A note from Wyatt: Farm Update – Summer Solstice

Once again the Solstice is here! I have done a poor job of communicating with CSA about how the season is going but fortunately the crew and I have done our best job ever in the field. We have a great returning farm crew this season. With six people besides Amy and I sharing managerial responsibility we have been able to accomplish an incredible amount. The entire farm season is challenging but the May 15- June 15th time period is always the hardest. May 15th is the safe date (from frost) to plant the warm season crops. In this 30 day window we need to plant almost half of the farm. This would not be so hard except that CSA starts May 20th and we have to go to market and fill restaurant orders and weed and water all the other crops already in the ground at the same time.

Just about everything is doing well this season with a few exceptions. We are optimistic that the tomato crop will be a success this year. We row covered all 3000 plants to try and keep them from getting disease vectored by insects. The plants are big enough that it is time to trellis them and take the row cover off and they are starting to flower. There are three successions of green beans planted. The earliest is flowering and we will try to plant 2 more successions in the next few weeks. To have constant supplies of many crops we repeatedly plant successions. For arugula we sometimes plant as many as 11 successions in a season.

The spinach is one of our few failures this year. The excessive rain last fall brought salts in the ground to the surface and the spinach turned yellow and died. The spinach came up and looked fine but then just when it should have really grown it turned yellow. We have one more succession in that might make it- it is not in a salty area but temperatures might get too hot for it to do well.

We are always trying to improve the CSA and offer more choices. We have a few new things this year. We tried harder to get more peas to the CSA, weather cooperated and we have them. We also have lots of Fava beans. We have kolhrabi, celery and fennel that are doing well for the few of you who like these crops. The zucchini, melons, cucumbers, peppers, and eggplant all look good. The winter squash and pumpkins are just coming up. The potatoes look better than they ever have this early in the season and we should have some new potatoes in a few weeks. The onions are a little way out, but, look perfect.

Last year the April planting of 15,000 transplants of kale, chard, collards, broccoli, and cauliflower failed. It snowed every week in April so we planted them too late and they had become too root bound to recover. This year that same planting is doing well and we already have some broccoli and cauliflower. Javier has become incredibly efficient at using our transplanter and with 3 people can transplant 15,000 transplants in a day.

We just need to keep weeding and watering and we should have a great season.

Thanks for being part of our CSA.

Red Wagon Organic Farm

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