Let It Grow Organic Gardens

And I resumed the struggle. -Vladimir

Thursday, June 11, 2009

CSA Newsltter June 10, 2009

The big excitement around the farm lately has been the rain, or, the lack thereof. This has been, it seems, the longest dry period we’ve had all season, and we’ve been able to get a lot done. All of our summer crops are now out: tall, gangly, sprawling little plants that have spent entirely too much time in the greenhouse. (The time it takes to water the greenhouse is now thankfully reduced.) We’ve even been able to get a cover crop sown, a small field of buckwheat on the upper part of the farm that has already germinated into a broad green blanket covering the soil. The buckwheat prevents or at least slows wind and rain erosion, and will be plowed back under to enrich the soil. Between now and then it will make little white flowers atop each plants, flowers that wave merrily with each little breeze and make the bees very, very happy.
I got the bright idea, one year, to intersow buckwheat into a squash bed. The idea was to use the buckwheat to smother out weeds and feed the soil between the squash rows. It was all a very good idea, though I neglected to think about what it would be like to pick squash amidst a few thousand stinging insects intent on gathering nectar. We wore long sleeves and didn’t get stung too often.
The bees seem to have an affinity for squash here at Let It Grow, but then, so do we. Squash blossoms always seem to have a bumble bee or two inside (or three or four or five). Part of the fun of picking squash blossoms is gently shaking the little girls out of the flower, only to have them return, get shaken out again, and return. The challenge is to get all the bees out of each blossom and get the blossoms packed up before the bees can return – I couldn’t bear to have one trapped inside and released at our market in Asheville.
I’ll continue with the bug theme. It’s our second favorite subject, next to the weather. We’ve been fortunate this year in our ability to co-exist with the insect world. Aphids have been unkind to a few plants in the greenhouse, but not many. The pale edges you see on some of the kale leaves is a result of harlequin bugs, beautifully colored but very evil little guys that ravish anything in the cabbage family. There’s really nothing we can do about them but go through the rows and pick them off one by one. (It occurs to me that the reading of this newsletter will be the way that Krystal and Joe find out this task lies in their near future. It’ll be all right; fill up a whole jar and I’ll buy you some ice cream.) Squash vine borers can be a problem for us, but we seem to have them under control. And no doubt or potatoes are covered with Colorado potato beetle, but they’re in a field we lease up Meadow Fork, out of sight, out of mind.
Butterflies abound. They’re everywhere. On the trees and on the flowers and in the house and on the trucks and one even landed on the dog’s ear. Lady bugs turn up everywhere. They glow their shiny shiny red but seem such understated little creatures just the same. We find them on just about every crop we have, in theory patrolling for other bugs to feed on, though more often it seems like they’re just walking back and forth having a good time. They’re fun to watch crawl all the waaaaay up a loooong blade of grass, and then turn around and walk back down.
Don’t get me started on the spiders.

All right, I know what you’re thinking: What am I supposed to do with these collard greens?!? Relax, we don’t expect you to boil them for hours with pig’s feet. No, not when you can make collard chips!
That’s right, it’s the latest rage in haute cuisine, and all of you know it’s our mission to keep you appraised of the latest food trends.

Coat the collard leaves in olive oil, place on a cookie sheet, bake at 325 for ten or twelve minutes. Until they’re crispy. Oh my goodness, that’s good!

We also like to use collard leaves in place of tortillas. Steam them lightly - you want them pliable but still a bit sturdy. Fill with your favorite rice/bean/veggie mix and roll.
In your box this week:

Collard Greens
Kale Mix
Lettuce Mix
Psychedelic Carrots

Ever dig up a Queen Anne’s Lace? I didn’t think so. Queen Anne’s Lace is a distant relative of the carrot, with a not very tasteful (though carrot-esque) white root. The first carrots thought to be domesticated had white roots, over the eons evolving into purple, red and orange. Our yellow and purple carrots are open pollinated heirlooms, rare species whose seeds have been saved by smaller farmers and seed savers, despite the mega-industries choosing orange as the official carrot color.
For more information on seed saving and the importance of biodiversity, please visit www.seedsavers.org.
Frank, Krystal and Joe


  • At July 15, 2009 12:41 PM, Blogger spiral said…

    Dear long-lost friend,

    I have a new blog: runswithleopards.blogspot.com. I bought a house last year. I am reunited with the boyfriend with whom I last lived. I have three dogs now, etc. I miss you. Hope all is well.

    Your friend in K.C.


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