Rose

Persistence paid off. We’ve entered the modern age and we now have high speed internet on the farm!! Thanks to David, Sam, and Marshall for their efforts. The internet is just a tool, like a hoe, tractor, or an irrigation pump. Now that it is set up and we can use it without spending hours and pulling our hair out trying to get it installed or make it work for us, we can focus on more important things like the soil, water, plants, and people.

Every Friday after lunch, the farm team has a safety meeting and then a group sharing. It’s a chance for people to share what they liked about the week (rose), what wasn’t so good (thorn), and what they are looking forward to (bud). Last week, a couple of people mentioned their rose was seeing how the crops planted a short time ago in the fox field had grown so fast, and were flourishing. We had the first significant harvest in that back field last week. The team was thrilled. David and I have been working with this field for many years. It started out sandy and worn out from continuous hay harvesting. We adopted a system of cover crops between beds of vegetables. The cover crops build soil carbon by adding lots of rye roots and stalks. They add nitrogen to the soil through the nitrogen-fixing nodules on clover roots. We just plant them and mow them while the vegetables are growing and being harvested. It’s an elegant symbiotic biological system. Most of the soil building work is being done by soil micro-organisms. We also add manure to the soil every year where we plant vegetables. Because the vegetables are rotated back and forth with the cover crops, we think we might have built up the soil to the point where we won’t have to add manure. Every year we see the cover crops preventing soil erosion because they provide a living, protective mat all winter. Every year we see yields of vegetables increasing.

The tomato harvest is in full swing and we have so many types to choose from. There are about 20 different varieties growing now, and I’m going to introduce you to some of them at the bottom of this post.

Cabbage and brussels sprouts growing in long beds down to the river in fox field. Between vegetable beds are the cover crops that build soil.
Colleen harvesting red russian kale
Rows of (l-r) leeks, celery, peppers, eggplants with cover crops in between. The trellis posts are a random assortment of strong, straight things we can stick in the ground and weave twine around to help hold up the crops. Kara told me there are even a couple of old hockey sticks being used.
Have you tried Shiso? It is also known as Korean basil. It can be wrapped, along with romaine lettuce, around meat dishes.
Beds of Gai Lan and kale in front of Brandon making kale bunches in the fox field
This is what some garden beds look like after the harvest, mowing, laying black plastic, and later removing the plastic. Now they’re ready for another planting cycle.
Mixed cherry tomatoes
Loading produce at the end of a harvest day
Indigo cherry

Indigo cherry is a deep purple colour. At first it is purple and light green, and as it ripens, the green turns to orange, and then red when it is fully ripe. The one in Kara’s hand is getting close to ripe.

Sun orange. People at Warehouse Market used to pass the orange tomatoes by and reach for the red ones. Not anymore! These are sweet and will brighten any meal.
Indigo kumquat. They are ripe when there is yellow colouring along with the purple.
Apero. It is a cross between a grape and cherry tomato. When it is ripe, it is very red.
Black cherry. This one will fool you. It fooled me! To me it looks unappetizing. Some people wonder if they are rotting. They are not. Once you get to know this one, you will pass the red tomatoes by and go straight for the black cherries. Give them a try!

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