Bluebirds and Misty Mornings

It’s that time of year when thinking back on the week past is a difficult supposition.  There were misty morning harvests, bluebird songs, courting turkeys, weeding crews fighting the good fight, seeding in the greenhouse, and the happy presence of our CSA members and customers swapping recipes and stories.

A few notable accomplishments of the week that was: All our early summer fruiting crops in the ground!  Tomato I and Tomato II, Eggplant, Peppers and Hot Peppers, Cucumbers, and our first and second Summer Squash plantings.  And with the warming days we are removing more and more row cover to unveil the beautiful crops awaiting below. Remaining covers serve as a barrier for the many pests emerged this time of year- including flea beetle and cabbage worm on brassica, leaf miner on chenopods, Colorado potato beetle on Nightshade, cucumber beetle on cucurbits, and deer on most anything.

Our sweet potato crop has been planted, all of it!  During the quiet months of the winter a few of us on the crew had the opportunity to attend the New England Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association Conference.  At the Sweet Potato talk we were instructed in the importance of planting vegetable slips (vegetative clippings are the standard method of growing sweet potatoes for commercial production) as soon as they arrive AND planting under cool, overcast conditions.  As luck would have it we were blessed with a rainy Wednesday when the slips arrived and a free afternoon to plant them. The planting continued on Thursday and Friday, and we were even able to add five additional beds because of the quality of our plant stock.  In addition to our current tried and true favorite, the Beauregard, we are trying Covington this year- an orange sweet potato that beat out Beauregard in blind tastings.  We’re also growing Carolina Ruby, the darker fleshed beauty you may remember from last year and O’Henry, a white-fleshed relative of Beauregard.  I’m sorry to get you all revved-up for sweets, it’ll be about four months until they are ready.  And they only grow sweeter the longer you can hold out… But I’ll let you in on a secret I discovered last week- Golden beets pair beautifully with hakurei turnips and sage in a weekday risotto.

-Liz Nolan