Old Plank Farm

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Crop by Crop update

Posted 6/21/2018 2:46pm by Stephanie Bartel.

What's up in the fields of Old Plank Farm? A lot is "up", but not much is ready to eat yet. Today is the first day of summer, and just eight weeks ago we did our first plantings shortly after the last snow fall of the spring. Time flies, the crops are growing, but it is still early to be harvesting too much. We stress this again, for the new folks who aren't yet used to eating seasonally. Curious about what is to come this season? Read on... Need a bed time story that will put your kids right to sleep? Read on...!

Our greenhouse cucumbers and zucchini harvests are a bright spot right now. They help add something besides greens to these early boxes. I hope you've been enjoying them. We expect several more weeks of harvest from them, and then our field zucchini, cucumbers, and yellow squash may start producing. They are young now, but healthy and flowering.
Our tomato greenhouse also looks healthy and has lots of green fruit that may be ready in a few weeks. We're also happy about our field tomato crop, which includes the sungold cherry tomatoes, and paste tomatoes. These showed the least amount of transplant shock than any other year, and are growing nicely now. Fruit to come in mid-late July I would expect. We have drip irrigation on these, to help them through any dry periods that may come.
Spring favorites were late to get out (often we plant them in early April, but this year we still had snow until late April). Carrots, Beets, Scallions, Cippollini onions, broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi are pretty healthy looking, but not ready for harvest for probably two or three more weeks. We planted more plantings of broccoli than any other year. They are staggered, so we hope to give out broccoli more regularly than any other year. This is because over half our members replied to our survey saying that they would use broccoli regularly if we have it. But broccoli plants won't make a nice head of broccoli if they are too stressed from heat, so we may loose some of the mid-summer crop if it is a hot one. Our drip irrigation set up on these beds can help the plants get through hot spells (like the one last week!), so not all hope is lost on this favorite even if it is 100 degrees in July.
Angelica took a picture of the largest carrots, it is in the newsletter she sent out...clearly still too small to give out. These are another favorite that we have scheduled to deliver on a regular basis, as long as we get a decent yield out of each planting. We have plenty of compost and irrigation on these to help make that possible. Last year it went well for carrots, and we have no reason to think that it won't this year, too. But we don't know how it will be until we start digging. Beetie hopes for good carrots. He's more apprehensive about giving out beets. The beet crop looks good, we hope to mainly put beets in the choice boxes every week that we have them available, so that if you love eating beets you can have them every week. If you don't love eating beets but love Beetie, then stay tuned for our upcoming Beetie Fan Club T-shirt! 
Onions are a staple crop, they are a little weedy right now but, and were late to get out. But we planted a lot, so even if they are small, we still have quite a lot of volume that should provide us with a regular supply from early August until the end of the season in late October or early November.
Our garlic crop struggled tremendously this spring (it has to overwinter in the field, and winters aren't always favorable for it). We're not likely to have it very regularly available this season, but there will probably be at least a couple deliveries with some nice bulbs, and then it may end up being a choice item, to help spread it out to those who are most eager for it.
The first melon and watermelon planting went well and the plants are healthy right now. We were just out taking care of these beds today, trying to do everything we can to get the plants to make fruit (keeping them weed free, well watered, and well fed with compost). We know it's a favorite! This crop would probably start to be ready in August, and we will plant more melons two more times so that we can try to give them out at least three times to everyone.
Ahhhh, somebody call a plumber, there's a leak in the field! Oh wait, it's just a bed of leeks, one of my personal favorites. According to our survey it's not a favorite among members, so we'll try not to flood the boxes (pun intended) with them. But if there are any plumbers who are members (I know there are), I hope you'll take some extras and use them to make leek jokes while you are out on plumbing jobs!
Winter squash. We had excellent germination of all our winter squash varieties including delicata, spaghetti, pie pumpkin, butternut, and acorn. Plants are still very young. Sometimes we see bugs on squash plants (very common on organic farms in this region), but there are none here so far. We made sure to put a big scoop of compost on each seed as we planted it. That's for 2+ acres of the crop, which was a big task but well worth it! Many organic farmers still spray "organic" pesticides that are honeybee killers on their squash crops to get rid of these bugs. Our experience has been that creating a fertile, stress free environment is enough to keep our squash plants healthy and bug free, no pesticides needed and not too much crop loss. So far so good this year. Fruit usually starts being ready for harvest in September, with spaghetti and delicata ready first.
Potatoes were planted a little late (four days later than last year, which was already towards to later end of potato planting window), and they were dry for the first week in the ground. But they finally got a good rain last Sunday. It is too soon to predict how the final crop will be. We planted quite a bit extra this year, because we want to do at least one July delivery of "new potatoes", which are small ones that are such a delicious treat. If the crop doesn't look especially good, then we will not do a new potato delivery, and wait to get maximum yields starting with harvesting in late August or early September.
Our first bean and corn plantings didn't look very good when they came up (kind of small scraggly looking seedlings), and I'm not sure why. It was pretty dry, and now they look okay thanks to the good rain we had Sunday night, I think. We do 3-5 plantings of each of these crops, so even if the first ones don't produce much, we have more chances for later harvests. But they may be a little late (August-September).
Peppers and Eggplant are not in a greenhouse this year (they were last year), so we don't expect to have any early ones. We planted more though, especially of peppers, so we do still expect to have them on a regular basis once they start making fruit (late July at the earliest).
Spring turnips and radishes got demolished by flea beetles. I haven't solved the flea beetle puzzle yet. Even copious amounts of compost and water don't seem to help these poor seedlings fight against the flea beetles. Our consolation is that flea beetles only attack these crops in spring. We will plant more in AUgust for harvesting in September and October and there won't be a flea beetle in sight (in a normal year, anyway). The same is true for Arugula. Weird, right? But we won't have any of these crops in the upcoming boxes.
I think that covers a lot (though not quite all) of what is planted, besides the herbs and greens. In short, cilantro and parsley look good right now and we will start harvesting them next week, basil looks below average. Last year deer ate TONS of our lettuce, so this year we planted it in a different spot, up by the greenhouses where it is far less likely to be attacked. I expect we'll have lettuce, salad mix, or kale in over half of the boxes delivered this season. It's about all we seem to have right now, and that's because it grows quickly in spring. So I hope enjoy it now, but if it's not your favorite, I hope you can eat it anyway and look forward to more variety to come in a few weeks.
Well if you made it through this long and boring blog but are still excited about eating vegetables, then we are thrilled to have you as a CSA member! We'll keep working hard all season to make it a good one for you! Thank you for caring about our farm, your health, and the world we all share.
Happy First Day of Summer!
-Farmer Stephanie
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