Fresh Earth Farms - CSA

What’s New for 2024?

Garlic is up!

First an announcement or two then some farm news!

We are still selling shares. On the positive side we are getting more interest; must be the new month. But we can always use help selling the remaining shares. So tell your friends, co-workers and family members. We’ll credit your account $25 for every new member who puts your name in the “Where did you hear about us?” box on the order form. We appreciate your support!

If you have any idea how we can market our shares let us know. Seems like finding people like you who appreciate veggies like ours is challenging to say the least. Spread the word!

Of course if you already ordered your VeggieShares for 2024 you can still order all the other shares for 2024 — e.g. eggs, flowers, mushrooms, etc.

For those of you who put down a deposit for your shares the remainder is due this month. You can also pay over time; just let me know that is what you are doing. Thanks!

Farm News

I have actual farm news. The first farm news for 2024! As long time members know, we don’t do a lot of farming in the winter. It may come as a shock to you newer members but if you think about it it makes a lot of sense. It is hard to irrigate when the lines are frozen. So we wait until March to get things started here and even then we — for the most part — are doing the farming indoors, in our heated greenhouse. This season though it seems like we could have done some winter farming. With so little cold we could have grown something outside.

And we did! Our garlic is already up! (See the picture at the top of the newsletter). I don’t know if this is the earliest it has come up but I suspect it is. I can’t recall a warmer late winter and a frost free ground this early. So I suspect this is as early as it gets. What does that mean for the garlic the rest of the year? I don’t know. As long as we don’t get extremely cold temps — say in the single digits — the garlic should be fine and survive and eventually thrive. If it gets too cold it could kill the part of the plant that is above ground. Will this kill it completely? Probably not but it could set it back and result in smaller bulbs. So we’ll just have to wait and see what transpires.

Also up are the first transplants in the greenhouse. As is always the case, these are our onions. They are the first things we start since they take a long time, can be planted fairly early when there is still a chance of frost, and the bigger the plant when it starts to form a bulb the bigger the bulb. So “Yay” for the onions!

First onions

For the next many weeks we will be continuing to plant items in the greenhouse. Some day I should add up all the plants we grow. I think it would be a number that would surprise even me — and we aren’t even that big of a vegetable farm! I can’t imagine what it is like on the 1000+ acre farms. Seems like a totally different business model.

On a related note, I’ve mentioned in a past that we do a number of trials of new varieties each year. Sometimes it is due to new seeds coming on the market that the seed companies hype. Other times it is due to old varieties going away. And still other times it is due to people asking us to grow certain veggies we may not have grown before. This year we have some of all of these.

The first crop to mention is one where a member asked us to grow something she enjoys — Persian cucumbers. Persian cucumbers are smaller with thinner skins and fewer seeds. We haven’t grown these before but thought we’d give it a shot. I’m kind of excited to see how they turn out.

Another thing we are growing this year that is new is spinach. I believe I mentioned before that our high tunnel soil pH is above 7 so we can now grow spinach. So that is what we are going to do. Hope it works out!

Onion seedlings

We are also trialing a new Brussels sprout. This new one is suppose to be black rot resistant. Black rot is one of our major brassica diseases so having BS that is BR resistant should help in production. Growing resistant varieties is one way we grow our crops without the use of synthetic chemicals.

We are also trialing a new beet variety. I don’t recall why. I think the old variety was OK but not spectacular so we thought we’d give a new variety a try. Let’s hope this one is real and spectacular.

Our leek variety this year is new because they discontinued the old variety. This seems to be a yearly think with leeks over the last several years. Not sure what is going on in the leek business. Every year we get a new leek it’s gone the next. Must be too many plumbers in the seed business.

We have a new red tomato variety. This is a trial to find a cheaper seed. Some of our more successful red tomato varieties are expensive seeds. But now that we graft tomato plants onto disease resistant root stock (another approach we use to eliminate chemical use) we are hoping a cheaper seed will be just as successful.

Speaking of tomato root sock, we had to switch this as well due to the unavailability of the variety we used in the past. Again, why was it unavailable? I don’t know. I hope it works out.

We are growing a new hot cherry pepper. The ones we grew in the past had inconsistent germination which made it hard to know how many to plant. I’m hoping the new ones are more consistent and perhaps larger. I like cherry peppers since they have a little bit of sweetness and aren’t too hot — just like me.

We also have a new cayenne pepper only because the old cayenne pepper wasn’t available. I don’t think this is due to the plumber problem mentioned previoously.

We bought some cheap bok choy seeds to use for a fall baby bok choy direct seeded planting. It will be interesting to see if this experiment works. Most people have had enough bok choy after the first few weeks of the season but some of us decided we wanted some in the fall as well.

We are growing Yukon Gold and French Fingerling potatoes this year. We’ve grown both of them in the past. We switched away from French Fingerling due to our supplier switching but now they are switching back so we are too! We stopped growing Yukon Golds quite awhile ago due to poor production. I’m not sure why I decided to try Yukon Golds again. I hope they are more productive this year.

And finally we have quite a few new flowers this year. Some are flowers we have grown in the past but for some reason stopped growing them. I guess this year we will recall why we stopped in the past. Others are flowers we never grew before.

That pretty much covers the new items for 2024. If there is something you’d like us to grow let me know. Maybe we can get it in this year, maybe not. But we’ll put it on the list for 2025.

This Week’s Joke (PG-13)

What does garlic do when it gets too hot?

It peels off its cloves.

As always, send in your questions, comments, suggestions, share orders, and anything else you think would be of interest.

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