October 31, Farm Newsletter 20-18

Wednesday, October 30, a beautiful day. A long band of grey cloud stretching across the northerly horizon, still some tree leaves hanging on.

Wednesday, October 30, a beautiful day. A long band of grey cloud stretching across the northerly horizon, still some tree leaves hanging on.

The red and green kale rows, brown fall garden either side, trees behind with leaves still, grey band of clouds but mostly blue sky.

The red and green kale rows, brown fall garden either side, trees behind with leaves still, grey band of clouds but mostly blue sky.

To-day, Thursday, October 31, Halloween,  will be the last 2013 CSA vegetable pick up.  This is week 18 of our 20th year of having Community Shared Agriculture from our farm.  From our point of view as farmers it was, on the whole, a very good season.  There were of course things that could have been better, but what we did have was mostly plentiful and of

The red and green Kale with lots of leaves harvested but with still a lot more leaves to go and many plants have more leaves than this. Leaves are harvested from the bottom up and new leaves appear at the top as the plant grows in height.

The red and green Kale with lots of leaves harvested but with still a lot more leaves to go and many plants have more leaves than this. Leaves are harvested from the bottom up and new leaves appear at the top as the plant grows in height.

This is the table full of the small decorative pumpkin and squash.

This is the table full of the small decorative pumpkin and squash.

good quality.  Though the sweet corn was mostly a disaster  we had one very good picking.  Tomatoes were a disappointment as we did not have near the quantities we would have liked and we had just about no carrots.  The successes; we harvested, and are still harvesting, lots of Kale, Cabbage, Potatoes, Broccoli, Swiss chard, Lettuce/Mesclun Mixes, and still have lots of green Peppers, slicing Onions

The two Kale rows in the sunset, empty potato rows to the left. photo from September.

The two Kale rows in the sunset, empty potato rows to the left. photo from September.

green Onions, Garlic,

The kale rows in the garden January 2, 2013, still doing fine but also looking good for the rabbits who have a real likening for Kale.

The kale rows in the garden January 2, 2013, still doing fine but also looking good for the rabbits who have a real likening for Kale.

and Winter Squash and we did have, until the frost, lots of Tulsi Basil, Sweet Basil, Parsley, Camomile, and borage and earlier lots of Cilantro, Beans, Cucumber, Summer Squash, and Arugula. We are now digging Jerusalem Artichoke tubers.  There were several other vegetables that we had in smaller quantities and for shorter periods.

Weather:   The weather this season was key to our good season, it was much better for us, lots of rain and enough warmth and sunshine to keep everything growing well.  A couple of brief dry spells did cause some problems but mostly not too serious.  For most of the growing season there were white grubs to be found anywhere when we dug into the soil.  There are a lot to be found now but still not the numbers seen when they were really bad; a count of 30 to 30 grubs per square foot of garden.

Chickens:   The chickens have done pretty good.  The laying rate ’til recently was very good.  Since they are out on grass the lay rate will not ever be as high as it could be but this way is much more pleasant for our

The flock come to see me, wondering, as they always do whether I might have some treat for them.

The flock come to see me, wondering, as they always do whether I might have some treat for them.

Wed Oct 30 Chickens Garden 014

Inside the coop. There are four breeds of chickens here at the feeder. A single I.S.A. Brown (the red hen, curiously), two Barred Plymouth Rock, The white birds with the pretty markings on the cape feathers are, I think, Delaware and the dark ones I’m not sure of but am guessing that they are a hybrid.

hens. We did have some problems too with not being able to find eggs that the hens would hide and we have to be careful to gather eggs  before the resident skunks come round.  We now leave a light on in their coop so as to give them at least 16 hours of “daylight” or the number of eggs being laid will drop way down and we still have to do some work to seal up the coop a little better to keep it warmer.  We are not feeding them an organic food except for vegetable scraps from our garden and what ever the hens can find when foraging outside for insects, grass and seeds.  We feed  crimped oats and a common non-organic lay ration from the feed store in Burford.  Do we need to get meat birds, chicken and turkey for the freezer for next season ?

Winter vegetables and Eggs:  We will have a surplus of Potatoes, small Onions, small Garlic, winter Squashes, and Kale which we would like to offer for sale over the winter for as long as the supply lasts. We’ll also continue to have eggs and we would like to supplement what we have with

Potatoes; heading into storage in our basement

Potatoes; heading into storage in our basement

organic vegetables obtained elsewhere within an hours drive of here.   We will look for such things as Carrots, Onion, Turnip and Greens, see what we can find, figure out how to do pick ups and then contact everyone to see who wants what.

2014, Season:   The CSA will resume in the late spring of next year, hopefully early to mid-

The potatoes. Spring of this year.

The potatoes early this spring. What we are once more looking forward to, there is always next year..

June.  We will send out an e-mail reminder to everyone who was picking up this year, giving you more details, especially how much money we would need to get you.  We think that we are giving you good value for the money and hope that you feel likewise.

Your Suggestions:   We are asking for your comments and suggestions regarding the CSA.   What did you think overall, what could we improve, what would you like to see done different, what other vegetables would you like to have, did you get enough of what we had, how else could we improve  ?   We had an early request this past season for more Peas and we didn’t really get that one right.  We should have done better on several things like Corn and Tomatoes.  We will if we can, try to get an intern to work with us for next season.  That would help immensely.   We really need a building for the pickup area.

So  THANK  YOU  to all our CSA members this season.  Keep checking this website as I will continue a weekly update blog all through until next season.

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