Monday, July 25, 2016

CSA Newsletter ~ Week 7

Just under half an inch of rain!
As we get this weeks newsletter together we can actually say we have had rain this morning! This does not mean that the drought is over! We still need so much more.  We received under half an inch of rain at 5am this morning but by the afternoon the sun is out the wind is up and the humidity has spiked and the ground begins to dry again which means that even with the rain this morning the sprinklers will be back on this evening!
Over the weekend our CSA Member families received our drought update e-mail.  
We have to say a huge "Thank You" to all our CSA members who have sent e-mails of encouragement and support over the last few days and have also offered the use of their showers (we are hoping we don't smell that bad!) ;-)
We are so touched and humbled by the support and it makes heading out to the market garden for a days work a little easier knowing as one of our members said "Count me in for the long haul whatever it looks like."
We appreciate that it is not only our CSA families that read these newsletters/blog posts so we have added a few extracts of the CSA e-mail to this weeks newsletter.

"We have been growing full time at this location for 8 years and have been growing for a total of 12 years and this is our second drought in five years. 
We learnt a lot from the 2012 drought. We started to grow varieties that are more heat tolerant, we moved into a raised bed system and we purchased landscape fabric not only for the weed suppression but also to help maintain moisture in the soil, but even with all these things when we started this year with a low water table due to the lack of snow and mild winter we thought we might have a harder growing year this year compared to last!
At present we are watering around 1500ft-2000ft per evening, but with the continuous hot days and hot high humid winds it is drying the ground out quicker than we can water.  We are unable to water the main growing area in the day time due to the heat drying the ground but it also causes the plants to scorch as we use overhead sprinklers for our crops. The hoop houses are given a good watering by watering can once a week.  To give you an idea of the amount of water needed for one hoop house it takes a 1000litres to cover 400ft of vegetables in each.
For vegetables to grow they need an inch of rain a week. We have been watering our field with sprinklers since the start of April.  We have a rain gauge at the farm and we have listed the total amounts of rain we have received at the farm for the last few months.
Rainfall received at Strattons Farm.
April 1 inch
May 1/4 inch
June 3 inches
July so far 3/4 inch as of the 24th July as of today we can now say we have had an 1 inch of rain for July.
We have done some of our fall transplanting and they are just holding on but we have not transplanted everything yet as we are hoping for some major rain! Direct seeding is just sitting in the ground and not germinating.  Due to the heat we have already lost 800ft of parsnips, we do not think we will have celery this year as it requires huge amounts of water, celeriac is not growing and what cabbages are heading are very small, even our Zucchini patch it saying enough is enough.  We are now trying to grow crops that have a shorter day to maturity so that your boxes remain full for the season.
It is not only keeping the summer vegetables growing but we are also trying to grow for the November CSA boxes as well as our bulk storage boxes, as this is how we make an income for the rest of the year and how we make our living year round and how our farm ultimately survives."

Please return your tubs! Thank You
This weeks basket, may be subject to change but this is what we are hoping for!
Sorry no recipes this week but feel free to browse through past years newsletters for ideas!
Salad Onions
Beets - For some reason these have thrived in the drought!
Zucchini - We have 300ft in the field and it is really suffering with the drought and high winds.  We have just transplanted a second seeding so we are hoping that they hold on to help balance out the plants we are losing from the main patch.
We are hoping to be able to do both of the following
Cabbage -  have headed up but they are so small they are resembling very large Brussel sprouts! We have a few Chinese cabbage so it might be a choice between the two varieties !
Eggplant - Again we have a mixture of sizes so we are hoping we will have enough largish ones for everyone.

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