Winter Week 3

So much for warmish weather in February. To be honest, this isn’t really a surprise. The hard part is just doing a thorough job of protecting the very early warm season plants, and then going with the best data. Back in very early January it got down to 12F here; this most recent cold snap (Tuesday morning around 5AM) “only” hit 17F. That said, there were leaks in the propagation bench and the soil heating mat was set to 75F… and the edges of the flats with Tomatoes and Cucumbers got burned.

Mostly dead… Tomatoes hate freezing!

New seeds needed to be ordered for the “special” tomato of the season – “Orange Paruche.” The reviews all claim this is the best cherry tomato in the history of all cherry tomatoes – and so, of course, all the starts were killed and the seed pack only had 10 seeds and so reordering was required. The challenge is that the normal suppliers were out of stock, naturally. “SeedyRon” of Ojay, CA has some; the hope is that “SeedyRon” actually ships them this week.

Meanwhile, the true winter crops shrugged their leaf shoulders and pushed on. Kale, Cabbage and Peas are all outside, and all seem to be progressing nicely. The Cabbage and Kale don’t even have floating crop covers – the nasty birds evidently do not like them, as compared to the delectable baby Peas. Historically, in only two days an entire row of baby peas can be devoured – thus far the birds are foiled by the floating crop covers.

Picking cabbage always starts with the biggest and best. This week the green cabbage is done with the biggest and best, and the best you will get is smallest and ugliest – but still tasty. Next week the plan is to introduce you to tennis ball sized red cabbage – it appears that is their preferred size, which is smaller than was hoped when purchased. The seed catalog people never actually say anything negative about any variety – the catch phrase here is “one to one and a half pound.” Well. “One to one and a half pound is roughly a pint to a pint and a half. Comfort yourself that the lettuce heads are large.

Mother of all Lettuce

One of the favorite greens to grow here is Bok Choi. It emerges soon and grows fast. This week it is about big enough to give out a few nice leaf sets – probably not big enough to grill, but if you want you can try.

Bok Choi (or Pac Choi) Variety “Joy Choi”

So – all that to say, here is what to expect this week:

Lettuce  Winter Density or Red Iceberg – probably Red Iceberg
Cabbage Smaller Green (Alcosa)
Roots Cherry Belle Radish – mildly spicy, 3-4 per box. Turnips sorta have a root…
Greens Medium Leaf Mustard (curly is pretty sweet, Southern is spicy)
Turnips (nice size leaf, good for soup or? Bulb is about the size of a quarter.
Spinach – nice size, good flavor
Asian Mustard or Bok Choi
Herbs Some Chives if you want, some Arugula. Rest is coming… Parsley, Cilantro, Basil, Cress

Coming soon… Chard, Kale, Beets – beet greens are close, for sure next week… And lots more lettuce of different varieties. Kale is actually about 6″ tall but needs a couple of weeks. Session 2 of the season, for sure. Chard is 5-6″ and trying hard.

Remember to bring your box… 10-Noon Saturday or by arrangement.

By Doug

--- 'farmer doug' is the planner and heavy lifter for the CSA and the LLC. Loves to teach; "ask him the time, he'll tell you how to make a clock." Always has a new idea to try, some of which work. BTW - if you try and phone call, and you are NOT in his caller ID you will not be answered - just leave a message and you will be called right back.

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