From the Farmer

2018 CSA Week 4

Dear CSA Members,

The past week has brought more rain for us, which has been tough. Driving tractors (and even walking) on wet/mucky soil creates compaction which causes drainage problems in the future, so it’s best practice to stay out of the fields when it is raining hard the way it has been over the last several weeks. This is problematic though when seedlings are quickly growing into the transplant stage. Our baby winter squash crop is looking vigorous and healthy in the greenhouse and will be ready to go into the ground this week. Knowing this, I tried to take advantage of the small, dry, window of opportunity we had last Wednesday to prepare the fields for planting by laying ½ acre of plastic mulch. The soil was still a little too wet but I knew that the second round of rain was coming and that I wouldn’t have another chance in time. Next on my list of field work is preparing for sweet potato planting, planting a second round of tomatoes and peppers, and seeding a third round of carrots and beets!

This week in your share you’ll see beautiful cucumbers grown in our high tunnels. Some benefits of growing cucumbers indoors are that you can trellis the plants upwards! This allows you to utilize vertical space, grow more plants closer together, create good airflow, and the cucumbers hang off the ground so they are blemish free and easy to harvest (the alternative is having to bend over and search for the cucumber in the field while potentially crushing the plant beneath our feet). Cucumbers are vining plants and WANT to grow upwards – they send out tendrils to wrap around anything that is in reach, so we hang one string per plant from the rafters of the tunnel and clip the string to the base of the plant when it is young. As the plant grows we check in about once a week and gently wrap the string around it’s stalk, providing support and direction. We also prune the plant of new “growing points”, also called “suckers” or “leaders.” Like tomatoes, cucumbers develop growing points at the intersection of where the leaf meets the stem of the plant. These growing points will develop their own leafs, tendrils, and fruit sets, but are a lot of extra biomass to support in vertical growing. Pruning them off also maintains good airflow and helps to prevent disease.

Small Shares:

Broccoli
Collard Greens
Cucumbers
Garlic Scapes
Lettuce
Pick-Your-Own Strawberry Coupon
Willowsford Romesco Sauce

Large Shares:

Broccoli
Collard Greens
Cucumbers
Garlic Scapes
Lettuce
Parsley
Pick-Your-Own Strawberry Coupon
Scallions
Spinach
Willowsford Romesco Sauce

Thanks so much and we will see you all at pick up this week!

Be Well,

Anya, Deb x 22 goats, Dan and Ann, Lex x 800 laying hens and x 17 hogs, James and Rocko, Nate, Christina, Kate, Amanda, Julia, Anna, Radish the feline queen

 

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Willowsford Conservancy

41025 Willowsford Lane, Aldie, VA 20105

Phone: 571-440-2400

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Willowsford Farm Stand

23595 Founders Drive, Ashburn, VA 20148

Phone: 571-297-6900

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