September 2013

Sweet Potatoes, Friends and More Sweet Potatoes

. . . Sep 21, 2013 | posted by Josephine
Carmen, sweet potatoes

It looks like the late summer heat wave has finally ended but when will it rain? The cool almost crisp mornings are a nice reminder that fall is quickly approaching. You wouldn’t think so by looking at the thermometer last week. It was hot as blazes. The poor fall plants have taken a real beating. It seems Josephine has spent more time dragging around hoses and watering everything than anything else. It has been over a month since we have had any rain here on the farm. We’ve seen it rain all around us but nothing here yet. So with the late heat and lack of rain our variety we had planned for this fall might be a little limited but what we have will be delicious.

Chris and Carmen diggin sweet tators Carmen and Chris digging sweet potatoes
So our friends Carmen and Chris came down from Minneapolis and stayed a few days. Not only did they lend a much needed helping hand it was great to spend time with good friends. Truth be told they are marriage friends to me, Josephine knows them from her college days, but they a real nice folks and great company. Carmen’s husband David (unfortunately couldn’t make this trip) put together our website for us. I’m glad to be able to call them friends.
Everyone that stays here puts in a little sweat equity and Carmen and Chris did a lot to help out. They were here just in time to harvest sweet potatoes. They did a great job clearing the vines out of the way. Then with a borrowed tractor from Van at Flora Bluebird Farm we used a sub soiler to split the ground open. Almost popping the taters out of the ground from there it was a quick dig to get them up. We were able to harvest about half the sweet potatoes with their help. Jo and I just finished up the rest Sunday.Checking out the first row
Ten 100 foot rows should get us well over a ton of sweet potatoes. So if you need sweet potatoes come see us at either the Cooper Young Community Farmers Market on Saturdays or (occasionally) at the Tuesday Oxford City Market. Hope to see you there.

Heading into Fall

. . . Sep 04, 2013 | posted by Josephine
Baby chickies

Hallelujah, August is over!  We are getting ready for the change in the seasons, and fall will no doubt be upon us faster than we know it.  This week I set about planting the kale, lettuce, beets, and bok choi that has been not-so-patiently waiting in the greenhouse, overgrown and bug ravaged.  After losing about 20% of the broccoli and cabbage (and 50% of the kohlrabi!) to hot weather transplanting, I decided to wait on the other stuff until more of the hot weather was behind us.  It is also time for seeding radishes, turnips, and overwintering carrots, along with more arugula and mustard.
The hot weather has kicked the okra into overdrive.  Still tender, these larger pods in your shares this week are perfect for grilling.  Put two skewers through them so that they don’t spin and fall through the grates and burn.  While you are at it, I have heard that grilled watermelon is tasty, and I bet grilled pears would be fantastic.  Speaking of things that are great for the grill, the sweet corn has started to tassle.  Keep your fingers crossed – this is attempt number three for sweet corn this year and they say the third time is a charm.  It has been diligent work keeping the earworms at bay and I sure hope it pays off in a few weeks.
Also on the horizon are fall tomatoes.  The plants are just loaded with green fruits and I think we are right on schedule for tomatoes in mid-September.  The crowder peas are setting pods, so those should not be too far off, either.  I dug one bed of sweet potatoes, and based on that we should have about 40 bushels – that’s 2000 pounds – of sweet potatoes in the ground and ready.  Now we just have to figure out how to get them out.  Not to mention where we are going to store 40 bushels of sweet potatoes.  Other things you can expect to see in your shares this month are salad turnips and hot wasabi mustard.  There will be some more peppers and eggplant, and we will try to take it easy on the okra following the okra avalanche of August.  Towards the end of the month we should have kale, chard, and French breakfast radishes.  I am almost afraid to mention the last planting of cucumbers for fear I will jinx them, so that is all I am saying about that!
New kids on the farm

Jo puting the chicks into the brooderBaby chicks just arrived via USPSSay hello to our 50 baby Freedom Ranger broiler chickens!  These little chicks came in the mail last Thursday.  In a few short weeks they will be old enough to move into the chicken tractor and onto pasture.  We are trying out a new type of chicken because the selective breeding of the Cornish Cross broiler chickens (that we had raised previously) has distorted their genetics to the point of being feed-eating  automatons.  While the Cornish Cross grow quickly and produce a plump, meaty bird, they are stupid and sluggish and die at the drop of a hat.  Raising them was no fun, and if we are going to work as hard as we work, we had better-as-hell be having fun.  We hope these chickens will be more like, well, chickens; livelier, healthier, more active.  They don’t grow as quickly, so we will be raising them several weeks longer, but we hope that they will eat enough bugs and seeds and green stuff that our feed cost will even out.  The finished product will not look like a grocery store chicken, but more like a miniature turkey.  (Actually, it will look like a chicken, though we have collectively forgotten what chicken really looks like)