Abbe Hills Farm CSA

  (Mt. Vernon, Iowa)
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2" rain. WOW!!!

Greetings shareholders, 

This week, we'll have German Butterball potatoes, onions, garlic, kale, eggplant, green beans, summer squash, tomatoes, sweet peppers, and basil, cilantro, and parsley.

The German Butterballs are nice, versatile potatoes.  Because they only had about an inch of rain in their whole lives, they are small, so I'm going to give you only a pound or so to make sure that everybody gets to taste them.  We'll try them again next year and hope for bigger spuds.

We're done with the white and light yellow summer onions.  If you've got any at your house, you know they don't store very well.  Use them!!!!  You're not going to get any better onions anywhere.  We're moving into the storage onions now, yellow and red.  They store longer (but not forever!) because they have less sugar in their cells.  They're still great, but not as sweet as my favorite summer onions.

Same thing with the garlic.  I've mostly been giving you Musik, a great big sweet garlic that looks and tastes great, but it will start growing if you try to keep it into the fall.  Use it!!!  We've got just a little more Musik, then I'll start switching you over to the less sweet, longer lasting, hardneck storage garlics like German Red and Chesnock Red.  I can't give you all the garlic we harvested this summer; gotta save some of it to plant this fall so we'll have more next year.

Tomatoes continue to ripen slowly.  I anticipate lots of tomatoes of all shapes, sizes, and colors sometime very soon.   This weekend, we even found one that is green when it is ripe.   I sure don't know how that happened!

We had wonderful rain last week which is going to make a huge difference in the fall garden.  Last Sunday/Monday, we ended up with .5", then on Thursday morning we had a whopping 2" of rain in about two hours!!!!  It was fantastic.   We've had about 5" of rain in the last three weeks, a real unexpected blessing.  No more griping about the weather allowed around here, at least for a while.  (Although I am happy that it is warming up this week.  We need the warm nights and hottish days to grow peppers, tomatoes, and squash.)

There are four kitties here who need new homes.  Immediately.  They are eight weeks old now, and ready to go.  If you want one, or know somebody who wants one, let me know.  Their mother has started taking them on road trips and I'm afraid we're going to lose a couple to the wild if we don't get them out of here. Feral cats are a HUGE environmental disaster.  They eat EVERYTHING they find, but mostly endangered, neotropical, migratory songbirds.  I don't want to contribute to that problem.  As always, kitties are free.

I'll be putting my nomination papers for Linn Soil and Water Conservation District out on Monday for you to sign if you are interested.  I need 25 Linn County residents to nominate me for election.  Assuming that happens, this will be my 4th? or 5th? election as a soil and water commissioner. 

There will be a daylong IOWATER training on September 7 at Lowe Park in Marion that will be especially tailored to residents of the Indian Creek watershed, although anybody can attend.  Many of you live in the Indian Creek watershed, a 93-square mile area which includes Marion, Robins, Hiawatha, Alburnett, and some of northeast Cedar Rapids.   (I think this will link you to a map of the watershed.)   IOWATER volunteers monitor water quality in the streams near their homes and report their findings to the Iowa DNR for their water quality database.  No experience or science background needed.  If you'd like to know more, zap me a note and I'll send you the brochure.

See you this week,




very good rain Saturday, Sauerkraut Days this weekend, next week begins second half of the season

Greetings shareholders,
This week, we'll have sweet corn, eggplant, zukes and squash, green beans, potatoes, onions, garlic, kale and collards, cucumbers, the beginning of the tomatoes, and a little bit of cilantro and basil.  Sounds like summer, doesn't it!
The Monday people will get their choice of Bodacious or Serendipity sweet corn.  Serendipity is a corn you like.  I don't grow it too often because it's usually too sweet for me.  I prefer corn that tastes a little more "corny", but I plant it sometimes to humor you.  The cool weekend slowed down the maturing of the corn, exactly when we need to open up a new patch, so the Bodacious left from last week will be for the people who like it more mature, and the Serendipity for those who like it a little new.
Whoooeeee!!!  What a great rain Saturday afternoon.  We were lucky to get about 1.5", nearly as much as we've had in the last two months all added together.  It came fast, and there was too much wind (your sweet corn might have mud on it because the ears are laying on the ground now), but there was little serious damage and almost all of the moisture soaked in.  It's really going to help the fall crops that we already have planted (beans, beets, carrots), plus soften up the ground to make it possible to do tillage for the next round of planting (cabbage, bok chois, kohlrabi, lettuces).  And, I get a couple of days to take the irrigation pump to town for a checkup.  The poor thing's been running 12 hours per day, 6 days per week since May.  It needs a break.
Mt. Vernon and Lisbon people - we need your help.  Marty St. Clair and I are responsible for getting volunteers to staff the bingo tent at Sauerkraut Days in Lisbon next Saturday, noon until 2:00.  That's after the parade, before the water balloons.  Should be a good time to have some fun, meet some new people, and donate a couple of hours to the SE Linn Community Center.  If you'd like to help us, please let Marty or me know asap.  Anybody older than 15 can volunteer - you just have to be able to hand out the cards and collect the quarters.  Profits from bingo go to the Community Center this year.  Thanks.
This week is your last chance to get tickets for the SE Linn raffle, with the drawing also on Saturday at Sauerkraut.  $1 per ticket.  I'd be happy if I ran out of tickets some night this week.  And you'd be contributing to a good thing.
See you this week.

sweet corn and eggplant, Thursday people change to Monday?

Greetings shareholders,
This week, we'll have sweet corn, collards and kale, cabbage, summer squash, potatoes, onions, garlic, chard, and cucumbers.  I also have a few carrots you can have, and hope to find enough eggplant for everybody to have one or two.  Green beans and bell peppers are likely in the next week or two. 
I planted enough sweet corn to have it for four weeks.  With the heat, of course it looks like it's all going to get ready in the next two!  The ears are small and not completely full, but it tastes great.  (Raccoon approved, too.)  We'll give you as much as my crew can pick in a morning, but I suppose that there will still be too much too fast, so there will likely be some to sell for the freezer.  I'll let you know for sure at the end of the week.  We start with Bodacious on Monday, and we'll have either more Bodacious or else Incredible for Thursday and the weekend.
We planted a few carrots in the hoophouse in March and finally dug them last week.  They are, of course, weird sizes and shapes.  Hope you like them anyway.  Carrots are a real treat around here.  I find them nearly impossible to grow when I really want to, and they unexpectedly survive when they shouldn't.
Eggplants seem to like drought, at least the plant parts like it.  The plants are beautiful right now.  Fruit set for eggplant is irregular when it gets hot, like it also is for tomatoes, beans, peppers, cucumbers.  The flowers pollinate in the mornings when it is cool, but abort in the afternoons when the temp gets in the nineties.  So, we'll keep the plants alive, harvest as many eggplant fruits as we can find, and hope for more later in the season.
Summer squash, melons, collards, and kale also seem to like drought and are doing amazingly well.   So far this year, we've really only had success with plants that we have set out as transplants.  Anything planted directly in the garden from seed, including beans, herbs, carrots, chard, and cucumbers, has been tough to get as many plants as we need to survive.  We continue to plant and irrigate, just in case it turns around.  Hope it's pretty soon because most of the yummy fall crops are direct seeded, and it would be just fine with me if they would grow!
Onions this week will be Ailsa Craig.  They are often very sweet and don't store very well, like not at all, so use them quickly.  They are about half size, so we should be able to work through the half-size pile pretty quickly.
If you are a Thursday person who might like to change to Monday, you can do it.  I'd like a few families to change to Monday if possible to balance out our harvest a little better.  Let me know right away if you want to make the change this week.
Remember the Southeast Linn Community Center fundraising raffle.  I've got the tickets.  Last year, three people who bought tickets from me won.  It could work out that way again, so don't get left behind.  $1 each.  Lots of nice prizes.   Drawing at Sauerkraut Days in August.
Thank you very much for all your kind notes, pictures, gifts, and blessings.  It's getting to be a tough season!  Your encouragement and assurances, plus my EXCELLENT workers, really make it easier to manage.  We just keep doing our best to make this a good garden year for you.
See you this week,
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