Abbe Hills Farm CSA

  (Mt. Vernon, Iowa)
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we've got plumbing in the gardens

Greetings shareholders,
This week, we'll have nice lettuces, bok chois and other Asian greens, garlic scapes, and a few sugar snap peas.  The first planting of sugar snaps - the ones you got last week - were phenomenal.  All I can say is that I guess sugar snaps love drought.  This week, there will be a more normal amount.  Soon, we'll have kohlrabi, Chinese cabbage, onions, radishes, little turnips, but those things need just a little more time.  They all stalled for the month on May, but now with the water we're able to provide, have started to grow again.
The good news from last week is that we got all the garden that was already planted - cabbages, broccoli, beets and chard, lettuce, kale, beans, some peppers, summer squash - with the capacity to be watered.  It was a big job, but all the plumbing is finally laid out and everything has had at least one good drink.  Now, we go back to planting, which is quite delayed.  We're finding that we have to water even before we plant, the soil is so so so dry.  Things that we start from seeds, like beans, herbs, pickles, winter squash, melons are going to be a continual challenge because it is so hard to get a nicely firm, uniformly moist seedbed.  The vegetables that are set out as transplants have a little better jump on things, but they are getting tired of living in those plastic trays on a hayrack.  This week, we concentrate on the workhorse crops like tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant, winter squash. (And a little weeding wouldn't be a bad idea, either.)  After that, we go to the crowd pleasers like okra, carrots, more beans, more cukes, zukes.  We're heading in the right direction.
Sweet corn, potatoes, onions, and garlic are all far away from the pond, plus too much to irrigate.  But they were all planted early and seem to be hanging on OK.  I can't believe how resilient plants are.  They get eaten and fried and baked and starved and smacked around by the wind all day, and still they keep living.  Amazing.  And good thing for us!
My workers have been just great, working well beyond what I expected of them when I hired them.  Without their support and help, not too much would get done around here. 
Some of you have asked about the plastic we are using as mulch.  Here is a video showing the machine we have and how it works.  (Thankfully, our soil isn't as pulverized and damaged as the soil in the video!)  After the big sheets of plastic are laid, the girls poke holes in them and stuff a transplant in.  We have the irrigation running underneath, and the plastic holds the moisture in place near the roots, plus keep weeds from growing.  I never wanted to be a farmer who depended on plastic; we've always been able to manage weeds with cultivators and hoes, and I hate the idea of disposing of all that plastic at the end of the season.  But I'm sure glad that I made the investment this year.  I think it's going to really help out over the long haul.
Channel 9's radar looks good tonight.  Maybe we'll get a little rain by morning.  If not, we'll keep plugging along, doing our best to grow you some great food.
See you this week,
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