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Farm Update, July 28

Early this week was glorious to be out at the farm picking to our heart’s content. The ending of the heat wave and the break from humidity made it a pleasure to fill our lugs and baskets with loads of cherry tomatoes, heirlooms, beans, zucchinis, eggplant, and cukes. Over in the pepper patch we are picking shishitos, jalapenos, serranos, and hot hungarian wax peppers. We will leave the sweet bell peppers and bullhorns on the plants until they turn solid red or yellow. The rows of cherry tomatoes and heirlooms are so long and trellised so high that you are in a garden labyrinth ornamented with fiery clusters of red, yellow, and orange tomatoes luring you deeper down the path.  Even though they are straight rows they seem endless and toward the middle you wonder if you took a wrong turn.  Next year perhaps we will put in some breaks in case we need to escape or something.

This week we also planted our first set of cool crop transplants. This bed includes cauliflowers of all shades (purple, cheddar, white, and romanesco); brussel sprouts, and kale. It is a puzzle figuring out where to place these plantings. One factor is that the kale we plant now we hope to keep over winter so we have it for harvesting next May (it’s worth a shot). So we need to be thinking about our layout for next season as well.

We also realized that we have strawberry transplants coming in just over two weeks and were hoping to plant them beside the current strawberry patch so we can benefit from the same electric deer fencing and soil preparations. Currently we have our first couple of tomato plantings occupying the proposed new strawberry bed. Although we thought we would be done picking these tomatoes by the time we needed to plant the strawberries it seems we may have been off by about two weeks.  Since there is so much work in staking and trellising the tomato plants we have too much invested to pull the plug on them and it seems we have to find another bed. This got me looking to our early plantings of squash & cucumbers currently on the other side of the strawberry patch. Although we will not be finished picking our squash and cukes either, we have less invested in them and are wrestling with downy mildew in that patch as well. We have already been pulling out affected plants and hope to have a younger bed a good distance away free of disease starting about that time. The alternative would be to establish a completely separate strawberry patch. So we will see.

Stay tuned for next week when we explore the impact of 6 inches of rain in a 24 hour period on our little patch of farm. Have a great week everyone.

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