November has largely been a wonderful month here on the farm. The warm days and cool nights have bolstered our fall plantings and filled our cold storage to the brim with delectable organic veggies. In all the beauty of Autumn, there has been, however, one dark spot on the bright horizon of the winter sun. In perhaps the saddest news on the farm this year, we bid farewell to six of our beloved hens whose lives were tragically cut short by (probably) coyotes late one night. Sometimes all the fences in the world aren’t enough to dissuade the will of Mother Earth. We wish our domesticated friends well on their way across the rainbow bridge and hope the coyotes are full, happy, and that their future hunts are successful (hopefully, elsewhere).
Despite the sad news, we have been as busy as ever planting up a storm. From a production standpoint, these are the last weeks of viable planting before the combination of low temperatures and short days make growth nearly halt until spring, so we’re pushing to get as much in the ground as possible. With that in mind, here are some production notes from the last month.
– Outdoor arugula, gourmet greens salad mix, and lettuce mix have all been performing exceptionally well in the warm days and cool nights of this “Autumnal” weather.
– Romaine and scallions are starting to size up and, so long as the weather stays above freezing during the day, they should be available in the market soon.
– Our outdoor spinach planting was, as usual, a real bust. Spinach, unfortunately enough for us here in one of the driest counties in the state, needs cool, wet conditions to germinate. Next year we’ll try a few alternative approaches to hopefully expand our spinach growth throughout the year. Until then, all of our spinach will be coming from the high tunnels.
– Little gem lettuce is back in the market and producing beautifully.
– Broccoli and cabbage are now heading up in full swing! Both are in the market and hopefully will be for the next month or so. This has been our best year ever in terms of broccoli growing and sales, so next year we plan on really stepping up our planting to hopefully sate the voracious appetite of our beloved customers.
– In rather unfortunate news, our kale seedlings were eaten by mice and our collards are once again under assault from cabbage loopers. Both of these greens are tender and highly digestible, making them regular targets for pests. We have a few bunches of collards in the market each week but don’t expect kale to be available until mid-December.
– Carrots, carrots, carrots! We just harvested our storage carrots and have put over 750 pounds of crisp deliciousness into cold storage so expect to see them in the market for the foreseeable future.
– Our watermelon radishes, daikons, and turnips are all due for their final harvest and should be available through mid-December. More of each of these crops have been sown in a caterpillar tunnel for winter harvest as well.
– High Tunnel 1 has been prepped and planted with a glorious array of kale, collards, lettuce mix, hakurei turnips, french breakfast radishes, carrots, arugula, gourmet greens, and spinach.
– High Tunnel 2’s cover crop has been mowed, and its beds are well on their way to being shaped and prepared for their own plantings come the first week of December.
Alex Knight is an Anarchist, Seed Saver, and generally plant-obsessed weirdo who can usually be found foraging the rich coves and dry ridges of Appalachia.
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