Tag Archives: beets

Winter crops are coming

Yes, celery root and parsnips are making an appearance on our table at the farmers’ market this week. We’re all longing for cooler, wet weather. Wandering around the fields this early evening, I am speechless for the beauty.

The crop of beets (red, gold and chioggia) look lush. Should begin to harvest in a few weeks.

The crop of beets (red, gold and chioggia) look lush. Should begin to harvest in a few weeks.

Parsnips were harvested out of this row for tomorrow's market.

Parsnips were harvested out of this row for tomorrow’s market.

Paul's reluctant to pose for me, too busy.

Paul is reluctant to pose for me, too busy.

The romaine this week was huge!

The romaine this week was huge!

Leeks dashes

Leeks dashing across the ground

Brocoli

Brocoli and cauliflower

I promise there are small carrots coming. This is the next 6 beds.

I promise there are small carrots coming. This is the next 7 beds.

Aren't these brassicas Amazing!

Aren’t these brassicas Amazing!

A little creek planting, to slow down the water. Looking ahead toward rain.

A little swale planting, to slow down the water. Looking ahead toward rain.

The onion baby bed

The onion transplant bed

Artichokes

Artichokes

Next week's Little Gems.

Next week’s Little Gems.

Chocolate brown pasilla peppers. Dry them for a traditional mole sauce.

Chocolate brown pasilla peppers. Dry them for a traditional mole sauce.

The low field has been cover cropped.

The low field has been cover cropped.

Pumpkins to sell tomorrow

Pumpkins to sell tomorrow


Battening Down the Hatches

Silvery red cabbage leaves

Silvery red cabbage leaves

Rain is in the forecast, a novel situation for us in “Droughtville” (California). We’ve had a couple practice storms roll through, dropping an inch, more or less, just to tease us. But this week, we’ve heard up to 7 inches could fall. The whole community is excited, hoping this will open the storm door and eventually lead us out of the dry conditions we’ve experienced for several years now. The reservoirs are low and steps are being taken to monitor ground water supplies. We have two good wells on the property we use to irrigate year-round. And so far, that’s been enough. Paul has also switched most crops to drip lines for most of their life cycle, rather than overhead, sprinkler-type watering. We trade off using less water for more plastic and more labor.

Cover crop has been planted wherever possible.

Cover crop has been planted wherever possible.

Lush cover crop.

Lush cover crop.

The farm prepares for winter rains every year, whether they come or not. As the day length shortens and the nights cool, fields are cleared of finished tomatoes and eggplant, tilled until smooth and flat, composted and finally cover crop seed has been planted wherever we want to give the beds a carbon boost. Ditches are checked and regraded where necessary.

Hoops to cover beds await

Hoops to cover beds await

Hoops are set up over beds in case the rain becomes too much for small plants. Plastic covers can be pulled over the top of the hoops, if need be. We’re ready and waiting to have time in the shop, to clean and sharpen tools, to change the oil for the many machines, and to get to the projects that await, like the recently purchased cultivating tractor that needs a new front axle and for the whole under-belly apparatus to be rebuilt and mounted.

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Romanesco plays peek-a-boo

So we wait to see how much will fall.

Red beets

Red beets

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Rainbow chard is loving this cooler, wetter weather.

Rainbow chard is loving this cooler, wetter weather.

 

Lots of new pipe. The days of moving pipe from field to field are numbered!

Lots of new pipe. The days of moving pipe from field to field are numbered!

Surprise artichokes are popping here and there.

Surprise artichokes are popping here and there.

Moving compost

Moving compost

Attending the compost

Attending the compost

Two kinds of leeks, King Richard on the left and Lexton on the right.

Two kinds of leeks, King Richard on the left and Lexton on the right.

Joanie came to visit on Thanksgiving.

Joanie came to visit on Thanksgiving.

Brussels sprouts are just beginning to form

Brussels sprouts are just beginning to form

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

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New (used) Kubota cultivating tractor

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Front axle needs work

 


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Fall is coming on strong, as the summer crops peak. What to do? Just work a little harder, longer and stronger, knowing that rain will come, things will slow down. There will be time next to the wood stove, with a book and a cup of tea. But for now, it’s go, go, go. So glad we are up to it. And thanks to everyone that works for us or buys produce from our farm. We couldn’t do it without you.

Today we were presented with a beautiful fall day, lots of big fluffy clouds, lilting through a big sky, over hill and dale, casting moving shadows on the undulations below. With just a hint of moisture, as the clouds misted the fields, dampening the dust, sweetening the soil and doubling the scents. It’s teaming with life out there!

These kabocha winter squash are close to harvest.

These kabocha winter squash are close to harvest.

Shallots dry under a big oak.

Shallots dry under a big oak.

Rhazes, our new red little gem lettuce

Rhazes, our new red little gem lettuce

Brasiccas ready to go out into the field.

Brasiccas ready to go out into the field.

Yellow wax beans

Yellow wax beans

Rosa bianca eggplant

Rosa bianca eggplant

Lots of San Marzano roma tomatoes, perfect for sauce.

Lots of San Marzano roma tomatoes, perfect for sauce.

We've been gapping with our beet crops, but these are almost big enough to harvest.

We’ve been gapping with our beet crops, but these are almost big enough to harvest.

Celery and fennel, first planting.

Celery and fennel, first planting.

Fennel and celery root, next planting

Fennel and celery root, next planting

Broccoli

Broccoli

Picchu berries, a new crazy delicious berry, we're trialling.

Picchu berries, a new crazy delicious berry, we’re trialling.

Cherry tomatoes are dropping.

Cherry tomatoes are dropping.

Leeks and onions

Leeks and onions

Carrots in the foreground. It didn't rain enough to keep the irrigation from happening.

Carrots in the foreground. It didn’t rain enough to keep the irrigation from happening.

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End of May

It was premature to think that summer had begun. It’s sprinkling now. The greens are greener when seen under a grey sky. Many summer crops have been in the ground for weeks, and are struggling to stay ahead of the insect pressure. Cucumber beetles are very active and making a mess of the first bean crops, beet greens, cucumbers (natch). Once the heat comes, the plants will outgrow the damage. We believe in history and the power of positive thought.

Here’s a virtual “Walk-Around” of the farm today.

We've had beautiful summer squash, though can't seem to get enough zucchini flowers to fill our chef's orders.

We’ve had beautiful summer squash, though can’t seem to get enough zucchini flowers to fill our chef’s orders.

The rock crusher has been busy pulverizing this field. It's very time and resource consuming, but the improvement is huge.

The rock crusher has been busy pulverizing this field. It’s very time and resource consuming, but the improvement is huge.

Rocky field will get "crushed" very soon.

Rocky field will get “crushed” very soon.

We've been enjoying an abundance of brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage) which are finishing up. Luckily, this next planting should be ready in a couple of weeks.

We’ve been enjoying an abundance of brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage) which are finishing up. Luckily, this next planting should be ready in a couple of weeks.

Celery is coming soon.

Celery is coming soon.

This field has not been cover cropped in a long time. It's been too important. It's nice to see it get a rest!

This field has not been cover cropped in a long time. It’s been too important. Now that we have some more ground, it’s nice to see it get a rest!

These beans are suffering from cucumber beetle damage.

These beans are suffering from cucumber beetle damage.

The first planting of tomatoes is flowering. Planting through plastic helps push it along. It's already been staked and tied.

The first planting of tomatoes is flowering. Planting through plastic helps push it along. It’s already been staked and tied.

So glad to see two beds of Lacinato kale next to one of Red Russian. The RR yields more, but we can't keep up with demand for the Lacinato.

So glad to see two beds of Lacinato kale next to one of Red Russian. The RR yields more, but we can’t keep up with demand for the Lacinato.

A bed of Asian greens for the salad mix.

A bed of Asian greens for the salad mix.

Finally we have fruit on the raspberries, weeks later than in past years.

Finally we have fruit on the raspberries, weeks later than in past years.

The first planting of peppers is looking good. The shishitos and padrons are always the first to set fruit.

The first planting of peppers is looking good. The shishitos and padrons are always the first to set fruit.


Pushin’ in February

Peas

Peas

So much is happening. The weather, the great dictator of what happens on the farm, has been very generous to us. It must have been over 70 degrees F. today. Beautiful. We’re planting spinach, turnips, radishes, lettuce, pea seeds in the field. Once planted, some are covered. We may plant beets and carrots this week.

Tomato seedlings

Tomato seedlings

The greenhouse is starting to really fill up with freshly planted flats, some covered, some not. The first planting of tomatoes have blasted out of their flats and pushed the remay into puffy pillows. So have the peppers. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, fennel and onions were all started in the greenhouse flats last week or before.Greenhouse

Lettuce, chard, kales and collard are all being transplanted. Once in the field, they are also covered to insure against wild weather swings. We hope they will feel secure enough to take off.

Covered beds and open ground

Covered beds and open ground

Sprinklers

Running the water

The irrigation system is engaged with the warm dry weather. The final bit of field turning is almost complete as the pipes are hooked up.Pipe

There is an experiment in the new field with planting oats, wheat and barley, side-by-side. Which will be the most beneficial to this soil? We’ll see.

Wheat, Barley and Oats

Wheat, Barley and Oats

The Farm Stand signposts are all that remain of last summer's bounty.

The signposts are all that remain of last summer’s Farm Stand.

Brussels sprouts, covered bed and beyond the farm

Brussels sprouts, covered bed and beyond the farm

 

Daikon radishes are being harvested out of the cover crop between the rows of regrowing artichokes.

Daikon radishes are being harvested out of the cover crop between the rows of regrowing artichokes.


Transitions

The first planting of tomatoes decline.

Walking slowly around the farm, it’s obvious that summer’s bounty is beginning to decline.

We’re selling a lot of tomatoes, melons and cucumbers this year through various marketing paths. It’s great to see all this vibrant food moving into the community. Our farm stand has been a wonderful addition. We anticipate staying open until either the weather or lack of product, forces us to close. Thank you all for folding us into your Saturday routine.

Brussels sprouts, fennel, broccoli, then summer squash (being harvested)

Brussels sprouts are beautiful plants that grow for a long time. Planted in the greenhouse in June, in the field in August, but not ready to harvest for another 45-50 days! That’s a lot of weeding!

The transition from summer’s full heavy crops to the more intense, longer-in-the-ground, cooler-season foods, is happening. Kales and cabbages, beautiful brussels sprouts and feathery fennel and asparagus, are all looking very fresh and new.

This is the time of year things move around in the shops and storage areas to make room for winter squash, onions and shallots.

Additionally this year, Paul is renovating some of his growing fields to make things easier next year.

Beet greens look wonderful right now.

Lettuce stripes, with brassicas, celery and fennel behind.

This beautiful oak on the edge of the new field.


Morning

Thanksgiving is tomorrow.

Yet there is plenty to do at the farm.

The morning is cool and quiet.

Rain is expected later today.


Updates

New field

Paul has been prepping the new fields and likes what he sees. At least half of the ground appears to be rock-free. That gives him many more planting options down the road, including lettuce which wants the smoothest of soils.

Keep in mind, these soils have had nothing intentionally grown in them for as long as we know, at least 20 years. Here he is irrigating half the field overnight. The water ran for 11 hours with a number of goals. One obvious result is that the multitude of grass and other weed seeds that are in the right strata of the soil, will germinate. Another consequence of the long irrigation is the ground will “settle”, alerting us to structure issues. It will also hopefully wake-up the micro-organisms, so important in our system.

Red lettuce, beets, parsnips (on the right side of the sprinkler line) and greens

This photo shows an interesting truth concerning timing. We see left to right, lettuce, several varieties of beets, parsnips and, on the far right, collard. And they were all planted from seed on the same day! Beets are ready to pick and the parsnips are just one inch tall. I’m sure looking forward to the parsnips which need more than a month until harvest.

Next carrots

We’ve sold all the large carrots. These are very small but big enough to start picking.

The greenhouse with the cherry tomatoes coming out the top, marigolds showing through and intriguing tools upfront.


Heat

All of a sudden, it’s gotten warm, hot even, in the 90s today. Even the evenings are pleasant, in the high 60s. Last night’s farmers’ market was packed with the community, out enjoying the music and food after a very long, wet and cool spring. The soil is now warm deeper than 2 inches which will finally give the summer crops the push for which they have been waiting. Paul even brought home a few padron peppers last night, off a dying plant which struggled to set a little fruit. Even so, it was great to see the first ones and my mouth waters for the little devils, still at least a month away from market.

But we do have a new crop of carrots and beautiful red beets (gold coming maybe next week). I’m often asked about the beet greens. Sometimes we take the beets to market bunched with the greens. Most of the year, they are clipped and sold individually, by the pound. Some people beg for the greens. Others want them clipped off. They are tasty and quite good for our bodies, similar to spinach in taste and nutrition. We bring them to market when they look good, which is to say, once it warms up, the leaf miners will begin to nibble little holes through and through. They are also much easier to handle without the greens and require more careful washing. So enjoy them while they are here. The greens from the gold beets are especially delicious.

Nothing quite beats the heat like a nibble of Kimchi. I have a batch I just put up tonight. I’m dying to try the recipe from Dr. Ben Kim at http://drbenkim.com/recipes-kim-chi.htm. And the napa cabbage is perfect too.


What’s coming

This is what the beets look like, in the field, now.

Every Friday, at the Farmers’ Market I am asked when a certain, favorite vegetable will be ready. Beets were yesterday’s question of the day. I “guestamated” 2-3 weeks, judging by the way they look in the field, but without digging anything up.

Paul brought tempting this array of things to come, home last night. He figures small bunched beets might be ready in a couple weeks. We have both red and gold beets to look forward to. Cauliflower, fennel and red spring onions will likely be on next week’s stand!

It would be nice to get a little heat to push the summer crops along, but until then, we’ll enjoy the greens that are truly flourishing.

Thanks so much to all those that are signed up for our new CSA. We are very excited about this new way to reach out with our produce and to make the valley even healthier.


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