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TINY HOUSE SCULPTURE 1

Saturday June 24, 2017

Dear Person Who Knows The Value of Good Food,

We're winning the woodchuck war.  However, they're still out there.  This week, I mowed down some profoundly high grass along the edges of the planting beds.  When the dust had settled (literally) , what was discovered was a very large hole. Later that same day, I moved the Hav-a-Heart trap over to be closer to the hole.  When I was around 30 feet away, I looked up and saw a woodchuck frozen in time, just staring at me.  He/she was so quiet that I actually was under the impression that it would be possible to walk right up to him.  As I get closer, though the critter ducked (woodchucked?)into this hole.  The trap is now sitting outside his door, waiting for him.  I'll report, when he gets caught.

This is now the time of the year when certain beds of greens are done and need to be ripped out.  Making this decision has always been a hard one for me. I'll usually thank the bed for all that they've put out.  Another way of looking at it: out with the old and in with the new. But being more on the senior side, I usually chose to not think that way.  More productive: this is the way of the land.

Another activity that has taken a GREAT amount of my time this week is tomato pruning.  The tomatoes will put on a huge amount of foliage at this time of the year.  And quickly, too.  I feel that if I blink , they'll grow another 6 inches.  Needless to say, if one ignores this fact, more quickly than not, a tomato jungle could quickly emerge.  Luckily for us, I've been able to get at them timely enough to just barely squeek  out a win.  We need our tomato plants to grow vertically-not spread out on the ground.  There are several ways that this happens.  The main thing is that we put strings from the top of the hoop house down. From there, we use special tying tools and baby clamps to anchor them to the strings.

Here's something different this week.  My friend and neighbor from Northford, Peter is more or less made his farming operation smaller and smaller.  He has a few interesting things that we don't have that as an experiment will be offering to you this week, too.  Peter is an excellent farmer that has been growing organically (he's not certified, but trust me, he's still the real deal) for decades.  So, I'll start with his list.

Eggs- $3/half dozen

Rhubarb $5/lb

Scallions $3/bunch

Plants: Calla lilly, thornless blackberry and raspberry $8/plant

If you'd like any of the above, just include in your email with the rest of your order. Also, I know everyone is wondering about tomatoes.  Me , too.  It will be soon. 2 weeks, I would venture to say.

Here's what we're offering.

Collards $3/bunch

Big Kale $4/bunch.  Seriously amazing, as I've been saying for weeks. If you'd like lacinato, we got it.  Please specify.

And it taste even more amazing!  See recipes from the past week or two

Garlic Scapes- $4/bunch.  This is the best and most satisfying way to use garlic.  The scape is actually the flower of the garlic plant.  Once removed, the plant then begins to form a serious bulb under the ground.  The scape can be chopped up, fried or put raw in salads.  One of early summer's first pieces of joy.

The curly curly thing-that's a garlic scape. The plant benefits from removing it to help put all the energy of the plant into making the bulb.  That will be later July.

French Breakfast Radish- $4/bunch

Salad Greens- $6 bag with 4 different lettuces, kale, baby choi and mizuna

Arugula- $6/bag

Beets with tops -$4 bunch.  I love beets and these are turning into a great crop.

Swiss Chard- $3/bunch

Chinese Cabbage $3/head

New Potatoes- $5/bag (1lb.)  These are going to go fast, so first orders have a better chance of getting completed.

This is about as good as a potato is ever going to get-seriously. In about 20 minutes, these are going to turn into our salt potatoes for lunch. With butter? It will never get any better!

Compact Genevese Basil Plants- $5. Still, the best choice for a pot

Thyme Plants- $5

Chives- also $5

Fresh picked thyme or sage (please specify) $3/bunch

Exciting Braising Greens, with chinese cabbage, spicy mustard, kale $6/bag

As always, email me back what you'd like.  Order will be in shed after 2pm(or thereabouts).  If you arrive and I'm not there, its because I'm just running a tad late.  I need your orders by 8AM tomorrow, Friday.  Again, earlier than before because it helps with our efficiency.

In closing, thank you one and all for your support of Star Light.  Dealing and talking with all of you is one of the big bright spots of doing this work.

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
6/22/2017 11:02 am

 

After lamenting last week about CHUCK'S  competence in ruining our cucumbers, I received several inquiries about what happened to CHUCK after being caught.  First off, I'm glad that there are so many of you out there concerned about the welfare of this industrious critter.  To answer the question, we trapped them in a Hav-a-heart trap.  Once captured, I would put them in the back of the truck and drive them to their new "home"-far far away from anywhere.  But before releasing them, I spray painted a patch of red on their back so that I could tell if they were coming back to our farm.  So far, all of them seem to have stayed away.  Full disclosure here.  If a chuck shows up again that has paint on its back, more desperate measures will be taken.  Use your imagination.  With the decrease in chucks, we've finally started to get some cucumbers.  These cukes are unlike others that you often find.  Full of concentrated cucumber flavor goodness and snappy texture-they're almost as good as a ripe tomato. (But darn close).

But there's more to report to you besides mammals. Much to my surprise, we're really moving along at getting things planted.  Of particular note is the ginger and turmeric.  We've been priming them since mid-March in the dark on heat mats.  The rhyzimos  are buried in coir(shredded coconut husks) and kept moist.  Eventually, they begin to sprout.  Now, they're planted in the hoop house and we should see them coming to marketable size by early September.  Its a long haul-almost half a year.  Locally grown ginger bears no resemblance to Stop N Shop ginger.  Its got the most profound aroma and taste.  You'll see.

The Store.  A word about the store.  This has become a favorite part of the work around here.  For one thing, I get to "talk" to a lot of you over the email. Also, everyone gets what they want and I get to not have any worry about wasting food.  Here's what we can offer you this week.

Pepper Plants-peppers, as you might already know, are wonderful.  These are either red, yellow or orange when mature.  All sweet bell peppers. I've got lots, so there'll be  a special  Buy one and get another for free.  $5/pot

Tomatoes-  It is absolutely not too late to plant tomatoes.  We've got Pink Berkely, Black Cherry, Sun Gold, Striped German $5/pot

Compact Genevese Basil-still the best herb going for pesto and just to make a splash on a main dish.   $5/pot

Chive Plants- great for keeping in a pot.  They last and last from year to year$5/pot

Small Lettuce seedlings- $3/pot

Thyme- this magic herb add so much to any dish.  They'll last year after year in the same place $5/pot

Cucumbers- see photo above. They're a bit pricey, but you wont' regret it $2.50/each

D'avignon Radihes $3.50/each

Braising Greens- with so many amazing flavors (both hot and spicy). As I've mentioned before, these are well worth a try to give your dinners a change up.

Arugula- spicy and glorious $6/bag

Salad Greens-with lettuce, red choi, mizamerica $6/bag

Spinach $6/bag

Chinese Cabbage- $3/head

Garlic Scapes- NEW this week.  Use where you would regular garlic.  First of the season taste of real garlic.  $4/bag

Lacinato or Curly Kale (please specify)- I felt that many of you really gave my kale salad idea a fair shot.  Kale will be with us for a long time $4/bunch

Swiss Chard- for practically anything you can think of. $3/bunch

Fresh Thyme and Sage $3/bunch

Beets-NEW this week!  $3/50/bunch

Now is the time of year when we're waiting for the tomato waterfall. That's when we have so many tomatoes that it feels like they're cascading down upon us.  We're not there yet, but inches up on it.  Today, I ate 4 sungolds.  That's a start.  My longest prediction is 4 more weeks.  We can do it!

Email me back what you'd like by 8AM Friday.  Yes, we're getting earlier on the deadline.  It is just so much easier to fill your orders, if I know sooner.  Your order will be waiting for you, with your name on it, in the shed to the left of our house at 54 Fowler Avenue after 2pm on Friday.   Please remember to pick up your order!  You'd be surprised.

That's it.  Have a great week.

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
6/15/2017 9:58 am

I won't spend a lot of time on this because its too frustrating.  Chuck, or woodchuck, has mowed through the cucumber plants.  On the upside though, in the past two days, two of them have been caught.  For those of you hoping that the famous Katrina and Corinto cucumbers where coming soon-don't give up hope.  Chuck just chewed the first two feet-the plant is still climbing up the string and out of reach.

Get the idea? Big

Other "friends" from the nature have also made it interesting this week.  We've all now seen gypsy moth caterpillars hanging from trees or trying to cross the road.  So far, they don't seem to be eating our vegetables.  However, to be sure, we've started spraying some of the more exposed plants with Dipel DF.  This is a certified organic approved spray that I would recommend to you.  It can be purchased from Johnny's Selected Seeds (http://johnnyseeds.com).  Will help you with bushes etc around the house. As for your trees-I don't know.

All of these obstacles to making our farm work bring to mind that we are always working in relation to the natural forces at work in the world.  I would also argue that many many of the activities that we do are changing what we encounter. 

We have produced the most amazing crop of large kale this year.  I feel like it is part of my job to let you know one of the more amazing things that you can do with it.  This will be a repeat for some of you.  We're talking Kale Salad.  I'm just going to give you the outline.  Be creative and make up your own variations.

Take large kale leaves and slice out the large vein going down the middle.  Chop up the tender leaves into bite sized pieces.  Place in a bowl.  Make a combination of real fresh lemon juice and honey and pour that over the leaves. The lemon will slightly break down the cellular walls of the kale, making them tender. Toss till everything is evenly coated.  In a large pan or wok, dry roast a cup of nuts at highest heat.  Keep the nuts moving, till they look golden. Remove from heat and chop into smaller pieces.  After 20 minutes, the kale should be ready for other ingredients. You can add the nuts when they're cooled up.  Raisins, sweet peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, apples, shredded carrots etc.  They're all fair game.  If you have fresh herbs, put them in to.  Salt (coarse) and pepper works, too.  The last, and most critical thing lef to do is to coat everything with parmesan.  Only top of the line parmesan, otherwise the effect is ruined.  Don't mean to be a snob, just telling a truth here.  So don't use that stuff in the green cardboard container, please.  Fresh parsley added at the end, if you have it.

Above, you're looking at Green Curly Kale

Store Info.  Let me know what you'd like by 9AM tomorrow (June 9th).  Order will be waiting for you after 2pm same day (Friday, June9th).  Payment goes in the jar.  Checks ok, if you don't have exact change, but prefer cash.

Still have tomato varieties and peppers,thyme, sunflowers, parsley.  Look at descriptors from past weeks. 

Salad Greens- several different green and red lettuce, kale and mizamerica(a type of mizuna), red choi $6/bag

Arugula-this is a particularly wonderful batch.  Arugula salad has a reputation for being one of life's sweet rewards $6/bag

Big Kale- see amazing recipe above $4/bunch

Lacinato Kale- Carey Savona's recipe was placed here a few weeks ago.  It should also be on the website. $4/bunch

Braising Greens- wake up the dull and repititve in your cooking with these greens.  Flash cook them and place any protein(like chicken) you want on top of them.

French Breakfast Radish-crunchy and a bit spicy.  Another one of life's secret pleasures $3.50/bunch

Collards-cook with bacon (or not) .  This is another change up vegetable to break routines.  $4/bunch

Swiss Chard- the herald of Spring.  Rainbow variety. $3/bunch

Fresh Sage or Thyme (make sure to say which one) $3/bunch

Beet Greens-will liven up either salad or brasing greens $3/bunch

Spinach-newly grown, not the winter crop.  $6/bag

Chinese Cabbage-crunchy, sweet and really fun to eat either in a salad or cooked. $3/bunch

That's it. Let's hope for a Chuck-less week.

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
6/8/2017 8:39 am

 

The picture above gives you a feeling about how amazing it is to see a farm early in the morning.  Hope you like it.  Taken at 6:15AM today.

Things are pulling me out of bed.  Things, such as "miles to go before I sleep" type things.  Growing tomato plants would be a good example.  At this time of year, they're putting on plant growth at an almost unthinkable pace.  Many of them have been in the ground in the hoop house since the end of March. We grow tomatoes only in the hoop house because we can better control their climate.  For one thing, they never get rained on.  Tomatoes hate to get their "jackets" wet.  It will cause diseases. They get water on a regular basis from drip tape.  Too much water from above can also cause disease to the roots. At this time the plants are about five feet tall.  My job is to keep them growing vertically and keep the aisles clear.  A well behaved tomato plant is one that  is not too vegetative. Vegetative? That would mean a good balance between blossom production and leaf growth.  Basically, a tomato plant wants to grow in all directions at once.  And fast.  The main trunk of the plant has suckers that start in the crotch of each branch.  My job is to remove all but the top sucker and keep the plant clinging to the binder's twine that I've offered it to climb up.  In this way, a plant can easily grow to 15 or more feet tall.  In practice, there are more plants than I can keep track of realistically.  Therefore, suckers get away from me unnoticed from time to time and turn into a big fat branch.  Now, not everyone prunes like this.  Studies show that you don't get more fruit if you do this.  What you do get is a healthier plant and bigger and better fruit.  It makes sense, if you think about it.  Tomato plants love to have air circulating around them.  If the whole plant is dense with branches, then the air has a more difficult time circulating around.  The sides of the hoop house are kept rolled up all the time now and the doors at either end are propped open.  When will they be ready?  I'm estimating that we'll be offering  tomatoes before the month of June is up.  Let's see how accurate that turns out.

Here's Joel working on the tomato plants.  This picture should give you an idea about the height of these plants right now.

A word about woodchucks.  Joel caught one two days ago in the Hav-a-heart Trap.  Woodchucks are funny because they will walk into the trao when there isn't even any food to lure them in.  Come to think of it, skunks and squirrels are the same way.  Springing a skunk from a trap is a whole other story that we won't get into right now.  I'll leave it to your imagination. The woodchuck was small and had been having way too good a time in the cucumbers.  Once one catches a chuck, then comes the deliema-how to deal with it.  If you have been reading my letters from last year, you'll know that some extreme measures were taken then.  But int he end, I took Chuck and drove her/him to a remote (not near another garden) location and let it go.  At first stunned to be so lucky, it just stood there.  I encouraged it with a nudge from the cage and it ambled off.  I hope it leads a full and unemcumbered (wrong spelling) somewhere far away from anyone's garden.

Store News:  There's a way for you to order online that I hope to get set up soon.  It turns out that those things that "pull me out of bed" also keep me from doing a few basic other things, such as setting up the online store.  So I am being hopeful that we can do this.  It will help me keep everyone's order straight and prevent a lot of errors. (I just use graph paper now, which has its limits.

Tomatoes:  It is still high season to plant.  Heck, we haven't planted all the tomatoes yet either.  I am going to repeat the descriptors from last week below.

Riesentraube-a wonderful cherry tomato, originally from Germany.  I've never grown these guys, but their reputation for pleasing people is impressive.  Here's a link so you can see what they look like.http://www.seedsavers.org/riesentraube-tomato

Wapsipinicon-probably one of the most surprising tasting tomatoes-ever.  They have small fruits and produce a ton of tomatoes on each plant.  They have a sickly yellow color, which is in direct contrast to the amazing taste.  Think "edible perfume" because there are so many  levels of flavor here. Here is a link to what they look like:http://www.rareseeds.com/wapsipinicon-peach/

Mortgage Lifter.  This is an impressive tomato (actually, I haven't met a tomato that doesn't impress me!) because of a few things. First, the taste is terrific.  Its got an active taste that makes you feel grateful.  It is also a productive plant with extra large fruit.  Here's a link to see what it looks like. http://www.rareseeds.com/mortgage-lifter-tomato/

Striped German: My favorite for flavor and looks.  If you look on our website and see our grandson about to eat a tomato-that's a striped german.  It has a ripple of bright red going through a light orange flesh. Heirloom. Look here for image.http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/heirloom-tomatoes/striped-german-organic-tomato-seed-2372.html

Juliet-these are my Desert Island tomatoes.  The only one, if I had to choose just one to take to a desert island.  Great for both cooking and eating raw (a rare combo). Small, red rugby shaped fruit.  And a real producer. Look here for image.http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/paste-tomatoes/juliet-f1-tomato-seed-707.html

Sun Gold- perhaps the most popular tomato ever.  Small, orange fruit. Productive. And sweet. Did I say sweet?  Don't buy these if you can't stand sweet.View image here:http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/cherry-tomatoes/sun-gold-f1-tomato-seed-770.html

Black Cherry-another cherry variety like sun gold.  The fruit is just a little bit bigger than sun gold and the color is kind of a musky purple,red.  Savory and sweet at the same time.  The taste is very complex.  Sometimes, I say that if sungold is grammer school, then black cherry is graduate school.http://www.seedsavers.org/black-cherry-organic-tomato?gclid=CPOExZ6t1tMCFc-EswodqWoGGA

Paul Robeson- a cult classic in the world of heirloom.  This is a black russian variety.  The color is exactly the color you'd want to see on your tomato plant, but not on your living room walls!  Its taste is probably why people prefer heirlooms to regular tomatoes.  Also, if you've never checked out Paul Robeson himself.  This would be a great time.  A true Renaissance Man who was never recognized for all his many talents.  One of my real heroes in life. View image here:https://www.totallytomato.com/P/00540/Paul+Robeson+Tomato

Pepper plants-after literally weeks of being small, they're finally starting to take off.  Not sure what they've been waiting for.  These are bell peppers with strong red, yellow and orange colors.  Peppers are easy to grow-just give them good sun, but also some kind of a shade over once they start producing fruit.  Otherwise, they tend to burn. $5/plant

Herbs-sage, flat leafed parsley, and german winter thyme.  All of these can become permanent parts of your outdoor garden $5/pot

Compact Genevese Basil- wonderful addition to all herb gardens.  Will last the season.  Bred to stay small for growing in a smaller pot

Dwarf Sunflower-  perhaps the cutest and most desireable  plant to get in a pot.  They stay small for growing in a pot, but can also be planted outdoors. $5/pot

Braising Greens- $6/bag. Hot/spicy, crunchy-everything you've always wanted in a cooked green.  These greens will add a whole new dimension to late minute cooking solutions.

Kale- $4 bunch.  This is now the beginning of the kale season.  If you haven't had a kale in a while, try now.  Carey Savona, the Executive Chef at Heirloom in New Haven has offered me a kale recipe.  I'll repeat it after listing all the other offerings

Green,curly kale above

Salad Greens- $6/bag

Wonderful Lettuce Heads-$3/head. Sweet, crunchy

Above, lettuce head

Spring Garlic- $2.50 each. These are a spring treat.  A wonderful flavor of garlic utilizing the whole plant.

Arugula- $6/bag

Pea Tendrils are back, too. $6/bag. We made pea tendril pesto and put it on left over pizza earlier this week.  Remarkable.

Beet Greens- a real fine experience.  Can be eaten raw or lightly stir fried. $4/bunch

French Breakfast Radishes-  young, crunchy, slightly hot and glorious to eat.  A French custom is to put them on buttered toast and enjoy.

Swiss Chard- for cooking any wonderful spring dish $4/bunch

OK.  Here's Carey's recipe. Very simple. Wash and saute kale with garlic, shallots, olive oil,chilies, black pepper and good Sicilian anchovies and crushed walnuts.  Let it simmer a bit and then add a touch of red wine vinegar and alittle hoey.  This is great as a side or atop grilled toasts or even cold on toast.  It's a super food times 3.  NOTE: according to Carey, the anchovies must be Sicilian!  Carey loves lacinato kale.  So, if you want lacinato as opposed to curly green kale, please let me know when you order.

Email me back with your request by 9AM Friday (June 2nd) Come get your order after 2pm that day. Self service. There's a payment jar. Cash preferred, but if you have to, checks are ok, too.  If you arrive at 2 and I'm not quite there, don't worry I'll be right up!

We hope you have a great weekend.

David

Posted by: David Zemelsky
6/1/2017 7:29 am

 

I heard  Mark Bittman, the very famous cookbook writer, the other day on the radio.  His words made such an impression on me because it helped me realize that in  some small way all of us who are interested in real food are helping the world be a better place by buying locally.  Over the centuries, according to Mark, we are eating a smaller and smaller percentage of real food as a civilization.  Just look in any supermarket, down any aisle, and you'll notice that most of what they're offering for "food" , is more of a chemical concoction that is very often depleted of nutrition and loaded with sugar.  Sugar, according to Mark isn't just "empty calories", but rather toxic calories.  Real food has sustained people for centuries without causing disease.  Your choice of trying to get real food from local sources, I believe will help keep you healthy. I'd better stop there cause the subject is vast and deep and if I get into any more, then I'll spend my day writing this rather than grow the food that we want to provide for you!

One of the things that we're growing this year is beets. Beets are a little slow to get going, need a nice supply of food to produce a nice root and are one of the most awesome vegetables to eat roasted.  We're going to have a few choices, including Touchstone-a golden beet that literally has the color that will pull you in.  Last Thursday, I spent a long time going down a bed of tiny beet greens, getting rid of weeds-one of the many good jobs around here.  After getting down the rows (there were three), I turned around a looked back at the result.  The newly weeded rows stood out like proud little children in the Madeliene books, except of course that we're talking three straight lines instead of two.  It was the last maintenance work that I did that week, as Friday turned into a total prep day for the Saturday market.  It wasn't really till Tuesday that I took the next close look at this bed.  I was amazed how they had grown in just 4 days.  But now that I think about it, that was 10% of the length of time to maturity, which is a lot. These beet greens need to be thinned now.  So one of the items we'll be offering to you this week is beet greens.  Here is a picture of a promising row of beets.

Here is a progress report on the tomatoes.The picture above will show you how much they've grown!  We've already had about a dozen ripe sun golds.  Excellent start.  I hope that you can see all the yellow blossoms.  Promises of fruit, ahead.

And that brings me to the store:

First off, the large kale is here!  We started these guys way back in the Winter, in the basement under grow lights.  They've been working hard to be ready for Memorial Day.  Large leafed Kale Salad-an all time winner is now possible.  Just get those big leaves cut up, take the veins out and "massage" the cut up leaves with lemon juice for 25 minutes.  Toss with dry roasted nuts and any other vegetable that you like and coat everything with real (not that stuff in a green cardboard container!) parmesean. $4/bunch

Tomatoes, eggplants and Peppers:NOW IS YOUR TIME!  It won't be too late to plant after Memorial Day. I'm only mentioning that traditionally, people like to put these things in the ground now.  I'm going to put below the descriptions of the tomatoes that we have for sale.  The peppers are only great colors: red, orange or yellow.  Won't be able to say which one you get, but either way you'd be getting a winning color.  Here's the tomato selection:

Hillbilly Potato Leaf: never grown these, but they look a lot like striped german, so I thought it would be fun to broaden my horizon.  There's a picture and a descriptor at the following link.  I don't have a lot of these, so first come will be serve first.  http://www.seedsavers.org/hillbilly-potato-leaf-tomato

Wapsipinicon-probably one of the most surprising tasting tomatoes-ever.  They have small fruits and produce a ton of tomatoes on each plant.  They have a sickly yellow color, which is in direct contrast to the amazing taste.  Think "edible perfume" because there are so many  levels of flavor here. Here is a link to what they look like:http://www.rareseeds.com/wapsipinicon-peach/

Mortgage Lifter.  This is an impressive tomato (actually, I haven't met a tomato that doesn't impress me!) because of a few things. First, the taste is terrific.  Its got an active taste that makes you feel grateful.  It is also a productive plant with extra large fruit.  Here's a link to see what it looks like. http://www.rareseeds.com/mortgage-lifter-tomato/

Striped German: My favorite for flavor and looks.  If you look on our website and see our grandson about to eat a tomato-that's a striped german.  It has a ripple of bright red going through a light orange flesh. Heirloom. Look here for image.http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/heirloom-tomatoes/striped-german-organic-tomato-seed-2372.html

Juliet-these are my Desert Island tomatoes.  The only one, if I had to choose just one to take to a desert island.  Great for both cooking and eating raw (a rare combo). Small, red rugby shaped fruit.  And a real producer. Look here for image.http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/paste-tomatoes/juliet-f1-tomato-seed-707.html

Sun Gold- perhaps the most popular tomato ever.  Small, orange fruit. Productive. And sweet. Did I say sweet?  Don't buy these if you can't stand sweet.View image here:http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/cherry-tomatoes/sun-gold-f1-tomato-seed-770.html

Black Cherry-another cherry variety like sun gold.  The fruit is just a little bit bigger than sun gold and the color is kind of a musky purple,red.  Savory and sweet at the same time.  The taste is very complex.  Sometimes, I say that if sungold is grammer school, then black cherry is graduate school.http://www.seedsavers.org/black-cherry-organic-tomato?gclid=CPOExZ6t1tMCFc-EswodqWoGGA

Paul Robeson- a cult classic in the world of heirloom.  This is a black russian variety.  The color is exactly the color you'd want to see on your tomato plant, but not on your living room walls!  Its taste is probably why people prefer heirlooms to regular tomatoes.  Also, if you've never checked out Paul Robeson himself.  This would be a great time.  A true Renaissance Man who was never recognized for all his many talents.  One of my real heroes in life. View image here:https://www.totallytomato.com/P/00540/Paul+Robeson+Tomato

Pepper plants-after literally weeks of being small, they're finally starting to take off.  Not sure what they've been waiting for.  These are bell peppers with strong red, yellow and orange colors.  Peppers are easy to grow-just give them good sun, but also some kind of a shade over once they start producing fruit.  Otherwise, they tend to burn. $5/plant

Eggplant-I'd be happy to share my eggplant parmeasan recipe with anyone.  Like the peppers, they've been growing a long time, but have only recently started to get big. $5/pot

Herbs-sage, flat leafed parsley, and german winter thyme.  All of these can become permanent parts of your outdoor garden $5/pot

Compact Genevese Basil- wonderful addition to all herb gardens.  Will last the season.  Bred to stay small for growing in a smaller pot

Dwarf Sunflower-  perhaps the cutest and most desireable  plant to get in a pot.  They stay small for growing in a pot, but can also be planted outdoors. $5/pot

Braising Greens- $6/bag. Hot/spicy, crunchy-everything you've always wanted in a cooked green

Kale- $4 bunch.

Salad Greens- $6/bag

Spring Garlic- $2.50 each. These are a spring treat.  A wonderful flavor of garlic utilizing the whole plant.

Arugula- $6/bag

Pea Tendrils are back, too. $6/bag. We made pea tendril pesto yesterday and it was outstanding.

Beet Greens- a real fine experience.  Can be eaten raw or lightly stir fried. $4/bunch

Email me back with your request by 9AM Friday (May 26th) Come get your order after 2pm that day. Self service. There's a payment jar. Cash preferred, but if you have to, checks are ok, too.  If you arrive at 2 and I'm not quite there, don't worry I'll be right up!

We hope you have a great Memorial Day Weekend.

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
5/25/2017 9:36 am

 

Think of what follows as an explanation, not an excuse. Here's what I'm talking about- variety of things that are available right now.  As mentioned in earlier letters, we're clearing the houses of spinach and other greens to make way for tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers and peppers.  Already, several weeks ago, we cleared out patches of spinach to get in a quick crop of salad and arugula-which has worked very well.  Around the beginning of April, the soil outside became dry enough to do bed preparation and then seeding.  I choose to plant some of the non lettuce varieties first because they are faster to maturity by over a week.  Now, over a month later, many of the outside crops are dismally slow and too little to harvest.  I was hoping to be able to harvest outside crops by now.  However, the huge fluctuations in temperature (two weeks ago, we had a frost!) and a lot of rain (something we clearly needed, but still got in the way of plant growth) has made for very small plants outside.  In other words-we don't have as much ready to harvest as I'd like. Not by a long shot.  But like all things with growing-there's patience.  In this case, lots of it is required.

We are not just sitting waiting.  Three hoop houses are almost completely cleaned out of winter greens.  Two of them are planted 50% with tomatoes.  Additionally, there are now two rows of katrina/corinto cucumbers planted.  For those of you who were around last year-these cucumbers are epic, superstars in the world of vegetables.  If any of our readers would be willing, please write back some kind of testimonial and we'll print in next time.  Still waiting to get planted are peppers, eggplants, potatoes, onions, ginger and turmeric.  This is a long list and it can be easy to get overwhelmed.  However, we just take one crop at a time.  Fortunately for us, we've got Joel. He's a steady hand, focusing on the task at hand, but always thinking towards the future.

On to the store:

New things this week:

Pepper plants-after literally weeks of being small, they're finally starting to take off.  Not sure what they've been waiting for.  These are bell peppers with strong red, yellow and orange colors.  Peppers are easy to grow-just give them good sun, but also some kind of a shade over once they start producing fruit.  Otherwise, they tend to burn. $5/plant

Eggplant-I'd be happy to share my eggplant parmeasan recipe with anyone.  Like the peppers, they've been growing a long time, but have only recently started to get big. $5/pot

Herbs-sage, flat leafed parsley, and german winter thyme.  All of these can become permanent parts of your outdoor garden $5/pot SPECIAL : Buy one and I'll give you another one for FREE.

Compact Genevese Basil- wonderful addition to all herb gardens.  Will last the season.  Breed to stay small for growing in a smaller pot

Dwarf Sunflower-  perhaps the cutest and most desireable  plant to get in a pot.  They stay small for growing in a pot, but can also be planted outdoors. $5/pot

There's a few new tomato plants to add to the list.

Hillbilly Potato Leaf: never grown these, but they look a lot like striped german, so I thought it would be fun to broaden my horizon.  There's a picture and a descriptor at the following link.  I don't have a lot of these, so first come will be serve first.  http://www.seedsavers.org/hillbilly-potato-leaf-tomato

Wapsipinicon-probably one of the most surprising tasting tomatoes-ever.  They have small fruits and produce a ton of tomatoes on each plant.  They have a sickly yellow color, which is in direct contrast to the amazing taste.  Think "edible perfume" because there are so many  levels of flavor here. Here is a link to what they look like:http://www.rareseeds.com/wapsipinicon-peach/

I'm going to reprint the other tomatoe choices here

Mortgage Lifter.  This is an impressive tomato (actually, I haven't met a tomato that doesn't impress me!) because of a few things. First, the taste is terrific.  Its got an active taste that makes you feel grateful.  It is also a productive plant with extra large fruit.  Here's a link to see what it looks like. http://www.rareseeds.com/mortgage-lifter-tomato/

 Striped German: My favorite for flavor and looks.  If you look on our website and see our grandson about to eat a tomato-that's a striped german.  It has a ripple of bright red going through a light orange flesh. Heirloom. Look here for image.http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/heirloom-tomatoes/striped-german-organic-tomato-seed-2372.html

Juliet-these are my Desert Island tomatoes.  The only one, if I had to choose just one to take to a desert island.  Great for both cooking and eating raw (a rare combo). Small, red rugby shaped fruit.  And a real producer. Look here for image.http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/paste-tomatoes/juliet-f1-tomato-seed-707.html

Sun Gold- perhaps the most popular tomato ever.  Small, orange fruit. Productive. And sweet. Did I say sweet?  Don't buy these if you can't stand sweet.View image here:http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/cherry-tomatoes/sun-gold-f1-tomato-seed-770.html

Black Cherry-another cherry variety like sun gold.  The fruit is just a little bit bigger than sun gold and the color is kind of a musky purple,red.  Savory and sweet at the same time.  The taste is very complex.  Sometimes, I say that if sungold is grammer school, then black cherry is graduate school.http://www.seedsavers.org/black-cherry-organic-tomato?gclid=CPOExZ6t1tMCFc-EswodqWoGGA

Paul Robeson- a cult classic in the world of heirloom.  This is a black russian variety.  The color is exactly the color you'd want to see on your tomato plant, but not on your living room walls!  Its taste is probably why people prefer heirlooms to regular tomatoes.  Also, if you've never checked out Paul Robeson himself.  This would be a great time.  A true Renaissance Man who was never recognized for all his many talents.  One of my real heroes in life. View image here:https://www.totallytomato.com/P/00540/Paul+Robeson+Tomato

Braising Greens- $6/bag

Kale- $4 bunch

Salad Greens- $6/bag

Spring Garlic- $2.50 each

Spinach- $6/bag

Arugula- $6/bag

Mizuna- a light Asian green for braising $4/bag

Please send me your request by 9AM. Yes, 9AM Friday, May 19th Yes, even earlier.  I have been finding that it gives all of you a better chance of getting what you want, if I know sooner.  Order will be in shed after 2pm.  I've been a tad late on the 2pm thing, but if you show up, you can be sure that I'll be close behind!

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
5/18/2017 10:47 am

 

The weeds are growing really fast.  You probably already know that, if you have lawns to mow.  Our greens-not so much.  This proves a bit frustrating as we are moving more and more outside and taking out all the spinach, claytonia and other greens that we've enjoyed all winter.

A word about taking out and replanting.  When we first started Star Light in 1999, I remember the sheer magic of seeing the first seeds emerge from the dirt, then grow up and become food that we would cut and then recut until it was time for them to go.  Cutting down an area was difficult.  I felt like I was betraying a friend.  That feeling didn't really go away.  Perhaps, its not much different from a hunter for game giving thanks to the downed prey for giving up so much so that someone else could survive.  Maybe I'm going overboard just a bit, but I think that you get the idea.  A plant works and works for us for weeks on end and ultimately it just turns back into food for other plants.

So, that's the state of things as I write today.  We're getting more and more of the hoop houses ready for tomatoes, eggplants,cucumbers and peppers and at the same time planting outside.  With a bit of luck, there'll be more spinach before the spring is over.  Last night, I observed that the new crop is beginning to emerge.

On to the store for this week.

First off, those of you who have ordered strawberry plants, tomorrow is the day.  The plants look great.  Several of them already have beautiful berries on them.  If you aren't sure if you ordered one or ordered one and haven't paid- please write immediately.  They'll be outside the shed by themselves.  If you are paying when you pick up, please write your name on the cash(like put everything in an envelope), so we can keep the bookkeeping accurate.

It is totally time for getting those tomatoes.  I'm taking green moldovan off the list, but adding mortgage lifter.  This is an impressive tomato (actually, I haven't met a tomato that doesn't impress me!) because of a few things. First, the taste is terrific.  Its got an active taste that makes you feel grateful.  It is also a productive plant with extra large fruit.  Here's a link to see what it looks like. http://www.rareseeds.com/mortgage-lifter-tomato/

Here is a review of last week of what we have to offer:

Striped German: My favorite for flavor and looks.  If you look on our website and see our grandson about to eat a tomato-that's a striped german.  It has a ripple of bright red going through a light orange flesh. Heirloom. Look here for image.http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/heirloom-tomatoes/striped-german-organic-tomato-seed-2372.html

Juliet-these are my Desert Island tomatoes.  The only one, if I had to choose just one to take to a desert island.  Great for both cooking and eating raw (a rare combo). Small, red rugby shaped fruit.  And a real producer. Look here for image.http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/paste-tomatoes/juliet-f1-tomato-seed-707.html

Sun Gold- perhaps the most popular tomato ever.  Small, orange fruit. Productive. And sweet. Did I say sweet?  Don't buy these if you can't stand sweet.View image here:http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/cherry-tomatoes/sun-gold-f1-tomato-seed-770.html

Black Cherry-another cherry variety like sun gold.  The fruit is just a little bit bigger than sun gold and the color is kind of a musky purple,red.  Savory and sweet at the same time.  The taste is very complex.  Sometimes, I say that if sungold is grammer school, then black cherry is graduate school.http://www.seedsavers.org/black-cherry-organic-tomato?gclid=CPOExZ6t1tMCFc-EswodqWoGGA

Paul Robeson- a cult classic in the world of heirloom.  This is a black russian variety.  The color is exactly the color you'd want to see on your tomato plant, but not on your living room walls!  Its taste is probably why people prefer heirlooms to regular tomatoes.  Also, if you've never checked out Paul Robeson himself.  This would be a great time.  A true Renaissance Man who was never recognized for all his many talents.  One of my real heroes in life. View image here:https://www.totallytomato.com/P/00540/Paul+Robeson+Tomato

Potted Plants:

Dwarf Sunflower:  They are happy either in the ground or a small pot. We call them Teddy Bear.  You'll see why when you look at the picture in the link. They are small and a big surprise in how cute they are.  So cute.  Here's a link to see what they look like.http://www.johnnyseeds.com/flowers/sunflowers/dwarf-sunflowers/teddy-bear-sunflower-seed-1437.html?cgid=dwarf-sunflowers#start=1

German Winter Thyme and Sage-both wonderful to cook with

Compact Genevese Basil-this is the basil variety that chefs want, only in a smaller size.  Perfect to grow in a patio pot

Flat-leaf Parsley-again, what chef's want to cook with.  Either put in the ground or a patio pot

Also this week:

Radishes- roxanne variety.  Not too spicy and really crunch. $3.50/bunch

Hakerui Turnips- unique flavor.  No need to cook this beauties.  White, round and exciting.  The best greens, also.  $4/bunch

Salad Greens- $6/bag

Arugula- $6/bag

Pea Tendrils- $4/bag.  Pea tendrils taste exactly like fresh peas, except that you're eating something leafy.  Makes a great pesto, too

Kale - $4/bunch

Spinach- last week for a while.  Full flavor and delicious. $6 for a big bag (but not as big as last week)

Spring Garlic- new from last week.  This is the beginning of the garlic season.  These plants look like green onions or leeks.  You can use every piece of it.  It won't crush in a press-just chop it up and use that way.  $2.50/stalk

Braising Greens- don't settle for soggy frozen veggies.  This is the real thing with spicy mustard and asian greens.  It is easy to wilt these greens and simply place your favorite protein right on top of it. $6/bag

Thanks for being there.  Remember, tell a friend about us.  It really helps

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
5/11/2017 9:50 am

The other day I was trying to uncover a few of the spring garlics that were so thickly covered with leaves that they haven't been able to emerge yet. Garlic is stubborn and doesn't just die in a situation like this.  They'll grow sideways until they figure out a way to get to the light.   They're a pale pale green when you find them.  The absence of sunlight and no photosynthesis does this.  While rooting around in the leaves, I came across a profound amount of acorns-all germinated.   This is as a result of the landscaper who brought us the leaves in the first place. A grabbed a small pot and planted one of them in it for our youngest grandchild-Frida.  I thought it would be fun for her almost 2 and a half your old brain to watch a tree grow.

Later, that same day they were talking about the  profound increase in ticks this year.  Not so hard for me to figure out.  I'll pick off two or three in one day.  Apparently, the best explanation for this is the increase in the white-footed mouse population.  Tick larvae thrive in their fur.  Didn't know that. And what has made the white-footed  mouse population increase so dramatically.  The answer turns out to be- an abundance of acorns!  This is what makes everything so interelated,doesn't it.  And that's why I don't trust Scott Pruitt, the new Secretary of  the EPA because all he can think about is how regulations get in the way of jobs.  That kind of thinking is not good for the health of our planet.

We're steadily changing over the hoop houses as places to grow tomatoes,peppers, cucumbers and eggplants.  At the same time, our fields are filling up with kale, collards, spinach, greens and carrot seedlings

It is officially time to start buying tomatoe plants.

Here's what we have for your consideration:

Green Moldovan: a soft, wonderful green tomato.  Texture of an avocado, but a taste more like a fruit salad. Heirloom. Look here for imagehttp://www.thisgardenisillegal.com/2008/08/green-moldovan-tomato-hannas-tomato-tastings-2008.html

Striped German: My favorite for flavor and looks.  If you look on our website and see our grandson about to eat a tomato-that's a striped german.  It has a ripple of bright red going through a light orange flesh. Heirloom. Look here for image.http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/heirloom-tomatoes/striped-german-organic-tomato-seed-2372.html

Juliet-these are my Desert Island tomatoes.  The only one, if I had to choose just one to take to a desert island.  Great for both cooking and eating raw (a rare combo). Small, red rugby shaped fruit.  And a real producer. Look here for image.http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/paste-tomatoes/juliet-f1-tomato-seed-707.html

Sun Gold- perhaps the most popular tomato ever.  Small, orange fruit. Productive. And sweet. Did I say sweet?  Don't buy these if you can't stand sweet.View image here:http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/cherry-tomatoes/sun-gold-f1-tomato-seed-770.html

Black Cherry-another cherry variety like sun gold.  The fruit is just a little bit bigger than sun gold and the color is kind of a musky purple,red.  Savory and sweet at the same time.  The taste is very complex.  Sometimes, I say that if sungold is grammer school, then black cherry is graduate school.http://www.seedsavers.org/black-cherry-organic-tomato?gclid=CPOExZ6t1tMCFc-EswodqWoGGA

Paul Robeson- a cult classic in the world of heirloom.  This is a black russian variety.  The color is exactly the color you'd want to see on your tomato plant, but not on your living room walls!  Its taste is probably why people prefer heirlooms to regular tomatoes.  Also, if you've never checked out Paul Robeson himself.  This would be a great time.  A true Renaissance Man who was never recognized for all his many talents.  One of my real heroes in life. View image here:https://www.totallytomato.com/P/00540/Paul+Robeson+Tomato

There's probably more, but I'll stop there.

If you ordered a strawberry plant, I'll be sending them out next Friday.  If , for some reason, you want them this Friday, just let me know.  They're happy where they are, but I'm sure they'll also be happy when you get them.

Next are the potted plants:

Dwarf Sunflower:  They are happy either in the ground or a small pot.  They are small and a big surprise in how cute they are.

German Winter Thyme and Sage-both wonderful to cook with

Compact Genevese Basil-this is the basil variety that chefs want, only in a smaller size.  Perfect to grow in a patio pot

Flat-leaf Parsley-again, what chef's want to cook with.  Either put in the ground or a patio pot

All Plants: $5/pot

On to produce:

Arugula- $6/bag

Braising Greens-those of you who tried it last week-how'd it go.  I find braisiing greens the answer to dull cooking options.  Just enough heat(spicy) to keep people coming back for more, but not a hot pepper , over the top thing.  $6/bag

Spinach- it just keeps getting better (untill the end, which is so close)  $6/for a huge bag

New Spinach- equally impressive $6/ for 6oz. bag.  This is what you want to buy, if you're interested in raw spinach

Spring Garlic- Use the whole plant from bottom to top.  A real early spring treat.  $3/stalk

Salad Greens-$6/bag

Email me back what you'd like before 10AM Friday (May 5th).  Come get your order after 2pm in our shed at 54 Fowler Ave.  Money jar for payment.  Cash preferred, but checks are ok if you're in a bind. TELL FRIENDS ABOUT US!

 

Posted by: David Zemelsky
5/4/2017 8:39 am

Dear Sustainable Food Lover and Friend of Star Light,

Its actually three separate words: Star Light Gardens.  Ty came up with the name and the concept of three distinct words.  I'll mash them together, myself when I'm in a hurry.  And if a customer refers to us (with fondness, I hope) as "Starlight"-I won't contradict.  If I remember, the idea was to put an emphasis on three really  important words. First , Star.  That's our sun, the beginning of all life. And then Light. That's what the star gives us. And warmth, too.  Gardens, next.  We actually wanted to be Star Light Farms, but when we went thru the LLC  paperwork, it was found that there already was one of those.  Hence, gardens.  Hopefully  the word gardens will give you a closer connection.  Not everyone has a farm, but lots of people can put in a garden.  And basically, that's what we did-only bigger than most.  I've always loved the name-its music to my ears.

On the farm (or should we say-"on the garden"?) this week, everything is popping.  By the end of last week, we were able to finally start getting beds outside ready.  My first order of business was a long bed of carrots.  After putting down compost, alfalfa (for nitrogen needs) and organic fertilizer, the whole bed was broadforked.  Broadforking is breaking up the subsoil with a large, two-handled tool with large, sturdy fingers on it.  The broadfork will break up the soil in large chunks, about 9 inches deep.  We'll go over that with hoes and cultivators , followed up a nice raking, which carrots love to get started in.  I'll keep a close eye on the bed, because we have one opportunity to flame the surface once to kill weeds (carrots hate weeds) before the carrots emerge.  I'll keep you posted.

Before the end of the day today, we'll have two long rows of beets, and two long rows of large glorious kale planted.  Not to mention, more salad greens and arugula. Which reminds me, if you like or love arugula, we've got an awesome crop this week.  Ask anyone who ordered last week.

A few weeks ago, we planted Roxanne radishes in the hoop house.  They are now ready.  These little guys are crunchy, crunchy, crunchy and not hot.  I could almost call them sweet (but I'd better not).  They also have very tasty greens on top that can be used in salads.

Last week, friends of some of you joined our mailing list on your suggestion.  To those of you who recommended us to your friends-a big thank you.  If you know someone who would love to experience locally grown food, please let them know about us.  Remind them to go on our website and request to be put on the general mailing list.  Website address: starlightgardensct.com

Store News.  Quick reminder (mostly, for new people).  When you know what you'd like, just email me back with your order.  Deadline (its moved, which most of you remembered) would be 10AM tomorrow-Friday.  Your order will be in the shed after 2PM.  Look for your name.  Payment jar is on the table.  If you come after dark-bring your flashlight!

Some plants to consider, first.  There are still about 6 unspoken for Hanging Strawberry Plants.  These make amazing Mother's Day presents.  The fruit is extremely sweet and they'll keep on producing all season.  The can be gotten whenever you want, but I plan to take care of the ones that have already been ordered till the Friday before Mother's Day (May 12th).

Compact Genevese Basil- $5/pot.  There's around 10 or so individual plants that can be divided up. Compact genevese is perfect for patio pots.  It has the same famous taste as Genevese but will not grow very tall.  For those of you who don't have an outdoor spot in a garden, they can do outstanding in a larger pot.

Flat leaf parsley- $5/pot.  Like genevese, flat leaf is the kind of basil that most chef's want to work with.  These work well in both larger pots and the garden.  Parsley can be kept from year to year.

Kale plants- $5/pot.  These will grow tall.  Probably best in a sunny garden spot, but would sustain itself in a very large pot, if you have one.

Dwarf Sunflower- $5/pot.  This is a nice alternative to the Hanging Strawberry.  The word here is "cute".  They can also be planted outside, but are very content to spend their days in a regular sized pot

Sun Gold and Black Cherry Plants- two of the most incredible cherry tomato plants ever grown.  Sun gold is bright orange fruit who's eating experience is similar to chumping on a lump of sugar.  Anyone with a quest for sweet will find themselves totally distracted by sun golds.  You might be upstairs in your house and if you remember how much you like sun golds, you'll find yourself traveling down the stairs and out the door to wherever you planted them before you even have a chance to think about it.  They're that good.  Black cherry is more like the sophisticated friend, who only talks in large sweeping sentences, which you can just barely understand.  There are first flavor, second, third and fourth even when you try black cherry.  If sun gold is like being in elementary school (simple, straightforward and uncomplicated) then black cherry is like graduate school. Complex and rewarding.   $5/plant.  It might be a tad early, but if you have a sunny indoor window, bring it home and get bonded.  They'll be with you for a while.

There'll be many more choices in the next few weeks.

Radishes- $3.50 a bunch

Arugula - for a spicy salad, arugula pesto or an impressive garnish $6/6oz bag

Claytonia- with white edible flowers.  Still succulant, and still near the end of the season.  Very wonderful, still.  We'll see what next week brings.  $4/4oz

Salad Greens- $6/6oz.  With kale, asian greens, lettuce, claytonia and spinach

Super Spinach Sale still lives.  $6 for everything that I fit in one bag.  Probably a lb or more.  Great taste, but not so pretty to look at.  Best for cooking

Red Russian Kale- $6/bag.  A salad, unto itself

New Spinach- unlike the Super Spinach, these are beautiful to look at. $6/6oz. bag

Braising Greens- 3 or 5 wonderful Asian Greens, along with kale.  $4/bunch

Here's a few photos to show you what I mean

These are the glorious braising greens.  The dark reds are spicy and the greener ones are more succulant

Garlic emerging from a thick, dense pile of leaves.  We'll be able to offer you spring garlic within the next few weeks.

New Spinach

Roxanne Radish. And they taste great , fun to eat!

 

 That's it.  Hope your week is wonderful!

Posted by: David Zemelsky
4/20/2017 9:55 am

 

Doesn't everyone like to go on vacation?  Upon returning to regular routine a whole wrath of emotions can come up, depending on how you might feel about that life.  For  myself, I love going away and love just as much coming back.  There's always something that has changed. Plants will have grown bigger, or gotten a disease, or gone by or maybe even just looked more beautiful than before.  Once, when we went away to visit our daughter, who was living in California at that time, I remember getting a phone call from our neighbor that our hoop houses were beginning to collapse.  Luckily, we were able to prevent a catastrophe by getting a crew to cut the plastic on the houses and relieve the pressure on the frame.  Upon returning, that was quite a change, too!  But what I'm really talking about is chickweed going on vacation for the warmer months.  Chickweed, for those of you unfamiliar begins to show itself as Fall comes on and Summer starts to wane.  Cooler nights inspire the seeds from last year to germinate. As an aside, I must mention that it is so amazing that there are some seeds that like the cold to germinate and others need warm temperatures.  So, as early September comes around, so does the very tiny leaves of the chickweed.  They are so small that one could be lulled into thinking that they are not a problem for growing Fall crops.  Wrong.  Every idea starts out small.  Before too long, this weed will grow way out of control and smother everything in sight.  Ones only hope is to figure out a way to get your crop to be well ahead of the chickweed, giving it little or no sun.  This is a hard job as chickweed has a strong sense of survival.  Often, my best bet is to encourage the chickweed to germinate and start growing.  I'll water an area pretty intensely for 10 days.  At the end of that time, out comes the trusty flamer.  This would be a pretty good sized torch that throws out a big swath of flame killing the little young (and tender) chickweed youths.  I know. It sounds a little blood thirsty.  Truth be told, this job would satisfy the killer instinct in all of us.  A twelve year old would love this job, but its way too dangerous.  But they would love it, just the same.  Mostly, we're planting spinach now.  The timetable is: prepare soil, then wet it , then wait for the chickweed to thrive and then flame it.  After that , I plant wide rows that will be easy to cultivate.  T-tape gets laid into the rows and that will drip water only where the spinach seeds are and not encourage other areas to promote weed growth.  After about 10 days, the spinach will have emerged in nice rows.  At that point, we'll cultivate and even slightly hill the rows and in so doing-smother the chickweeds.  It works, but not perfectly.

A word about what's available this week.  More than once, I've said the following: cold weather means extra sweet vegetables.  You can count on that.  As usual, let me know by 8AM on Friday what you'd like.  Your order will be waiting for you in the shed after 2pm Friday.

Here's the list:

This week,  we’ve got
red kitten spinach $6/bag. Glorious , glorious!
salad $6/bag                                                                                                                             lettuce heads (see photo)                                               

arugula $6/bag
pak choi $4/bunch
hakeuri turnips $4/bunch. I LOVE hakeur! Eat them like a radish raw or roast.
potatoes $5/lb
carrots  $6/lb
ginger $10/lb(you can do 1/4lb increments)
tumeric $16/lb(you can do 1/4lb increments)
thyme $4 /bunch
sage $4/bunch
pea tendrils $6/bag
baby kale $6/bag
big kale$4/bunch
maybe more red tomatoes-put it down and we’ll see where it goes $3/lb
tokyo bekana NEW!- that really nice chinese cabbage, crunchy, light green $6/bag
italian and rainbow chard  $4/bunch

Here are some photos that I'd love to share with you:

Look how beautiful and amazing the spinach and greens are that we're growing in the hoop house right now!

This is a cosmic tasting head of lettuce that is available at the store this week.  Crunchy, sweet, too.

Here is the amazing hakeuri!. And freshly out of the ground.  It taste like nothing else, raw.

Here is the Red Kitten Spinach.  It really taste just as good as it looks.

Lastly, here is my picture on my "day off" (should have been working!) last week with our daughter on the top of Mt. Monanack in NH.



Posted by: David Zemelsky
11/10/2016 7:32 pm