What’s the 2015 harvest season look like, you ask…well, this very welcome rainy afternoon gives me the opportunity to answer that question.
It is now mid-May and the harvest for the next few weeks will continue to be leafy greens, onions and radishes. On the leafy green side we have:
- Wild Garden Kales
- Swiss Chard
- Lettuce Mixes
We’ve begun to harvest broccoli. If you are in the CSA and haven’t gotten a head, you most likely will this week or next. This is a challenging crop for our small farm because of the amount of time and space it requires. We’re harvesting our best crop in three years.
Cabbage is coming along nicely as well – green and purple varieties.
We’re also looking forward to the strawberries in just a few weeks. We’ll have the larger June bearing varieties as well as an extended season of the smaller ever-bearing varieties. Beginning in July we will have raspberries. Last year we harvested through October. We’ve greatly improved how we care for our fruit by purchasing better containers. You will definitely notice a difference in your shares and deliveries.
The fava beans have blossoms and will be available in June as well. The peas are not what I hoped. CSA members will get shelling peas, but I’m not sure they will make it to the newsletter or to market. We’ll be planting string beans and some shelling bean varieties this week and next. Frist, I need to get the 500 sweet potato slips in the ground.
Speaking of tubers…we have a little patch of potatoes growing from a St. Patrick’s Day romp in the garden. These are mixed red and white varieties purchased from this source. We also planted 25 pounds of purple potatoes because they were so popular last year. When we harvest the first round of potatoes in July it is usually with our garlic, which survived the winter nicely. We’ve already begun harvesting the perennial onions, and have several more successions of onions the take us through the summer.
There’s a huge bed of carrots, multiple varieties. Next to it is an equally large bed of beets, mostly Detroit Red and Bulls Blood. We’ve planted turnips, but the flea beetle is bad again this year, so I’m not sure how that will unfold.
Last week we planted cucumbers and celery, tomatoes and peppers, a bunch of leeks.
Our pride and joy is a huge bed of tomatoes we planted on April 1st in one of our high tunnels. They have little green tomatoes on them, and lots of blossoms. I’ll be staking them tomorrow while the lovely rain continues to bless Harpers Ferry and its surroundings.
By mid-June we will have also planted melons, squashes (summer and winter), pumpkin and more cucumbers. These crops are tricky because of the squash bug so prevalent on our land. We have learned to both push the planting time back a couple of weeks as well as rapid replacement of injured plants to manage their impact. Bob is a master at finding and removing their eggs from the bottom of the leaves.
We’re going to have eggplant, but not as many as last year. They didn’t move so well. We will also have corn, late – in August, only available for CSA members - heirloom varieties from Baker Seed Company. The majority of our seed came from Baker this year.
We have herbs: basil, oregano, thyme, lovage, cilantro, parsley, dill. They come in their own seasons.
We’re dropping okra this year because we need the space, but we’ve added flowers.
Hope that helps you imagine our harvests from now until Labor Day, then we’ll be planting up the tunnels and getting better at extended season growing. We got advice from Clara Coleman in this regard, and will continue to work with her to strengthen our extended season technology.
I’ll close with a word about our eggs – oy! The feed is expensive and we have been fighting one threat after another. When you choose to use non-modified, soy-free feed the eggs are an expensive proposition. We’ll decide in October whether we will continue to have a large flock for egg production in 2016.
You can come by the farm any day but Saturday to see the garden beds and ask about our growing practices. Usually good to email first, but not necessary if you come in the afternoon.