Hello from Shaker Organic Gardens, June 2016!


by Stacey Cooper, Co-op Organic Farm Manager

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A brief update on garden things…

A big week for planting, weeding and gearing up for the plant sale! This week more beans, spinach, radish, were seeded. Cukes, summer squash, corn, scallion, fennel, cherry tomatoes and peppers were planted. Shane delivered my flats of heirlooms and sweet peppers today so I will get those into the field first thing next week.

Shane and Alberta helped to weed the Micro Mama root crop beds and Greg built the new wash station and hops trellis system. I finally got a round of weed whacking done, looking so nice right now! Friday has been spent setting up the plant sale.  The farm stand looks great and we have plenty to sell.  Please give my thanks to all Co-op employees who helped set aside boxes for the sale!

Next week will be more weeding and planting.  I would hope that by the end of next week I’ll have 85-90% of gardens planted and the hoop house will be down to just a few flats of succession crops.

I would also like to get the ground cover finished in the raised bed aisles.  The volunteers helped me cover most of the ground, however it was done a bit haphazard due to thunderstorms… it could use some help getting it stapled and secured properly.

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All but 6 rows of all the garden plots are fully planted at this time.  This week heirloom tomatoes, husk cherries, more sweet peppers, fennel, scallion, broccoli, mix color carrots, radish, stevia, sweet corn, pumpkins, winter squash, green beans and edamame were planted.

I’ve seeded Belgian endive for transplanting into the field.  I’m trying to time it to have it available for the Thanksgiving/ Christmas season as there were requests for it last year.  Once harvested, it will be stored in plastic totes and forced to produce greens in the cold months.  I’m sure it will produce, but timing is tricky so early in the winter…

Shane helped me with initial weeding of our kale and cabbage beds. I was able to make our first harvest of it yesterday- growing quickly as it was only planted 3 weeks ago.  I also spread saw dust and mulch hay under the kale to retain water and suppress weeds.  I had help finishing up the aisle fabric and better securing that which had already been placed.

I put row cover over new plantings of summer squash to bring it along more quickly and keep the cucumber beetles at bay.

Alberta and I are slowly get on top of the weeds in the Micro Mama raised beds. The rain this week and last weekend helped to give me some extra time to weed some beds this week. I’ve emailed Micro Mama’s to let her know we are about 10-15 days out on starting to harvest her bed of scallions.


Largely this week has focused on general weeding, intense weeding of the Micro Mama crops and irrigation and hand watering due to the dry spell. The summer squash is setting fruit, cucumbers and peas are flowering, scallions are almost ready for harvest.

  • Planted more radicchio, escarole, romaine, summer squash, cukes, winter squash.
  • Weeded all raised beds, burdock and field crops. I also replaced the burdock plants that didn’t bounce back from the heifer escape.
  • Focused on irrigation and watering.
  • Consolidated farm stand plants left over from sale and water plants.
  • Fixed deer fence where sagging and re-installed corner posts.
  • Harvest and deliver spinach, beet greens, dandelion greens, radish and kale.
  • Prepped raised beds that have already been harvested.
  • Finished thinning of rutabaga, radish and spinach crops.
  • Seeded second crop of scallion for Micro Mama in flats.

 


For field planting this week I’ve seeded another round of mixed carrots, radish, tri – color beans,  a bit of broccoli, and romaine lettuce.

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Additional flats of scallion, escarole, romaine, fennel and radicchio were or will be seeded by this afternoon.

Field work this week included weeding, thinning, and watering in addition to the above planting.  Alberta and I also made an afternoon of spreading mulch hay on the asparagus and rhubarb beds to help suppress weeds. Earlier in the week I made some improvisations to the irrigation system which has gained us more coverage in the raised beds.  The resulting water pressure seems much improved!

The scallions for Micro mama’s are about ready and I will harvesting them and getting to Stephanie the first week of July for processing. Escarole, peas, summer squash, scapes, chard and kale are ripe for picking.  I’ll start picking peas this weekend, though I only have 80’ planted so the yield won’t be substantial. The purple snap beans are almost in flower along with cucumbers.

Peppers and cherry tomatoes have fruit on them… not sure if that is good as it is very early, but the plants don’t look stressed and are still growing.I trellised the heirloom and cherry tomatoes rows this week.  I made some improvements on last year’s system and it will hopefully hold up better.

Best,

Stacey