It’s been nice not having to irrigate on the farm but I’m also glad we had a dry day today for the first fall harvest. In the share are red beets with greens, carrots, sweet peppers, what are probably the last of the cucumbers (have I said that before?), a tomato or three, eggplant, a small bunch of collard greens and a head of crisp lettuce – and not pictured: yellow storage onions. I think thursday’s share will not have the eggplant and may also not have the cucumbers.
Kale and collards used to be relatively easy and abundant crops for me to grow but we’ve had infestations of brassica white fly for the past few years which are making it more and more challenging to grow them. Apparently this is a relatively new pest for the Northwest, having just shown up five or six years ago, but it is common in some other areas of the world. I’ve had this same experience in the past – a new pest or disease showing up in a crop that previously was relatively easy to grow – and each time there’s an adjustment period while we figure out new approaches to growing. In the meantime what I’ve noticed is that the greens aren’t always keeping as well as they did in the past and they may have a bit of etching on the back of the leaves. The worst part is that it makes our harvests much slower and smaller. If there was ever a time to hope for cold weather it’s now, as that seems to help a bit.
Field work is slowing down and I was finally able to get some mowing done today. We’re pretty much getting to the point in the season where it’ll be all harvest and clean up for the rest of the year. We still have a little weeding to do, and a bit of cover crop to seed, but mostly the work is harvesting these days.
We’re keeping the farm stand stocked with extra carrots, the few summer squash stragglers, a bit of extra lettuce and both sweet and hot peppers. Take advantage of the last of the year you-pick flowers, herbs, cherry tomatoes and hot peppers too.