Hello from Shaker Organic Gardens, July 2016!


by Stacey Cooper, Co-op Organic Farm Manager

A brief update on garden things…

This week has been focused on weeding existing crops and prepping beds for fall root crops. I’ve seeded all available space to fall beets and carrots and will squeeze in as many more as I can find room for next week. I transplanted more fennel, romaine and scallions. Direct seeded beets, carrots, radish, summer squash and cukes.

With the help of volunteers we weeded and spread straw on the aisles of several rows in the center field, mulched the corn and weeded and spread the remainder of the compost on the winter squash and pumpkins. I also found a wheel hoe in the basement of the garden barn and gave it a whirl this week. It makes quick work of hand cultivating aisles and gives a remarkable upper body workout =)

Summer squash and cucumbers began to size up this week, the first small fruits going to the kitchen today. In the next week or two they will size up enough to start supplying the on-site farm stand. We’ve been harvesting and delivering kale, chard, radish, scallion, escarole, beet greens, dandelion greens, romaine and scapes this week.

Bell peppers are sizing up- about a month early. Some carrots will be ready in the next week or two, but only in small quantities as the initial seeding this spring had poor germination. There will be plenty to follow. I’ll be making my first delivery to Micro Mama’s next week with a full bed of scallions ready to send along.

We are starting to plan for the July 20th joint member Garden Party here at the Village. Free for Co-op members as well so spread the word! Let’s get people out here to see how our efforts are developing. The gardens will be prime at that time of year.


 

This week started with a large harvest of peas, scallions, kale, chard, radish, beets, escarole and some summer squash. Starting next week we should be rolling in summer squash and cukes are coming along. I’ll be able to start stocking the farm stand with cabbage, summer squash and pickling cukes. Micro Mama’s took their first delivery of scallions for processing.20160706_053938_resized_1

I have fall beets and carrots seeded, the rain should help germination. It has certainly helped the peas and beets to start to fill out. Beans will be ready for harvest within the next 8-12 days….let the picking being! Cherry tomatoes and peppers will likely start in very small quantities next week. Carrots are just about ready, maybe another week to ten days to start harvesting for produce and kitchen.

We did a full round of weeding in the Micro Mama beds this week with the help of brave volunteers. I’m hoping to be able to focus on weeding the center field row crops next week.

I transplanted Belgian endive, cabbage, scallions and romaine this week. I just got more radish seed in so I will plant another succession once the soil dries up a bit. I’ve gotten some feedback from the kitchen on greens production so I will be able to adjust my seeding schedule and field layout from here out to better meet their needs. I’ll be replacing the kale with a succession of chard plants that are ready to go.

 


Harvest season is here! Beans, lettuce, fennel, carrots, beets, radish, kale, chard, cukes, summer squash, stevia, cabbage and more. The beans crept up on me and I started harvesting yesterday. Should be rolling in them by next week. I finally caved and pulled a garlic bulb to check on it. Knocked my socks off! I can’t wait to harvest the crop and see what we come up with.

The center field was completely weeded this week and is looking good. I could not get the weed whacker to work yesterday, but I’ll try to get to string trimming next week before the garden event. I pulled some kale and replaced it with chard for the kitchen.

I’ve been hand collecting Japanese beetles, however they are still doing some damage on the new bean crop. They do seem to prefer the edamame so I’m using it as a trap crop for now. I’ve been trying to control cucumber beetle and squash bugs with all means available, but they are prolific. I pruned and re-strung the tomato alley and also strung up the peppers this week. Hot peppers are starting to form. Cherry tomatoes are sure to start coming in anytime.

I’ve cleaned out 2 empty raised beds and prepped them for fall turnip and daikon seeding which will be coming up shortly.

I’m a glutton for punishment so I talked myself into seeding a last round of beans today. I’m sure that will seem like a good idea in September =) I seeded a few flats each of fall broccoli and cabbage to fill in empty rows later in the summer and seeded more radish. Overall I’m getting the sense that the plan to grow more quantity of fewer crops seems to working . I’m able to focus larger bits of time to crops rather than hopping around quite so much. As summer progresses and spring crops taper off this should be even more true.

 


The major highlights for this week were the Garden Party and getting the garlic pulled and strung up to dry. The garlic is officially drying in the garden barn. Quite the display. Digging the garlic from the raised bed was much easier than pulling it from field conditions and the root systems were extensive.

After harvesting the garlic I prepped the bed for Red Stem Turnip and I also seeded a large bed of purple top turnips and daikon for fall harvest. I’m using row cover wherever possible to help prevent damage to the roots. We are back on an irrigation schedule to try to get our fall crops to size up during this dry spell. Our multi-color carrots are a bit slow to come along, but there are plenty of them to be harvested in a few weeks.

I spend about half of my time harvesting, with beans, cucumbers and summer squash being a daily harvest and Monday, Thursday and Friday spent harvesting for markets. We have tri-color beans, cabbage, cucumber and summer squash at the farm stand now! A small handful of tomatillos and cherry tomatoes were gathered throughout the week, so they will be along shortly.  Hot peppers will be along soon as well.

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Best,

Stacey