September 17th Farm Update
Thank you to everyone who provided feedback last week. It is very helpful and much appreciated. We have tried to address the most common questions and themes in this update.
Elliot watering down freshly picked corn!
Around the Farm
The last few weeks on the farm have been nonstop! Last week we focused on protecting and covering up any veggies that would be affected by the freezing temperatures on Thursday and Friday night last week. It took two full days of working in the cold, drizzle and rain but we covered most of the tomatoes, all the peppers, eggplant, basil, and some of the sweet potatoes. What a difference a little cover makes on these crops! Anything that was not covered got hammered pretty badly by the quick freeze. We used old greenhouse plastic, floating row cover, and heavy duty frost blankets for protection.
It really is an incredible sight to see every corn field around us turn from stunning green to silvery gold in a matter of days after the freeze. This includes our sweet corn patches and our big popcorn patch. The sweet corn that is almost ready (1 week away from harvest) will be fine to pick soon, but the later planted corn might not make it. We usually gamble a little and plant some corn seed late, hoping for a crop in early October, but this year it might not finish. Same goes for the popcorn. We have over a dozen popcorn varieties, most of them being long season varieties with 110+ days to finish. Some of these varieties may not produce after all this season. The last three years in a row we did not receive a significant frost until mid October!
One of the first things we do around the farm when we know its going to get to 35 degrees or below is pick basil. Basil is probably the most frost sensitive plant we grow. We picked it pretty heavily last Thursday in preparation for the frost, so everyone’s getting a bigger size bag… but it does appear to have already sustained a bit of damage from cold temperatures before we got to it. It would be best to use it up quickly to avoid spoilage. Consider making a good batch of pesto to put away for the winter. Remember, pesto freezes great and it will warm your soul when your eating some in the middle of winter too.
Tomato update: This season sure has been a relatively cool one and with that the tomatoes are taking their sweet time to ripen up. Many home gardeners have told us at market that their tomatoes are really late as well this season. I think this frost will help begin to ripen up the many green tomatoes that are out there right now. Fortunately, we did cover most the tomato plants and they look absolutely amazing today! I expect to see some soon, a week or two. Usually the Cherokee Purple will ripen up first along with the cherry and saladette tomatoes. We can’t wait either!
Super Snow White cherry tomatoes, almost there!
Cherokee Purple tomatoes, also almost there!
Cherry tomato patch a few days before frost.
Beginning to cover tomatoes with frost blanket
(cherry tomato patch on the right)
Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant covered; clouds building.
Peppers and eggplant covered, collards and kale left uncovered.
Celery plant also left uncovered.
Sweet potato vines pre frost vs. post frost.
Note in the post frost picture, the top portion had been covered.
Tomatoes post frost protected and looking great!
Some of the frost blanket blew off and a few tomatoes were uncovered.
Serrano pepper was spared but top leaves still got hit with the frost even though it was covered.
Overall, peppers look great after being uncovered.
Popcorn after the frost, top half of the plants are dried out.
It’s never too early to introduce the boys to floating row cover!
Sun setting a few days after the frost. Weather forecast indicates good weather for another 30 days.
Leffler Family Farms
Local Motion CSA