It’s really hot!
This isn’t news to anybody in this part of the country. Day after day of temperatures in the 30’s, but feeling like 40+ (not to mention the humidity)!
Not just people are feeling the effects of this heat. The farm is hugely affected too.
Some vegetables thrive in the heat …
The zucchini patch is growing by leaps & bounds. Zucchini really flourishes in this kind of weather. While best picked every other day, we skip the weekend which means a lot of large zucchini on Monday morning!
Hot weather also brings out the insects. (Generally hot weather brings more insect damage while wetter weather causes more disease issues.) Our zucchini plants were covered with cucumber beetles, a tiny black & yellow striped insect which eats leaves, blossoms & fruit and causes a lot of destruction. They also transmit diseases which can reduce yield, & eventually destroy the plants.
To combat the cucumber beetles I sprayed with kaolin clay an organic spray which covers the plants & fruit with a white powdery layer, making it unappealing to the bugs. It’s not a foolproof solution, but it does help and we find it preferable to using chemical pesticides.
The peppers that were struggling, are now thriving in these hot temperatures. After being buried under their blanket of straw mulch, we can finally see them (those that survived) poking through.
And the tomatoes are laden with a lot of ever-expanding fruit.
Other vegetables are suffering in the heat …
A patch of bok choy that we had just started to harvest went right to seed over the weekend. While the yellow flowers are bright & cheery, they signal the end of this harvest.
Similarly, the new rows of baby spinach have gone to seed before we could even begin to pick them. You may have found the radishes in last week’s box a little tough & woody – blame the weather! The snow peas were good last Monday but on Wednesday it rained & we couldn’t pick. By Friday they were oversized and no longer tender – that’s why there were no snow peas in Friday’s boxes. Less extreme temperatures would have allowed all these vegetables and others to be harvested for a longer time.
Disappointing? Yes. Discouraging? Perhaps a bit. But weather fluctuations & extremes are neither uncommon nor unexpected. There are more plantings of these vegetables (spinach, bok choy, snow peas) that will be ready soon. Hopefully we’ll reap a good harvest from them. And we’re excited to see the crops that are doing well right now.
There is still plenty of good stuff to pick for market & CSA this week!
What’s in the box?
Beets, zucchini, carrots, Chinese cabbage, kale, green onions, garlic scapes.
The kitchen does not beckon on these hot days! This week’s CSA box features vegetables that can be eaten uncooked or grilled on the BBQ. Enjoy some new vegetables and some favourites too!
- The first beets are ready! Certainly they are a favourite vegetable of mine – and many of our CSA members too! We prefer them roasted , or on these hot days we eat them raw in salads, usually shredded or spiralized.
- Zucchini – We have green, yellow, patty pan (round & scalloped), and striped (both light green & darker green ones). Basically they all taste quite similar and can all be used interchangeably. As mentioned above, they are a larger size overall, which makes them great for the BBQ. Cut into thick slices, brush with olive oil, season with salt & pepper and grill for a minute or two on each side. Zucchini is also good raw, in salads or slices for a snack.
- Carrots grow slowly. Weeds grow fast. There’s always a conflict & the carrots rarely come out the winner! This season we have been starting our carrots in trays & then transplanting them into the field with our paperpot transplanter (see last weeks newsletter for a more detailed description – https://thiessenfarms.com/2018/06/25/csa-2018-week-5). They are growing well & we are better able to keep them weeded. However, we are not getting beautiful, long, straight carrots – shorter, weirder shapes seem to be the norm. This results in a bit more work to wash & prepare. But the flavour is great! Please tell us what you think!
- You will find Chinese cabbage in your share this week instead of lettuce. It is mild & tender and can be used in salads, or coleslaws or as wraps.
- Kale, green onions, and garlic scapes will also be in your box again this week.
We’ve saved the best news for last …
It won’t be long now!