The Depot Farm

  (Corfu, New York)
Growing good food, Naturally!
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Winter Update

  Happy Holidays All!

  While we spent the last few weeks with friends and family and enjoying their company (and a little down time for us!), time marches on and we need to get a jump on the new year. Most of the seeds and supplies are on order; our bookwork updated and general repairs and upgrades to the equipment are finished. We've added some new seeds to our veggie inventory in the form of new varieties of peppers, tomatoes, beans and greens. We will keep our old favorites and experiment with these to see how they perform. Taste is everything; so that's our #1 priority. Vigor, disease resistance and production follow in our choices and, after input from our members, we'll decide if we will add them to our regular fare. As always, we have some "new" unusual heirloom varieties to test and evaluate.

  We have made some exciting changes in our CSA this year, and should be posting the details and pricing in our store in 2-3 weeks. We are always optimistic and thankful to all our members for their support and commitment throughout the year. We look forward to renewing old friendships and making new ones' and wish you all the best in the new year!

 
 

Say It Ain't So!

  Yet another growing season is coming to an end. This week marks the last pickup of our CSA. Frost came Saturday night and only the hardy survived. While the cold tolerant crops continue to grow; most of the beds are ready to be put to rest for the winter. Adding leaf mold, along with manure and garden debris to the cover crops, we let the mix breakdown over the winter to be turned under in spring; meanwhile it is protecting the soil from the wind, rain and snow of winter.

  While we still are harvesting fresh lettuce, spinach, kale and swiss chard; we will miss the other crops like peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes. Our personal supply of carrots, beets and other root crops will remain in ground until we want to use them; covering them in straw once the weather grows permanently cold to protect them from freezing and making it easy to harvest in frost-free soil.

  As in nature; we will take a little time to rest, replenish, and restore ourselves before starting the cycle all over again. Thanks!..........Is that a seed catalog in the mail box???

 
 

Fall Update

  Time for the fall update around our farm!

  Tomatoes and peppers were excellent this year. Another week or two and they will be done. Our fall kale, lettuces and spinach is coming in; along with the carrots and beets. The cool weather has kept the flavor of the greens mild, not strong or bitter. The harvest of squash continues as well as turnips, celeriac and late broccoli. Even with the weather this year being cool and rainy, the crops seem to have adapted and are producing as usual. The general cleanup (hoops, row covers, stakes, etc.) goes on whenever we have time. We still have at least four weeks for the CSA, so our weekly share harvesting takes priority over other projects. The hoops for our new cold frame (new location and double the size!) are in place, while finishing the ends and inside will have to wait until they season slows down.

All things considered, it's been a good year on the farm!

 

 
 

Pumpkin Apple Treat

As fall approaches and the kids go back to school, here's a treat to make for after school or desert. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Apple Treat 

Put 1/2 can pureed pumpkin or 1 cup fresh puree, 2 peeled apples (chopped into pieces); 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon and nutmeg; 1/4 cup raisins and 2/3 cup apple or orange juice in blender and mix till smooth. Heat on medium stove till warmed through. Place in bowls and serve with vanilla cookies!

 
 

Tomato Season

  Tomatoes; finally. About 10 days later than usual, but all the heirlooms are beginning to come in. Nice size, very little cracking, the bushes are loaded with them. No sign of blight (it's been a very wet year), plants are healthy and don't appear to be stressed. Should be an excellent crop.

  Added to the bell peppers, yellow and red cipolini onions, and eggplant, we should have some good eating. And with all the other crops producing abundantly, our menu choices are almost endless.

   We continue to add plantings for fall as space opens up from earlier crops. Bugs (pests) are surprisingly light this year and have been easy to control. The only disappointment so far has been mosaic on a couple of zuchinni and yellow squash plants. We pulled the infected plants and the others seem to be fine. The German Cream and Fingerling potatoes are producing great with no disease or scab whatsoever. I will definitely plant them again. The Asian cucumbers are prolific and get the thumbs up too!

 All this talk about food has made me hungry; it's time to go out and browse (eat) in the gardens.

 
 

On The Farm...

  All the crops are growing good despite the excess rain we've had. The CSA members are getting leaf lettuce, chard, beet greens, head lettuce (butterhead and crisphead), kale, radishes, kolarabi, snap peas, pac choi, asparagus and chinese cabbage. This week we will start to add zucchini, beets and peas. The other brassicas are doing well (pest free); as well as the cucumbers and squash. The corn was off to a bumpy start, but later plantings are holding their own. Keeping up to the weeds is always a challenge any year, but with the frequent rains we had, this year is especially challenging. So far we've been able to keep pace and control them. This week we plan to fertilize (compost) and lay down straw to help slow the weeds and conserve water for the plants to help get ready for the hot, dry days coming in July and August. Life is never dull and the work never finished.

  The new asparagus patch is planted and growing as well as are the beans for drying and shelling. we've added 2 new varieties to test and compare. Two new cucumber and onion varieties as well as 3 squashes round out our "new" trials to test this year. All are heirlooms and after the CSA members give their feedback on taste and appearance, we'll decide if we will add them to our regular offerings and plantings. Looks like the drizzle this morning has ended and I hear the weeds calling me; back to the grind!

 
 

Simpler Ways

  Being an organic grower, I find it is more of a lifestyle choice than a production method. It reaches into every facet of my life; not only what I eat. I make a conscience effort to use only the minimum outside inputs to produce the expected results. Plastics aren't used for weed supression or for ground covers. I use straw, leaves, compost and clippings to reduce the weeds. Stakes, markers, cages are recycled wire or wood. We use no sprays. Pests and animals are "controlled" by a mixture of row covers, trap crops, selective fencing and plant timing of vulnerable crops. Potatoes, for example, planted 2 weeks later than normal for this area, are seldom subject to Colorado bug beetles that regularly plague the crop. The crop matures only about 1 week later than the normally planted potatoes without the damage of the bugs. Planting a open patch of soybeans attracts the Japanese beetles away from my cash crops.

  Trying to work with nature rather than against it increases the odds for a successful crop. Crop rotation, diversity and diligent attention to soil fertility pay dividends in the plus column because soil health is the most important building block in the agricultural ecosystem. While I'm always looking to make my work less labor intensive, I realize some things require manual labor. This I grudgingly accept. Sustainable, organic lifestyles do require some sacrifices. Happy gardening!

 
 

Winter Blues

  Winter drags on with the cold seemingly relentless. Zero degree nights and days in the single digits. Outside work is keep to a minimum. I've learned to accept it. On the good side, I've managed to catch up and update all my paperwork, do the taxes, even get a head start on this years' files. My eyes hurt and my fingers are sore from writing. Who knew bookkeeping could be so strenuous.

  On the farm side, details for our CSA are completed, seeds and plant stock ordered are arriving almost daily; crop plans, rotations and planting calendars are completed. I was going to make a "to-do" list but decided to wait, (it was number one on the list!) because of the risk of carpal tunnel. I guess I'll have to be content with putting another log on the fire; having a cup of hot tea and thumb though my dog-eared catalogs one more time! Keep warm.

 


 
 

Work in Progress

  With another cold blast this winter, my outside work comes to a halt. The past week with temps in the 30's got me out to start trimming and pruning the trees and bushes. Some needed maintainance work got completed in the barn while I mentally keep a list of the tools in need of replacement. Duct tape and wire only works so long. 

  I've ordered most of my seeds for this season; adding a few new varieties to "test" in the garden. Most seeds are old favorites, chosen over time for taste, vigor and production in my soil. The seeds I saved from last season have all been cleaned and processed; stored away till it's time to replant again.

With the temperature hovering in the single digits for today, I think its  time to make a pot of soup, sit by the wood stove, thumb through another catalog and dream of spring. Life in the fast lane!

                              

 
 
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