Garden Explosion

Wow…the weather over the last couple of weeks has been crazy.  I remember saying to myself about three weeks ago, “Hey, things are looking pretty good and the weeds are pretty much under control.”  But that was before we hit this stretch of heat, rain, and evening temperatures in the 80’s.  This cocktail of elements made for a garden explosion where small weeds turned into small trees and produce popped up over night.

This sounds like I good thing.  I would agree it’s great for those heat-loving plants like melons, tomatoes, and corn.  However, it does throw off the plan for the season.  I’ve had the second planting of beans I put in three weeks after the first catch up and start putting on beans at the same time.  That wasn’t supposed to happen.  We had our second planting of lettuce go from beautiful to all bitter and bolting over the course of three days.  Lastly, I’m used to spacing out pickings of zucchini and cucumbers every 3-4 days, but when I tried this last week, little zucchini turned into baseball bats in about 36 hours.  Yikes.

Still lots to do.  We’re trying to get the tomato trellis up, get fall cole crops, carrots, and other greens planted, all the while rescuing plants that currently buried under 2 foot-high pigweed or lamb’s quarters.  Overwhelming, yes, but a situation we’ve found ourselves in the past.  We always seem to pull out of it.

In the box:
Fennel: The bulb with the frilly frawns on top which smells like licorice.
Dill: Exhibit one of a crop which got overwhelmed by the fast growing weeds.  It isn’t as pretty as it should be, but it should work.  I planned it to be delivered with the first potatoes.
Flat-leaf parsley
Norland Potatoes: I like this fresh potatoes, which you can tell are fresh by their tender skins which rubs off easily.
Broccoli
Cabbage: Mostly standard green Stonehead, but some of you received Alcosa, a wrinkly Savoy cabbage variety.
Green Onions
Fresh Garlic: Uncured garlic which is a bit stronger than cured garlic, but also with a fresh, bright flavor.  Use as you would any garlic.
Cukes
Summer Squash
Green Beans

Hot, Hot, Hot

This morning I was out picking peas as a front came in.  The bright sunny morning turned into night-time just before the clouds unloaded on me.  It made me think about how much we’re “locked in” this time of year…all year ’round really.  Although picking peas in the rain isn’t ideal…the boxes need to go out by the afternoon no matter what.  Looking to next week, it seems like we’re in for a hot one.  NOAA weather even has this new picture I’ve never seen before of this blazing sun (left). It’ll be interesting.

In the box:
Deep Purple Scallions: A different color from your typical green onions, but the same flavor.
Gonzales Green Cabbage
A mix of Cucumbers: They are first starting to come in, so there’s a motley mix.  Some are squat pickling cucumbers, some are the first regular slicing cucumbers, and the smooth-skinned ones are a Middle-Eastern variety called Socrates.
Zucchini: Everyone has a standard zuke called Cashflow, and most should also have a round zuke called 8-Ball.  Otherwise you got a yellow straightneck.
Salad Mix: Sorry for the over abundance of lettuce, but this stuff needed to be cut or it would all go bad.
Red Oakleaf Lettuce
Romaine Lettuce
Frisee: The really frilly green which is typically found in a salad mix.
Snap Peas: These are edible pods peas, so don’t shell them…just eat them.
Red Rubin Basil: Use the same as you would regular green basil.
“Green” Garlic: This is fresh garlic so it’s not dried down or cured yet.  You use the same way as any garlic….it’s just a bit stronger flavor.

Hail! The Bane of Growers Everywhere

Man, I feel like I just can’t catch a break lately. When an isolated storm came through this week, I figured, what’s the chance. But looking at the TV satellite, I noticed the path was slated to come right over the top of our place. And came it did…bringing not just a heavy rain, but about 10 minutes of hail too. Hail! Every growers nightmare. What’s worse it came with a strong wind, so it cuts through plants even better. Basically this affects some crops more than others. The hardest hit are plants with broad leaves like Swiss Chard and the like…you’ll notice that this salad mix isn’t as beautiful as it was just two days ago (there may be a little “picking through” necessary, so look out). It’s actually good that some plants are not as far along as they should be like peppers; right now they are still just little plants with little foliage to lose…it would have been disastrous if actual peppers were on the plants. All told, it could have been worse.

Anyway, I’m thinking the rest of the season will be on the up and up since we’ve gotten the bad stuff out of the way. The soil around here is very heavy and is finally starting to warm up, which gets the plants growing. Up until our recent heat wave, a number of plants just sat there—not much bigger than when I put them in.

Hot!

A absolute nightmare heat descended on Minnesota last week. My father-in-law follows weather like a hawk online and he said Vergas had a temperature of 97 and a dewpoint of 83 last sunday for a heat index of 122 degrees!! Man, it was insane.

As you can imagine this is not good for any crop. Even vegetables like melons and tomatoes which really like heat just shut down and try to survive, especially with such little moisture in the soil. Luckily we got nearly an inch of rain last Friday night, so I think all the plants have made it “over the hump.” So, pray for a solid 80-some degrees with a weekly rain from here until frost.

Saturday’s menu:
Juliet paste or plum tomatoes (new)
Taxi yellow tomatoes (new)
Valley Girl tomatoes (new)
…all these small, early-variety tomatoes are just coming in, so supply won’t be great.
Beets (new)
Mix of Cherry Tomatoes: Grape, Sungold orange variety, and Washington Cherry variety
Cucumbers
Summer Squash and Zucchini
Sweet Onions
Red Onions
Garlic and a couple Garlic Braids
Bok Choy
Last of Broccoli
Red Cabbage
Cut Flower Bouquets
Norland Red Potatoes

I’m out of town until Friday night, so let’s hope I have time and energy to pull off harvest!