(Sent out to our members on August 16th)
This has been quite a month for “unanticipated” activities at Sunflower Farm.
After a busy week of picking, packing and delivering orders, I usually set aside Friday, Saturday & Sunday for planting and weeding. Unfortunately the last few weekends haven’t quite turned out the way I envisioned. First off there was the weekend that I ended up spending in the corn patch, straightening and propping up each and every stalk after a windstorm blew through and knocked it all down. The following weekend I was busy sanding slices of wood to make centerpieces for my daughter’s wedding. Then on the Friday of the long weekend we were hit by lightning. It not only knocked out our specialized phone system and wind turbine but it also knocked out our inverter, which is the key component of our off-grid power system. So once again my plans of weeding and planting had to be set aside while we juggled extension cords and attempted to fix everything!
We spent last weekend in Toronto at the wedding of our youngest daughter. (This was not unanticipated and was a fabulous weekend!) All that to say our succession planting is going well but the weeds now have the upper hand and I’m playing catch-up. At this stage in the gardening season it’s more a cosmetic than a resource competition thing but I am still appalled by how many weeds there are! (The weeds would be even worse without the help of one of our members, Heather, who has voluntarily come to pull weeds. Thanks Heather!)
I have spent a few nights sleeping in the garden since we began seeing the footprints of deer. (See my blog at; http://www.cammather.com/current-events/cam-goes-on-a-campout) So far the raccoons are staying away from the corn so we’re grateful for that.
The garden itself is coming along well. The biggest single issue this summer has been the fall-like weather that began in late July. We are consistently 4 or 5 degrees below the seasonal average, which has really slowed down the heating-loving plants like peppers, eggplants and tomatoes. The night-time temperatures have been bizarrely low, as low as 8°C here, which is great for sleeping since we don’t have air-conditioning, but lousy for growing.
Other than a few sprinkles of rain here and there, we’ve been fairly dry here lately so we are back to watering and irrigating. We have started processing our garlic. The early stuff you get will be somewhat difficult to peel but this gets better as it dries. After last year’s drought I had planted our garlic in a section of the garden where natural drainage helps it retain moisture. With this year’s rain it meant the garlic has basically been growing in a marsh, and while garlic is an extremely hardy plant, last years’ bulbs were much bigger, so I sense it does not thrive with wet feet. If anyone has a crystal ball and can predict what kind of summer weather we will be experiencing next year, your advice would be appreciated.
We should be getting close to harvesting some celery, leeks and carrots. Most of the onions are out of the ground and drying so we have begun to include a few in your boxes. Potatoes are also just about ready to be harvested, so the boxes will be getting heavier. Our cucurbits (squash, pumpkins, melons) seem to be coming along nicely.
I know everyone is anxious for tomatoes and so hopefully the lovely large green tomatoes that are covering our vines will begin to ripen. Soon!
With our succession planting we hope to have lettuce right through to the first frost (which some nights feels like it could be next week!).
Thanks to our Napanee members for letting us condense our pickup hours to 3pm to 5 pm on Tuesday. It just gives me a little more time in the garden on Tuesday nights as the days start to get a bit shorter.
A few of our members have expressed interest in coming out to see Sunflower Farm. We have come up with two Open Farm dates;
Sunday, Sept. 8 from 1 – 3 pm or
Saturday, Sept. 14 from 10 a.m. – noon
You are welcome to drop in during those times to tour the gardens, check out our off-grid system or visit with our chickens! If you want a guided tour, be sure to come right at the start of the open times and Cam will provide a structured garden walk-through. Children are welcome!
If you plan on attending either of these open farm dates, please let us know which day you plan to come and how many will be coming with you.
One last item of “business;” if you are going to be away, be sure to let Michelle know via email. It’s nice of you to tell Cam when you see him, but he has a lot on his mind these days and tends to forget important details like that!
Thanks again for supporting LOCAL, ORGANIC food!