Lots of updates this week! Read on for the latest about blueberries, garlic, and cabbage; some tips for harvesting herbs while preserving the plants, and a review of how this week’s low temperatures (and our generally cold, wet summer) are impacting the crops.

Blueberry update

Blueberries were over-picked last week. Combined with the cool weather that started yesterday (which means the berries are ripening slowly), this means that only Friday sharers will be able to get them this week. 

Remember that the quantities that we assign for picking aren’t arbitrary. Our blueberry patch is tiny, and it’s less productive than usual after last year’s drought. If you snack on some berries while you’re picking, you need to include that in the volume we tell you to pick. A couple of extra handfuls per person adds up very quickly.

Garlic update

We’ve gotten most of the garlic in from the field. Next, we will be setting the heads that we will be using for seed for next year’s crop. After that—likely next week—we will make bundles to give to sharers.  I have more to say about garlic curing and storage in next week’s post, but here are a few things that are important to know about the garlic distribution:

  • You will receive all of your garlic for the season at once, in a bundle.
  • If you are splitting a share, you and your share-splitting friend must deal with splitting the garlic up. You do not each get your own bundle, which is why…..
  • ….each sharer will initial a special, separate checklist after they receive their garlic.

Cabbage for kraut

We have soooo much extra cabbage! Please let us know if you are interested in taking a couple of extra, or even several, cabbages next week for fermenting or just storing in your fridge! Here is a recipe for a small batch of kraut. Here is a recipe for 5 lbs of cabbage kraut from Sandor Katz, whose fermentation recipes I’ve been using for over a decade.

Fermentation is one of my favorite ways to use veggies, and contrary to popular belief, it actually extends the life of veggies. I’ve made large batches of kraut and kept them in my fridge for months and months! You just have to make sure that the level of the liquid is over the top of the fermented veggies. Please email me with questions or if you are interested in large quantities of cabbage.

How to harvest herbs

Here are some tips for harvesting herbs so that we can all enjoy the herb garden at it’s best and most plentiful:

  • When you pick herbs like lemon verbena, rosemary, or tarragon, which all have similar branching habits, please make sure to take no more than 1/3 of the length of the branches you are cutting from. This way, the plant can bounce back, and there will be plenty left for others to take!
  • Don’t be afraid to take branches of herbs that are flowering. The flowers are edible. You don’t have to use the them, but the leaves on those branches are also usable.
  • Please watch this video about harvesting basil, because visuals are much easier here than me bumbling through some written instructions.
  • All of the flowers in the edible flower garden (herb garden flowers only!!) are ready for picking and can be used in salads. The whole nasturtium flower can be used but for bachelor’s buttons, calendula, and marigolds, I pull out the petals and sprinkle in salads. These flowers are also great for decorating summer cakes!

General crops update

Last week was hot, but as I’ve said so many times this season, the general trend this spring and summer has been cool, wet and cold. As I write this, we are having a record breaking cold summer day, and the week is also going to be setting records with its low temps.

This weather is indeed pleasant to work in, and of course rain is nice, but it really doesn’t do much for our hot weather crops which are still lagging behind after the aforementioned cool, wet spring and cool patches of weather at crucial times over the course of the summer. These crops include: beans, our next succession of cukes and summer squash, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, tomatillos. The drought was rough last year, but in many ways, this feels rougher. I just want the stuff to grow, already! At least our tunnel tomatoes and the cherry tomatoes are starting to ripen.

For you lettuce lovers: we have been sitting on our lettuce plantings so that we can get them all into one block and fence it in, so it may be a couple of weeks at least before head lettuce is in the share again. After that, we should be swimming in it! I am exploring buying some lettuce in from a farmer friend who has significantly less deer pressure and a whole lot more land to grow on.

Thanks so much for all of your help weeding this week! It’s been so great to have your company and enthusiasm.

Do you have questions about crops, fermenting, garlic, edible flowers, how we grow things, or anything else farm related? Drop me a line!

Be well, and stay warm on this cool, rainy day.