We'd like to take a moment to wish everyone a beautiful first day of summer, hopefully with at least a little bit of time outside! The solstice has been one of my favorite holidays for a long time. Today is Chris's last full day of school until September, which means that our whole family can partake in the joy of farming together.
Farming is full of uncertainty, and it is a learning experience for both our customers and us. The pole soup beans, which have been a reliable set-it-and-forget it crop for us since we had our first garden here, have taken a huge hit this year. Three-quarters of them have been severed a few inches above the base with no other damage, which I can only assume is the work of cutworms. I haven't seen any but it did get me to put some diatomaceous earth on those plants, but I wish I didn't have to apply anything at all. I'm happy that some of the severed ones have sent out new runners. The diatomaceous earth is food grade and organic so rest assured that your regular method of cleaning your produce will still be safe. Another pest issue: striped cucumber beetles. I've seen them on the winter squash and summer squash, so they've now had their own application of diatomaceous earth as well as a healthy dose of fish/seaweed emulsion for some added nutrition. This year's garden expansion was lightly tilled and I'm noticing I have more pest issues than ever before despite such a bitter winter. I find that whenever I don't till I have better results so I'll definitely be investing in a hardpan broadfork next year. I think that working by hand really makes a huge difference in so many ways, one being that less soil disturbance means better microbial health and therefore better plants.
Farming is also full of abundance. Our weather in late spring and into this first day of summer has been wonderful for tomatoes, tomatillos, and peppers, and we're anticipating excellent yields this season. I'm stunned at how loaded the tomatoes are this early in the season. Who else is drooling at the thought of that first summer BLT?
Right now we're harvesting the first of these stunning purple sugar snaps. They're scrumptious - sweet, crunchy, and juicy - and Aurora has been enjoying our morning walks so we can munch on these (and strawberries, too).
With summer here, we can look forward too lots of good produce. We'll keep you posted when things become available!