Flying Tomato Farms News
A newsletter for members of Flying Tomato Farms C.S.A.
Vol. 4, Issue 8
The cucumbers are blooming and some are showing tiny fruits—I am hoping to have a few for deliveries in a couple weeks. The first round of cucumber planting had relatively low germination (I think because we had a cool week after I seeded them), but the second planting is coming up now with more varieties. The first planting only gave us eight plants, but that should be enough to supply deliveries with a couple cukes until the second batch overwhelms us with them!
Summer squashes are also getting a few blossoms. Those have been slow this year—it may be a bit yet for deliveries. I will be seeding more of those because of the problems I’ve had in the past with squash bugs and cucumber beetles. I have seen a few this year, but nothing like the past two or three years (so far). This may be because I’ve scattered small squash and cucumber and melon plantings all across the garden while keeping them away from areas I’ve planted with them in the past couple years.
The sweet and hot peppers have fruits on them too—so a couple weeks for those. In the row of determinate tomatoes—lots of fruit and lots of blossoms. It always takes longer for those first fruits to start ripening than I think it will, so I won’t make a projection on that yet. It’s pretty much always the last delivery in July or the first one in August before I have enough ripe tomatoes to deliver. Then, there will be all kinds in pretty much every delivery up until frost and maybe even a little after. Don’t know why I felt guilty about delivering six weeks of turnips that first year when I deliver tomatoes for eight to twelve weeks—but I guess when it comes to tomatoes, you can never really have enough.
I am planting fall crops now and trying to keep them watered well until they germinate. Next on the list is rutabaga, and I’ll put in another big row of storage-type carrots, plus seed more red beets, and some yellow and candy-striped varieties. Speaking of fall—the potatoes are blooming! But it will be September for sure before I start digging those fingerling beauties (well, except maybe a couple to enter in the County Fair).
THIS WEEK’S DELIVERY:
A-ha! Broccoli for all! Plus baby carrots, half a gallon of sugar snap peas, and a head of “Freckles” romaine lettuce.
I had thought I wouldn’t have enough broccoli for everyone this week, but on Sunday I realized that if I didn’t want it to go bad, I’d better start harvesting right away. Over the three-day harvest period, it turned out there was enough for all deliveries, plus one for Harry and me! Most of these are of the variety “Packman,” though next week, if things go well, I may have just enough to deliver of the “Gypsy” broccoli that has a slighter later maturity date. I am keeping my fingers crossed on that—there are barely enough heads of that later variety, and I don’t usually like to cut things so close.
There is another row of broccoli in the lower garden that should start heading up fairly soon—though the heads will be slightly smaller, as they are planted closer together. I am hoping the heat doesn’t become too intense and make them bolt prematurely. In my readings, I learned that though broccoli is a fairly popular vegetable, many home gardeners don’t grow it because of its very high fertility needs and the large size of the plant for how much edible head it produces.
This broccoli is ultra-tender—you can eat the florets as well as the stems (and you should eat the stem, as that’s where many of the nutrients lie). I slice the stems into thin strips—these are much more tender than what you find in the supermarket, so they should cook at about the same rate as the tops. You can also eat this broccoli raw—it’s yummy!
I have not yet tried this recipe—but a friend in Seattle whom I gave the CSA cookbook, From Asparagus to Zucchini, tells me it’s fantastic: Heat oven to 400 degrees, break broccoli head into medium florets and toss with 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil, ½ tsp garlic salt, 1 tsp balsamic vinegar, and ¼ tsp black pepper. Arrange florets in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake 18-22 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through the cooking time. Remove from oven when broccoli is a deep green color with some darkened spots. Serve!
We should have carrots for one or two weeks after this. I harvest carrots by walking along the row, pulling them individually while watering them deeply. That way, the carrots staying in the ground get a good watering, it’s easier to pull the bigger ones, and the soil from the pulled carrots gets washed right back into the bed.
This will likely be the biggest delivery of the sugar snap peas before the amounts start going down again. The reason for that is the vines have reached their full height and the blossoms on the vines are fewer. I am hoping to deliver the peas for a couple more weeks before the plants start to die off. Then I’ll likely do a late planting of pole beans along those trellises, or maybe a few more cucumbers. I’ve been snacking on sugar snap peas dipped in the good, preservative-free hummus that Jones’ Food Center stocks in their dairy/natural foods section. So far, I like the roasted garlic flavor the best.
These small heads of “Freckles” romaine are from the second planting. Now that summer is upon us, I will be delivering a couple week’s worth from that planting before leaving the row open for the up-and-coming batch of wild garden kales I seeded between the lettuce heads.
Did you remember to leave out your reusable bag for me?
WASH YOUR VEGGIES!