Hello all! I have been receiving concerned emails regarding garlic pick up. Fear not: even if you missed pick-up last week, you will definitely still get your garlic! Just come see us in the next couple of weeks. We will check off your name and grab it for you! We hold onto the garlic until it is all picked up.
Now for this week’s crop update, featuring more about this growing season’s theme: It’s a cold and rainy summer.
Last year we experienced one weather extreme, and this year we are experiencing another. Many of you have assumed all of this rainy, cool, and cloudy weather is welcome after such a drought-y, hot 2016, but that just isn’t so.
As I’ve told many of you, I prefer farming in hot, dry conditions because if you add water to a hot, dry field, it can be very productive. Think of Southern California, where much of the nation’s produce is grown. It’s literally an irrigated desert! But there is still no way to add heat and sun to a field. And without heat and sun, plants just aren’t as productive, and they tend to get diseases more easily.
Temperatures have been in the fifties and low sixties at night. These are plain awful growing conditions for most summer crops, but in particular for “hot crops” that require sustained heat to grow and ripen. The tomatoes are just starting to roll in, but I’m afraid that this year will be nothing like last year’s tomato and pepper bounty. In addition, the dreaded tomato late blight is already lurking here in Massachusetts: it’s been found in many places throughout the state. Basil downy mildew and cucurbit downy mildew are also making the rounds on these cool, wet days.
With back to back periods of rain, weed pressure increases, and so it’s been a real struggle to keep up with weeding this year. A friend who is an extension agent in New York State said that even the conventional farmers he visits, who use herbicides, are struggling with weeds. We are just getting to the place where we have a handle on it, which feels good, but it’s definitely affected our productivity.
At the same time, the larger pests have had a real impact on us, and it’s becoming clear that we need a new solution to replace (or add to) our current deer fence. Woodchucks, deer, and a million rabbits have been severely impacting our squash, lettuce, and bean yields.
All this said, I hope that you’ve been enjoying what we have been able to get out of the fields and to your plates! I feel pretty proud of the work my crew has done this season, and I hope it shows in your weekly share. We appreciate the kind words, support, and positivity that you bring to the tent when you pick up, and to the fields when you do your work hours. It means the world to us.