Yesterday we harvested from all fields for the last farm stand of the year. If you drop by Drumlin today you’ll be greeted by a colorful assortment of carrots, beets, radish, collards, kale and chard along with lettuce, cabbage, squash, potatoes and onions, and bags of spinach and arugula at the stand.
Thanks to all who have shopped with us throughout the season. And thanks to the volunteers and staff who kept the stand up and running and conducted Know Your Food programs (complete with samples) all season long!
Fall CSA Spots Available
If you want access to fresh Drumlin veggies year-round, it’s not too late to sign up for the Fall CSA. The program runs throughout month of November with the first pickup today. Get in touch with Farmer Sarah Lang if you want to join.
Root Veggies for Winter
We still have three more Saturday markets to attend in Somerville, as well as a Winter CSA and regular deliveries to our restaurant and school partners through spring. That in mind, we’ve moved more than ten thousand pounds of potatoes into the root cellar and have just begun bringing in the carrots, parsnips, beets, turnips, celeriac, storage radish and rutabaga.
Crops Updates are written by Drumlin Farm Crops Manager Matt Celona.
Photo by Pei Ren
Call Us Water Zombies All day long and into the night we haul barrel after barrel of the precious ichor to our plant overlords, and yet they are forever thirsty. We became Water Zombies on Saturday, when yet another round of thunderstorms decided we could do without it: “They have so much organic matter at Drumlin Farm, they can get by on humidity! Let’s go rain on a place that really needs it.” (While it’s true that our soil is very rich, we still need at least some rain to keep our crops healthy!)
We’ve started watering the tomato patch to keep this important crop from flagging. In these relentlessly sunny and hot conditions, the precipitation we had last Tuesday didn’t go far. We’re encouraged by the forecast for thunderstorms over the next several days, but we will continue to water and seed until we get a real rain.
First Watermelons in Two Years We will begin harvesting storage onions and watermelon this week. We never watered these crops, but they still look good! The electric fence has so far kept the coyotes out of the melons. We are excited by the prospect of our first watermelon harvest in two years. We are now harvesting larger quantities of husk cherries, cherry tomatoes, and heirloom slicing tomatoes. Tomato flavors are intense this year as a result of the weather, so, if you’re a tomato lover, come to the stand today to sample one positive side of the drought.
Potato Beetles: 1, Potatoes: 0 The potato plants are nearly gone now, having been entirely defoliated by the Colorado potato beetle. Much of the potato crop is still safe underground, but our yield may be smaller due to the early defoliation. Now the weeds are growing quickly with no competition from the crop, so it’s a good thing today is Weed Out #2 at camp. The work of the campers will make harvesting potatoes much easier. Thanks to Emma, Cara, Katie, and the counselors for organizing the weeding in a very buggy field.
Other Plants in Danger of the Beetle We noticed the potato beetles leaving the potato patch over the weekend in search of more food. They are now on every crop, with eggplant and tomatoes at high risk. We’ve spent hours over the past two days picking them off the eggplant as we wait for delivery of an organic pesticide: Mycotrol (made from the spores of Beauveria bassiana, a fungus). If it works, it will take several days for the fungus to multiply in the gut of the beetle. So we’ll be picking beetles off eggplant, and possibly tomatoes, until we get control of the situation (or until we wave the white flag).
Where’s the Rain? Yesterday’s thunderstorms went to the south and north of Lincoln. We saw beautiful lightning, but received no rainfall. About a quarter-inch of rain has fallen in the past week—helpful for direct-seeded crops, but not reaching the roots of established plants. Drumlin Farm’s impressive soil keeps amazing us by producing healthy crops in these dry and dusty conditions. We put a lot of effort into building soil organic matter through fallowing fields and spreading compost. The organic matter holds what little moisture there is. We hope the plants can hang on until the fields get the soaking they need.
Volunteer Shoutouts Last Friday, volunteers helped us harvest crops for Saturday’s Union Square Farmers Market. They picked string beans, cucumbers and eggplant before digging all the potatoes for Wednesday’s CSA distribution. Thanks also to the weekend farmstand volunteers who have sampled veggies and shared recipes to (hungry) curious visitors. Nice work, all!
Greetings from Mexico!
The winter squash and pumpkin crop are growing vigorously in the newly opened field we are calling “Mexico” (because it’s south of the field we call “Texas”). One advantage of growing crops in newly worked ground is that there is almost no weed pressure in the first year. Not having to manage weeds in Mexico allows us to devote more time to the harvest and to weed-control in the flower patch, perennial garden, and strawberries.
A Rough Year for Garlic
It looks like our entire garlic crop has failed. We’re not sure what the problem was, though many of the plants burned over two cold nights in April. It’s a big loss for us and for those of you who love garlic.
The Tomato Countdown
On a brighter note, the onion and shallot crops look bountiful, and the tomato patch continues to look excellent! We expect to begin harvesting cherry tomatoes next week. The cucumbers and eggplant harvests are about to reach a size when we can include them at the farm stand, our CSA, and restaurant deliveries.
We hope for rain in the coming days to keep our crops growing strong.
Strawberry Update We have decided to cancel Strawberry Day this year because of our small yield, but nice berries are still ripening in this dry and sunny weather! Pints are available for purchase at the farm stand, along with the first carrots of the season. The crops team did a great job hand-weeding the carrots and bringing them to Union Square Farmers Market. Other farmers couldn’t believe we had grown them at Drumlin. Field-grown Massachusetts carrots on June 11? It’s a first for us, too!
Establishing Crops We’re nearing the part of the season when we establish all major crops. Last week, we planted the melons and sweet potatoes. This week, we’ll plant an acre of winter squash. After that, an acre of pumpkins will round out the large plantings. Last week, the greenhouse volunteer team seeded Brussels sprouts and the fall storage cabbage. So, while it’s not yet officially summer, fall crops are already germinating in the greenhouse.
Volunteer Groups We received help from three volunteer groups last week. On Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, groups weeded, planted sunflowers, harvested strawberries, and cut back field edges. Thanks, everyone, for your amazing work!
The Farm Stand Peas, beets, summer squash, garlic scapes and spring onions will arrive at the stand very soon. In the next few days, you’ll see us pounding stakes and putting the first line of twine on the fast-growing tomatoes. Stop by the field in the morning to say hello!