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News and Notes
from the Field

Posts Filtered by Month - December 2016 |
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December 18, 2016
Challenging Cold
Notes From The Field
By Derek McGeehan
Some good news: we think most of our crops survived the first round of deep freeze. Another round is settling in now but at least the sun is shining to temporarily warm the plants and air space inside the protective fabric and structures. It's not supposed to be as cold as it was last week but may not rise above freezing today or tomorrow. We were quite nervous early last week as we tried to determine the best way to ensure our fresh crops survived. Trial by error, experimentation, data collection, and research led us to use two layers of our lightweight fabric row cover on top of large interior hoops to protect the crops in the high tunnel. This is where the majority of our greens will come from over the next two months. The picture above shows the interior of the high tunnel and the photograph below shows the healthy green crops that survived under the two sheets of cover. When it was 9 degrees outside on Friday morning the interior of the high tunnel was 12 degrees, cold enough to have killed the crops. Under the 2 layers of fabric, amazingly, the temperature was a steamy 27 degrees, cold enough to freeze the crops but not cold enough to kill them or damage them. No additional heat was added. The crops survived because warm air was trapped under the covers, radiating off the earth.
Before the deep cold we finished harvesting the first round of cutting of baby chard, lettuce mix, and spinach from the hoop house. In there we erected hoops and covered with one layer of fabric in hopes of regrowth and another cutting in a month or so. Those crops appear to have survived. For added security and insurance, we turned on the propane heat in our greenhouse and set the thermostat to 34 degrees. During the 2nd night of deep cold, when the outside low was 9 degrees, a gust of wind blew out the pilot so upon early morning inspection there was no heat in the greenhouse and the air temperature inside was 20 degrees. Disaster? Plants were thoroughly frozen but thawed in a few hours and as of today still seem to have survived.
In summary, we can continue to enjoy fresh organic greens this winter. Happy Solstice!
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December 18, 2016
Greens and Roots
Expected Harvest
By Derek McGeehan
Late Fall Harvest #6 (Week B) should include potatoes, garlic, radishes, field kale, high tunnel kale, arugula, greens mix, mizuna, salad turnips, kohlrabi, celeriac, and possibly another root. Some items may be a choice.
A radish assortment you'll probably see in the pick up room over the winter. Left to right: Bravo Daikon, Amethyst Salad, Watermelon, and Nero Tondo.
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December 18, 2016
Sign Up for the Winter CSA
Other News
By Derek McGeehan
This is the final pick up week for the Late Fall CSA.
The Winter CSA begins on Wednesday January 4th and runs for 8 weeks until the end of February. We're aiming for Winter CSA harvests to contain a nice mixture of fresh greens and storage crops, similar to what you've been receiving in the Late Fall shares.
The 2017 Main Season will begin in mid-May and will run for 26 weeks again. We're anticipating another great harvest season and are excited to implement more positive changes to further improve your farm and food experience.
A cold winter's day on the farm
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December 11, 2016
Real Cold Has Descended
Notes From The Field
By Derek McGeehan
The feeling of winter has arrived, and the feeling of the arctic is supposed to greet us mid-week. These types of temperature dips truly test the cold tolerance of the various crops still growing on the farm, as well as our willingness to get outside and do some necessary farm work. Remembering to bundle up properly makes most work managable. Sunshine helps, too, though that has been mostly absent of late, or the clouds clear up right as the sun descends below tree line. Just in time for a nighttime of clear crisp cold. Since this is the first deep freeze of the fall season, we're curious to observe the varying cold intolerance thresholds that will be crossed. Probably the outside lettuces will be damaged. Under big hoops and fabric row cover are kales, arugula, lettuce mix, spinach, and baby chard (see expected harvest photo). I don't know if that is enough protection. The greenhouse was two layers of plastic and an inflatable air layer between. Inside the greenhouse we erected big hoops with row cover on top (see above photo). The hoop house and high tunnel are covered with a single layer of plastic but also have big hoops and fabric row cover inside (see below photo). The pockets of air are important protection. Next week I'll probably write about what survived and will hopefully be amazed and enthused by the resiliency of plants in the face of teenage temperatures.
Abigail surveys the regrowth of the lettuce mix, hoping it will endure the upcoming cold.
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December 11, 2016
Time Will Tell
Expected Harvest
By Derek McGeehan
Late Fall Harvest #5 (Week A) should include potatoes, garlic, daikon radishes, yukina/tatsoi, lettuce, chard, arugula, salad turnips, salad radishes, celeriac, and cabbage. Some items may be a choice. We also need the sun to warm up the high tunnel so we can harvest the greens in there.
Simply another simple photo of attractive greens under protection with a hint of blue sky and sunshine beyond the barrier (not today unfortunately).
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December 11, 2016
Sign Up for 2017 Winter CSA and 2017 Main Season CSA
Other News
By Derek McGeehan
Including this one, there are two more weeks of pick up for the Late Fall CSA. The last day to pick up is Wednesday 12/21 and Saturday 12/24. The Winter CSA begins on Wednesday January 4th and runs for 8 weeks until the end of February. We're aiming for Winter CSA harvests to contain a nice mixture of fresh greens and storage crops, similar to what you've been receiving in the Late Fall shares.
The 2017 Main Season will begin in mid-May and will run for 26 weeks again. We're anticipating another great harvest season and are excited to implement more positive changes to further improve your farm and food experience.
A cold, cloudy, wintry day on the farm, preparing for impending temperature dips, protecting cold-tolerant crops with hoops and row cover, and harvesting more sensitive ones.
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December 4, 2016
Go With The Flow
Notes From The Field
By Derek McGeehan
Gabriel and Abigail pose in the hoop house behind beautiful spinach and chard.
Water returned to the farm last week in the form of abundant rainfall; almost 3 inches fell over a couple of days. Most of it appears to have soaked in, but the ponds are full again so some of it ran off and was caught there. Overall November was definitely a dry month; until that storm we had only received about half an inch of rain. This time of year our crops hardly need any water to maintain their health, so a dry fall is better than a wet one. During a typical Bucks County fall and winter the soil in the covered structures absorbs enough moisture from outside rainfall to keep those crops happy. This fall, however, we've had to add water every couple of weeks. Soon enough (probably) adding water from the well won't be an option, assuming frozen pipes could become a reality. We began harvesting lettuce mix from the hoop house last week and will begin harvesting chard and spinach there as well this week. We will also begin harvesting arugula, mizuna, and greens mix from the high tunnel. Cutting it now should allow it enough time to regrow for another harvest or two in January and February. Field crops are still growing slowly and have been cold tolerant. We'll probably have to do a bit of scrambling whenever forecasts begin to call for lows in the low 20s or teens but by then most of the field crops will be cleared. Hope you are enjoying all of the fresh greens!
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December 4, 2016
Sustainable Growth
Expected Harvest
By Derek McGeehan
Late Fall Harvest #4 (Week B) should contain lettuce mix, mini head lettuce, kale, sweet potatoes, kohlrabi, garlic, spinach, chard, arugula, mizuna, greens mix, celeriac, radishes, and turnips. Some items will be a choice.
Succulent orbs that grow above a taproot, kohlrabi is actually a round and swollen "stem". Not sure how to prepare and enjoy it? Try an internet search; a lot of options appear.
Abigail worked very hard to fill that bin with sweet potatoes...perhaps she had some help.
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December 4, 2016
Sign Up for 2017 Winter CSA and 2017 Main Season CSA
Other News
By Derek McGeehan
Including this one, there are three more weeks of pick up for the Late Fall CSA. The last day to pick up is Wednesday 12/21 and Saturday 12/24. The Winter CSA begins on Wednesday January 4th and runs for 8 weeks until the end of February. We're aiming for Winter CSA harvests to contain a nice mixture of fresh greens and storage crops, similar to what you've been receiving in the Late Fall shares.
The 2017 Main Season will begin in mid-May and will run for 26 weeks again. We're anticipating another great harvest season and are excited to implement more positive changes to further improve your farm and food experience.
Farm dog Borchie faces south toward the warmth of the morning sun and reminds you to sign up soon for the future CSA seasons!
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