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Farm Update, July 21

This week things really heated up. The stands and CSA are so busy at the peak of the season that at the farm there is no letting up no matter how hot it gets. Everyday we are picking squash, beans, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, onions, cherry and heirloom tomatoes plus basil, sunflowers, squash blossoms, basil, okra, field greens, chard and kale. It seems a never ending task that you knock out in two shifts beginning early in the morning and working until sundown. There is a break in the middle of the day for lunch and relaxing while the sun burns off its hottest temps. Then back to work. All that is harvested is delivered to the packing house just before lunch and again at the end of the day. The next morning it starts all over again.

In addition to picking there is still maintenance and scouting that needs to be kept up with. Weeds and pests are contended with. Plants are fertilized.  Some are staked, and trellised when needed. Irrigation needs adjusting. Beds being shaped and raised, plastic mulch still getting laid and baby plants getting planted. This was a tough week but we realize that at this time of year you just keep plugging away and don’t think about how tired you are. We have to keep a rotation in mind as we fill empty rows and finish picking others.

Although we are very pleased with our harvest both in quality and quantity and feel that we definitely have improved our system from last year; we have also hit a few bumps in the road. First and foremost, you probably won’t be seeing lettuce from us for about six weeks. Our lettuce patch was decimated by deer destroying about 1500 heads of romaine, greenleaf, and redleaf. We will try and cover the rows we are currently planting with some sort of netting and see if its effective, however deep down I realize what we need is sturdy, expensive deer fencing around the perimeter of our production area and by forking over the initial expense we will save in the long run. The other pressure we are facing is the appearance of what we believe to be downy mildew on our squash plants. It is a plant disease which attacks the foliage and is typically due to excessive moisture. Since we irrigate with drip beneath plastic mulch, this moisture is coming from the heavy rains we have had over the past couple weeks. We are currently analyzing our plants and may need to act quickly by removing or pruning them as well as considering fungicide as an option as well.

Coming up in the next couple weeks should be our fabulous homegrown tomatoes, and bell peppers. Enjoy the bounty and have a great week everybody.

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Potomac, MD 20854

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