Week of August 31, 2015
Abbreviated Weekly Farm Report
From Friendship Farms & Fare
A Community Service To West Pasco’s Urban Agriculture Community
Planting & Harvest Notes
No plantings this week
Harvest Notes: okra, eggplant, herbs, red malabar spinach, sweet potato leaves, and sweet potatoes
Harvests of okra and SP leaves were very good, but declining. Eggplant has slowed dramatically. We’ll have none for shares this week. Sweet potato harvests continue to disappoint. We are getting spuds, just not in the numbers we had expected.
Fall seeding has been suspended until mid-September: too hot and wet for cool weather crops.
Now is the time to begin planning the fall garden, and we are doing that. Try seeding, if you like. We’ll do a few experiments, but hold off on major seedings for couple more weeks. We’ll be planting swiss chard, collards, kale, and (of course) broccoli. We’ll continue to work with tomatoes and bell peppers.
See the Share Report for all items.
For all plantings, we use seeds from our collection or heirloom seeds from Seed Savers Exchange (http://www.seedsavers.org/).
Summer Crop Production Slowing
Our summer staples are slowing now. Eggplant is very light, and we’ll have none available for shares this week. Okra is slowing, but we’ll still have enough for modest shares. As the sweet potato beds are harvested, the volume of sweet potato leaves declines. We’ll have plenty of leaves for at least two more weeks – but order now if you are interested. Sweet Potatoes are coming in nicely, and we should have these famous southern spuds for most of September.
Fall Seeding Takes Recess
Our first run at fall seeding was largely unsuccessful. 90% of the seedlings succumbed to heat and rain. We have a few kale seedlings and a few more collards. All of the broccoli was lost. Planting guides still say to plant fall crops in August (and we always try), but this is more nostalgia than any sort of meaningful guidance.
We’ll try a few samples this week, and return in earnest in the second week of September.
Sweet Potato Update
446 slips planted
First Harvest in Early July
53 pounds harvested
We finally had a good harvest – 15 pounds from one 100 sq. ft bed. This is about what we were aiming for in all our beds, but this is the only one that reached that total. Our total is now 53 pounds.
We continue to run behind expected numbers at this point. We’ve done six beds and were expecting at least 15 pounds per bed – 90 total. We are only at 53. Hopefully the next beds will be as productive as the last one.
We should be able to include SPs with all shares. We have various sizes (medium to fingerling). We’d like to move the fingerlings, so let us know of those are okay. Most are good quality (A), but not excellent/fancy (AA). There is a little scaring on some.
We will try to harvest more this week – with Sunday looking like the best day to start.
We planted a total of 446 slips in 16 beds this year.
We’ve staggered the planting to stagger the harvest. Using this method, we’ll be harvesting from well into September, and maybe even into October.
In 2013 we harvested 150 lbs. Last year (2014) our harvest was 250 lbs. This year we are still aiming at 400 lbs., although the first rounds are not particularly encouraging.
77 ½ pounds
We harvested 13 ½ pounds of okra last week, bringing our total to 77 ½ pounds.
We are doing some advance planning for an Okra Event in mid-June, 2016. Let us know if you are interested.
If you did not get our okra slide show, and would like to step-by-step sequence of images of okra preparation, let us know and we’ll send the images. As the slid show shows, even large/long okra can be tender.
Some folks want only small and thin okra, and we are sharing accordingly. Everyone else will occasionally receive larger pods. Some may be woody, but we have found many (even up to 12 inches) that are quite tender.
Eggplants are flourishing. We harvested six more this week, bringing our total to 141 so far. The size and appearance is not consistent, and some would not be acceptable at a commercial market. All appear to have good texture and favor.
There are no fruit on the plants and the plants have been weakened by the heat.
Arugula: First Samples
On the other hand, one of our fall favorites, Arugula, is doing well. We have leaves available in limited (sample) sizes this week.
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