A good week
Happy 4th of July! I hope this week's produce will help you celebrate the fourth with your friends and family. We have a few new crops to add to the box. It is fun to watch the more charismatic crops start coming in.
We spent a lot of time this week tackling the thistle! As we were pulling it out by hand, I realized just how good it is at growing, and that hating thistle is similar to hating the popular kids in school. Thistle is present in our soils because of past agricultural practices which compacted the soil. Thistles are a perennial plant, which have a very deep taproot, enabling it to break open that compaction layer deep in the soil. Thistles are actually a great tool for us to aerate our soil. But nonetheless, we don't want them competing for nutrients that our vegetables need. To get rid of it, it is not as simple as chopping thistle down with a hoe, however. If you do not pull out the deep tap root by hand, it will keep sending up another shoot, and another shoot, and another! So it is worth it to take the time to do it right the first time. As we aerate our soil by encouraging soil microbial populations to thrive and by increasing our organic matte, among a host of other ways, we will see a significant decrease in our thistle population - hooray!
One thing I love about raising a variety of crops is that while you wait for one crop to grow, you are forced to be patient. There is just too much else to do that you can't baby every single crop. You turn your back for a second and when you return, the cucumbers are the size of your forearm. I think we would be bored if we only had two crops to obsess over. Farming teaches us the rewarding nature of patience.
This week, I spotted the first cabbage looper. These loopers overwinter in the south and travel by wind all the way up to Minnesota, can you believe that? What a journey they have made to our farm to feast on our cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, and kale! Though I respect their journey, we don't want them here. This week we released some parasitic wasps which will lay their eggs in the larvae of cabbage loopers. When they hatch out, the cabbage looper will cease to exist, hopefully. This is another way we can combat our pest problem without the use of harmful chemicals.
The animals are doing great on the farm. The turkeys have doubled in size since their arrival to the farm. The pigs will get new rye to chomp on tomorrow and the chickens sound like an opera singer when they lay an egg. Life is good on the farm for the animals.
All in all it's been a good week on the farm. Fabulous, cool weather, a little bit of rain, we can't complain!
Until next week
Becca and the crew