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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

late Summer garden

5 pictures of the garden shot in a panoramic way from west to east looking northward. The first photo shows the melon and squash beds plus the spring hoophouses (sans plastic) that still have cukes, zukes, basil and maters. The 2nd shot is pretty much the same stuff 'cepting you can see the asparagus a bit better. 3rd shot is more of the same. I don't know what is under the row covers in this shot, I think fall carrots. The hoophouse to the right has early cantaloupe and Charentais melons. The 4th shot has the melon house plus the start of the fall garden under row covers. These beds have late beans, kale, brussel sprouts, broccoli and some herbs. The 5th shot shows more of the same plus Eugene weeding or harvesting and the tomatoes and peppers (the area with the stakes).

The summer garden has past its' peak. The melons, winter and summer squash are waning but they had a good run and we have gotten some very nice melons and squash. The onions are just about over. I believe we have 2 1/2 beds left to harvest. The leeks are just now coming into their own but will have to be harvested in the near future before the onion maggots ruin them for selling purposes. The peppers are full of peppers and several types are beginning to get ripe. The heirloom, red ruffled has 3 or 4 full ripe peppers as of yesterday.

The green beans have been surprising. We did not remove the first beds of beans planted way back in May as was planned and now they are more productive than they were in June. The plants look like hell but the beans are beautiful. This is a relief because the 3rd bean succession planting was a bust-the european bean beetles (they look a lot like a cuke beetle) got on those plants and pretty much ruined the beans for selling or freezing. They was sum butt ugly beans and you cannot ask a premium price on your Roma and French filet beans if they are shot full of bug bites. We have several more beds of beans under row covers just about ready to blooms. Looks like this fall we will be picking bushels of beans for market. It's a shame here at the farm the vast majority of folks who stop by the store want 1/2 runners, an old time string bean that is difficult to harvest and whose fan base do not want to pay more than $20 a bushel for (because that is what their parents and grand parents paid back in the 1960's. I have a personal vendetta against 1/2 runners-they are hard to pick, I personally do not the taste and the way they are traditionally cooked offends the gourmand in me deeply so I won't grow the things-but I do have a friend, Don Schwab, at the Oxford Saturday Market who does so I have been able to supply a few folks with a few 1/2 bushels.

The fall garden has been started. Back in early July we put in a small patch of tomatoes, eggplant and peppers to be put in a hoophouse. We also planted brussel sprouts (few things better than a well grown fresh brussel sprouts, BTW) and another bed of Kale. This past week Eugene tilled about 7 beds for zucchinis, lettuce, spring mix, arugula, cantaloups all of which will end up under plastic by late fall/early winter. We still need to order some strawberry plants for a fall planting so we have berries in early May next year. After a season of picking we have decided that we will no longer be growing Tri-Star berries any longer and will switch to Tribute which makes a far larger and sweeter berry (the catalogues all say Tri-Star is a superior berry and we have grown it for the past 5 years with good success but the Tribute has been consistently far better this year on this farm).

The plan is to have fresh home grown veggies for sale at our farm store as well as at the Oxford farmers’ markets well into the winter. it is tricky to have things from the garden to sell in January but we have been working on growing for winter for the past 6 years or so and generally have a good supply of onions, garlic, various winter squashes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, plus greens such as kale and arugula out of the hoophouse. This year we are adding more dried herbs to the mix.

But for now we still have the waning summer garden to deal with and a market to attend this afternoon.

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