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CSA Week #3

bok choyNotes from the field

Our truce with the critters that live on the farm has been broken. The past few seasons I’ve been able to live at peace with the groundhogs, rabbits, and smaller rodents that like to nibble on produce. We had a mutually beneficial relationship where I would grow a little extra knowing that they would probably eat around 10% of what I planted out in the field. However, this season, the groundhogs and voles have decided to overstep the agreement and eat whatever they can. They have made several surprise attacks in the greenhouse and out in the field, venturing further than I’ve ever seen before. It doesn’t look like peace is an option this time so it is time for war.

It all started in the spring when the mice and voles were wintering over in the greenhouse. They had dug up some seeds I planted in trays, but I made my seed germination table rodent proof so I thought we were all set. I thought things were fine for a while when I noticed they started eating the leaves of the kale and broccoli plants, which were for plant sales. Next thing I know they had wiped out most of the kale for the market. I made sure they didn’t get any of the kale or broccoli for the farm, but once they made it out to the field we had a different problem. In what seemed like one night, the local groundhog had gone through the broccoli patch and conveniently eaten the tip of each plant.

We discovered the groundhog had a home in the rye patch so we mowed that down knowing that they don’t like to have their home in an open space. We hoped this and mowing the surrounding area would encourage it to find a different home. It didn’t work so we just plowed where the hole was and now the groundhog doesn’t have a home in the field any more. We’ve also set up traps to catch the critter, but no luck so far. We may have to take more drastic measures to fight this war to protect our broccoli.

All that to say, it is very frustrating to find how much damage one animal can do in a very short time. A ten foot high deer fence doesn’t keep all the animals away. As I mentioned, usually they eat just a few plants and leave the rest alone. Not this year. I’ll keep you posted on the battle with the groundhog, but at this moment we are losing.

Quick update on how things look in the field. Besides all the weeds everything is looking pretty good. I was putting our winter squash in at Trillium last week. I was able to check on the potatoes and they all look really good. Since I am not as limited in space over there I spaces everything out further so it looks like there are tons of potatoes, if they continue to grow well we may actually get to a ton of potatoes. Most of the onions and leeks look good, the melons, cucs, and summer squash are in and look good. The tomatoes are growing fast and will need to be staked and trellised soon. We finally got some good patches of beets, carrots, and spinach going. I put in corn up in the north field and I hope it isn’t too late to start some pumpkins up there. More peas are in and the first round of beans are up, although the edemame had poor germ for some reason. Things are looking good though.

In the share this week

  • Bok choy – everyone
  • Cut greens (Arugula and mix) – everyone
  • Scallions – everone
  • Choice (lettuce, kale, chard, etc) – everyone
  • Choice (SCAPES! or parsley) – everyone
  • Choice (turnips or radish) – full shares (The turnips can be eaten raw in salads or you can roast them. They are great!)
  • Micro Greens – full shares (I tried growing them differently for this round, it didn’t work so we didn’t get as many)

What may be in next week’s share

  • Probably lettuce for everyone
  • Bok choy for full shares
  • Lots of scapes!
  • Micro greens
  • Scallions for everyone
  • Choice of Kale or chard – even though it’s been so slow growing everyone will get a bunch next week!
  • Kohlrabi for everyone
  • Maybe fennel, maybe the following week
  • Maybe chinese cabbage, but probably the following week
  • an herb choice

Veggie of the week:

Even though it is a choice, I am going to talk about scapes. Everyone will defiantly get scapes next week since I only went through a quarter of the patch for today. Garlic is my favorite vegetable to grow and close to the top to eat as well. One reason why I love it is that that plant has so many different stages when it can be used. You obviously can use and eat the bulb, but also the scape (which is the flower of the plant), and the young shoots in the spring. We need to pull the scapes off to encourage more energy of the plant to go into growing a bigger bulb. So it is a win win, eat the scapes and eat a bigger head of garlic.

Scapes are very easy to use, just think of it as a tender and milder form of the garlic bulb. I always like to add them to scrambled eggs or any type of stir-fry or just dice them up for a salad if you don’t mind a garlicky bite every once in a while.

Recipes of the week

Here are a few bok choy recipes and a salad recipe.

Garlic Bok Choy – A simple stir-fry that can use your scapes as well. I’d use more of the scapes than what they call for.

Peanut noodles with Bok Choy- Another noodle recipe for my carb cravings.

Roasted Bok Choy with chicken and mushrooms - A meat dish that would be great with the oyster mushrooms.

Mustard greens and chick pea salad – A great looking salad using scallions, garlic (think scapes), greens, and parsley. Just add some salad turnips or radishes and you’d use most things in the share.

Add some of your own favorite recipes below.

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