2019 Week 32, Summer CSA 10 of 26
Thank you so much for the rain dance dancing you all did last week. We got 1.75, 1.5, and 1 inch over three consecutive days. After all that rain, the soil was still just dry enough to dig potatoes. But wet enough to plant the seedlings we had backlogged in the greenhouse: basils, lettuce, fennel, flowers, and celery all made it in. This is a pretty significant week, as, aside from late greens, the last of 2019 goes into the field. Hip hip!
Here's an interesting fact: relative to the start of the season, when farming in the north, we just closed things down for the year, having hit the first frost, with only a few root crops to gather and the snow about to come. But here in the south, we have two more months to go … and then the winter line comes as a kind of fuzzy medium between fall and spring. There's a lot of room in these two extra months for summer veggies, but also a good amount to learn, especially regarding varieties that take the heat and humidity -- whether it be beans, greens, or tomatoes. Sometime in the future I can talk more about that, as it’s most important to the future of the kind of low energy, biological, plastic-less farming we’re trying to develop. It also speaks of proper pacing, not only for the timing of plantings, but the farmer.
As you can clearly see, the farm is limping a bit. If a bit is a lot. I sent some soil off to the lab, and the results are back: our phosphorous is at about 6% of goal, with the potassium down to about 48%. Despite fall rock applications last year, all of that rain pretty seriously leached our phosphorous, which clay does a poor job of holding. The inability to seed cover crops due to waterlogged soils also limited the amount of biological cycling that normally occurs, which is really where farm phosphorous should come from.
We plant most things every two weeks — new beans, squash, cucumbers, watermelons, corn, etc. all go in routinely — but there’s a pretty substantial pipeline which buffers our response time. Once we see something off, there are still months of crops that we can’t address. We’re responding, though! I have been foliar feeding with rock phosphorous, now have soil lab results to properly amend this fall, and am testing a new mix of rocks, plants, microbes, and molasses to aerobically brew for a foliar spray. The idea is that I’m tired of getting 20% back for 100% in — :) — and will be training-wheeling our crops with foliar spoonfuls while the soil gets its legs.
Unrelated to that, and while I’m piling it on, I will also remind you of that note from some months back when I said, “The third planting of tomatoes didn’t make it.” That was our August batch, which a supposedly innocuous alfalfa meal addition burnt at the root. I put the 4th planting in the ground a little early, and seeded the 5th in the greenhouse early, too. But that’s the state of things.
I do apologize, but that’s why we kept the price artificially low again this year. The farm eats this failure — rather than the CSA — and, so far, you all are getting $27/adult/wk for the $20 that went in. I’m rectifying that disparity in future — :) — because we’ll go out of business if we keep that up. But it’s something of a built-in consolation for early soil deficiencies. Thank you all for understanding.
See you on the farm,
Taking a mid-summer break.
Bean, Cowpea Snap
Bean, Soy / Edamame
Mint, of some flavor
Farm Honey & Ferments for sale.
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On break for the summer.