Peregrine Farm News Vol. 15 #31, 10/4/18

What’s been going on! 

Welcome to Augtober as they called it on the news this morning.  While it is not unusual to have temperatures in to the high 80’s well into October the average high for us at the farm is more like the mid 70’s.  Fall will come, fall will come, fall will come soon we hope.

We do have the late mornings and low angle light of fall.  The day length drops over 2 minutes a day through the month of October losing a whole hour of light by the time November arrives, it is an amazing change to both people and crops.  The last of the fall crops are going into the ground this week, lettuces and radishes for December, with the lettuces in the sliding tunnels to protect their growth as the temperatures eventually drop.

In the next few weeks we will begin planting and seeding crops for next spring, over wintered flowers like Larkspur and Sweet William and bulbs like Anemones and Ranunculus.  Despite the current high temperatures, effectively the 2018 season is now being wrapped up with no new crops going into the soil.  It is all about cultivation, which is less as the weeds are slower to grow not too, and harvest for market.  Fall is here by the calendar if nothing else.

Picture of the Week

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The last of the lettuces going in the ground on a dark morning

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 15 #26, 8/30/18

What’s been going on!

As we claw our way to September, or more accurately swim through the air, it can’t come soon enough as long as the heat and humidity break soon too.  I think the worst air of the summer has come this week, even more brutal after the delicious weather of last week!

While fall planting has been going on for weeks it really begins to ramp up over the next few weeks with lettuce plantings going in every 4 days along with many other crops too.  This is critical timing because if we miss plantings or the days then the crops may never get to their full size before cold weather sets in.  With the days getting short fast the combination of less light and eventual cooler temperatures will bring their growth to a halt.  Fortunately, other than the heat, the dry weather is allowing us to keep things right on schedule.  What goes in now will be at market in November and December.

In an example of how interconnected our local food system is Lacee will not be with us at market on Saturday because she will be getting ready for her wedding on Sunday!  The connections part is that not only did she work at Oakleaf restaurant, one of our major accounts, but her fiancée is the sous chef there too.  She has worked on several other farms in the area including some at the Carrboro Market and they hope to start her own farm soon.  Sometimes it takes a village to raise a famer.

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 Fall crops in the ground, many more to come 

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 13 #27, 9/1/16

What’s been going on!

Watching the weather closely, it is the crazy season when the swings can be wild.  Last Saturdays pepper roasting just about roasted me so we are happy to see much cooler temperatures for this weekend but not so happy about how tropical storm Hermine might affect us and market.  Right now (Thursday morning) she appears to be heading more eastward but we could still see a lot of rain and windy conditions.  The best guess is Saturday morning will be breezy but drying as the storm moves north.

Another busy week with many fall crops going in the ground while we are slowly taking out some of the summer crops like tomatoes and some flowers.  The weeks on either side of Labor Day are always the peak of fall planting by the end of September it is almost too late for most crops other than short season and cold hardy types like radishes, carrots and some greens.

Only two weeks until the Carrboro Farmers’ Market’s fall Harvest Dinner on September 15th.  A fun community event and fundraiser for the market.  Supported by over two dozen local restaurants who each prepare a dish for the potluck style dinner.  It is always enjoyable to visit with people not in the shopping scrum of Saturday morning over a meal.  Get your tickets while they last!

Picture of the Week

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Newly planted lettuces and root crops

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 11 #22, 8/28/14

What’s been going on!

It is that time of year when we are both tearing down and restarting.  The big job this week has been removal of all the tomato plantings.  I always caution that it is one thing to build elegant support structures to hold up plants but one has to keep in mind that sooner or later those same plants will have to be taken out so the trellises need to be just as easy to take down as to put up.  It should not take more time to remove than to build.

Such is the case with our tomatoes, it takes a couple of mornings to get it all set up before planting and then months later another couple of mornings to snatch the plants off and pull out the fences, only dirtier.  After months of tending the plants Jennie and Liz are more than ready to be done with them and to move on to other crops so there is no reluctance in the effort, they always do a great job.

For the better part of a month we have been slowing planting for fall and winter harvest.  The intensity quickens during the next weeks when bigger plantings go in that will carry us all the way into January and February.  While the weather has been generally more conducive to getting plants established than most Augusts it is still a battle between heat, too much or too little water, weeds and insects.  If we can stay vigilant for the next month then the work will be much easier once the halcyon days of October arrive.

Pictures of the Week

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Barren tomato trellis, soon to be gone

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Fall crops already in and newly seeded ones under a moist cover to help them germinate

 

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 11 #20, 7/31/14

What’s been going on!

Yep, missed last week’s newsletter, sometimes it just slips past us.  July has slipped past as well; always a prominent mileage marker in the year when the mountain that is tomato season is behind us and we can actually see the shorter and cooler days of fall in front of us, we are not there yet but we know it is on the horizon.

Fall like, I don’t know what to say about this unusual cool stretch of weather in July.  Can’t really remember another July like this, especially one that, at least for us, has also been so dry as we have missed the bulk of all the rains that have passed through.  Just over two inches of rain in the last 7 weeks and the creek is running at the barest of trickles.  I know many of you have had multiple rains of over two inches in the last few weeks; we are just on the wrong side of the line this summer.

Planting for fall quickens over the next month.  Every week more and more beds are seeded or transplanted until mid-September when it will all be done.  The first radishes, carrots and turnips are up.  Next week beets, cauliflower, kale and more.  The last of the winter squash will come out of the field this week, curing for a few weeks in the shade of the big poplars before arriving at market.  When the tomato trellises come down in a few weeks then we will know for sure that fall is close by.

To celebrate the end of July and mentally prepare for the fall rush we are headed into our summer break after this Saturday’s market.  We are all a bit out of gas after five straight months with only a few days off, there is an unspoken need for rest or a change of routine, if only for a few days.  Betsy and I will not be a market for two weeks (the 9th and 16th), Jennie and Liz will probably be at market on the 9th with the last of the tomatoes and then they get a week off too.  When we return on the 23rd not only will we have spring in our step but it will be full blown pepper season, let the roasting begin!

Picture of the Week

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Four weeks-worth of lettuce timed to be ready on our return

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 10 #28, 9/4/13

What’s been going on!

In the middle of fall planting or should I say replanting as that is how much of the last two weeks has been.  Fall planting is actually a wide window in time.  We actually start seeding some crops in the greenhouse as early as May (Brussels sprouts and Celery) so we can get them in the ground in July.  Many transplanted crops are seeded in July and August to be planted out a month later.  But starting the beginning of August we direct seed into the field a few beds of vegetables each week.  Multiple plantings of carrots, beets, spinach, turnips and more so we can have as continuous a harvest as possible through the fall and early winter.

Well August was so wet that we either had trouble getting into the field on time or the germination rate was not good or with the 3.5 inches of rain in an hour two weeks ago, just plain washed out.  So last week we just re-tilled most of the early planted carrots and beets and started over.  They are now up beautifully but will obviously be later than we had anticipated.  Such is the crap shoot of fall plantings, usually the challenge is that it is so hot things just don’t want to germinate or get cooked off the soil after they do.  If they survive that they then have to battle the onslaught of worms and grasshoppers and other pests until the weather cools down the end of September and everything seems to return to a happy state.

It seems a bit brutal to plant when it is so hot but if we don’t get crops established as early as July, August and early September then the days get so short and cool that they will never mature before the really cold weather arrives.  September is that great month when things do slow down a bit during the transition to true fall.  We are taking out lots of crops, preparing tunnels for the winter season, taking soil tests and getting ready for the big annual soil turning and cover crop planting.  Frost will be here before you know it, only eight or nine weeks away.

Picture of the Week

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The main fall veg field, established crops and many newly seeded beds

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 10 #24, 7/24/13

What’s been going on!

Yep didn’t get a newsletter out last week, just one of those weeks when none of the stars aligned and maybe the effect of the first week of stifling summer weather was not helping either.  Writing happens early in the morning, before the normal work day begins and we were out early several days last week trying to beat the heat.  We did get plenty done but still we are running a bit behind from all of the rain delays.

We are pushing hard this week to get caught up and stay on schedule with the first of the fall planting.  I know, hard to think about celery and Brussels sprouts when it is still hot and July but now is the time we are all trying to slip the first cool season crops in the ground so they will be ready when the weather ameliorates.  And the mowing, the endless, deep and sometimes futile mowing but we have to keep cutting the grass and weeds back until they begin to run out of steam, if for psychological reasons if nothing else.

One more farm dinner this weekend, the second of Panzanella’s summer Farmers’ Market dinners featuring several farms at one time.  Special menu items on both Saturday and Sunday.  I know a yellow gazpacho from our tomatoes for sure and I suspect some fried green tomatoes too.  Not sure which night we will go to eat but we surely will not miss out.

Picture of the Week

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Celosia Fest, can you say dayglo?

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