Monday started out as “one of those days!”
The weather forecast promised more hot, humid temperatures with no relief and no rain in the foreseeable future.
Then our early morning drive around the farm to check things out revealed a lot of bad news …
… weeds that seem to have sprung up overnight,
… struggling & dying plants,
… and lots of insect damage.
Hot dry weather is hard on humans, animals and plants. But it encourages insects which are always more plentiful in these conditions.
I allowed myself a time of wallowing, before continuing with the day.
And it wasn’t all bad news …
The winter squash is being attacked by squash/cucumber beetles – but only certain varieties (we’re growing about 20 kinds this year) and they should be big enough to withstand the pressure. And notice the water droplets around the edges of the leaves – morning dew that refreshes the plants. It’s not a lot but is very beneficial.
I’ve never seen Chinese cabbage go to seed but it is this year. There won’t be enough left to supply our CSA, but we’ll take any good ones to market. Hopefully the next plantings will do better. Summer cabbage is always risky. Fall crops are a surer bet.
We transplanted a second planting of zucchini & cucumbers last week. They continue to struggle to get established in this heat despite my watering them. Many have died but the rest seem to be improving.
In the morning they look great and then each afternoon they wilt. This is a plants way of coping with heat & drought – preserving themselves by conserving moisture.
Beefsteak tomatoes are in abundance on the plants, though still some weeks away from ripening. We did pick a small basket of cherry tomatoes today, which are always the earliest to mature.
Monday ended up okay! A slight breeze kept the temperatures bearable. Work included weeding, pruning & tying tomatoes, seeding (Chinese broccoli, beets, green onions, bok choy, kohlrabi, cucumbers), transplanting (lettuce, stir-fry mix, arugula) and harvesting (tomatoes, zucchini, kohlrabi). And lots of watering too!
What’s in the box?
Mini romaine lettuce, kohlrabi, kale, zucchini, beets,
green onions, garlic scapes, salad greens.
- “Pomegranate crunch”. How could we not grow a lettuce with a name like that! And it turned out great – a crunchy mini-romaine lettuce with dark red outer leaves surrounding a red/green heart and just big enough for 1 beautiful salad. We’re tempted to let them grow a little bigger – but in this heat they might bolt & go to seed.
- Kohlrabi is a strange-looking vegetable – sort of like a cross between a little cabbage and a turnip. It is usually considered a root vegetable, though the edible round globe grows above ground. Kohlrabi is usually eaten raw – just peeled & sliced. The taste & texture resembles fresh, crunchy broccoli stems, with a bit of radish thrown in. Use on raw vegetable platters and serve with a creamy dip. Grated kohlrabi can be added to slaws. We like to spiralize our kohlrabi and use it instead of pasta. Kohlrabi can also be steamed or boiled but don’t peel until after they are cooked. When the bulbs are tender, peel skin, and season with butter, salt, and pepper, a cheese sauce, or just enjoy plain. They are good for mashing with other vegetables – parsnips, carrots or potatoes. Kohlrabi absorbs the flavour of other ingredients making it ideal to add to soup, stew and stir-fries. The bulbs should be stored, unwashed, in a plastic bag in the fridge. They will hold for a week. Our favourite way to eat kohlrabi (other than raw in slices) is to sautée it in butter & garlic for just a few minutes. Then add just a dash of nutmeg. Delicious!
- We have included a bunch of kale in your box, either plain or curly. We enjoy kale in our salads, but it is good cooked too. Kale tastes great with olive oil and garlic, onions or leeks. Combine it with sweet vegetables like corn or carrots. Unless the kale leaves are very small & tender, remove the tougher stems before using. Store kale in a plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper for 3-4 days. But be aware – the longer it is stored, the stronger the flavour becomes. Need a recipe suggestion? http://www.cookwithwhatyouhave.com (subscription included with your CSA membership) has 38 kale recipes to choose from plus lots of useful information!
- Zucchini (green or yellow) and yellow patty pan summer squash – those are the options this week. They come in various sizes too. Choose a smaller, tender one if you prefer to eat it in your salad. Larger ones are great sauteed or on the BBQ. And if zucchini bread or muffins are on the menu, opt for the biggest one.
- The beets would really benefit from some rainfall. As it is, they are smaller – but oh so delicious! Along with the common dark beets we also have orange beets & candy cane beets, which are red & white striped. They can all be used the same & taste similar as well.
- Green onions, garlic scapes & salad greens finish up the box this week. Salad greens could include lettuce mix, arugula, or bok choy depending on what is ready and of good quality on your pick-up day.
Around the farm this week …
One foggy morning resulted in some beautiful photos.
For 1 brief moment we seemed to have all the weeds under control!