Chickens after harvest: Andrea M checks in with the girls after one of the quickest Friday harvests ever. Beets, carrots, a small amount of arugula and spinach from the unheated greenhouse… Several way freezing nights have left the field mostly in shades of brown.
[From 10-Jun-2013] Yet another fresh farm lunch, from a long line I call the Endless Salad: harvested moments ago spinach, arugula, lettuces, topped with raw seeds and nuts, and an olive oil/balsamic vinegar dressing. Quick, simple, super tasty and energizing, all around amazing. Ashley does the honors…
Later and later we go: More late season/winter harvest experiments, with four-week-old spinach transplants into the unheated greenhouse. Also trying out a trench approach to transplanting—a furrow about 6″ deep, made with a hoe—instead of putting them in one by one. Seems a little quicker, but it all takes time!
Checking in on the winter greens mini-experiment. These guys have been through six weeks of up and down weather, balmy days well above zero (reaching 60-70°F/15-20°C on a sunny day in the hoophouse) , and many extreme freezing nights. So, how did it all do? The Bloomsdale spinach, uncovered (above), is fine, although after all that freezing and thawing, the taste and texture changes (good to eat, but probably wouldn’t sell). It wasn’t the plan, but this spinach can be trimmed back to see how new growth does in spring. The other beds, all brassicas (tatsoi, mizuna, arugula, mustards), left half uncovered, are completely toasted. Meanwhile, under a single layer of medium-weight row cover, arugula (below) is good, perky and quite tasty. Not the most extensive and scientific testing plan, but combined with the experience of harvesting through December and in mid-January, it’s a solid starting point for next winter’s goal of full-on, unheated winter greens production!
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!