Archive for July, 2012

Garden News

Life has been pretty good around here with the rain.  It sure does change everything.  The crisis seems to be over for us.  We have more time now that we do not have to water or think about what needs water 24 hours a day…..also it feels really nice not to have that constant worry floating around in our heads….

Many of the Fall Crops went in this week and many more to get in yet.  It is almost as if we are planting a whole new second garden!  I peeked at the watermelon patch this week in detail and there are many of the beauties out there.  I even kinda jumped the gun and picked a tiny little one that seemed ready.  Well, it hardly had any pink tone to it at all.  Maeve nibbled on it for a bit and said “not bad”.

Lettuce is looking really good.  we have one more planting of about 300 ready to be transplanted out of all the heat tolerant varieties and in about 2-3 weeks I will start seeding in colder varieties.  We even have 3 varieties that are suppose to be extremely cold tolerant that I am excited to try this year for the first time for the storage box shares.  We opted to omit lettuce from this weeks box to let it size up just a bit more.  The cooler nights have been helpful and we are not loosing so many heads to bolting.

The Tomatoes look wonderful.  I forgot how much I enjoy picking tomatoes at the beginning of the season.  I LOVE! the smell of the vines.  The plants are loaded and the slicers are just starting to color.  If anyone needs or wants canning boxes please let us know.  I think I may have mentioned that soon we will be harvesting over 100 pounds a day and this gets a bit overwhelming at times.

A photo from last year’s harvest. What a bounty.

We also have an interesting visitor or two every year of this amazingly pretty and damaging caterpillar.  They sure can chomp away.  Leaves and tomatoes both.  We spot the evidence that they have moved in and find them quickly.  I am sure it would be pretty devastating to the crop in short order if they were not removed.

Our focus this week is the weeds….they to have flourished with all the rain.  Several years ago we had this really great idea to get a primo huge load of horse manure for the garden in the Autumn.  Well, we are still paying the price for this really good idea.  This load was loaded with weed seed that we have never seen before as well as foxtail grass.  It is difficult to get on the other side of this great decision.  Never again will we do this.  Also, there is an interesting “gourmet” weed called purslane that really likes it here.  It is an edible succulent herb very high in vitamin C and rich in Omega Fatty Acids.  A spicy taste and really great on salads and sandwiches.  If anyone would like to try it let me know as we have TONS!….I just can’t bring myself to include it in the boxes even though I have seen other CSA’s include it in their offering. It is extremely  fast growing and is considered an invasive species.

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Box 9

A wonderful box this week!

Kale-A nice big bunch of 7 assorted varieties.  We have been eating bowls full of the kale crisps around here like potato chips.  Delicious!  Also, fantastic on sandwiches.

Cucumbers-Jumbo boxes of all the varieties and also a few of those long skinny guys.

Cabbage-The nice smaller sized head that is perfect for the week.

Pepper Medley-These beauties are making their appearance  and we have a great crop this year.  Lots to come.   The assortment this week are all sweet EXCEPT! everyone has 2 smaller sized dark green jalapeños.

Eggplant-We are thrilled with the crop.  HUGE!  Everyone has a pint box filled with cute little mini guys called Hansel, Gretel, and Fairytale and also 1-3 larger ones too depending on the size.

Green Beans-This is the last of our early plantings.  2 rotations more are in the ground now for Autumn Harvest.

Zucchini-We are still on “zucchini rations” but everyone has a few in their box.

Ground Cherry-A pint for everyone of this old fashioned treat.  Just keep out on your kitchen counter for a sweet treat.  The flavor will sweeten up even more as they ripen.  Maeve loves these!

Heirloom Cherry-A beautiful box of these flavorful wonders.  It is really surprising how they differ in flavor from sweet to spicy/tangy.

Heirloom Paste/Slicer Assortment- A Nice big bowl will be waiting here for you to choose as many as you wish.  From now on tomatoes until Christmas!  Crazy to think this.  It also is pretty interesting to me that I planted the seeds for these tomatoes 6 months ago.  I said to Scott the other night that we have been focused on Tomatoes for 1/2 a year…..that does not even include the time when we are looking through the catalogues in December.  So pretty much tomatoes are a year round thing in our minds…..

Zinnias-Loose colorful stems for you to take home.

The LuSa Organic Shipment is here and ready for pick up too for those of you who placed orders.

Enjoy the Summer Bounty everyone.

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Box 8

Surprise!!!!!!!!!!!  CORN!!!!  

We are so excited about the food box this week.

Corn-As with years in the past we get our corn from Scott’s Cousin in Reedsburg.  We do not have the space to grow the volume needed and when we surveyed our members we all felt that outside source was ok as we all wanted corn…  This year a trade of some chain link fence has provided us with wonderful irrigated corn.  It was just picked this morning and tucked in your boxes.  I know what what we will all be having for supper tonight.

Potatoes-A bumper Crop! Everyone has 3+ pounds in their box this week. This beautiful white fleshed variety is called Red Norland.  An all around wonder.  Great mashed with the pretty thin skinned left on, delicious fried, and terrific in a cold salad.

Scott harvesting the potatoes…..you can see from this photo that we grow with black plastic “mulch” and drip line.

The potatoes look like pretty Easter Eggs!

Onion Medley-A collection of several different onions…little cute guys, green onions, and larger ones too for that potato salad.

Assorted Cucumbers-A box of snackers as well as a nice long European Beauty for slicing.

Celery-This is our miracle this week.  Celery loves water and I was unsure how this would do this year in the drought.  We kept the irrigation on this area frequently and the crop is beautiful.  Very flavorful.  Use the whole plant.  The leaves are more strongly flavored and also dry well for winter soups…we should have at least 2 more harvests of celery this season.

Italian Flat Leaf Parsley-A nice big bunch for buttered potatoes.

Eggplant-The plants are really producing.  Everyone has a large eggplant as well as a few tiny miniature cuties….We love the small ones raw with hummus or other dip.

Take a look at this nice looking couple…..they are safely tucked in 2 family boxes for this week’s pick up.

Tomatoes-A small mixed box this week as the vines are just starting to produce and we wanted to include them as a treat.  Last year we had tomatoes until Christmas.  Here we go with the harvest.  At full swing we will be harvesting over 100 pounds a day.  We have well over 100 plants and Scott keeps them trellised for easy picking.  Many of the plants are towering high over our heads already.

No lettuce this week….but we have many heads in the extra box.  Just not enough to include in everyone’s boxes.

Enjoy Everyone!  Have a wonderful week.

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Box 7

A Pretty Fancy Box!  WOW! We are really pleased with the box this week.  The harvest went really well and we are happy with all the treats!  Enjoy Everyone.

What is in your box.

Cucumber-A nice mix.  All vines are producing now except 1 variety yet to come.  Remember to add a few slices of cucumber to your drinking water it is very refreshing.

Dill-Jumbo Dill plants.  These huge plants grew right on dripline. We put another planting in too this year for a Fall harvest.  Make a quick salad with the cucumbers and/or beans.  Delicious with fish too.

Beans-Another bounty of these beauties.  When Maeve eats them she always says “nothing better” as she pops them in her mouth.

Chard-Thin succulent stalks with juicy leaves.  Delicious in a stir fry or with eggs.

Lettuce-We harvested heavy this week as we worried this crop may bolt in the heat next week and did not want to loose it.   A delicious head lettuce called Tropicana and extremely heat tolerant.  We are glad it could withstand the 100+ degree temps under the row cover.

Fennel-Tasty bulbs that add a unique flavor.  We had assorted random bulb sizes of these beauties for some reason….from jumbo to small.  The boxes contain either 1 jumbo or several small to medium.  Use the bulb and greens for seasoning.

Zucchini-Assorted long varieties as well as patty pans.  As mentioned we are going to have low yield for a few weeks depending how many plants remain. The new crop should be producing in about a month.

Cauliflower-Our little treasure of a variety called Amazing.  It is amazing to us to produce in this heat.  Enjoy fresh or roasted with a bit of parmesan cheese.

Broccoli-The offering this week is a cutting of all the side shoots off the main harvest the last 2 weeks.  What a bounty!  We have another summer rotation in the garden now and a 3rd cold/autumn variety of broccoli in the greenhouse too.  Hopefully we will have even more before the season ends.

We have decided to suspend the egg delivery for awhile…I don’t think many of us are baking right now!  Several dozen have remained each week and we can only eat so many.  Ann, the egg lady does charge a delivery fee from Poynette and it is really not cost effective to deliver 4-5 dozen.  When the weather changes I will see if we should start up again.  She will also be sending over a brochure to us for her Turkeys this year.  She is raising 2 varieties and taking orders for Fall.  I will post this information when available.

I have placed the Lusa Organics order.  Some items were out of stock.  They will ship when available….

Have a wonderful week Everyone.

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Hot Garden Report

We have not had any rain here since May 26th and that was recorded as just under a half inch in our rain gage. It was already dry at that point and we were optimistic that rain would come soon.  Here we are today with nothing from the sky and Scott just checked the meter and we have irrigated 340,000 gallons of water.  Gardening without rain and extreme dry heat has given us a few challenges.  Scott and I each had our separate “freak out” days last week about these challenges and difficulties.  We quickly regrouped and powered on.  It is exhausting to garden in the heat and we are limited to what we can do…..watering takes up much of our time.  So, I think we were feeling we were slipping a bit behind and do to situations out of our control that we could not fix or change…. I think the garden heard we were weary and really showed us this week that it is all worth the effort.  A huge bounty of quality produce.  We are amazed and grateful and a bit proud too.

Maeve always adds a bit of humor and fun to our days….she was dressing for a “Gala Ball” while we were prepping boxes.

The beans are doing wonderful.  We pulled the first planting yesterday and will replant a 4th rotation here this week.  The second rotation is in full swing and the 3rd just about to start.  Our broccoli plants sent out tons of wonderful side shoots after cutting and we are able to provide almost a pound to everyone of these tasty treats in this weeks box.  3 weeks of broccoli!  We made the decision to cut most of the  cauliflower.  It really does not like heat and we are thrilled that we have cauliflower at all this year!  The variety is called Amazing which is kinda funny to me….Weather reports tell us it is going to be another long hot dry week so we felt this was the best decision no matter the head size.  We feared the heads would become “rice like” and not be  of good quality.  Another planting is started in the greenhouse for Autumn harvest so hopefully it will appear again at the end of the season with more substantial head size.

Take a look at the Watermelon Patch. WOW!

My favorite watermelon Ali Baba forming…..

The watermelon patch is loaded with tons of little baby watermelon forming….It is really pretty to look at and Scott makes sure that it is watered constantly.  Another big goal was to have a wonderful watermelon harvest this year and we are well on our way.

Beautiful fruit hanging from the plant.

The eggplant has just started ripening….we harvested 15 and they are in the “extra box” this week.  The plants are heathy and covered with beautiful velvety flowers.  What a change from last year when we had to add hoops and cover the row to keep it warm in hopes that we would get something before the frost.

An heirloom beauty just about ready for picking.

Tomatoes are around the corner……..And there is a bounty out there!

Cherry Tomatoes.

I think next week these tomato wonders will be in the boxes.  I can’t wait!

We are still having trouble with the zucchini patch.  It appears the squash bugs and squash vine borers are visiting.  We have lost 17 plants to this terrible pest.  It is disappointing that we will not have the volume of this summer staple right now.  However, we did see trouble on the horizon with this crop a little over 3 weeks ago and started new plants in the greenhouse immediately.  We planted a new patch this week with the seedlings way WAY on the other side of the garden.  We should have harvestable fruit in about a months time.

Our Fall crops look robust and determined….. lettuce rotations doing well too. It is a relief that so much looks so strong and healthy.  It would just be nice to have a nice steady slow all night rain-take a deep breath and say “Phew, we made it”.  Hopefully this week there will be a bit of relief.

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BIG! Box 6

It is interesting how a few days reprieve from the frying heat makes it all a distant memory…..a great!! harvest for us this week.  The garden constantly amazes us with the wonderful bounty.  Scott kept up with the watering and irrigation through the blisteringly oppressive heat and the garden sure gave back.  We are not noticing any areas of high concern.  We did loose one carrot planting to zero germination….it was just too warm.  We have 2 rotations in now and will wait a few weeks for it hopefully to cool a bit and get a jumbo 3rd carrot planting in.  A few of the zucchini plants are failing for an unknown reason but we already had a second rotation started a few weeks back.  Even with all the heat we got sooooo much done this week.  Another planting of 150 broccoli plants in, 150 of those cute mini cabbages went in too.  Almost 700 lettuce plugs went in and another rotation of 700 started in the greenhouse.  We are guessing 1/2 for sure of the lettuce will make it in this heat so we are way! over planting to be safe.  It is a bit discouraging to watch perfect lettuce bolt in one day, but we do our best and have chosen extremely heat tolerant varieties for the summer but prolonged extreme heat takes it’s toll.  Our amazing garlic crop is harvested and up and drying.  The ground was very dry and Scott felt like he was chipping through concrete to get the beauties out.  The bulbs are huge and wonderful.  We were able to get some edge weeding done and Scott spends many hours trellising the tomatoes that grow several inches a day.   He tells me he could almost start over at the beginning as soon as he reaches the end of the patch.  We have worked out the schedule for the Fall crop plantings and we just started all the storage cabbages and a huge beet planting in the greenhouse.   It is really shaping up for a nice season for us even though it has it’s challenges of gardening with no rain….

What is in your box

Lettuce!!!! -We harvested the heads a bit small just to be safe so everyone has 2-4 nice juicy assorted heads this week.

Broccoli-A bit over 1 pound.  We will leave the plants in for another week and perhaps have a few tasty side shoots in the extra box next week.

Cabbage -A favorite variety of mine.  Small size heads that are perfect for a few meals or a batch of coleslaw.

Green Beans -Another goal this season we can check off the list!  We thought we were kinda wimpy last year with our beans…..so the goal was tons! of beans this year and here they come….. First rotation is just starting and 2 more to come.  Enjoy!  We even canned some last week!  Very snappy and delicious.

Cucumbers-We planted 6 varieties this year and everyone will get an assortment every week.  Long thin European and Japanese slicers, beautiful blonde snackers that have excellent flavor and 3 different green varieties for salads, pickles, and snacking.

Zucchini-Another assortment of patty pan and long thin varieties.

Jumbo Garlic-Isn’t it pretty?  This was harvested about 2 weeks ago and has started drying.  Excellent flavor.

Snapdragon/Zinnia Bouquet-Thanks Everyone!

Storage Cabbage started in the greenhouse.

Tomatoes around the corner!

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5th Box

Harvesting went well for us even in all that heat.  We just plugged along and took a few more breaks and trips into the cooler.  We are excited that the lettuce has returned!  Nice floppy juicy heads thanks to Scott’s diligent watering.  There are several staggered plantings of heat tolerant lettuce in the ground and under  row cover as well as several hundred sitting in cells in the greenhouse ready to go out.  Hopefully we are set for the summer.

Lettuce-A pretty Buttercrunch with big tasty leaves.

Berry Medley-Blackcaps and Blueberries(3 varieties as we are experimenting as to what type we like the best) for a delicious vinaigrette.  I was hoping the timing would work out with the lettuce and berry crop and glad it did!  I love the way berries taste on a salad.  Also wonderful to toss in yogurt, ice cream or morning cereal. We did not wash or rinse the berries. Berries store best in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator  and washed just be eating.

Curly Parsley- Nice big bunch to enhance your meals this week. Keep in a juice glass of water in the refrigerator.

Beets-We had a small early planted crop that was ready well ahead of all the others for some reason.  So a little sample of whats to come.  Red Ace beauties….

Broccoli-WOW!  With more to come!  It looks great in the garden and the second planting is just starting up too.

Maeve and Scott washing the broccoli.

Zucchini-The plants have doubled in size this week and are loaded with blossoms.  Raw they taste wonderful and oh so tender.

Collard Greens-Delicious raw as a wrap for a sandwich or burrito.  Cut the stem out and fill with your favorites…..hummus, mayo or another “sauce” helps hold it all together.  The leaves can also be quickly blanched in hot water to make them easier to work with.  Think little sushi rolls.  Make “enchiladas” and bake.  Lots of options.  We have even made a quick slaw and used it as a topping or a side dish.  These beautiful leaves will reappear in the boxes again this Fall.


Thanks Everyone!  Dance a rain dance for all of us this week.



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What more can you say these days…….it is HOT!  It seems this weather will be with us for awhile.  So far we are staying on top of it all.  We have many transplants in the greenhouse ready to go out into the garden and we are a bit fearful to transplant with 99 degrees forecasted for the end of the week. Scott and I are figuring out the best plan of action.   Our irrigation is on around the clock somewhere in the garden and we have areas that we must use overhead sprinklers which get turned on after supper and dragged around until bedtime…..We made the decision to pull out all the peas as the yield was so very low and the vines completely stopped flowering in all this heat.  With the extended weather forecast of more extreme heat on the way it seemed pointless to keep watering the vines.  The area has been cleaned up and tilled and this is where the pumpkins and winter squash will be allowed to wander as the vines grow longer.

The tomatoes continue to grow inches each and  every day and the eggplant is looking wonderful.  The first cucumbers are appearing and Maeve eats them as fast as we can pick them from the vine.  We will start picking beans this week and zucchini will actually appear in the boxes this week.  Scott has started pulling the garlic and as soon as this bed is cleared out it will be prepped for sunflowers.  We are thrilled with our broccoli crop this year it is big healthy and delicious.  We have a second crop ready in the greenhouse to be transplanted out and will even attempt a 3rd planting of a variety that is extremely cold tolerant.  As I have mentioned before we have never been very successful with broccoli in the past and this was one of our main goals with this season.  The onions have started to bulb up with change in day length and our huge crop of several varieties look great.  We realized that we needed to get them weeded out a bit this week and have been spending any spare time we have in this area…..As I was weeding away 1 hot hot! afternoon the phrase “work my fingers to the bone” crossed my mind.  The dry coarse soil and close detail work pulling between all the onions was a little rough.  Scott took a picture of me (and my hands) because I looked so pretty when I came in….enjoy!

Pretty Jennifer after weeding a bowling alley length of carrots and a football field length of onions on a pleasant 95+ degree day.

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