2016, November

Farm update – 11/20/2016

We aren’t doing Whole Farm baskets this week, as we figure everyone’s eating and travel schedules will be different from normal. However, we still have plenty you can order for your Thanksgiving Day meal (or any other meal, for that matter), including: lettuce, arugula, Swiss chard, hakurei and scarlet queen turnips, pink beauty radishes, bell and jalapeño peppers, and more. Check it all out on our Currently Available page.

The main goal this weekend was to prepare for cold weather. Despite continuing to have our high temperatures running nearly 10 degrees above normal (including an 80 degree day on Friday, when I was wearing shorts), we’re under a freeze warning for this evening. This comes just two days later than our 30-year average first freeze.

We harvested every single bell, gypsy sweet, and jalapeño pepper we could find, knowing that they won’t tolerate the cold. These will be the last we have until summer, but how incredible that we were able to harvest peppers into late November. We have been dicing and freezing peppers throughout the season, so if the thought of being without organically grown peppers for 6 months has you a little nervous, consider putting up some extra for winter.

After the peppers, the next most vulnerable crop is our lettuces. We’ve had floating row covers on them for a while, but we had only pinned down the corners of the fabric, as their main purpose was to keep deer out. Therefore, in order to better keep warm air trapped inside, protecting our lovely lettuces, we added extra reinforcement to secure the edges of the row cover to the ground.

Our bees also needed some attention when it came to protection from the cold. During cold weather, bees will naturally move up into the highest super, where it is warmest. However, both of our hives have queen excluders under the uppermost supers, so it is possible that the entire hive could move up into the top super, accidentally leaving the queen alone in the colder supers below to freeze to death. Granted, I don’t think that would happen at the temperature we’re expecting tonight, and the bees probably know better than to leave the queen alone when they see she can’t pass through a queen excluder, but now there’s no worry of frozen queens. The upper supers were supposed to be where the bees stored their fall honey, of which there was none this year, so there really was no reason to keep them on anyway.

Last year, we continued harvesting lettuce for three weeks after the first freeze, so I’m hopeful that we’ll be harvesting lettuce (and everything else we have growing now) well into December, despite the cold weather in the forecast tonight and tomorrow night.

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