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CSA 2018 – week 3

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The view from our farm is pretty spectacular these days!

Our neighbours seeded a cover crop of mustard earlier this spring, and now it is in full bloom.

Mustard is an excellent cover crop. It will suppress weeds, provide habitat for bees & insects when in bloom, and when it is mowed down it will provide organic matter for the soil. But probably one of mustard’s most interesting & potentially beneficial properties is that it works as a biofumigant. This means that when it is worked into the soil it releases compounds that are harmful to bacteria, fungi, insects, nematodes, and weeds. All of this will benefit the strawberries that will be planted in these fields this fall.

But right now we are surrounded by all this beauty!

We also seed cover crops on our farm. Different crops & mixtures of crops are used depending on what we hope to achieve.

This is crimson clover which we had blooming last month. Clover provides a habitat for bees & other insects,  fixes nitrogen in the soil (thus reducing the need for fertilizer), and it adds organic matter.

These purple blooms are hairy vetch that we had growing along with rye & other crops over the winter. Not all of it winter killed and now some is blooming beside the garlic patch. Vetch also fixes nitrogen in the soil, improves tilth & provides some weed control.

Areas of our farm that we will not be planting to vegetables until later this summer have been seeded to cover crops as well. The main reason to plant them now is to help keep the weeds from taking over.

Speaking of weeds … we have had some success in reclaiming vegetables from the weeds. Remember the pictures we posted last week? Things are looking better again.

As well, all the tomatoes have been mulched with straw, and the zucchini, tomatilloes & bitter melons. At least we won’t have to deal with weeds in these crops!

What’s in the box?

Salad turnips, kale, green onions, lettuce or lettuce mix, spinach.

  • Salad turnips are small, round, white turnips that resemble radishes, but without the bite – usually! Mild in flavour, crisp, and quite tender, they are best eaten raw – simply wash, cut off the tops and enjoy! They can also be stir fried, sautéed, or steamed – both the turnips & the green tops.

  • I usually consider kale to be a fall vegetable – but it grows well in spring too! It also can be eaten raw, in a salad, or cooked – steamed, sautéed, stir-fried. We have 2 kinds of kale now – the curly kale, and black kale also called dinosaur kale. They look different but taste similar.
  • Green onions, lettuce & spinach will be included in your box again this week. The green onions are growing a bit bigger, but will still be tender & tasty. The lettuce may be the same mix as previous weeks or heads of green or red lettuce.
  • Snow peas were supposed to be the star of the week! We picked them for the first time this morning, anticipating an abundance for the shares this week. Unfortunately we were rushing them, so no snow peas for Tuesday pick-up – but there should be snow peas by Friday. Here’s hoping!

There’s been no rain to fill the bird bath – but it still gets used!

And another view of the yellow mustard fields.

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