Tuesday, August 10, 2010

In the Share - Week 14

TOMATOES (F/P) Another week of an adequate tomato crop, nothing too overwhelming. Plants that survived the cold, wet early May are doing horrid compared to those planted afterward, some of which are slow to ripen.
WATERMELON (F/P) A choice of two varieties: the red Sangria (oblong and grassy-green on the outside) or the yellow Peace (more round and a lighter green with dark green stripes). As our favorite Coop seed company, Fedco, says "Give Peace a chance".
SALSA PACK (F/P) All full shares get them, partial shares get a choice with carrots
CARROTS All orange this week
GARLIC (F/P) An artichoke softneck variety
HERB CHOICE: Basil, garlic chives or a dried herb. Partial shares choose between garlic and herbs.
SUMMER SQUASH (F) Running out of summer squash recipes? The last planting of the season is just coming on now. Check out FSF CSA member Emily Akin's blog for a recipe for vegetarian squash burgers
CHERRY TOMATOES OR RATTLESNAKE BEANS (F) The pole beans are beginning to slow, so enjoy them while you can
HOT PEPPERS OR EGGPLANT (P) Check Tom's blog from last week for the hot pepper i.d.
EGGPLANT, SWEET PEPPERS OR OKRA (F) Nothing loves the heat more than the okra.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Parker Farms shares delivery

NEXT WEEK: More tomatoes, squash, peppers, eggplant and salsa. A few more melons. The last planting of cucumbers may be starting. Potatoes and onions return.

When Tom and I first moved back to the Graff-Cave Family Farm in the fall of 2002 the region was in the second year of a two-year drought. Photographs from the time contain lots of burned-up grass and stunted crops. Our first irrigation system was built in a hurry out of resources on hand. The old cattle pond served as water source and a gas-powered generator pumped the water to our thirsty crops. It wasn't a very elegant solution, but it kept our plants alive along with our dream of building a truly sustainable farm.
Fast forward to 2010 during a hot, dry summer. Yes, I said dry. Most everyone in the region is feeling the heat this summer, but most have had record rainfall to go with it. Not us. We count ourselves lucky to have missed the 2-5 inch deluges that others have received. The headline of the KC STAR today reads First rain, now heat causes grumbling among growers. While our neighbors to the north and south have much to grumble about, we have been spared for the most part (what's my excuse then?!).

pond full of water makes farmer sleep easy

Dry weather can only be looked upon as good luck if you have an dependable irrigation system. Ours has come along way since our first year at the farm. A new pond and a solar-powered pump bring water to our fields cleanly, quietly and cheaply with a rate of at least 25 gallons per minute. We've been pumping thousands of those gallons on our fields for the better of three weeks now and will probably be pumping for a couple weeks more. As long as we get the usual soaking fall rains, the pond should recharge quickly. Irrigation is especially critical for establishing the fall crops.

Newly transplanted cabbage with drip tape

The next chapter in the irrigation saga is about to unfold. Energize Missouri Agriculture, a program funded with Federal stimulus dollars is helping us expand our solar-powered system. With cost-share funds we were able to purchase additional solar panels and underground supply pipe that will make our system more energy-efficient with better pressure so that we can bring water to the highest sections of the farm. We will be installing the supply line in the next month or two, as soon as the weather breaks and we have time to get to it.

pile of pipe and valve boxes waiting to be put to use

1 comment:

Emily said...

Here's another good squash recipe - "golden summer soup with salsa" - yum! http://everythingbeginswithane.blogspot.com/2009/08/summer-squash-soup-with-salsa.html