Boulder Belt Eco-Farm

  (Eaton, Ohio)
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Boulder Belt Eco-Farm FSI vol 3 issue 6



Good morning,

It is raining again and this is not good. The forecast is for warm sunny days ahead, I hope this time we get more than 3 or 4 and that the days do not turn to Hot sunny days as they did last week. Going from cold to hot to cold is really hard on the crops and the farmers. And no, we do not like it when the temps go above 75F in May, or ever really. Working in temps that reach the high 80's is not fun for us Boulder Belt farmers and I really do not understand why most Americans seem to think that 85F is a nice temp (unless you are in AC all day or by a body of water). Not to mention that such high temps this time of year can ruin lettuce, spinach (though the earlier flooding pretty much did that in-we have plants and they are green but they are also stunted) and other leafy greens who react to such heat but bolting to seed and often getting very bitter.

The weather is putting us way behind schedule. We have all sorts of seedlings that need to go into the soil but it has been too wet to do much tilling and way to cold for most of the things that need to go out (peppers and eggplant) we have gotten more broccoli planted (and it looks like you will get broccoli either next week or the week after) as well as more peas and the first beans (green, French and yellow wax). And I am happy to report all the beans have germinated and should be ready to pick in another 50 to 60 days. hopefully this week we can get the first potatoes in the ground. The beds have been tilled and trenches opened so all we need to do now is chit the taters and put 'em in the trenches and rake soil over top of the spuds.
Eugene plants bean seed

I was hoping that by now we would be harvesting broccoli raab but it looks like it has failed. We have plants but they are 3 inches tall and making flower tops. they should be 2 feet tall with big leaves before they make the flowers heads. I may just harvest it and put it in your shares today as it is edible and tasty but not doing what it should do and it needs to come out of the bed. I am very disappointed about this as I really love Raab and I know some of you do too. This is part and parcel of farming during the most difficult spring we have experienced in our 17 years of doing this (and we have had some really bad springs but so far this one tops them all).

I am happy with the things we have in hoop Houses. The strawberries are producing decently (if it were sunny and warm they would triple their production and get very sweet but we take what we can get), the tomatoes are beginning to make flowers which means cherry tomatoes probably by mid June and the zucchinis and cucumber plants are growing well and should start producing in the next couple of weeks. Without the hoop houses we would have not straw berries and the cukes, zukes and maters would be at least a week away from going in the ground. So you can see we have a 4 to 6 week jump on these crops.

The cold weather has meant that asparagus production has pretty much shut down until the sun and warmth return (asparagus reacts to weather more quickly than any other plant I can think of). So the past few days we have been able to harvest up to two pounds a day. Before this cold wet weather we were harvesting up to 15 pounds 2x a day.

The cold weather also means we are not seeing a lot of pest insect pressure which makes things a bit easier, though we are not seeing many beneficial insects either and not seeing the bugs makes me worry about the birds who eat bugs and right now are trying to raise babies. I have seen a lot of dead chicks likely tossed from nests by the parents, probably because there is not enough food to feed them.

Last week I implied that I would changed this newsletter-that it would be in full html and have  photos and everything. That has not happened yet. I have been screwing around with some designs but have not found or designed anything suitable to my style so I will stick with this "format" for the time being and simply add some photos.

The shares will be ready after 4 pm and will be in the front fridge as usual. And remember this is whole shares only this week, no half shares picking up.

Spring Salad #1

This a favorite at our farm

1/2 bag spring mix
at least 8 strawberries
Several radishes
2 to 3 scallions
Several spears of asparagus (as many as you want)

Wash and spin dry the spring mix. Cut the strawberries in half or quarters if they are huge. Wash and slice the radishes. Wash and slice the scallions. Wash and cut the asparagus into 1" pieces than blanch for 2 to 3 minutes, until tender crisp, drain and cool. Put the clean greens into a big bowl and top with all the other veggies.

What's in the Share this Week
Strawberries-a pint of berries
Spring Mix-a 6 oz bag (or maybe larger) of salad that should include arugula (the arugula in the spring mix bed we have been harvesting has not been growing well but should finally be big enough to cut today)
Lettuce-around a pound of mixed heads of lettuce
Asparagus-around a pound of a mix of green and purple spears
Chives with flowers
Garlic chives
Greens-this will either be a mix of kale and tine broccoli raabs or I will make bags of raab and bags of kale and randomly put them in bags. there is some chance that the kale grew enough since last Friday that I can get enough for everyone and there may well be enough raab to get everyone at least 1/2 pound
-probably the last week. We are down to the dregs-the smallest of the leeks
Rhubarb-again I do not know if I have enough for everyone to have a nice bunch. The plants have not been harvested in over 10 days and have been fertilized so I hope they have started growing better
Green Garlic-I spied several garlic plants that are growing where they ought not to be so we will pull them and you should get at least 3 of them, maybe more. All parts of this are usable.
Herbs-I should be able to find 2 to 3 different herbs for your shares, likely rosemary, tarragon and savory but possibly dill and/or cilantro

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