Slosh

 So many clouds to notice in this weather!

So many clouds to notice in this weather!

2018 Week 38, Summer CSA Pick-up 16 of 26

Fall starts next week, and so what an appropriate close to the summer this rain has been. It would almost feel wrong to leave it with anything less than a 2-inch week … which we have had. It was pretty sloshy picking raspberries in the rain today, but it was windy too, which made it more adventure than routine. I hope you all are dry — or, if wet, warm like me, which has been a pretty cozy and spirited way to take in this much water, I have found.

As before, the raspberries are frozen, so as not to give you wet berry goo. We have an abundance of cherry tomatoes, which are great for hot-pop pasta — garlic, onions, hot pepper, sweet pepper in a skillet, then add a few cherry tomatoes cut in half, but a preponderance of uncut fruit, which are fun to pop in your mouth, warm and sweet. Celery is on the list for another week or two longer, so make note.

I have been working on the 2019 plan, and entering-in 2018 data as I go. I have most of the summer in, and it is good — truly — to be able to sit with the numbers, which are so much more useful than speculation. Per those numbers, the farm produced at 20% this year, a 60% reduction from last year. Wow! Something of a wipe-out. So far, though, we’ve managed $23/adult/week out for the $20 that came in. So, good news and bad news.

I am working on a “Thank you for your endurance, here’s the next summer’s discount” plan. I, of course, am also walking, looking, staring, reading, and questioning all I can to make sure that it all doesn’t happen again — should such an anomalous summer repeat itself.

I hope you all are well,
See you on the farm,
Austin

Expected Harvest

Greens
Chard

Veggies
Carrots
Celery
Okra
Onions
Pepper, Sweet
Potatoes
Tomatoes, Large & Small

Fruit
Raspberries

Herbs
Ashwagandha, dried
Basil, Holy
Basil, Thai
Dill
Garlic
Hot Pepper, Fresh & Dried
Mint, of some kind
Scallions
Shiso
Sorrel

Staples
Beans, Dry
Popcorn

The Pickle Pile

Flowers

 I was trying to disentangle the interaction between two variables — this farm, this year — when compared to past years. 100% is what I’ve done in the past on other farms, when looking at ‘Percent of Crop Goal’ as either pounds/row-foot/week x % weeks available, or lb/row-foot total for bulk crops. Blue is the wet 2018, Green is the friendlier 2017. Crops are sorted by 2017 % goal, low to high. Aside from Garlic, Snap Beans, and Chard, everything did worse this year. And when compared to expected goals, obviously not very well.  I only sold 40% of goal yield to the CSA, thinking that was a fair enough buffer, after looking at the 2017 numbers and upping plantings appropriately, and understanding that the soil — just the second year working on it — was at maybe 50-60% capability. I also cover cropped extensively, continued to amend according to soil tests, and adjusted crop spacing for better yields. Again, in a normal year, we should have been somewhere close to 60%.  Twice as many summer squash went into the field this year, but that that gave only 1/3 as many fruits … meaning 1/6th as much productivity. Cucurbits — squash family crops — were hit especially hard by the weather, with winter squash & watermelon at 0%, cucumbers at 16%, and summer squash at 17%. And though there were varietal winners — ‘DMR 401’ and ‘General Lee (F1)’ cucumbers lived while everything else died — and we will use them all in the future, the real work will be to improve the chemistry > physical structure > biology > ecology of the soil to improve crop health. See the far compost pile photo for a tantalizing counterpoint.  In short, 1) the farm was running at 20% this year, which was 2) a 60% reduction from last year, meaning 3) the rain was pretty gnarly, and 4) it’s the farm’s fault we’re at 50 percent, but the rain’s fault we were at 20 … momentarily excluding any thought of farm-rain interactions, and using words like ‘fault.’

I was trying to disentangle the interaction between two variables — this farm, this year — when compared to past years. 100% is what I’ve done in the past on other farms, when looking at ‘Percent of Crop Goal’ as either pounds/row-foot/week x % weeks available, or lb/row-foot total for bulk crops. Blue is the wet 2018, Green is the friendlier 2017. Crops are sorted by 2017 % goal, low to high. Aside from Garlic, Snap Beans, and Chard, everything did worse this year. And when compared to expected goals, obviously not very well.

I only sold 40% of goal yield to the CSA, thinking that was a fair enough buffer, after looking at the 2017 numbers and upping plantings appropriately, and understanding that the soil — just the second year working on it — was at maybe 50-60% capability. I also cover cropped extensively, continued to amend according to soil tests, and adjusted crop spacing for better yields. Again, in a normal year, we should have been somewhere close to 60%.

Twice as many summer squash went into the field this year, but that that gave only 1/3 as many fruits … meaning 1/6th as much productivity. Cucurbits — squash family crops — were hit especially hard by the weather, with winter squash & watermelon at 0%, cucumbers at 16%, and summer squash at 17%. And though there were varietal winners — ‘DMR 401’ and ‘General Lee (F1)’ cucumbers lived while everything else died — and we will use them all in the future, the real work will be to improve the chemistry > physical structure > biology > ecology of the soil to improve crop health. See the far compost pile photo for a tantalizing counterpoint.

In short, 1) the farm was running at 20% this year, which was 2) a 60% reduction from last year, meaning 3) the rain was pretty gnarly, and 4) it’s the farm’s fault we’re at 50 percent, but the rain’s fault we were at 20 … momentarily excluding any thought of farm-rain interactions, and using words like ‘fault.’

 Some of the cover crops come in. Buckwheat and Tillage Radish predominate, with just a bit of Austrian Winter Pea poking through. I shall edit those ratios in the future to get a little more nitrogen fixation.

Some of the cover crops come in. Buckwheat and Tillage Radish predominate, with just a bit of Austrian Winter Pea poking through. I shall edit those ratios in the future to get a little more nitrogen fixation.

 One of the experimental subjects escaped containment this year. This is Pearl Millet. It was in a biculture with soybean for a late summer in-situ mulch to roll-kill. It was slow to grow in the spring, so worried that it would be in the way of the fall crops, I mowed and tilled it in before planting. … but not all of it! And boy did it grow this summer once the heat came on. Some of it got to six feet, and started to think about spreading seed.

One of the experimental subjects escaped containment this year. This is Pearl Millet. It was in a biculture with soybean for a late summer in-situ mulch to roll-kill. It was slow to grow in the spring, so worried that it would be in the way of the fall crops, I mowed and tilled it in before planting. … but not all of it! And boy did it grow this summer once the heat came on. Some of it got to six feet, and started to think about spreading seed.

 That’s a single winter squash plant coming out of a compost pile. Some of the leaves are close to three feet across. Three feet! ‘Genetic Potential’ is something I think about a lot.

That’s a single winter squash plant coming out of a compost pile. Some of the leaves are close to three feet across. Three feet! ‘Genetic Potential’ is something I think about a lot.