Almost missed this time around, last seen here four years back: a few of the Yukon Gold potatoes have fruit this year. These are poisonous little, green tomato-like fruit with seeds that you can grow into…potatoes. You can find out more about ’em in this POTATO FRUIT blog post from 2008, when I first ran into then (it’s the most commented post on Tiny Farm Blog!).
The last-plantings-of-the-season fun continues as we watch the weather and hope these crops get a jump before cool temperatures and weaker sun start to seriously slow things down. More sun is the main thing, right now, and that’s been going well. Our last beds of spinach, lettuce, radish and Asian greens, direct seeded a week ago, got well-rained in the day after seeding, and they’re all coming up now. Still, it’s been fairly windy and dry since, so we decided to hand water them, to help ’em all along. Here, Tracy uses the RedHead water breaker to gently lay down a little flood (behind her that’s broccoli, exploded: tiny broccoli flowers from unharvested heads that we take to market as a free edible flower salad garnish). In this section, 100′ x 5 rows of lettuce mix, and the same of Bloomsdale spinach… Grow, little plants, grow! :)
This is our second Saturday market with quite a solid harvest, both selection and quantity. Last week was fine, this week we’ve added the first of the fall spinach, also, an unexpected bushel of radish that sized up practically overnight, picked at the end of the day yesterday at the perfect maturity moment. For the record, we have: green onion (Ramrod), two kales (Red Russian, Nero di Toscana), green and yellow beans (Jade, Indy Gold), two carrots (Nelson, Touchon, mixed), radish (Rebel), cherry tomatoes (a mix of 7-8 varieties, hybrid and heirloom), Asian greens mix (mustards, mizuna, tatsoi, etc, our custom blend!), arugula, Swiss chard (Lucullus, a pale green heirloom), beet (Kestrel), salad mix (four varieties of lettuce), summer squash (Golden Dawn III, Baby Tiger and Raven zucchinis), cucumber (Fanfare and a few round heirloom Lemon), and spinach (Bloomsdale). For those who like lists!
Today, the last direct seeding of the season: spinach, radish, Asian greens mix, arugula, and a lettuce blend for baby leaf… Here, Tracy does the honors with the always-generous Earthway seeder, laying down thick lines of Rebel radish. But is it…too late? Well, who knows?! In good summer conditions, all of these crops can be ready to harvest in 40 days or so from seeding, but the sun is getting weaker now. Hopefully, this round will come up fast, catch the last of the reasonably strong light through September—there WILL be lots of sun!—then continue growing slowly until ready for the last couple of markets through the end of October. That is the…plan. Fresh young veggies at season’s end are a welcome treat! If it doesn’t work out, oh well (and we may get a chance to do a few days at the indoor market in November). In any case, we have the space and the seed, and pushing for the absolute latest planting date seems to me always worth the gamble. Seeing what happens is kinda…exciting!
There are thousands of the tomatoes in the field now, and this Black Seaman is just one of ’em, but a big, gnarly one that caught my eye. Didn’t weigh it, but was probably close to 2 lbs (900 g), and grew in a complete circle. Interesting! Most of the fruit are regular beefsteak shape. Anyhow, I gave this one away, and tasted another one at the same time: not bad, the usual complex “black” tomato taste, a little tart, not the best ever, but still…reasonably fantastic! By the book, Black Seaman is a mid-size (12-16 oz/340-454 g), mid-season, determinate, purple-black, potato-leaf, Russian heirloom—that’s what they say. It’s my first season growing them, waiting for more to ripen before PASSING JUDGEMENT. There you have it.
My morning landscape is back to being a farmscape. Around 7 a.m., the cows drift over to this area of pasture, right across a trenched pond from me (behind that goldenrod hedge!), and then drift away out of sight in an hour or two. They’ve pretty well grazed that whole slope by now, so I guess this is just their wandering, miss-nothing routine! It is what I wake up to right now…
Friday’s harvest to Saturday’s market is the way it is! We still go direct from field to stand, with no cooler in between, and that seems to work out. And the stand itself hasn’t changed much in the last few seasons: raw cedar bins on boards on sawhorses, baskets up front, under the 10’x10′ E-Z UP canopy. What’s new is our latest in DIY veggie sign technology: the usual cards printed in marker with description and price, but now mounted with tape on long, thin coffee stir sticks, stuck right in with the produce. Anyhow, good weather, a decent turnout, a fine morning all round!