Fall Planting

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It’s the middle of September but it feels like springtime all over again. The days have been warm, the nights have been cold, the grow room is full of plants and once again, lamentably, we have a lot of work to do. Thankfully, fall planting should be our last big push of the year, then we can rest. I’m looking forward to the rest. But before we get there, we still have to put in a few thousand transplants, plant the alliums, direct seed carrots and mache, build some hoops, frame out the ends of our tall hoops, get everything protected against the winter cold and prep our dormant beds for next year. It’ll be a lot of work but it’ll be over soon enough. One last big push.

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The Tomato System, V1.0

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Things are nervous on our tiny farm. The first hard frost is lurking like a vandal. The season is ending. I can smell it. It’ll be Armageddon for cucumbers and catastrophe for peppers. The zucchini blossoms will all turn black and crunchy. No more basil. No more melons. No more pansies for our salad mix. Fortunately, our tomatoes are protected. They’ll survive awhile longer. But even their end is near. The time has come to take account.

It’s been a long year for us on the farm. And to be totally honest, the amount of energy (and the number of hours) I’ve been able to put in has been waning for a while. I’ve been getting by on good intentions and the grace of my friends. Fortunately, all the hard work we’d done earlier in the year laid a solid foundation and allowed us to coast a bit. Otherwise we’d have augured a long time ago.

With that in mind, looking back on the year, I focus on the positive. I focus on our  plant / soil block sales. I focus on our greens. And I focus on tomatoes.

This was our year to finally learn to grow tomatoes. And while we still have a lot to learn, we’ve come a long way. Our system allowed us to be among the very first growers to have ripe tomatoes at market. We’ll likely also be among the last. Our yields were great and our quality was very good. Of everything we’ve done around here, I might be most proud of the tomatoes. We’ve struggled mightily in the past. It’s good to have turned at least one corner, at least temporarily.

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Summer Kale Part 3 and Citrus Kale Salad

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Three months ago I decided to do a short series of posts about summer kale. The thought was that while people are becoming okay with kale in the winter, it still gets overlooked in the summer. That’s a shame. Kale is one of very few veggies that can be grown all year long. It’s always in season. My plan was to argue the case for summertime kale. This is the third and final post in that series.

We grow three varieties of kale on our tiny farm; Curly, Red Russian and Lacinato. In many ways, they’re all quite similar, sharing a basic, earthy kale-ishness. At the same time, they’re unique and distinct enough to more than justify our offering all three varieties. Here’s a quick rundown of how they differ and how we use them: Continue reading Summer Kale Part 3 and Citrus Kale Salad