Down on the farm: Maybe we can get close to normal with the baby greens this week, but now it also depends on how much the rain has damaged them. "Normal" at this time of year would be a bag of arugula for all and also a bag of kale for the large boxes. After we plowed up all the greens, I asked Abelino to plant only a small crop in these first plantings-to see if we can keep the caterpillars off them. So far, most are doing ok, with minimal caterpillar holes.
Also, the only way I could see to minimize damage to those baby greens for the rest of the season was to get rid of most of the other crops in that family, which were pretty well ruined anyway. Then we can concentrate on taking care of those that are most likely to give us some yields during the next 2 months. We tried to get as much edible broccoli as we could by picking some even before it was mature. I took home a bag of broccoli from the few small bags we made last week. When I opened the bag, an adult diamond back moth crawled out from between the stems and tried to fly. It was moving slowly, so I guess it was chilled from being refrigerated. (If you don't believe in killing anything, don't read this part): that moth did not have a chance to fly away from me.
Last week, when I was researching ways to control the diamond back moth, I found that there is a beneficial insect that feeds on them. (http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/wasps/diadegma_insulare.htm) I was hoping that one of the companies that sells beneficial insects had them for sale. But, I read that it is very difficult to artificially rear enough of them to sell. On Monday I was standing in the greenhouse talking to Santa and Angelica and picking out overgrown or damaged microgreens to throw out. The DBM don't have a chance to eat the microgreens much, because we don't usually keep them long enough for any eggs that are on them to hatch out. But I noticed a partial flat of old arugula that had DBM feeding damage. As I picked it up, I saw the tiny wasps flying around the leaves and realized what they were. (If you speak Spanish, you would have laughed at me trying to explain to the women why I was excited about finding that tiny insect. Luckily, Miguel came over and translated for me.) While I don't think I have ever had occasion to see these particular beneficial insects before, I am familiar with their relatives who parasitize other insect pests. If you saw them, you might think they were gnats, but their bodies are more delicate than a gnat-longer and thinner. And they are always busily running over the leaves, searching for their prey. So, I took that flat of old arugula out to the field and left it by the baby greens where the little wasps would have a lot to eat.
Later that day, one of our UF Extension Agents answered my SOS email about what to do about DBM. One thing he reminded me was to not use a pyrethroid insecticide because it will kill the beneficials. I don't like to use that class of insecticide because it does tend to do that, but when nothing else was working, I had tried it. So I'll leave that insecticide off the list and go back to just the ones which are more specific to these pests.
Two of our hot weather stars are just beginning to produce well: Okra and eggplants. By next week I think we will have enough to add them to the extras list.
What's in your box this week: tomatoes corn cherry tomatoes chives a pepper or two beans (yellow 'Gold Play') microgreens (small bag with mix of radishes, kale, arugula, and some mustards) a cucumber or two (brown netted ones) baby greens (2 bags in large boxes) eggplant or summer squashes
Enjoying your veggies: When we plowed up the greens 10 days ago, I wondered what we would do without greens for a couple weeks. So Santa and Angelica planted a lot of extra microgreens in the greenhouse so we could put a little bag of them in each box this week. If you’ve never used microgreens, rinse them first in a bowl of cool water, then drain or spin them. If there is a lot of moisture in the bag, they won't keep long. It's best to wrap them in a paper or cloth towel before refrigerating to soak up the water-check it daily, and use them within a few days. Use them like sprouts-as part of a salad or on sandwiches or as a garnish on soups or other dishes. Sometime in the next couple weeks, there may be a funny little round brown rough-skinned fruit in your box. That is a brown netted cucumber. It's an heirloom vegetable that I just wanted to try. The plants are not as vigorous as our modern cucumbers, so they are not very productive-at least not yet. I ate one and didn't see anything special about the flavor. So far, it hasn't given me a reason to grow it again.
Some of our pickling type cucumbers taste much better. Some people call those 'Kirby' cucumbers, because 'Kirby' was a pickling cucumber variety that was well marketed. So people got to know the name. The ones we are growing now are actually 'Fancipak' and 'Jackson Supreme'. Cucumbers are one of those crops that I generally choose based on the disease resistance that a variety has. (Remember: disease resistance that has been bred into a plant can mean less spraying with pesticides.) As we get farther into cucumber season, if you need cucumber recipes, check this interesting website: "B's cucumber pages".
A little housekeeping: Some of you have asked about our Summer Program. Yes, we are going to do it again. Most of you realize that, the hotter and wetter it gets, the more difficult it is to keep a good mix of crops. So that's why our regular program stops when it does. But, we try to grow enough to make it worthwhile for you to come and buy just the produce that you want. The summer program will be the same as it has been for the last 3 summers. There is a $20 fee to join-that payment is the membership fee for the whole 6 weeks of the program. You'll receive the weekly list by e-mail on Sundays, and you can come to the little tent at the pickup site on the farm to buy what you want on Tuesdays and Fridays from 8:30 AM until 6:30 PM. Yes, you are even welcome to come both days in the week, if you want. (There is no delivery available during the summer program.)
So, if you are going to join, mark on your calendar these dates when our little summer market will be open: Early season: Tuesday, May 30 Friday, June 2 Tuesday, June 6 Friday, June 9 September: Tuesday, Sept. 5 Friday, Sept. 8 Tuesday, Sept. 12 Friday, Sept. 15 Tuesday, Sept. 19 Friday, Sept. 22 Tuesday, Sept. 26 Friday, Sept. 29
Please understand that there will ONLY be warm-season crops (not all of them each week). That may include: summer squashes; greens such as arugula, baby kale, mustards, purslane, and Asian greens; microgreens; cucumbers; winter squashes such as butternut and Seminole pumpkins; eggplants; okra; southern peas; melons; and corn. When tropical fruits are available locally, we sometimes include them (longans, lychees, or mangos), and we generally have honey from McCoy's and LeDuc's Apiaries.
Donna will soon put up the simple application on our website (www.veggies4u.com). Sometime before May 15, please send or bring your $20 payment. It can be put into the mailbox at the pickup site-just be sure to designate who it is from and what it is for. (If you are writing a check for this program, please write a separate check from one you may be writing for the regular season program.)
This program is not limited to our current subscribers so, if you have friends or neighbors who would like to sign up, we would be glad to have them! They can sign up on the website, too. If you-or they- need directions to the farm, Donna will supply those to you.
EXTRAS: The best way to order extras is to email Donna at firstname.lastname@example.org 2 PM the day before you get your box. If you are ordering later than that, please call 561-638-2755 and leave the message on the machine, since we don't always have time to check email in the mornings. (Those ordering for Monday boxes should call and leave a message, since you don't receive this list in time to order by email.)
Cut flowers require earlier orders since we don't keep a supply of them here. We order just the number of bouquets that we need from the other farms.
Locally grown Flowers (for Monday and Tuesday boxes, order by noon on the Friday before your box; for Thursday and Friday, order by noon on Wednesday). For information about these flower growers and some pictures of their flowers, check the Subscriber Business Links on our Subscriber section
Seed to Bloom, Loxahatchee: colorful mixed bouquets-whatever is in season. $9.50 plus tax
Caribbean Exotics, Delray Beach: long- stemmed Heliconia-large, impressive "ginger" flowers $20 plus tax (most stems are about 3' tall)
McCoy's Honey-raw, unfiltered, locally produced http://www.mccoysfloridahoney.com/ 1 lb. glass jar $5.00 each palmetto only (When these are gone, we will no longer be carrying 1 lb. jars.) 3 lb. plastic jug $14.00 each (orange blossom, palmetto, wildflower) 1 gal. (12 lbs.) $52 (orange blossom or palmetto) 8 oz. bee pollen $12
LeDuc "Flavor Pict" Honey (most from his Loxahatchee hives, although some are on our farm) Honey 1 qt. glass jars $17 Honey with comb 1 pt. glass jars $17
Microgreen plugs: 30¢ each: dill, cilantro, chervil, red veined sorrel, fennel, green or purple basil, red pak choi, and lemon balm
Herbs (some are from our farm, some from Pontano Farms) $3/bunch basil chives cilantro?? It bolts in warm weather so it won't be available much longer. dill lemon balm (It's like a lemon mint) mint (This generic mint is actually spearmint.) specialty mints: chocolate mint, apple mint, peppermint, orange mint oregano parsley rosemary sage "tarragon" thyme
Lemongrass $3 for 1/2 lb. (about 5 stalks)
'Baby' Greens $3.00/bag (8 oz. bag) 'Elegance' mustard greens mix-slightly spicy mixed mustards with some broccoli raab leaves Microgreens, sandwich bag (mix may contain radishes, arugula, red kale, and/or mustard greens)
Larger greens $3/bag (large bunch or head) Swiss chard- red only
From Yagnapurush Farm, Loxahatchee: 'Namwah' bananas -$1.60/lb. or 3 lbs for $4 short and slightly chubby
Squashes Seminole pumpkins $1.50/lb. and/or a few small butternut squashes Yellow squash or zucchini $2/lb.
Tomatoes Red slicers $2.50/lb. Mixed cherry tomatoes sandwich bag $3 Green tomatoes $2/lb.