm once a week.

Here’s hoping for rain. Cheers, Ted

p.s. It is now Tuesday. Monday’s rain never materialized, although heavy rains fell to the north and south of us. We have managed to repair our broken irrigation reel and have used it in the corn and in a newly seeded block. Rain is expected on the weekend. Cross your fingers!

Author: Central Brooklyn CSA

The Central Brooklyn CSA (CBCSA) is dedicated to working with our partners the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, Windflower Farm, and the Hebron French Speaking SDA Church to continue the work of building a Community Supported Agriculture model that increases access to fresh, local produce for all members of our communities, regardless of income level. Join us as we continue to bring fresh, organic, affordable and nutritious vegetables and fruit to the Bed-Stuy, Crown Heights, and surrounding communities.

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