Turning a Corner

Got cold didn’t it? I went and got a jacket in order to sit outside last nigh. But wonderful working weather…I can do anything when it’s 75 degrees!

Seems like we are inching into high season finally, but it certainly has take some time. I’m excited that we got some green beans and cherry tomatoes in the box, but this is still a super late start. I put seeds in trays to start these cherry tomato plants way back in March. They got into their high tunnel home about May 10 after waiting for snow to clear and only now are they starting to kick out enough ripe fruit to get into the box. I see peppers on plants maturing, many regular tomatoes forming fruits, and those potatoes are getting to golf ball size size. And, yes, tassels started on the sweet corn a good week ago so cobs are getting formed.

I like high produce season where we get the full bounty of the garden. It really is the main event for me when produce is just everywhere, but I really dislike waiting for the time to come. Than anticipation of these main crops gets me to treating the plants like my kids when in elementary school: “come on, already…we got to get going…get your shoes on and get out the door!”

  • Green Beans
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Green Cabbage
  • Beet Bunch
  • Green Garlic: This is just uncured garlic. Use however you’d use garlic…if you want to cure, just leave out in a dry, warm place for a 5-6 days.
  • Fresh Fennel: These are a bit smaller than they typically should be – if you are unfamiliar with using fresh fennel, you can use the frilly fronds in salads or both the bulb and fronds in sauces like a light italian sauce or marinara or pizza sauce.

Puppy Terror

Things are going pretty good here at Lida Farm. We’ve had some nice rains lately and some great growing weather. 80 during the day, 60 at night. Sure, it’s a bit of a slog to go hand weed another row of peppers, but we’re making headway. The only frustrating thing lately has been this darn dog.

When a person gets a puppy, they think that they will quickly mold this new member of the family into being dutiful and productive. One doesn’t think that they are welcoming someone who is a deranged mix between a terrorist and a comedian into their household. I don’t know what’s in this dog’s mind, but he’s certainly too smart for his own good and he certainly likes to mess with me.

I’m out bunching beets yesterday. We need 54 bunches for the boxes this week, so I’m counting them as I pick them up. Hmm, three bunches short. Could it have been Miso who I’ve already seen pickup a bunch of beets and run off down the bed at breakneck speed? Suspect number one again. And for good reason. Walking back to the packing shed, Mar stumbles upon the evidence. Three beet bunches together in a pile and chewed on. Maybe those aren’t HIS teeth marks, but I don’t need forensics to solve this crime.

You get the picture. Cute? Yes. Fun at times? Sure. Driving me crazy? No doubt. I’m now estimating that this dog has made the farm about 5% less efficient. This balances out, however, as the farm is also at least 5% more interesting 🙂

  • Green ‘Farao’ Cabbage
  • Beet Bunch: See hummus recipe below
  • Swiss Chard
  • Cucumbers
  • Little Parsley
  • Little Basil
  • Green Onions
  • Lettuces

Beet Hummus – don’t knock it until you’ve tried it: https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/beet_hummus/

The Magical Even Rain

Well, wonders never cease. We actually had a nice constant rain this weekend. Not a deluge. Not a rain with a 70 mph wind. A constant rain that just fell from the sky – a true soaker. I’m very thankful and I’m sure you are as well. Throw in 80 degrees during the day and 60 at night and we’ve got some serious growing weather on our hands. I expect plants (including the weeds) to really go into light-speed growth stage.

Spinach in June at Dusk

Our history of rain so far this season hasn’t been the best, in keeping with the bad pattern of no precipitation followed by downpour for the last 5 years or so. Last year the rain gods were simply on strike with no rain at all. One big issue with rain and vegetable farming is the timing. A big downpour when corn is waist high is not nearly as big of a deal as those May and June rains we got when most plants were the size of my fingernail. The crops can’t deal with that much water at that stage – it’s like blasting a toddler with a firehose. If a crop is big when the rain comes, lots of water can be taken up into the roots and into the plants.

So, here we are in the first half of July and these beautiful rains couldn’t have come at better times. The beans, cucumbers, and tomatoes are flowering and corn and squash are getting into their big growth stage. These major crops are getting ready to produce and a well-timed rain together with pretty good control of weeds to date should make for some serious production. Stay tuned!

  • Salad mix
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Dino or Curley Kale
  • Green Onions
  • Kohlrabi
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumbers: A variety called Diva, which is an English type grown in the high tunnel. The recipe below uses the same variety for a simple cuke salad.
  • Parsley

Work Manifestation

Very typical of this time of year, I was looking around at tasks piling up. Fall carrots – man, I’ve got to plant you. Tomato trellising – boy, you’re half-way done, but you need to be full done. Onions needing weeding, composting needing spreading…should I go on?

I’m at least smart enough to know when I see a trainwreck coming. I need some help! Call it the collective unconscious, manifesting energy, or the work of God, the universe does respond. In the past week, I have had a person looking for work just show up, and had many unexpected moments of people chipping in.

Olesya, her husband, and two young boys and her family fled Ukraine in March, certainly never thinking she’d be pulling weeds at Lida Farm. As a refugee in a kind of legal limbo with rent payments and bills looming, Olesya is grateful for the work and I’m grateful for the help. She’s lasted a solid two days so far and gotten a sunburn. Myself, I’m just grateful for google translate since my Ukrainian is non-existent.

Olesya and her husband, Vova, at their community garden plot in Pelican Rapids Photo from https://www.facebook.com/TheJourneyToSafety

Throw in Archer deciding to go to college in Canada, pushing the start of school off along with his departure from MN, along with a Ryan and his daughter Rinley pitching in for an hour on Saturday, and yes it’s one of those moments when I feel that we get what we seek.

In the box:

  • Zucchini
  • Green Curly Kale
  • Garlic Scapes
  • Radishes
  • Salad Mix : The greens in the bag – these are all
  • Greenleaf Lettuce
  • Kohlrabi: Yes, people almost always peel and eat fresh, but I added the video below because he gives instruction on how to cook (with the greens)…I chose it in part because he got all Midwestern and threw shredded cheese on top. I haven’t tried this, but I might.
  • Cucumber
  • Fresh Basil