Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Well, I mentioned on the website that you could come here to find out why it is that I am buying cucumbers and squash from other local farms, so I suppose that means I oughtta write something for you.
I have sworn for the last three years that I would not be growing these crops - the cucurbits - in future seasons, yet every season I do a last minute, multi-bed planting. Turns out quitting a crop feels really bad for a farmer. But this year, I'm serious. I mean,  I did plant that 25 ft bed of cucumbers last week after I dug in the salad mix, but just yesterday I ripped it out and seeded it with beets. Seems I've come to my senses after all.
The cucurbit family is host to what seems like a million pests and diseases. There are cucumber beetles, squash bugs, squash vine borers, verticillium and bacterial wilts, mildews, blights, leaf spots, and viruses. And we have them all. I've got limited space on this half acre lot, and I can't give it up to a 15 ft long vine that bears three fruits before succumbing to one or all of these problems. I'm done.
When I told Nina Berryman at Weaver's Way Farm that I'd like to buy cukes and squash from her since I'd sworn them off, she said, "Isn't it so freeing?"
Yes, it is so freeing. It is so much better for me to get in my car and drive over to Saul and pick up two cases of freshly picked squash and cucumbers, knowing I'm supporting another urban organic farmer and still satisfying what summertime farm stand customers want.
So, be on the lookout for these beautiful crops from either Weavers Way farm or Teens 4 Good farm, both of which are run in Northwest Philadelphia by some amazing, hardworking people I get to call friends. And enjoy!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Season's Greetings

We are preparing ourselves for the upcoming season, and there are going to be a lot of changes. The biggest is the changeover from our current CSA model to two weekly farm stands on site. Beginning in early May (weather determines the exact dates), we will be open Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings offering our very own beautiful, fresh, delicious, sustainably grown vegetables. Soon, you will be able to read all about this on our website. But for now, you can start dreaming about those tender baby greens and that buttery lettuce, about juicy tomato salads being washed down by cool mint tea steeped from our fresh mint leaves.

See you soon...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Well, after unwittingly catching a squirrel and making a trip to the market for a cantaloupe, I got him. Poor guy. He was so scared.  I just have to keep reminding myself that he and I are simply competing for resources, and my half acre can't sustain us both. I told myself that he is way more adaptable than I, and that he should get along just fine in his new habitat. I also told myself that he is a he, lest I start worrying about unfed babies waiting for their mother back in the hole (thanks, Amber). So he's off on a new adventure in Fairmount Park. Across the great Schuylkill River.
The next order of business will be getting that wood pile cut up and stacked elsewhere. That'll do the trick I'm sure.
Groundhog Day

It's finally happened. One of the hundreds of groundhogs in my neighborhood has taken up residence in the garden. We had a scare once before, the first year we were here, when the snow was just melting and a little guy awoke to find that the forest he'd fallen asleep in had become a field overnight. We cornered him under a giant tank, threw a sheet over him, sent the dog after him, stepped on him, grabbed him by the scruff of his neck, threw him in a cage, and he still got away. He never did come back, though. That was four years ago, nearly. This one seems pretty content. Pretty settled in. Pretty hungry.
If I were around everyday like I used to be, I would be less concerned. As I worked out there yesterday, he kept his distance, scrounging around the grassy area behind the beehives, keeping his eye on me. Every time I made a move he'd scurry back into his pile. He'd peek out like this to see if the coast was clear, then duck back down again. So he didn't get very far. Since I work away from home two days a week now, though, I am nervous. Nervous for my beautiful bibb lettuce, the succulent peas, the baby cabbage, the edible flowers. What kind of damage will he do once he feels no threat? Once I am gone? For ten hours. Oh, my.
I have a cage set up- a real one this time, a trap. I put apples in it, but I hear they really go for melons. Since he watched me put it there, I doubt that he'll be all that enticed to go in. The only other thing I can think of is adopting him as my pet. Look at him looking at me. He's so suspicious. He'll never consent to that. Maybe if I had a melon.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

   I just tossed the last of our garlic into a pot of soup. From now until July I'll be buying the Chilean or Californian stuff at the grocery store like the rest of you suckers. Anticipation of this fact had me planting an extra bed of garlic this fall. And why not? It's the perfect crop, in some ways: plant it in the fall, mulch it, do nothing else until it's time to pull it up midsummer, at which point you have an empty bed for planting your fall cabbage or what have you. Plus, it's the second most popular item at the stand behind honey. Unlike the honey, it is not much of a moneymaker (I charge 50 cents a head for the larger heads or 3 for a dollar if they're smaller), but people are really impressed with fresh garlic. It's like magic to them ("You grew this?"), and I think it gets them excited about cooking the various other vegetables on display. So I think it's a win. If nothing else, hundreds of garlic plants hanging from the rafters of the patio roof makes me feel like I have a totally legitimate operation going. Sometimes I'll just take a walk back and admire them hanging there. And then there's the potential for my personal supply to last until the next harvest, and that is an                                                                 exciting prospect indeed.