Tuesday, November 30, 2010

HI! Tunnel

The extended season CSA is well underway.  Actually, we are delivering week 5 produce today!

Our plan is to deliver for eight weeks.  But, since we have never done this before - we take each week as it comes.

One thing that is nice about it.  I picked produce in the tunnel for a few hours yesterday.  It was raining.  Temps were in the low 40's.  It was breezy.

And I was working in all of that.  But, I was dry and relatively warm.  What a nice benefit.

I could type much more on this - but instead, I will copy an email I sent out to the members of this extended season CSA:

Status of crops in the tunnel:
   We are learning a good deal as we go.  One moment, we are certain we'll get to eight weeks, the next we aren't so sure.  Last week's weather was a challenge to the whole system as temps made single digits on the farm and it did not go above freezing for several days.  The X-factor is the presence of sunshine.  One of those very cold days saw temps rise in the tunnel to 50 degrees with some sun.  Other days have easily reached 60.

We have noted that some of the quality of certain lettuce varieties, etc may not be as high as we would like because things DO freeze in the high tunnel.   And, when we say that, we are not indicating that the quality of taste is low.  We are largely referring to the way the produce looks. You'll find some singed edges and a few spots that clearly froze.  If we have a choice, we'd prefer to give you greens with minimal blemishes. But, we are also NOT going to waste perfectly good food.

So, if we get a long stretch with no sun and very cold weather, we will likely have very little left to give.  However, we have added an additional layer of remay (a white gauze cover) on the crops during this next cold, cloudy stretch.  This helps to insulate the crops and keep them warmer for longer.  When the sun comes back out, we'll remove the remay so the soil can serve as a solar collector.

We are noticing that things are growing *very* slowly at this point.  This was expected.  But, it does mean that some things may not continue to appear at the rate you have received them up to this week (week 5). Collards and kale are not growing new leaves at a speed that is conducive to cutting.

What to expect for the remaining three weeks:
   You will receive garlic every week.  We are fairly confident in the lettuce.  There may be one more cutting of collards and kale left in them.  Mustard and arugula probably will continue to be involved and we think another chard cutting can happen.  The broccoli will not set, so that experiment was only a success in that we learned better timing for them.  The kohlrabi *may* be big enough to cut, but they'll be on the smaller side.  The spinach is sneaky and seems to keep growing, so it
looks like a good option for continuing.  And, we have enough large pok choi for 2 of 3 weeks.

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