2016, December

Farm update – 12/11/2016

This week’s Whole Farm Basket contains your choice of buttercrunch or romaine lettuce, 1.5 lb of hakurei turnip roots, 0.5 lb of scarlet queen turnip roots, and 1 lb of Jerusalem artichokes.

If you remember from last week, I reported that we were expecting up to three inches of rain. I was wrong, unfortunately. Way, way off. Mother Nature apparently finally realized that she’d neglected us for the past 60 days and made up our September, October, and November rain deficit, then threw in a little extra for December, just for good measure. That’s right, in just over 24 hours, we received more than 9 inches of rain, and that on top of the inch we’d received the previous week.

At this time last week, I was also concerned about a potential freeze in store for us. Overnight lows were predicted to be below freezing 3 nights in a row, with one night dropping as low as 26. We dodged that bullet, for now anyway. We woke up Saturday morning to a very heavy frost, but we bottomed out at 30 degrees. Even the lettuces pulled through that just fine. The 10-day forecast shows overnight lows in the 60s as often as in the  30s or 40s. Seriously. And we’re about to reach the middle of December.

Needless to say, with plenty of rain and continued warmth, our veggies are still doing great. Things are in full stride, though we’re starting to see an end in sight for some of the root vegetables. We planted eight rows of hakurei turnips, and we’re down to the final two. If they continue to keep well in the ground, we should have them two more weeks, as we’ve been working through one row each week.

The hakurei turnips are a point of pride for the fall garden. When we were planning our spring garden last winter, we had minimal previous experience to rely upon. We planted a little bit of everything, and we sold what we had planted. Then, over the summer, we gained a gem of wisdom. “Don’t sell what you plant, plant what you can sell,” we were advised. We took that to heart, and sorted through our spring sales records. Hakurei turnips sold well, we love them and love introducing others to them (“That’s a turnip?! But it’s so good!” is a common response, especially among self-professed turnip haters), and they fall into that category of things that you just can’t find at grocery stores around here, which are the items I most enjoy growing. We went out on a limb and settled on planting eight rows, up from the two we had in the spring. And in spite of having harvested well over 100 pounds of turnips, they continue to be top sellers. Using this model, each season we’ll continue to refine our planting plans to focus on what we do best.

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