The Great Season Change-over

After lumbering down the stairs in my usual under-dressed morning attire, I threw open the patio door to retrieve something from the cabin in the backyard. Cold air blasted me like I’d just stepped into an walk-in cooler. What happened? Is summer over?

Cold House.JPG
Cold House Planted to Greens, Fall 2017

Each August, autumn starts to find us. It starts with some cool nights, and, before you know it, frost. This morning’s insta-chill reminded me that I have to get to work on the great season change-over this week! The fall season is a great time to grow cool-season crops, but, due to the loss of sunlight and heat, it’s a tight window to get things planted with any hope of harvest. Those seeds planted in the ground this week have a fighting chance. In 10 days time, it’s hopeless.

The great season change-over entails us planting the last crops outside, preparing and planting our two high tunnels, and getting some cover crops started in the fields.

One of our high tunnels is currently filled with tomato and cucumber plants and will be our ‘cool house’ where we will heat just enough to keep the interior near freezing into December. This will allow us to move along cool-season greens, radishes, and the like without stressing them through cold. Our other high tunnel, on the other hand, is totally unheated and will be filled with cold-hearty spinach which survive just about anything. Last year our latest harvest was the middle of December and was super sweet after going down into the single digits. We cover the plants in this greenhouse with a floating row cover, which helps retain a few precious degrees as we head into snow territory.

The last couple of years I’ve fallen short of getting cover crops in place, but I’m committed this year. We use a standard rye and vetch mix which is very hardy in MN. It covers the ground so I don’t have wind erosion where the ground is exposed in the winter and it keeps the ground in place when spring rains come, all the while adding biomass and nitrogen to the soil. It’s an all-round good thing, but I just have to get it done.

This whole post is putting me on edge and making me feel like a squirrel who needs to store nuts really quickly…got to go! Lidafarmer over and out.

In the box:

    • A Few Ears of Silver King White Sweet Corn: This is the end of the line on the corn. I find this Silver King a nice change-up from sweet bi-color corn.
    • Cantaloupe
    • Eggplant: A lot of people suffer with finding a way to prepare eggplant. If you’re tired of eggplant parmesan or fried and breaded, try this baba ganoush dip (baba ganoush is also really fun to say).
    • Salad Mix
    • Cilantro
    • Yellow Onion
    • Shallots: These are small and pink in color. You can use where ever a recipe calls for an onion. Store like all onions, in a dry place at room temperature.
    • Carrots
    • Beets 
    • Anaheim Peppers
    • Colored Pepper
    • Tomato mix: Most are romas (best for saucing, not fresh eating) since they haven’t been in before, but you also received a regular slicing tomato and a Cherokee Purple, a wonderful heirloom.

 

 


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