Boulder Belt Eco-Farm

  (Eaton, Ohio)
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Bouler belt FSI vol 3 issue 8

Greetings,

It is now week 8 of our food and farming adventure and things are changing around the farm. First off, the weather has gone from cold and wet to hot, humid and rainless (but our soils are still quite wet to down right muddy in some areas). The heat is hard for me to work in (I have had heat stroke before) but Eugene can work in the heat and has been busy getting the beds for tomatoes tilled as well as planting things like melons, more spring mix, winter squash, popcorn, cucumbers, zucchinis, beets, bok choy, potatoes, carrots, radishes, beets, etc.. The heat is also hard on the plants. the cool weather things like lettuce and spinach will not tolerate high heat for more than 3 to 4 days. the asparagus (which I thought loves 90 degree heat) does not like this at all and the yields have gone way down. But the summer crops like peppers, eggplant, basil, melons, etc., love this weather.

Second, we are finally seeing a change in the crops. there will be several things making an appearance in your shares for the first time such as Broccoli Raab (this, I believe is the 3rd planting and as they same the 3rd time's the charm), green onions (these are true onions that would have made a bulb had I left them in the ground and not scallions which you have gotten in your shares a couple of times this spring)basil-there won't be much as the plants are still tiny and are growing out of some problem that caused their leaves to turn brown (I suspect herbicide drift), garlic scapes, which are the flower stalks that appear on hard necked garlic and also signal that in 2 to 3 weeks we will all be eating fresh garlic. We have small heads of broccoli, finally and I believe there will be enough zucchini for everyone to get a small zuke in their share this week.

This week, other than planting and harvesting, we have been concentrating on weeding. The rains of April and May have meant that we have not been able to get much weeding in. It's been too wet to hoe and in our clay based soils if you work with them while wet you get a concrete like substance that sticks around for several years. This is what we sustainable farming types called ruining the tilth of the soil and this is to be avoided if at all possible. The chemical gardening types will tell you that any weed in the garden is a bad thing. The reality is most crops like some weed pressure (but that sort of thinking does not sell a lot of herbicide) as weeds will add nutrients to the soil that the crops need as well as protect the soil from the ravages of sun, wind and rain. That said, we cannot let the weeds run rampant and there are some such as bindweed, garlic mustard and poison ivy we do want to see in the garden beds at all so we have an arsenal of tools we use to control the weeds that include landscape fabric mulch, the wheel hoe, stirrup hoes, trowels and hands and our goal is not to eradicate all the weeds (an impossible task) but to keep them to a small enough population that they do not over whelm the crops (make the crops small and hard to find). Weeds also give beneficial critters a place to hide and food to eat (like pollan). And a lot of the plants we call weeds are very edible and some of the healthiest plants out there.  I just may start including some "weeds" in your shares in the coming weeks like lambsquarter and purslane.

The heat has meant we have turned on the air conditioning in the store so keep the door closed. We have found that cooling the store means we use far less energy as a cool store means the refrigeration doesn't need to run as often and it is a lot easier on the units. It is also a lot easier on us humans who have to work in the that building. And it keeps things dry so we get a lot less spoilage with things that do not get refrigerated. This time of year that would be our seed stocks but later garlic, onions, tomatoes and several other things will need cool (not cold) dry storage.

On that note the shares will be ready after 4 pm (if you come before you can always hang out and talk to me as I finish them up, I like the company)

We still have an open invitation for anyone who wants to come out and have some fun getting dirty in the garden. Looks like Steph Mullins and her kids will be out this week to help out. I look forward to getting to know her and her family (well, most of it) and having some fun working in the garden. We always enjoy working with our members.

Recipe

Roasted Garlic Scapes


1 package of scapes
Olive Oil
salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 to 400. Put clean whole scapes into a roasting pan (or a pan that can be covered with foil). Drizzle the olive oil over top and salt to taste. Cover pan and put in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes. this is done when the room fills with the aroma of roasted garlic

What's in the Share

Strawberries-a pint of yummy chemical free berries. sadly this will be the last week of them for a few weeks as they plants are about ready to take a break but they will be back in 3 to 6 weeks with more deelish berries
Spring Mix-a 1/2 pound bag of salad
Broccoli-a few smallish heads of broccoli, perhaps 1/2 pound
Green onion-these are from onions we started from sets (most we start from seed but we also grow and save our own onion sets for early onions). A lot are trying to make flowers which means the onion bulb will be compromised so we are pulling them as green onions. The entire plant can (and should) be used. You will get a bunch of 4 or 5 onions
Kale-a mix of red Russian, rainbow/dinosaur and winterbor kale. One could call the a kale salad
Basil-the first basil of the year-there will be more, much more to come
Cilantro-after almost 9 months of no cilantro at all it is coming up all over the farm. I have found nice stands in onion beds, spinach beds, garlic beds, etc..
Zucchini-When I pollinated the zukes yesterday I saw we had just enough to give everyone a single squash. these are on the small side and a taste of things to come. You will either get the yellow and green Zephyr or the heirloom, green and grey striped Costata Romanesque
Asparagus-one of the last weeks for asparagus. I believe you will get around a pound of purple and green spears.
Broccoli raab-if you have not had this before it tastes nothing like broccoli and much more like a turnip green. Cook as you would kale or chard
Garlic Scapes-The flower tops from our hard necked garlic and the first taste of garlic for the year.
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