Crop List: Cosmic Mix, Swiss Chard, Turnips, Mirlo Head Lettuce, Tomatoes, maybe Sugar Snap Peas, Basil and/or Bok Choy
It felt like just last week we were striving to round out the crop list with more variety. The garden has tipped. Now it is all about how fast we can get it harvested. The farm is growing great! The plants are thriving in all this heat.
On Monday we freed the squash! Our winter squash (pumpkins, delicata) and summer squash (zuchinni, yellow crookneck, cucumbers) were all planted on IRT mulch which helps to heat the soil for sensitive crops in the Tetons. We also cover them with the white row cover. The row cover is placed on top of hoops so the rows are like mini greenhouses. When the plants begin to flower we remove the row cover so the insects can get in there and pollinate. The plants are just starting to show signs of flowering and we had some time so the row cover has been removed! The squash is now free to grow as big as it wants! Last year we had squash by share #6 and then proceeded to have one of our biggest squash years ever.
The cucurbita family is so cool. It grows so fast. It feels as close to a jungle plant as we can get here. My best guess is the summer squash will start to make a small appearances in about 2 weeks. Generally we plant this section of the garden at the very beginning of June. Mama Nature had other plans this year, and we were asked to wait until late June. We listened, if we would have planted the seeds in the cool, wet early June the seeds would have just rotted on us. This family of veggies likes it warm and we are always kind of coaxing them in the Tetons.
As Emma called it..."The Great Pig Migration" is happening. Our sow had 10 piglets in April. They are more than ready to be separated from mama. We have a mobile pig shed that they will call home. The electric fencing is set up around wherever we choose to park it to keep the pigs in. The pigs till the soil for us with their noses as they root around for yummy plants, chomping weeds as they also fertilize the soil. We give them a lot of space. Usually our pig posse does not even till all the ground we'd like them too. Which is great because it means they have enough fresh forage and they are not desperate for more.
Our pigs follow the garden in our rotation. After an area has been in garden for several years we put the pigs on it. They forage, till and fertilize. When they are done we plant the area to pasture. The pasture replenishes the soil. Nitrogen is fixed, long grass roots aerate, weeds are choked out by more competitive plants. It takes the fresh grass and lots of other plants about 4 months to get established. Our cows and chickens are then put on the pasture. They also continue to fertilize while dining. When we are ready to move the cows and chickens over, the land then becomes garden again. The whole rotation takes about 7 years and is really important to the longevity of the farm. If we didn't rotate the garden/pigs/pasture the soil becomes depleted. We need the animals to replenish what is coming out of the soil in the form of vegetable matter.
My favorite Rudolf Steiner (Founder of Biodynamic Agriculture) quote is:
"So long as one feeds on food from unhealthy soil, the spirit will lack the stamina to free itself from the prison of the body."
We know our most important job as farmers is to care for the soil. The soil is where our true nourishment comes from. If we are eating soil that lacks real nutrition we will not have enough energy to pursue the great endeavors of our lives. Moving pigs does not always seem like a big deal but The Great Pig Migration is just a little part of the big picture!
We need a few more volunteers for August!
If you (or someone you know!) is curious about high altitude gardening becoming a garden helper may be just right. We are only asking folks to commit to 1 morning a week for one month, that's 20-25 hours a month! It feels really good to have volunteers back on the farm, we missed them!! Lunch and veggies are provided! Follow the link below to check it out!
Lunch this Week: Quinoa, turnips, Swiss Chard, and sugar snaps with Mint Vinegrette
Recipe Ideas: Salmon with Turnips and Swiss Chard; Chard Patties; Grilled Steak, Balsamic reduction and Chard; Roasted tomato, basil pesto; Tomato salsa with sugar snap peas
The coolers at your site are stocked with Lifeline cheese and a selection of the beef and pork listed below. If you know you want something, please email me and I will make sure it is in the cooler, reserved for you. I don't send every cut every week, they simply won't all fit!
Lifeline Beef Available: Ground Beef, Patties and Stew Meat
Pork Available: Grandpa's Sausage, Breakfast Sausage, Pork Chops, Shoulder Roast, Neck Bones (make the real deal Ramen!), Fat, Country Ribs, and Hock