Co-op CommunityShaker Gardens

Hello from Shaker Organic Gardens, September 2016!

by Stacey Cooper, Co-op Organic Farm Manager

A brief update on garden things…

This week I harvested more heirloom tomatoes, lots of cherry tomatoes, cukes, squash, leeks, peppers and carrots. Rutabaga and carrots were harvested last weekend and delivered on 20160829_114411_resizedMonday for Micro Mama’s. Since then I’ve harvested more rutabaga and carrots for Micro Mama’s for a later delivery.

Our fall beets are starting to size up. Next week I will start harvesting the remainder of what Micro Mama’s is expecting and then save the rest for the kitchen and produce department in the fall/ winter. On Tuesday my volunteers helped me clean all of the materials (bricks, boards, hoops and row cover) from the aisles of the raised beds so that I can continue weeding and prepping for winter. The buckwheat is coming up nicely where it has been seeded. Making good progress on cleaning up the raised beds despite the crabgrass.

I spent time cleaning and prepping the hoop house for our volunteers next week. We were unable to get new ground tilled to make more raised beds so I’ve decided to replace the base boards on the hoop house instead.  Most of the garlic has been cleaned and trimmed. Another hour or two of progress and I’ll be able to sort and weigh the crop.

Many more fall crops to come- parsnips are almost ready, daikon and turnip are sizing up, ¾ of the rutabaga are still in the ground and we have lots of carrots and beets coming along. The kale and chard are slowing down, tomatoes are now past peak and slowly the cucumbers are tapering off.


Stacey Cooper

Besides the usual harvesting this week we had over 10 volunteers on Wednesday as part of the United Way’s Day of Caring. The volunteers were very energetic, kind and extremely hardworking! Greg worked with a team to install new baseboards on the hoop house, which included digging a deep trench and burying hardware cloth along the perimeter to control rodent problems in the future. It looks amazing! The hoop house crew also topped, graded and bagged our onions for donation to the NH Food Bank so they contributed to another great cause on the same day!

I worked in the field with a team and accomplished much towards putting the farm to bed for the fall. The strawberry rows were completely weeded and the foliage and runners cut back- several trailers of foliage were removed just from the strawberry patch! We weeded the entire center field area, pulled all of the pumpkins and winter squash vines, cover cropped the area, weeded the edges and aisles of half of the raised beds and also harvested and washed 60# of carrots and 50# of rutabaga.

It was a great experience and all of the Canterbury Shaker Village volunteers brought their “A” game along with a sincere willingness to help.
On Thursday I had help from some of my core volunteers and we were able to finish cleaning and grading the garlic (thank you Alberta!). Look for our beautiful garlic starting next week in the produce department! We also prepped our shallot crop, which will also be available in the produce department starting next week.

Next week brings the Artisan Festival here at the Village where I will be setting up a “Fresh from the Farm” table to sample our organic produce including cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and radish. (You can register for the Artisan Festival here!)

In the garden this week I’ve been doing the usual harvesting of tomatoes, summer squash, and cucumbers all of which are fading quickly.  I’ve also been working on harvesting fall beets and more rutabaga for Micro Mama’s, and carrots for the kitchen and Shaker Table Restaurant. I continue to harvest leeks, chard, arugula, mizuna, radish, hot peppers and bell peppers as well.

I back filled the baseboards of the hoop house and will need to start shutting it nights to keep the veggies planted inside warm and producing into the fall. I also spent time patching the plastic of the hoop house with good old fashioned packing tape. Works like a charm on a dry day!

I dug and cured the Belgian endive this week. It is now in cold storage and I will start to grow it about a month before the winter holiday season to force in time for holiday cooking. I’ve begun to pull the old summer squash and cucumber plants that aren’t productive anymore. They will likely are come out next week. I also pulled (with the help of volunteers) the kale as it was suffering from powdery mildew and not going to recover.

I cut and bundled all of the corn stalks to decorate the farm stand and Village for fall events. Today has spent prepping veggies for sale and sampling at the Artisan Festival tomorrow.

New and exciting in the garden this week… burdock. I dug up our crop and it is now featured in the produce department. I left roots in the ground to grow out a crop for next season. I’ve started removing the tomato plants though a few more heirlooms may trickle in. Green tomatoes will be going to the kitchen tomorrow. I’ve also removed all summer squash and cucumber plants except those in the hoop house.

I transplanted some lettuce and scallions in the hoop house for fall production. I’ve finished harvesting the rutabaga crop and divvied it out between the Shaker Table, Co-op kitchen and Micro Mama’s. I’ve also dug about 1/3 of the parsnip bed and put the crop into storage until I dig more.
The drought got the best of our purple top turnip crop, so I salvaged what I could and will send it to the kitchen tomorrow. 11.6 lbs total out of what should have been 100 lbs or more… that being said considering the very dry summer it was the only total loss due to weather.

I dug the strawberry runners and potted 50 of them to overwinter for the plant sale next spring. Still plugging away at root crop harvesting, washing, grading and storage. We still have quite a few carrots and beets in the ground. Next week I’ll start on the daikon radish.