Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Harvest Newsletter

Greetings from the Garden!  This CSA box has corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, green or Walla Walla onions,  garlic, lettuce and salad greens, radishes, bok choy and or cabbage, kohlrabi, basil and parsley.

Field Notes.  Rain - how welcome the first of the rain was - and then we got more and more.  The recent hot and steamy weather felt more like July than August.  The plants and the weeds grew dramatically.  The soil is drying enough so Ken can cultivate while weeds are still small enough so hand pulling them is not necessary. Ken was glad to see the rain.  As he frequently says, "No one pays me extra to irrigate!"  He had irrigated many of the fall crops in the field as they were stalled out.  We will see what weather comes next.  

Ken has been planting crops where the mobile high tunnel will go when the summer crops finish.  With the rain they have popped up.  And fall and winter carrots look great.

Ken expanded the area for the pigs into part of the garden as part of a renovation project. Imagine my surprise when I saw them so close to crops.

We are so glad the strawberries and early raspberries were good this year.  The fall crop does not look good because of a new Asian fruit fly called the spotted wing drosophila that can lay eggs in the semi - ripe fruit.  When I go to pick the ripe fruit it is like a popped water balloon.  I have read about traps and we will try them this season.  I am picking off all infested fruit and we will continue to receive information from extension about possible organic solutions.  So far we have not heard of beneficial insects or soil recommendations - our usual approaches - that have been successful.

From the Kitchen.  Time to preserve!  I made some strawberry and raspberry jam from earlier crops, and Ken has begun to can tomatoes for winter use.  He also makes pickles and cultured vegetables.  I plan to freeze a few beans as well. Consider buying produce now to eat in winter - freeze some chard for winter quiches or to add to soups, stuff some peppers, etc.  Check the website order veg page for the list of what we have available: http://kepperspottery.com/?110040#VegetableForm

This week starts the fall brassicas - bok choy and kohlrabi.  I think of these as bonus vegetables because both the stem and leaves are great.  I use kohlrabi leaves like I would kale or cabbage and the swollen stem is crunchy and tasty.  Ken likes to peel, slice and salt for about a half hour for an instant pickle or peel and cube and steam and top with butter, salt, and pepper as a side dish.  Many folks add kohlrabi to stir fry dishes.  Bok choy is a great stir fry vegetables.  I separate the stem from leaves as I cook stems a short time like a minute or two and the leaves I just wilt - under a minute.  I often cook onion, add sliced stems and once the heat is off I add greens and top with an interesting vinegar or dressing.

'Til Next Week, Judith (and Big Red)

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