I probably write too much about the weather, but as reports are coming in about the destruction in Texas, I can not help but ask that we send up some collective thought of love and strength to the victims of this terrible storm. Farmers and livestock are hard-hit by this kind of crisis, so I send them especially my prayers for resilience.
We are just beginning to put some of our summer fields to bed here at The Hickories. As crops are harvested out, the ground is seeded with cover-crops, plants that are broadcast across a field as a virtual winter blanket and whose purpose is return to the soil what our season's harvest has removed. Nick is putting the final touches on the Autumn Share (only a very few more shares available) and I am already starting to daydream about the Winter Share. Growing and harvesting 12 months a year is not only a challenge for our seeding and harvesting spreadsheets but, even more so for our crop rotation and soil health. Sustainable agriculture only works when our "bank account," in this instance the soil here at the farm, is balanced. That is, we must deposit an equal amount of energy/carbon to the soil as we withdraw by harvesting off the food that it grows. For example, the soil has given us an over 1600 heads of garlic and we, in turn, feed it with buckwheat (pictured above) before we plant next year's potato crop on the same ground. We follow our tomato fields with a mustard cover crop. The mustard acts as a natural biofumigant when plowed under; as it breaks down it releases a toned-down version of mustard gas which helps to rid the soil of any fungal diseases that may linger from the tomato crop. For dirt-worshippers like me, cover crops are endlessly fascinating.
In this week's share
- summer squash
- sweet corn (from JD Farms in Redding)
- cherry tomatoes (pick your own)
All the best,