Abbe Hills Farm CSA

  (Mt. Vernon, Iowa)
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Lettuce ends, beets begin, another movie night

Greetings shareholders,
 
We will have beautiful head lettuce, kohlrabi, very nice cabbage, both green and red kale, pretty swiss chard, cilantro, stir fry greens, and the first beets this week.  We'll also be picking the last of the first crop of peas, including snap, snow, and shell peas.   You eat the whole thing, including the pod, with snap and snow peas, and just the seeds from  the inside of shell peas.  There will be different combinations available Monday and Thursday nights, depending on what we find that is in the best condition.   We'll have some Chinese cabbage, but perhaps not enough for everyone.  We planted plenty, but many of them have literally "dissolved" in the garden as they have been attacked by a fungal disease that started during the hot weather in June.  We'll rescue as many as we can, even though they aren't fully mature, and start handing them out on Monday.   We will also have a little of the end of the early broccoli and the beginning of the zucchinis. 
 
This will likely be the last week for lettuce until October.  We have 100's of heads in the hoophouse, but if you look in there, you'll notice that they are starting to "bolt".   Plants bolt when they change from growing leaves to growing flowers and reproductive parts.  Lettuce "knows" to begin reproductive growth when the nights are short and the days are warm, so it's starting to stretch out and become pretty unattractive.  It still tastes good, but looks funny.  Depending on how it holds up, we may still have some next week, but then we'll have to wait for cooler weather.  Lettuce in the fall is always marvelous.  And much easier to grow.
 
The heat in June caused lots of changes in the garden, some bad and some good  The peas all matured at pretty much the same time, even though they were planted on a schedule that should have stretched out their season at least 1 or 2 more weeks.  Plant diseases, especially those caused by fungus, went crazy in the heat.  We're having trouble with the potatoes and everything in the cabbage family.   And the bugs!!!  AGH!!!  They LOVE heat and they took full advantage of the opportunity, especially in the squashes and cucumbers.  That's all bad.  But, the onions and tomatoes are very happy, the summer squash are growing quickly, and the green beans are blooming.  All good things that come from heat.
 
We also will have a few garlic scapes this week.  If you remember last year, we had tons of scapes.  Scapes are the flower bud from garlic plants.  They have a very mild, lovely flavor that is pretty special, and are available only about 2 weeks per year.  We raised lots of garlic last summer, but I didn't give you any bulbs because I was saving them to plant so we could have a whopping garlic harvest this year.  Well, it was a good idea, but something happened over the winter and about 95% of the garlic we planted was killed.  Nobody seems to know what happened, but most of the garlic growers I know had the same trouble.  Actually, the only place the garlic lived in my garden was where a giant snowdrift was.  I suppose the snow acted as insulation to protect the garlic under it.  So, we'll have 2 or 3 scapes per share this week, and try again next year to get bulbs.  There's nothing better than fresh garlic.
 
Next week, it looks like we will have zukes, potatoes, onions, and perhaps cucumbers, the next broccoli crop, and beans. 
 
Remember movie night this Wednesday, July 8, as part of Heritage Days.  Garden tours start at 7:30, movie starts about 8:30.  This month's movie is "Babe", a good one for the kids.  Might as well let them stay up late every night this week!  Bring a friend and a lawn chair.  The movie is free, and popcorn sales benefit our food pantry.
 
Want to be a volunteer driver to deliver our excess food to Green Square Meals?  We need a few more to add to the pool.  I usually know that I'll have something to donate on Tuesday and Friday mornings and can let you know by email.  Deliveries must be made between 3:00 and 6:00 pm.  If you'd be available to help, please let me know.
 
We had a little less than .5 inches of rain on Saturday, all of which soaked in.  My buddy Schnackenberg says we'll have several chances to get some more this week.  Sure hope he's right.  We're needing about an inch to get the next round of crops out of the ground.
 
See you this week,
Laura
 
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