Archives for the month of: June, 2018

Update from the Garden
I did something crazy this past week as a bit of a Hail Mary to try to reclaim my asparagus patch, which has become increasingly overtaken by scotch grass. You see, when I began market gardening, I didn’t have a clue about weed suppression and weed management and so I turned in a cow field and planted the gorgeous little asparagus transplants that I had started from seed.

IMG_20180626_124636.jpg

Asparagus popping up after the rototiller assault. You can also see the peas and oats, which had been incorporated.

They initially did very well but over time, grass pressure increased and production decreased. Through online forums that I participate in, I met someone out of New YorK State who had done some experimenting with reclaiming asparagus patches. As such, I began my own mission… I did a shallow cultivation about 1 week before the asparagus was due to emerge. Then, I let the asparagus produce for about 5 weeks, which brings me to the past week when I mowed down the entire patch and shallow rototilled in the grass. I then seeded peas and oats and harrowed them in. The plan now is to allow the peas/oats to establish quicker than the grasses, but slower than the asparagus. Once the asparagus emerges again, the oats and peas will smother out the grasses underneath.

IMG_20180621_163814

Some of the uncovered squash plants.

I truly do not know if this will be successful, but this is what I have been up to! Aside from this sort of activity, my buddy Robyn and I removed 5,000 garlic scapes and along with my mom, we weeded the entire patch. Garlic is looking great! I am also doing some work on the greenhouse (we moved it to a new location recently) and I am busy trellising our already fairly large tomato plants.

This week’s share
1 Savoyed Cabbage
1 bunch Garlic Scapes
1 bunch Kale
1 bunch Sweet Hakurei Salad Turnips
1 bunch Scallions
1 bag Dill OR Cilantro
1 Choice Item: Kohlrabi OR Rainbow Chard OR Bok Choy OR Napa Cabbage
Large only: 1 extra bunch Hakurei, 1 extra bunch Scapes, 1 extra bag Herbs

IMG_20180627_092153
This week’s tip: Remove the tops and store them separatly
You can use most of the tops off our veg including kohlrabi, radishes, Hakurei turnips and beets. When you get home, remove the tops from the roots, etc. and store them separately in a bag or container. This will keep the tops nice and fresh and ready for you to saute or add to soups, stir-frys, salads etc.

IMG_20180626_123957
What to do with…. Garlic Scapes
Garlic scapes are the flower on garlic plants, which shoots off the main garlic stalk with a whimsical curl. We pick the scapes off the stalk in late June, so that the garlic plant can focus on developing the garlic bulb, which should be ready to harvest by the end of July. Garlic scapes are often described as a garlicky bean and are extremely easy to incorporate into most dishes. You can eat the entire scape…. my favourite way to prepare scapes is to roast them in the oven and put them on mashed potatoes. Here are some other things you can try:

  • Chop scapes and mix with sourcream for a dip
  • Chop scapes and sprinkle on salad (try them first to see how strong you find them)
  • Add scapes to eggs for a garlicky omelette
  • Chop scapes and add to a dressing
  • Add atop a pizza
  • Roast and blend to make a pesto – or add to an existing pesto

     

 

Update from the garden

It’s been a great week weather-wise – some rain with hot weather has the garden growing like crazy. The peas are starting to flower, the parsnips are getting bushy, the beets are creating a canopy and I’m starting to see the very first baby cucumbers and zucchinis coming along.

Along with the garden growth comes the weeds of course, so I have been doing lots of cultivating and also mowing. Returning CSA members have heard me talk about it before, but I’m a huge fan of planting clover in the pathways in the garden. I learned this from a 90 year old farmer who was doing using peas. I do a “permanent bed” system, (where I keep my formed beds each year and just cultivate/amend the bed) and so I preferred a perennial smother crop like clover compared to peas, which get killed off by the cold.

IMG_20180618_110705

IMG_20180618_150411
The garden is rather exposed in a wide open field with lots of wind and the clover really helps hold our soil in place and protects it from erosion (wind and rain). We need to mow the paths almost every week and a half but this is incredibly quick and easy compared to cultivating. Clover chokes out grasses and prevents them from creeping in the garden. Clover is a nitrogen fixer and so it serves as a natural fertilizer for the garden, feeding the soil around the beds. The clover flower is also great for attracting pollinators. Did I mention how much I love clover?

In your share this week:
1 bag Spring Mix
1 Kohlrabi
1 Napa Cabbage
1 flat Microgreens
1 bag Cilantro
1 bag Pea Shoots
1 bunch Radishes
Large ONLY: 1 extra bag Cilantro, 1 baby Bok Choy, 1 bunch Black Kale

IMG_20180615_133116
This week’s tip: Question your veggies
As you pick up your veggies, take a moment to ask yourself, “do I know what this is?”. If not, ask your farmer! I always have quick tips to offer on how to use unusual veggies, such as the kohlrabi you will find this week. Not a big fan of the radishes? You can try halving and roasting them… changes the veggie to be more sweet, mild and tender.

IMG_20180615_133801
What to do with… Kohlrabi
This is a perennial recipe I offer every year because it’s just so good and easy!

Kohlrabi Slaw 
1-2 kohlrabi – cut into matchsticks
1 small apple – cut into matchsticks
olive oil
fresh lemon juice
coarse salt & pepper

Mix together your kohlrabi and apple and then drizzle on the oil and lemon juice. Use your judgement and taste. Add a little to start and then more if needed.

Update from the garden
Once again, a big welcome back to everyone who is joining us for another bountiful season with our Community Supported Agriculture program and a special welcome to all the new members we have this year – there are many of you! I am so pleased to say that this season’s growing conditions have been pretty fantastic so far (hoping not to jinx it). I often talk about the kinds of investments we make on the farm with our members’ CSA fees and this year we have been taking full advantage of the new BCS Walk Behind tractor that we purchased last season. By we, I mean I. I have been able to plant the entire garden on my own by using this highly efficient soil-prep tool and all its implements. We bought 2 more implements this spring to complete our arsenal. To give you an idea of the efficiency this tool offers… this year I am planting 50% more garden space with 50% less labour – that’s huge. Lots of other improvements to discuss in the next newsletter too… until then, check out these gorgeous crops!

 

IMG_20180608_122934

IMG_20180606_123703
In your share this week
** Note that this share size is smaller than the usual size because of the narrow variety available at this time of the season. Larger shares in the summer will make up for it. **
1 bag Spring Mix
1 bag Pea Shoots or 1 Extra Spring Mix
1 tray Microgreens – cut per use until gone & then return the container!
1 head BIG Bok Choy
1 bunch Radishes
1 Choice Item – Kale, Romaine Lettuce or Head Lettuce
Large Shares: 1 extra Bok Choy, 1 extra bunch Radishes

In each newsletter, I will offer a tip to help members make the most of their CSA experience. These tips are collected from articles, experience, feedback and my 90 year old Omi, who’s still cooking fresh meals from the garden. I hope you will find one, some, or all of them helpful and supportive this season!

IMG_20180612_121608

Carrots coming along nicely!

This week’s tip: Be Delicate
This week’s share has a lot of delicate greens in it and you will likely be eating many of them in combination, but as we start getting more roots and other variety in season, I recommend cooking and eating delicate leafy greens earlier in the week and leaving some items like roots and squash to later in the week, when possible. For roots that have greens, try removing the root (i.e. radish) and saving the greens separately in a bag or container.

IMG_20180607_125944

Our middle plot – mainly squash and onions… well covered for pests.

What to do with…. Peashoots
Pea shoots are exactly as they sound: they are peas grown up just a few inches and the intention is to eat them fresh. Pea shoots taste like crunchy, juicy sugar snap peas. They are excellent piled on a bagel with cream cheese. Enjoy them in a salad or wilt them in a soup. You often see them garnishing a dish in a restaurant and indeed they are tasty atop a creamy sauce like Alfredo or similar. Pea shoots keep quite well, sealed in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

You can try a raw greens salad (think raw bok choy, sugar snap peas, etc.) using the pea shoots and this Asian inspired dressing (note that you can usually substitute the sugar for maple syrup or honey):

  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Asian (toasted) sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted lightly
  • 1/2 to 1 tablespoon firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce