Week 13 Share, and Chickens!

This Week’s Share:

  • Greek Oregano
  • Leeks
  • Siberian Kale
  • Purslane
  • Rattlesnake Beans
  • Garlic Chives
  • Yellow Onions
  • Mixed Salad Greens
  • Cucumbers

EXTRAS: Lacinato Kale, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Flowers
Individual shares choose 6.

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Week 12 CSA Shares

This Week’s Share:
(Individual Shares Choose 6)

  • White Russian Kale
  • Curly Kale
  • Parsley
  • Garlic Chives
  • Cucumbers
  • Wax Beans
  • Mixed UMF Bitter Greens
  • Shallots OR Loose Onions
  • Purslane
  • EXTRAS: Broccoli, wildflower bouquets, squash, black raspberries, Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbage

    Week 9 CSA Share

    This week’s share:

  • Siberian Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Swiss Chard
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Purslane
  • Stuttgarter Onions
  • Mixed Greens (Amaranth, Lamb’s Quarters, and Chicory)
  • Virginia Mountain Mint
  • EXTRAS:
    Flowers
    Lacinato Kale

    What’s Growing

    You’ve read about all the potatoes, you’ve read about the cabbage, you’ve seen that tantalizing photo of the asparagus. But if you’re at all like me, you’ve been really impatient to hear about everything else that Leonard has planted this year. So last night, at the new member meeting in Verona, I finally got him to spill the beans–if you can pardon the pun. Yes, there will be stringbeans, four different kinds in fact. And snow peas and maybe some sugar snaps. But there’s more, much more, so gather your cookbooks and start planning.

    Red Cabbage.

    Red Cabbage.

    There are five kinds of kale already in the field: Lacinato, Red Russian, White Russian, Siberian and Curly. Grab any one of them and some of Upper Meadows’ maple syrup and you’ve got the beginnings of this vegan dinner, or peruse the entries on kale in Mark Bittman’s blog for The New York Times. The stinging nettles are up and “beautiful”, Leonard says.

    Little Laciento Kale.

    Little Lacinato Kale.

    Then there are collards, which I have to admit I have never tried. The Food Network’s “Dinner Impossible” guy has them paired with bacon, which sounds very promising.

    Red and yellow onions are in, in rows that are several hundred feet long. More rows are being planted. Also scallions–red, white, and green–and four varieties of hardneck garlic.

    Scallions.

    Scallions.

    Red Onions.

    Red Onions.

    Garlic.

    Garlic.

    Leonard then moved on to the hundreds of plants started in his two greenhouses. There are 11 different varieties of lettuce, 9 different sweet peppers, 5 types of hot peppers, 7 kinds of basil and 3 kinds of parsely. There are garlic chives and onion chives, and sorrel. In place of the partridge in a pear tree, there is one variety of eggplant.

    Forellenschluss Lettuce.

    Forellenschluss Lettuce.

    There is broccoli and a few different colors of cauliflowers, including that crazy orange variety. My friend Ann had a great idea for those at the end of a post on her blog on the wild turkey that wound up in her living room. And 2 kinds of tomatillos. I’m thinking salsa, or maybe a sauce for some chicken enchiladas.

    Cauliflower.

    Cauliflower.

    Megan, who lobbied for the expanse of Swiss chard that has been planted, told me that she did try to rein Leonard in on his tomato varieties. But he confessed last night that there are 23 different kinds growing in the greenhouses, ranging from cherries, to slicing and paste tomatoes. Some are in great quantities, like the Cherokee Purples (they make a killer tomato soup), and some, like the exotic Striped Green Zebras, in smaller amounts.

    TONS of Tomatoes.

    TONS of Tomatoes.

    The greens category also includes what Leonard called “a full array of mustards”, arugula, Asian greens like Tatsoi, spinach and amaranth. If you have only ever had amaranth as a grain, you are in for a real treat with the leaves.

    Chicory.

    Chicory.

    And more: The 5 kinds of zucchini and summer squash are being planted in waves in hopes that we will have them before, with and after our tomatoes. Leonard has got 4 kinds of cucumbers going, 3 of which will be pickling varieties. If you have never tried your hand at pickling, start with this recipe from Alton Brown, which is as easy as it gets. He has also started a small, white Lebanese squash, which sounds intriguing.

    In the winter squash category, there are Turk’s Turban, Acorn and Spaghetti Squash, and several kinds of pumpkins, including my favorite for pie, the so-called Cheese Pumpkin.

    What have I forgotten? Herbs! Thyme, 5 varieties of basil,summer savory, 2 or 3 sages, Greek and Italian oregano and majoram. Also several varieties of radishes, carrots, turnips and beets.

    Leonard says that the beets don’t always return his love, and his caution is worth noting. Despite his best efforts–which this year include more fencing and irrigation in addition to the greenhouses–Mother Nature and predators can have their way with his plants. But with Leonard and everyone at Upper Meadows focused on bounty this year, I am very, very optimistic.

    Seeds And More Seeds–We Start Planting!!

    To quote the late George Peppard, ” I love it when a plan comes together!” Megan and Bonnie finished the seed inventory last week. With 257 varieties in hand we are up and running in the greenhouse. So far this season we are up on the timing and making deadlines is seeming to be easy! Bonnie and her brother, Jason Grover, finished the re-glazing of the potting shed on Wednesday and spent Thursday getting  all of the the shelving set. With benches in place, Bonnie is starting to plant. First to go in are the Brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, collards, etc.) and aliums (onions, scallions, leeks, etc.).

    2006 lettuce flats in the potting house

    2006 lettuce flats in the potting house

    Next will be the lettuces and escarole. These will be set out in the field around mid to late April. This year I’m pushing the early greens earlier than I ever have since we have had bad luck in the past two years with a freak week of 80ºF weather in May. The strategy is to get them in and under row covers so that they can gain some size before (and if) a heat wave might drive them to seed. Bigger plants are sometimes more bolt resistant early on in the year.  When I first started growing commercially I did all my own transplants. In 1989 I first used a certified organic greenhouse grower called Silver Seed down in Maryland on the eastern shore. Jay Martin, the grower, devised a really neat hand-held wand that he used with a vacuum to plant into the plant flats rather than using one of the big commercial deck type units that cost thousands.

    2006onions, parsley, cilantro in the potting house

    2006 onions, parsley, cilantro in the potting house

    I just found the same seeder for sale and picked up one for 72 cell trays and one for 128 cell trays; the two most common sizes I use. I started doing all my own transplants in 2007 again because shipping was just too expensive. This year we are planting over 300 flats and these new seed wands will save days of labor!!

    Planting is a critical chore and one of the most rewarding when the seeds sprout and start to grow.  IF you are interested in helping, keep in mind that Volunteers are welcome! Contact Megan to schedule a visit.