Tag Archives: weeding

Crops Update: Week 17

Thank you to John, Andrew, and Sarah for working on Labor Day, pre-harvesting peppers and beans in preparation for today’s big restaurant run (the team is still loading the truck as I write this with 16 stops to make before the day is done!). And thanks to the rest of the team for working late on Friday to finish the harvest in advance of Saturday’s market—one of the most successful since 2005! A special thanks to CSA work share Nancy Allen who helped me cut sunflowers in near total darkness. The low light helped us appreciate what’s so great about a variety of sunflowers called Sunfill—they’re meant to be green!

Green Sunfill Sunflower

Now that vacations are ending, people are back in town and apparently hungry for fresh produce! If this describes you, know that we have all the summer favorites at the stand today—watermelons, cantaloupe, and tomatoes. We’ll have the melons for only a few more days, so come and get them! If you’ve been shopping at the stand on weekends, you’ve probably run into one of our three regular stand volunteers: Caroline Cook, Linda Conrad, and Elizabeth Kloss. They do great work restocking the display, sharing cooking tips, and making it a pleasure to shop there. Thanks all for your consistent help at the stand!

Tomorrow is the last summer CSA distribution of the season. The following Wednesday marks the start of our fall CSA program. It’s not too late to sign up for the fall CSA, and we’ve re-designed the program so that members now receive late summer crops such as tomatoes and peppers, as well as the fall staples: winter squash, potatoes, onions, Brussels sprouts, and more.

Volunteers from Brandeis University

We’ll soon turn our attention to bringing in the winter squash, but over the weekend, incoming freshmen from Brandeis University helped us pick string beans, tomatoes, and potatoes, while also doing some weeding. Students from as far away as China, San Diego, Chicago and Atlanta, loved harvesting, grumbled about weeding (that’s normal!), and all in all gave us some much needed help. Thank you!

See you in the field,

Your Farmers

Summer Crops Update: June 7


The farm stand is open! There you’ll find hakurei turnips, radish, scallions and lettuce. Chard, beets, carrots and dinosaur kale are not far off; we may begin harvesting some of these crops by the weekend. The inch of rain we received on Sunday should help push these crops along.

The Onions

We believe the onions have reached a size and toughness where they’ll be able to withstand the onion fly maggot. We’ve removed the row-covers and now must battle the weeds that have been growing unchecked for several weeks. Since last Thursday, volunteers have been clearing weeds and doing some planting. Many thanks to Volunteer Coordinator Pam Sowizral for contacting these generous groups!

The Hiller

When potato plants are 8–10 inches tall and dense with foliage, it’s time to control weeds with a hiller. Ours has adjustable gangs of spinning metal wheels—three per gang—that look like many-pointed pinwheels. The more you angle the gangs towards the plants, the more soil they push. The goal is to build soil around the base of the plants so that the tubers forming there are protected from sun exposure. Additionally, the hiller has a fertilizer hopper that drops fertilizer right at the base of the plants as we pass over them. We also use the hiller on strawberries, eggplant, peppers, chard, and summer squash.

We got the timing of the potato hilling and fertilizing right, as the Colorado potato beetle larvae have just hatched and are feeding on the foliage. It’s a race now between the plants’ growth and the damage the larvae will do. The fertilizer (OMRI approved) will give the plants a boost, but we’ll monitor the damage and spray a biological control if necessary.

The Strawberry Struggle

While many crops are growing well this summer, the strawberries unfortunately aren’t. The plants suffered in the drought and entered the winter in rough shape. The whole area we hope to be picking from in a few weeks—including what we planted two years ago—looks weak and pest-ridden. Hopefully the recent rain will cause the berries to jump in size, but we don’t think that’s likely. We plant over 50 different crops as a strategy to balance failures, but it’s always disappointing to have problems with a beloved and central crop like strawberries.

See you in the field,

Your farmers