September growing update

We had a great market this past weekend, with a really diverse stand (see above). Roughly from left to right you see okra, edamame, cherry tomatoes, herbs, sauce & slicing tomatoes, fall greens (mustard, mizuna, tat soi, kale) and green beans (out of picture). There’s more below the table for restocking, and we sold out. Click on the photo to enlarge.

So where did all this come from? I realized recently that I haven’t posted any updates or photos on our basic growing conditions in a while, so here goes:

Most of our newly established beds in the main field have been mulched in for winter at this point. To the right you see some of our corn & sorghum plantings, which are large and happy. Most of the corn is dent corn, meaning it dries in the field and is used over the winter for cornmeal. There’s a little sweet corn, but it didn’t do as well. At the far end of this view, below the scarecrow, are our edamame beds, which proved very productive even through deer browse, wet conditions, and thick weeds. They’ve proven so popular at market that we can’t wait to plant much more next year. To the left you see the portable net fence we use for goat paddocks; they’re helping us clear and maintain the brushy slope above the field.

In the market garden, our third plantings of squash and cucumbers are happy so far. We’re cautiously hopeful for these, which have just started producing, as the first two plantings fell victim to blight and rot in this cool wet summer, as have many folks’. In the background, you see tomatoes, peppers, and fall greens under row cover.

Here’s a pepper bed, lush and happy but slow to ripen fruit without much sun and heat this year. We’ll probably start harvesting the bells for sale next week. The tomatoes behind them are fighting cool temperatures and too much rain, which keeps them from ripening quickly and makes them split (especially the cherry tomatoes). The remnants of Gustav last week (4″) ruined a week’s worth of cherry tomato harvest as the little guys absorbed all that water and burst like fireworks. We’ve probably only been able to sell 20-30% of our tomato harvest this year due to splitting and slow ripening, but the upside is plenty of market-unworthy product to can and freeze for ourselves. In another few years, with much larger production, a summer like this would produce terrible waste, but right now at our small scale we can use and put up most of the unsaleable stuff.

Now coming on are the fall greens like mustard and kale. I hope to take some photos and write specifically about those later this week, including recipe ideas, so look for that around midweek.

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