Abbe Hills Farm CSA

  (Mt. Vernon, Iowa)
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melons and lopes this week, getting cold for a few days, neighbors have apples

Greetings shareholders,

This week, we have potatoes, onions, garlic, beans, sweet peppers, tomatoes, kale and collards, herbs, chili peppers, summer squash, watermelon, and cantaloupe.  I think I'll also be able to find some cucumbers, swiss chard, and the last of the edamame.  After today, we're expecting an uncharacteristically cold week, so I don't know what's going to happen with the garden between now and Thursday, but I think we'll still have most things.  The week after that, who knows? 

I am wishing for a good rain today.  We're now back in the rut in which we found ourselves in May - small crops, lots of them, sitting there, waiting for a rain.  The problem with waiting now is that they are going to run out of time.  So I suppose it is time to start irrigating again, although I don't want to.  Next week, I'm quite sure we can cut some lettuce, and pretty soon after we get just a little more heat and moisture, we should have turnips, kohlrabi, lots more lettuce, a new crop of beans, beets, carrots, cabbage, and all the wonderful fall greens.  We will harvest winter squash starting in October.

I haven't grown cantaloupe in several years, and now I remember why.  While they are absolutely the most sweet and wonderful lopes you've ever tasted, they almost all have a spot on the side that was sitting on the ground.  The problem with cantaloupe (that aren't sprayed multiple times with fungicides and insecticides) is that they ripen, and then two seconds later, they start to rot.  So, pick the best one you can find, keep in the frig, cut off the spot, and enjoy them soon.  We should have more next week. 

Big thanks to a team from Cornell that came on Saturday and helped us get the last of the potatoes dug.  YIPPEE.  I LOVE crossing things off my list!!!   The potato harvest was disappointing this year, about 40% of what we expected, but still enough to get us through the fall.  And the quality has been good.

I've got flyers out on the table for "Landfall", a world music festival in Cedar Rapids this week.  Lots of great music to enjoy, and much of it is free. 

My neighbors about 3 miles away, Kevin and Marie Lynch, have too many APPLES and want to sell some to you.  I've tasted the apples; they are gorgeous, big and crisp, and unsprayed.  U-pick at their place, $.75 per pound.  Kevin and Marie will be here this week handing out samples in case you need more convincing.  Make arrangements to pick when you get your veggies, or call Kevin at 721-8218.  Kevin's email is above.

The email for Charlotte, our bread lady, is also above.  If you want to know her weekly offerings in advance, zap her a note, and tell her which night you pick up so she can get you on the right list.

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.

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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