First week of August is one of those grind-it-out weeks. We’re in full summer harvest mode, where everything needs picking because, well, fruiting vegetables are like that, they just flower and fruit all season la-di-da. But come August it’s time to plant, too: next year’s strawberries, this fall’s broccoli and cabbage and kale, new rounds of carrots and beets, lettuce, greens and herbs. And in a wet year like this, there’s a whole lot of weed management – beds we cultivated just a week ago are popping with a new flush from the weed bank, which is one economy that seems bullish in 2016. Futures on spiny amaranth, lambsquarters and purslane is a good buy right now.
So here we are, the rain made us put off field work this weekend until the fields are dry enough (Soil Care Rule #1: never work wet soil), and it’s time to get back on the iron horse. This week’s newsletter will be short and sweet. Cukes/zukes/tomatoes/green beans. Oh, and the sweet: melons, watermelons, beets and sweet corn. Melons are coming a little later than usual this season, a result of the grey wet spring.
Watermelons and cantaloupes like to be stored differently: cantaloupe in the cold part of the fridge, close to 32°F. Watermelons a little warmer, more like cukes, eggplant, squash and peppers: 50-55°F. You’ll see some of our melons have some surface blemishes – only skin deep! This is caused by a small yellow beetle – striped- and spotted-cucumber beetles – that can require constant doses of insecticide to control conventionally. They chow down on the leaves of this vegetable family, too. We use organic practices to minimize their presence, especially when the plants are young, but they’re stubborn critters, and they seem to like it in the Mid-Atlantic. Like a lot of us, they came to the DC region and have settled here.
I have to admit it’s been a largely unhappy sweet corn year for us. Last year we were pleased to have sweet corn in time for July 4th, but the bugs and the raccoons seem to be on to us, and we lost three full plantings this year. This week’s sweet corn comes from New Morning Farm. It is certified organic and certified awesome. Keep it cold at 32°F until you’re ready to eat it, and get ready to eat any sweet corn as soon as you can, as the sugars in the corn start to turn into starches as soon as it’s picked.
Check Out Goats in the News
LCPS should make baseball cards for these guys. Parks & Recreation highlighted Banshee Reek’s use of (our) goats
to manage invasive species in the 700-acre park. You can visit them there on weekends. Rumor is they’re also being casted for Season 8 can’t-let-go-a-la-Scrubs-season-9 bonus season for the TV show.
We’d love to hear how you prepared and if you enjoyed last week’s dandelion greens. As always, be great,
Mike, Deb, Al, Lex, Jennifer, Anya, James, Emily, Kay, Sonya, Julia and Kelly, Bella, Radish and Lila, Goats x 12, Camilla x 492, dinner chicks x 999 in the freezer, Roscoe RIP and Popcorn, who had been rated number 7 on the Tribe’s Top 25 prospect list and is now in the NYY farm system. Andrew Miller, baby! See you on the field, Lucroy.