The weather has cooled off nicely and that means it's time to plant. We'd love to germinate Winter veggies quicker than now, but the temperature dictates when we start. When the temps are in the upper 70s then the seeds have a more successful time germinating. Plus, it's a whole lot easier planting seeds for us too when the weather is cooler.
We've had a good deal of rain this week too. The farm is saturated, which is good, but now we need it to dry out so we can begin to build raised beds and get ready to plant.
Next weekend we'll be busy at work with some of our CSA members who will be volunteering their time to help make next years harvest better than ever. We will poke 4,000 green garlic and 2,000 shallot bulbs in the ground along wtih sowing a 500 foot block of carrots too!
Other veggies that will begin being planted are Lettuces, Spinach, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Swiss Chards, Cabbages, Beets, Turnips, Kales, Wieding Spinach and Collard Greens! Sounds delicious, right?
It's been a long hot Summer here on the farm and we're excited to reach the last week of the Summer CSA season. We are now thinking about next season as the 2014 Winter CSA season approaches.
We worked hard to include a specialty vegetable to end the season with. The Rumbo squashes harvested nicely and will be in your share this week! They are considered a superior flavored Winter squashe even though they look like a pumpkin. So, you will want to cook them like you would a butternut squash. They have been curing now for 2 weeks, but if you'd like to let them cure for another 1-2 weeks then that will help the flavor. They are gorgeous to look at so you might just set it right in the middle of your table to visually enjoy until you're ready to tackle cooking the Rumbo. The Rumbo is a long storage type squash so if you want, then you could save it for an upcoming holiday. We would just recommend keeping an eye on it. If it should start to have a bad spot then you would want to cut it and enjoy it sooner than later.
Here is a Rumbo harvest a couple weeks ago.
Then they're allowed to cure for a couple weeks.
You can see them behind Clyde last week as the family is preparing your CSA share for delivery.
There are some more Rumbo's behind Tabitha too. Tabitha volunteers her Fridays and Saturdays most weeks to give us a hand with the harvests.
How do you get a farmer giddy? Rumbo! They're just so cool to look at.
Every year when we reach September, it feels like we've climbed the highest mountain. August pushes us on the farm to our limits. Unlike a mountain climb, we don't have the option of saying, "That's enough of a climb." Then we turn around and go back down. There is no turning from August and heading back. We keep climbing towards September. September has a way of giving us back our energy. The first cool winds from the North should start showing up soon. If we can just get a cool morning again then that will help revitalize us. A potential 80 degree will feel better than a dip in a spring fed river.
You gain respect as a Texas farmer for vegetables that can take on August. Eating seasonally in Texas looks quite a bit different than seasonal eating in other areas and it looks almost foreign to the veggies grocery stores import from California and Mexico. The veggies that have survived August and are going strong for the month ahead are the last of a cantaloupes/honeydews. We've begun harvest of the last of the melon crops for the Summer. We should all get to enjoy 1-2 more weeks of melons at this point.
Sweet Basil when properly managed loves the Summer. This is our later planting and it looks great right now. We're getting big beautiful yummy leaves to enjoy.
Okra! It's an almost polarizing vegetable. Those of us that love it just about can't get enough of it. Some struggle to find a way to enjoy it. It's a veggie that loves the hot weather and we love it because of that. Plus, it's good for our stomachs and taste buds.
The incredibly tasty Tatume squash is a farm favorite always. We're harvested record numbers this Summer so you'll see many of these tasty and versatile squashes in your shares over the next month.
We've been busy harvesting butternut squashes too lately. These sweet tasting Winter squashes require a couple weeks of curing to allow them time to devolope the tasty sweet flavor. They will be showing up in your CSA share soon and often throughout the month ahead.
We dug deep into our records to find this squash that we grew many years ago. We were looking for something unique to grow for everyone to add an exclamation point to the end of the Summer season. So, soon you will meet your first Rumbo. It will likely be your first Rumbo that is. This a pumpkin looking Winter squash raved to have a superior Winter squash flavor. They are beautiful and hefty while being great to look at throughout the Fall. We use this squash as a Fall centerpiece. Then we eat it!
Cheers to September!
August has arrived along with the hot and dry weather. That's not such a bad thing for the late Summer veggies. They soak up the abundant sunshine and surprise us with fast growth. We just started harvesting another cantaloupe crop, which was planted 2 weeks behind the honeydew. They will both be harvesting together now. We should continue to have weekly cantaloupes/honeydew for at least the next week or two. At that point we'll move up to our new Northeast field where there are even more melons, heirloom sqashes and basil planted. There will be lots to enjoy this month. Here are some photos of the crops to come!
Cantaloupes! They are havesting firm and sweet.
The okra should be showing up in your CSA share either this week or next.
Romanian Sweet Peppers!
Jalapeno season is about to begin.
This is the Italian heirloom zucchini known as the Tromboncino.
Here is an interesting Winter squash from South Korea known as a Rumbo. The leaves are beautiful and huge. The photo doesn't capture the size.
The Rumbo are just now setting fruit, but hey'll soon be huge pumpkin looking Winter squash with superior flavor to other Winter squash.
The Ambrosia cantaloupes are coming along nicely too. This is the first year we've planted the Ambrosia cantaloupe, but we have high hopes.
These gnarly looking cukes are producing well now and should continue to do so for many weeks to come.
The butternuts will soon harvest too. We'll then cure them and then send them your way, most likely in September.
We even planted a dozen rows of soybeans to help rebuild the soil in our Northeast field. They plants look nice. We don't know what to expect from them as it's our first year to plant soybeans on our farm. It's really just a test crop to see how they grow, but it'd be great to harvest some young soybeans to enjoy. That would be a great end of Summer bonus!
Thanks for your support! Lots to enjoy even in our hottest month ahead!
There's lots of superhero movies coming out once again this Summer. We farmers here at Scott Arbor have our own superpower. We can do a rain dance to make it rain. The only catch is that it takes 80 days. We do our rain dance, make an offering by planting cantaloupe seeds and 80 days later it rains! It's amazing!
So, every year we try to plant an early crop of cantaloupe for everyone. It's always scheduled to harvest in early July or later depending on when we get the seed in the ground back in April. This year's cantaloupe crop was planted 80 days ago. Those beautiful tasty sweet cantaloupes started ripening in the last few days just as the clouds floated. Then the rain came!
Rain's great, but it's bittersweet when it falls on ripening cantaloupes. The plants draw up that rainwater and disperse it to their vines, leaves and fruit. All that extra water in the fruit dilutes the sweet sugary deliciousness that is a Scott Arbor cantaloupe. It's not a total loss and it's nothing to fret over. We'd like to think we can dance the rain out of the sky, but it's just beyond our control.
Since Friday, we've been going out every day to harvest what was ripe. Cantaloupes can't be harvested early. Once they turn a little golden color, then their stem slips from the vine. If we cut them off green then they wouldn't taste good at all. If you ever see a cut stem on a cantaloupe at a supermarket then it's best to pass it by. They just don't ripen off the vine. So, each day over the past few, we've been harvesting what we can. Often there was a soft rain on our backs making us work a little faster than usual. Last night and today the rain came down in a flood. A couple heavy downpours dropped 1-2 inches on our farm and on our cantaloupes. Once again, we went out and harvested what we could.
We tested one that split open due to the extra water that the plant gave it, from the rain. It still tasted good! Yes! Often in farming, we can only take what the season gives us. For this harvest of cantaloupes, we have rained on cantaloupes that can still be enjoyed. Thank you weather for giving us something.
The next melon harvest is schedule for the beginning of August and it's a raved about honeydew. We can't wait! After that another cantaloupe harvest is scheduled for just 1-2 weeks later. Then towards the end of the month another mixed harvest of cantaloupes and honeydew are on the harvest schedule. So, if we can make it rain three more times in August then we may in fact BE SUPERHEROES!
Check out the photos below to take a peek into the cantaloupe harvests in the last few days.
The beautiful clouds have been around for weeks now.
We cut the cantaloupe's irrigation off last week to stress out the vines. Hot dry weather and heat stress make for the sweetest fruit.
They started to turn this beautiful golden color. Our anticipation rises as the sweet cantaloupe smell fills the field.
Then the rain came. It's been raining for days. It started out as small showers and progressed to inches in minutes. We harvested daily to bring off as many sweet cantaloupe as we could. I think the old shredder kind of has a down look to it. I guess the rainy weather during our first cantaloupe harvest has got it down too or maybe the thought of all the work it's going to have to do now. This much rain is going to grow the weeds too.
You should smell the walk in cooler right now. Very cantaloupy. Very delicious smelling.
The next melon is a honeydew. It will net up in a couple weeks and then we'll harvest!
The larger tomato we grow has harvested just a little for this week, but the plants look like they're just on the edge of a bigger harvest. They are definitely making us wait this year, but I think we'll all soon be rewarded. We also cut the irrigation off for the first cantaloupe crop. The trick to super sweet cantaloupe is dry ground and stress. Hopefully by next week, we'll see a bunch of golden and netted cantaloupes ready to be enjoyed!
I think my favorite food is falafel and I'm passing along an eggplant twist to the recipe. It's one of those recipes that takes a little prep to get ready, but then you have the mixture available all week for quick meals.
Visit the recipe on our website here: http://www.scottarborcsa.com/recipe/eggplant-falafel-with-sesame-dressing
I just typed the recipe up and if something needs to be explained more, then just email me. I'll update the recipe if it's not clear. It's a super recipe!
July is here! The harvests are happening and deliveries are being made. We continue to plant and work hard to overcome another unique year. It'd be easy to be farmer if there were constants, but each year is unique with it's own challenges.
The yardlong bean trellis is being consumed slowly by the yardlong bean vines. The herbs for the online farm stand are doing great!
We worked hard over the last few months to get our second shade house up. The tomatoes and sweet peppers are planted below the shade to help them battle our desert like conditions here.
The Spring slowed them down, but the plants are looking great now. We are anxiously awaiting a tomato and pepper harvest.
Our Summer squashes and cucumbers are below the white shade. Plants like to grow fast and produce hard. The cool and wet Spring weather put stress on these two crops. Stressed plants attract aphids and we've been fighting those little bugs hard. We've released multiple ladybug shipments as well as a couple boxes of lacewing eggs. Ellan is even hand washing the plants with pure water to keep their aphid due from engulfing the plants. It's hard to stop an infestation when it happens, but luckily we have later crops that will soon start to harvest. Overplanting is a must on an organic farm like ours.
Our Northeast field is looking really respectable now. We spent time earlier this year digging in new irrigation lines and now that hard work is helping greatly. Long runs of drip irrigation nurture all these seedlings through out hot and dry climate. There are lots of interesting veggies that will be our food towards the end of Summer.
The Tatume squashes are up and growing so fast. Lots of sunlight, mushroom compost and efficient irrigation makes for a perfect condition for these seedlings to make fruit in just a couple months.
The Suyu or Burpless cucumbers are just about ready to fullfil their destiny as climbers. Release the tendrils!
The Romanian peppers are getting close too.
Our Southeast field is home to our early cantaloupes, honeydews and butternut squashes.
Our future is looking very sweet. Just 1-2 weeks to go.
We keep planting and harvesting. If we work hard and have faith in our farm, then we'll be alright. The harvests will happen. The food will be picked. We are just now ending our most aggressive planting season to date. More crops went in than ever before and it's exciting to see how the Summer harvests happen ahead.
We harvested a few early jalapenos as the bushes needed some relief. Getting the early fruit off allows the plant to focus on growing big. There will be lots more jalapenos in the future.
The cucumbers are starting to harvest now with some regularity so many more to come now ever week.
The sweet basil picked well this week and your bunch is even bigger than last week's. Turn it into pesto right away and then have it to easily use all week.
The cherry tomatoes harvested again in a small amount. We have two different crops planted. One is slowly starting to harvest and the other are working hard at setting fruit. Once the later planting decides to ripen then we'll have many more cherry tomatoes to bring you.
Our bigger tomato called a Surefire is definitely taking it's time this season like many of the veggies have. The plants are finally reaching the tops of their tomato cages and fruit is set. We planted more plants this year than last Summer and if you remember last Summer's crop then you should get excited! We're hoping to be overwhelmed by tomatoes soon.
Crops that are in the near future are eggplants, bell peppers, Romanian peppers, more jalapenos and the first cantaloupe crop.
Lots to come! Lots to enjoy!