I worked on a small vegetable farm in Vermont, USA after I graduated from college. At the time that I started, they were in their 6th year of providing locally grown, seasonal produce. The conversation around the lunch table on Crossroad Farm was all about how to grow a huge variety of produce to provide to the local community. Starting this CSA, I am reminded of those conversations daily. Pete and I are lucky to have people to talk with who have done this before. We are not re-inventing the wheel but applying tried and tested farming practices to different soil and climate conditions and noting what happens. One of the things that I learned on Crossroad Farm was that locally produced vegetables can and should be varied. Take salads, for example. Besides the cooked staples that we have in spring like artichokes, asparagus, bok choy, broad beans, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, peas, and silverbeet, a spring staple are greens. Lettuce and other greens love the coolness of this season and our bodies love the gentle spring cleanse they provide. In our garden we have several lettuce varieties, spinach, rocket, mizuna, chicory and a huge variety of herbs like borage, calendula, chives, corriander, fennel, parsley, thyme and sorrel. These provide for colorful, varied salads that need only a simple vingerette to preserve the delicate flavors. It is this kind of variety that we are trying to bring to Transition Farm and our CSA share boxes.
This summer trial is about planting a range of varieties to see not only which ones produce well in our area and during different seasons but also which ones our members like. We are hoping that all of the summer share members will embrace the conversation of being a part of the food that we are growing and that your families are enjoying.
These are planting weeks here on the Peninsula. The frost hardy plants like brassicas, onions, leeks, spinach, rocket, radishes, silver beet, coriander, parsley, and lettuces have been and continue to be planted in the field. The soil is warming up to 20 degrees here allowing carrots, corn and beans to germinate. We have been talking with other growers in the area and reading information in the Biodynamic Australia Newsletter. All of us agree that this month is set to be filled with moisture. With a high chance for cloud cover, comes the added benefit of spring frosts not being able to settle on those tender plants like basil, capsicum, cucumbers, tomatoes, pumpkins and zucchini.
Everything is moving out of the greenhouse, getting hardened off (the process of slowly acclimating plants to "unprotected" weather like rain, cold nights and drying winds) and being planted.
The broccoli and cauliflower seeded last week for summer harvest have popped up. We are trialling several broccoli varieties as well as a few colored cauliflowers. We are also trialling a variety of summer melons for the summer share boxes which were seeded this week. The mandala planting continues with beets, beans, corn, leeks, quinoa and spinach.
We are also posting our herb of the week, companion planting article each Friday of the week. Read about this weeks Herb of the Week.