Farm Journal 7/30/23

This Wednesday is the ninth week of our CSA (an odd week).

Farm pick up on Wednesday 11 – 7, Northside (allegheny commons) on Friday 3 – 7, and Squirrel Hill (beacon/bartlette) on Sunday 9 – 1.

Don’t forget that you can place an order and we’ll bring it to the markets for you!

We’ve got a sale on Riblets this week – a 3 lbs pack for only $12! They go great with Grandma Kathy’s famous Maple BBQ sauce!  Here’s a riblet recipe too

Buy Riblets here! 

Buy Maple BBQ sauce here!

We had a great turn out for our Sausage Stuffer Share! That starts this week (or the following week if you’re already a half share CSA member and this isn’t your normal pick up week). Come meet us at the farm, or at one of our two farmers markets (see above for locations and time), and we’ll hook you with up with a month’s worth of bacon and sausage. Can you eat one pound of bacon and one pound of sausage a week? “Are you asking for a challenge?!

We attempted something foolish…. all odds appear to be against us in this matter… but we tried anyway. We planted lettuce.

We have tons of lettuce seedlings in the greenhouse and hardening off hut that are eagerly awaiting more leg room. They are ready to be popped from the cell trays and rooted into real earth! The greenhouse is soooo hot this time of year, and the heat stresses the seedlings and inhibits germination of cooler crop seeds. The sooner we get seedlings out of the greenhouse the better!

Between storm bursts we spaded a stretch of soil and were able to plant about 1000 (or more!) lettuces before the heat wave hit.

Heat waves aren’t so great for gardening. They stress out lettuces (and other greens) which tend to bolt (or send up their flower stalks). Once lettuce bolts it turns tough and bitter, like it’s at the end of its life cycle.

Heat waves also cause tomatoes to drop their flowers:

“Abiotic Stresses That Lead to Blossom Drop: If the daytime temperature rises above 85°F, or nighttime temps rise above 70°F or drop below 55°F, the pollen becomes nonviable, therefore no pollination occurs and the yellow flower dries up and falls off.”

Anyhow – back to the lettuce challenges…. so first we’re dealing with heat. Second, the d*mn deer. We are using row cover over the beds to protect the lettuce from the deer munching the seedlings to nubs. Eventually, the deer might paw through the row cover and eat the lettuce anyway. For now, they are clearly using our row cover (and lettuce bed) for a “red carpet” as they seek out an appetizer of fresh young tomato tops

Lastly – with this heat – we’re back to the irrigation game. We’ve flipped many veggie beds since I’ve last run irrigation – so there was a lot of replacing and repairs of the sprinkler system before we could start watering. Playing the roll of Plumber, I was fixing hoses, mending sprinklers, repairing leaks, and flushing filters – finally to successfully get the sprinklers watering in our new lettuce and kale seedlings (kale in landscape fabric, seen above). Yay!

What do you know? While I’m fighting with irrigation, Olivia’s gleaning (and eating) the early ripening cherry tomatoes, getting drenched in sprinkler water and then, subsequently, the deluge of a rainstorm.

I always say – get the irrigation up and running and it’ll rain! It did!

Earlier in the CSA you were able to bring a couple of soap samples home – I hope you didn’t mistake it for cheese! In order to make more room in our freezers for sausages – Greg’s been rendering lard outside in our tilt-skillet. He then strains the fat and makes hundreds of pounds of soap with the fat! It’s a great use of an under appreciated pig resource. He just made a large batch of Thieves Oil soap and is contemplating a vanilla scented soap too. We make Lemongrass, Lavender, Thieves Oil, Woodsy and unscented. Do you have a favorite scent of soap you wish we’d make? Let us know!

You can buy more soap here!

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