Monday, June 30, 2008

Bags of Veggies!

Today is our first CSA pick-up day! We just finished harvesting and putting the bags together. Because of our spring cutworm problems, we had been a little nervous about the first weeks of the CSA. But things are actually looking better than we had thought. At the very least for the first week. We had planned for July to be smaller, simply because there is much more variety in the the later months, but after 150 feet of lettuce seedlings disappeared(and smaller amounts of almost everything else) we had thought we would have a meager July.

But looking at our first bags, we are very happy. Lettuce, broccoli, arugula, radishes, and sugar snap peas. The broccoli and peas are much earlier than our first two years, which has helped fill out the bags for now, but of course we're just stealing from the later weeks.

Anyway, this is where some of the fun of the CSA comes in. We have a plan on the computer, but of course life doesn't work out like that. The great thing is that we can hopefully still make it all even out by the end of the year.

We did miss our first ever farmer's market last thursday(in order to be sure we'd have enough for the CSA) which was only a little sad(since we could sleep in!). We hope to be back this week, because now we just have too much of some crops to put in the bags. So it's too much of some, not enough of others, which again is great with a yearly membership program.

But the real hero of the story: strawberries. Now, we don't sell strawberries(yet), but we planted a fair amount for ourselves last year. They've fulfilled all expectations, such that we've been gorging, and still freezing some for a fruitless day. If I had to pick a favourite fruit, it would probably be strawberries, so they really have done wonders in curbing cutworm anxiety.

The runners up for hero of the story: The Midnight Hunters(mainly Mike and Kath, guest starring Luke and Sarah(a friend from town)). Cutworms come up to the surface at night, crawl along the soil, nibbling our seedlings, and sometimes chopping down the larger transplants like miniature lumberjacks. With the help of crank flashlights, and keen eyes, the cutworm hunters move down the rows, hunched over, stalking silently through the night(for an hour and a half or so). The cutworms are helpless, caught red-handed! The rest is too gruesome for this website.
The first few hunts were plentiful, but being human, we just couldn't help but over-hunt. Eventually we were going out only to find a few lonely cutworms! Well, I don't think we need to put them on the endangered species list just yet(better to wait until next year).

The Guitar hero of the story: Brad. Brad came down this past week, and brought his playstation avec guitar hero. Needless to say, we rocked.

Happy Summer Everyone!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Well, it's market time again so I've put up a few pictures of our first market(which was may 30th). We've had 3 markets so far this year with spinach, radishes and pac choi at each one, along with some lettuce mix for our most recent market. So far we've pretty much sold out at each market and have picked up a lot of names for our next year's CSA waiting list.

Work on the farm has been busy. All our warm weather transplants; tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, cukes, winter squash and zucchini's, were set out over the last couple weeks and we seeded many more. So far most of our crops our doing well, although we've had a few big setbacks as well. Some of our early crops have actually come in earlier than we would have liked and some other crops haven't come at all. Our CSA doesn't start until July (meaning our members don't pick up any veggies till July) but both our peas and broccoli are looking like they'll be ready in the next couple weeks. This is quite good in the long term, as we'll probably be able to start our CSA earlier, but for now it leaves us in a bit of a quandary.

Also, we've had some issues with seedlings of various crops getting munched away by unknown culprits, the main suspects being hares, voles and cutworms. The hares tend to nibble away our greens and the voles get some pepper and melon seedlings but we the main damage has been caused by cutworms( or some other insect eating all our lettuce. So far several lettuce plantings have seemingly disappeared while the lettuce is very very small, only a 1/4" or less in size.

Other than the lettuce losses things are really going quite well, our goal of getting crops as early as we can is going splendidly. We'll probably be getting peas, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, beets and tomatoes several weeks to a month earlier than we had them last year. Also, our transplants this year have looked so much better than the past two years its remarkable. I suppose they get a wee bit more light than they did when they were in our living room :)(check out the April 4th post for a few pics of the greenhouse).

I hope all your gardens are growing well, and for those without time for a garden, plant asparagus ;)