And then suddenly, it was fall. As you probably noticed, summer started late, in the beginning of July, and promptly ended in the beginning of September. A few nights ago, there was frost on the ground just a few houses up the road, but the frost missed us. Must have been a high tide when it came. Lots of customers are asking for the Carmen red peppers that we usually have in abundance at this time of year. So far, we are only getting a few ripe ones per week. To help the ripening process along, we are going to harvest a lot of green peppers, which allows the plants to focus energy into the remaining fruits, drastically speeding the ripening process. Watch the white board for a green pepper special at Warehouse Market.
The challenges we are having with peppers really points out that so many crops we grow are on the edge of being commercially viable in a season like this. Back in the summer of 2016, the weather was bright and sunny almost every day from early May till late October. It was no surprise that we had the best red pepper crop ever. This year the plants grew big and strong, they are loaded with fruit, and now they are stalled, waiting for some warm sunny weather and also diverting energy from fruit to stem and leaf healing after the thrashing Dorian gave them.
The extended forecast is looking promising with lots of sun and no frosty nights. I’m hoping that the peppers will respond with a riot of red!
We have built greenhouses, put up hoop houses, dug ponds, and made raised beds to help moderate the effects of climate chaos. Another thing David did last week is prepare a field now for spring planting. Field P2 was impossibly sodden last spring. We could not take a tractor on it without compacting the soil. So we let the rye cover crop grow, and tilled it in this month. The dense roots helped the soil stay together and added a lot of spongy organic matter. Beds were laid out with irrigation lines. We also planted a cover crop of rye and clover between each bed. It sure makes harvests easier when we can walk on clover between crops instead of dealing with a muddy mess.
This farm is also buffered by spongy salt marshes along the river. These marshes protect us from flooding when the tide gets extra high, which is happening more and more. The drone photos our neighbour Hilary (FYB Farm) shared (see below) really gives a new perspective on the farm as it sits in the estuarine landscape of the Minas Basin.