Today was a great day!
The weather was perfect – very little wind, not too hot nor too cold, and lots of sun – and we accomplished a lot!
We had a crew of 4 men working which was a real bonus.
The eggplant & peppers got mulched too. The timing was perfect! The soil was moist from the recent rains so the straw will hold that moisture and benefit the plants. The weeds had not started growing there yet and now the straw will prevent them, keeping the patch neat, clean and weed free for most of the season. It is far more pleasant & efficient to pick vegetables without weeds getting in the way.
The tomatoes are mulched, staked, and most have been pruned & tied once. Pruning (or suckering) and tying will be an ongoing job for the next month at least, as the plants continue to grow.
Yes, there are a lot of weeds here (mostly between the rows). Crops like bok choy, lettuce, spinach and various greens are planted, harvested and gone rather quickly – within a month or so. For that reason weeding them is not a priority if we fall behind or get really busy. We always concentrate on keeping the longer term crops clean as they are more affected by the weed competition. Obviously we would prefer that the entire farm was weed-free and perfect – but that surely won’t ever happen! And with the abundance of precipitation this past week the weeds are going crazy!
What’s in the box?
Green onions, salad turnips, bok choy, red mini romaine lettuce, lettuce mix,
- The first onions of the season are green onions, also called bunching onions or scallions. Eat everything – the green leaves & the small, bottom white bulb.
- 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.
- Bok choy is one of my favourite green vegetables. It can be added to your salads, but most often is sautéed or stir fried. We like to cook some garlic or onion in a bit of oil (olive or sesame) for a couple of minutes, then add the bok choy and continue cooking until it is wilted but still bright green – around 5 minutes or less. Season with salt & pepper to taste. We usually grow several kinds of bok choy – white & green, small & mini, tight heads or looser heads. Some prefer hot weather while others like it cooler. Growing several kinds ensures we always get a harvest. But all of them react to big temperature swings and can bolt & go to flower in a day or two. Needless to say we have had a lot in flower already this spring season. The flowers are totally edible, so be sure to use them if some show up in the bag.
- Mini romaine lettuce looks like regular romaine – just smaller. It has the same crunch and the same great flavour. This week’s mini romaine is a beautiful dark red variety.
- Spring is salad season! There will also be another bag of lettuce mix in your share this week.
- The snow peas are sizing up nicely. They won’t quite be ready for Tuesday’s CSA box – but there should be snow peas for Thursday, Friday, Saturday and then next Tuesday. Snow peas are a great spring treat. We prefer to snack on them raw, but they’re excellent in a stir fry or lightly cooked. We just made one planting again this season so they will be a one time treat!
Around the farm this week…
We’ll lead with the bad news. There will be no blackberries this year!
As this picture shows, most of the fruit bearing canes are dead – killed by the winter’s cold. Even those that leafed out this spring and looked healthy, are now turning yellow. The green growth at the base of each plant are new canes that will produce blackberries – next year. At first we were anticipating about a 25% crop, but now it appears there will be almost a total loss.
We’re trying something new here. A bed of vegetables was harvested, mowed down as short as possible and then covered. The warmth under the black ground cover will encourage weeds to germinate but without light they will quickly die. In several weeks we will remove the cover and replant into clean, weed free soil. That’s the plan anyway!
The field where we grew a lot of our vegetables last year is resting this year. Earlier in spring I seeded it to oats & peas. This week I mowed it down for the first time. I left several strips uncut so the pollinators and various insects still have a place to be and a source of food as the peas and other “weeds” bloom & flower. The mown peas & oats will decompose, adding organic matter & nutrients to the soil.
As I mowed the air was full of barn swallows swooping and catching insects that were disturbed by my tractor & mower.