This week has been full of progress in our CSA garden! The garden is finally dried out a bit after the brutal rains and flooding we just had. Luckily everything has survived. I know many folks have lost crops due to the rain and floods, we were worried but lucky. The main issue we had was all our bean trellising and various other supports blew/ fell over but the plants we unharmed.
I told you last week about the ducks that are helping in the garden (we just acquired 5 more ducklings!) and now we’ve added rabbits to the farm because their manure is AMAZING for the garden. Back before we relocated to Illinois we had two pet rabbits that contributed to our very lush backyard garden. Rabbit manure is so great because unlike other manures it’s not “hot” meaning it doesn’t burn the plants. It can be applied directly to the garden, immediate nutrients for the plants- Yay!
One of the first crops that I planted in the CSA garden this year was cabbage and I’m sad to report that it appears to be bolting instead of growing a nice firm head. In the past we’ve had good success growing spring cabbage for fall harvest but this year isn’t looking so good. Cool season crops are pretty temperature sensitive and difficult to grow. Things like lettuce, broccoli & cabbage and others will go to seed (known as bolting) instead of growing a productive harvest if temperatures aren’t just right.
Luckily we have some good salad greens that we just picked today for you, they will soon be “bolting” too but as long as we can get a few good harvests off them I’m happy.
Other weather related losses so far include our radishes. Did you know too much moisture actually causes harvests to split or explode? If you’ve never grown much food you might not have seen this before. Tomatoes, radish, turnips, carrots, etc will grow bigger and bigger as they soak up the moisture they are offered… Even if their skin and flesh can’t support the rapid moisture intake. Here is what the radish did last week->
In other news we are anxiously anticipating the blooming of our pole beans (green beans) and okra that are close to fruiting. We also have kale, collard greens and swiss chard that are beginning to fully leaf out, for these greens you need nice full leaves to begin harvesting.
Oh and our sweet potato patch is still happy, we worried that the potato tubers would rot in the flooding but their foliage is still green and happy. Speaking of potatoes, we also planted a ukon gold potato patch that we plan to harvest during the season for you.
Our summer squash & melons are setting tiny fruits and growing happily and we have many, many tomatoes growing happily. Did you know raccoons like tomatoes? It’s true, they’ve got a soft spot for our tomatoes as well as the marshmallows we’ve been baiting them with in an effort to trap them. Luckily the tomatoes are abundant. It’s true when they say you should always over plant your crops. Plant enough for what you need to harvest, then double that so you can plant enough for pest and wildlife.
Anyway, that about does it for the weekly updates, on to weekly basket contents… This weeks baskets will contain much of what last week’s did with the addition of some salad greens. For week two you’ll find a combination of the following:
- Slicing cucumbers
- English Cucumbers
- Slicing tomatoes
- Green tomatoes
- Carmen Sweet Peppers
- Sweet snack peppers
- A mix of Hungarian Wax & Banana peppers – (these are spicy)
- Cherry tomatoes
- Salad greens
- Lemon balm & spearmint (makes a wonderfully calming night time tea)
- Pineapple sage
CSA Extra Add-ons we can deliver:
The following extra items can be purchased and added to your CSA share. You can pay me cash at pickup or I can take a credit/ debit card with our card reader (note an extra charge is added to card reader purchases to cover processing fees. It’s expensive).
Local Freshwater Prawns
We can bring you some Tanglefoot Ranch, farm raised freshwater prawns and deliver it with your CSA basket- if shrimp is your thing. It’s last year’s harvest that we helped raise & harvest right here on the farm in 6 outdoor ponds. We just enjoyed some the other night and I got me thinking about mentioning it to you all.
Tanglefoot Ranch Freshwater Prawns are $25 for a 2lb bag. They are shell on to preserve freshness and moisture and they are really delicious!
Homemade Goats Milk Soap
As you know from last weeks basket; we are experimenting with goats milk soap recipes right now. It started because we needed to use up all the frozen goats milk we have saved. When the soap we made for our family was such as hit we knew we should try perfecting things so we could sell it. The goats milk soap is a farm/ homeschool project we hope to expand upon for farmers markets and such. We are selling it for $1.5 an ounce. We currently have 4oz, 3oz & 2oz bars on hand.
I’ve got several different sized bars of pumpkin spice scented goats milk soap plus several lavender essential oil scented bars available if anyone wants to buy more or larger bars. We’ve also made up a lemon scented bar that will be ready in a month or so.
When I say “scented” I mean the bars have been made with manufactured soap scents & perfumes. We are experimenting with the scents and recipes as the essential oil infused bars tend to cost more to make and they don’t really have a lasting scent like the other bars do.
Last week several members posted about their CSA shares online and we loved hearing about the fun recipes you tried. Keep them coming and have a wonderful, healthy next week!