The News from Windflower Farm
Greetings from Windflower Farm!
What’s in your share?
- Magenta lettuce
- Russian kale
- Bunched onions
- Turnips or radishes
- Cucumbers and/or squashes
- Garlic scapes
- Potted herbs
Fruit shares will consist of Yonder Farm’s cherries or, possibly, their strawberries. He says that it’s hard to predict – “the birds are getting one and the heat is getting the other.” All I know is that they’ll be good and freshly harvested.
A word on the list: The vegetable list I include in the newsletter is an approximation. A good deal can happen between the Sunday when I compose the list and harvest day. Lettuces can bolt in the heat, hard rains and birds can each ruin fruits, insects can devour leaves and cool or cloudy weather can delay squash and cucumber maturation, to name just a few things that can go wrong. Mother Nature is a full partner in the farm business.
What’s new on the farm?
Intense heat has returned to the farm this week. Although we haven’t turned to the nighttime harvesting schedule the Californians have, field work here starts very early. The harvest is completed by midmorning. By midday, the best work is in the cooler or under greenhouse shade cloth. But most of our day entails weeding in the field, and pacing ourselves in this heat is crucial. Pacing and water, lots of water.
Nate and Kristoffer are working on irrigation today, which entails trips from the field where they have set out sprinklers to the pond where our pump sits. Water is everywhere and opportunities to cool down are numerous. The long walk to the pond is through the woods, and the break from the sun is welcome, even if the humidity can be cut with a knife.
Once the harvest is done, the Medinas will head to the smaller of our two leek plantings to wrap up weeding there. Then they’ll pull weeds in a newly cultivated block of onions. Our tractor mounted equipment, if used in a timely fashion, can take care of 80 to 90% of the weeds. But hand weeding is always needed for the final clean-up.
Bonnie and Anthony, two teachers who are with us through the summer, are starting their day in the strawberries, from which they are harvesting fruit shares for our locals. Afterwards, they’ll ball up pieces of row cover, each 350’ long, which had formerly covered various Brassicas, protecting them from flea beetles. The balls will be nearly as tall as Bonnie by the end of the row, but she has learned that gravity can be helpful on a hill farm like ours, and the rolling is mostly downhill. Once done, they’ll join Angela in the shade (at last!) near the greenhouse, where they will pot up basil.
I’ll be in the field preparing beds for the next round of planting today. Tractor work. Successions of lettuces, kales, collards, cabbages, and broccoli must be continually sown, and spreading compost and shaping beds is ongoing. These are the crops of late summer and early fall.
Have a great week, Ted