Co-op CommunityShaker Gardens

Hello from Shaker Organic Gardens, May 2016!

by Stacey Cooper, Co-op Organic Farm ManagerA brief update on garden things…20160520_102415_resized

This week pumpkin and winter squash were seeded along with succession of greens. The hoop house was cleaned up and few more radish were harvested for the produce department.

I spent a large part of this week weeding, thinning, and cultivating seeded and planted crops in the field.  Some of the new beds are facing a lot of pressure from witch grass, so it will be important to keep up with it.  Today I was able to start getting weed fabric down in the aisles of the raised beds.

The next crops, after radish, that I would anticipate having are spinach and romaine for the salad bar and escarole and radicchio for the produce department.  Beet greens and scallions will hopefully be right behind that.

On Tuesday we planted a 100’ of kale and 60’ of cabbage in the center field along with our first batch of summer squash and zucchini.  I directed seeded more spinach, radish and carrots along with a  full row of parsnip and rutabaga.  Radicchio, escarole, romaine and dandelion greens were planted in the raised beds.

I’ve put row cover over the radish, rutabaga, kale and cabbage and summer squash to protect from pests as long as possible.

This is the last week I will be mowing for Ray. Unfortunately the blade on his mower and the washer that holds it in place were broke during the mowing for the 5K. David and I replaced the washer and still need to replace the blade next week.  Not expensive parts and pretty quick to change out. I’ve placed out materials and bought pulleys to trellis the hops.  Hoses have been staged in the field and the old hoop house for spot watering and sprinklers as needed. All of the field plastic has been removed from the beds.

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Planted our first row of string beans, edamame, summer squash, cucumbers (which I am attempting to trellis), chard, more carrots, beets, radicchio, scallions. Weeding, weeding, weeding.

We got the aisles of the raised beds covered with fabric this week, hopefully less to weed? My first planting of carrots for the kitchen and produce department had really poor germination so I filled in with a new round of seed.  Hopefully the second succession planted a month ago will fill in the production gap. I seeded broom corn, sunflower, pumpkins and winter squash along with successions of sweet corn and greens.

I planted our hot peppers in the hoop house and set up a drip irrigation system to help with watering. I’ve organized, tallied and labeled all plants for the plant sale next weekend.I pulled flowers off of the strawberry plants to give the roots a head start for next year and spent time fixing the irrigation leaks in the strawberry rows to prevent fungal problems.

I weeded the peas, the first planting of which is up about 5″. I decided to seed some broccoli and see how it does in the new center field. As I have been tilling by hand instead of the tractor I have created more rows in the center field, allowing some extra space to plant crops.  I’m thinking of moving the pumpkins, winter squash and corn into the center field….

20160520_102426_resizedThe onions in the old hoop house got  a good weeding in and I’ve been using a sprinkler to water the area.  Cows got into the burdock, but I’m hoping most will recover as I tucked it back in and watered well. The hops is off to a slow start, but I haven’t gotten the trellis system hooked up yet, so they can take their time.

Beet greens are almost ready, picked my first spinach today for the salad bar (caught me off guard as it grew very quickly in the heat) and 15 radish bunch Friday and 6 Tuesday went to the produce department along with a bit of rhubarb.  Romaine is almost ready and radicchio and escarole should be right behind along with red dandelion greens.

The irrigation system is doing a pretty good job, but the pressure is not quite enough to carry water to the ends of the beds on the uphill side.  I may need to buy some sprinklers or just do some hand watering.  The good news is that there are less weeds on the dry ends and the crops seem to be doing fine thus far =)

I’m very excited for our garlic crop as it is HUGE. Can’t wait to pull a bulb and see it!It also appears (knock on wood) that our tilling efforts were successful in keeping the nutsedge population down in the more intensely manged areas last season. The section I seeded to green manure is showing very little sedge and some areas that were planted all season to crops have no sedge! We may win the battle row by row.

Best,

Stacey Cooper