What's in the box?
Summer Squash: Reineau Gold is your lovely yellow squash, Dark Star is your classic dark green zuchinni, Costata Romanesca is your Italian stripped (this is what I'm experimenting pickling with)
Cucumbers: Marketmore (good for slicing and pickling) Armenian (my favorite raw cuc!)
Red Russian Kale
Pearl Drop Onions
Maxibel French Green Beans
Grape Leaves (I use them to make dolmas)
Dragon Lingerie Bush Beans (fancy green beans)
Red Beets (don't forget when you eat red beets like this, the pigment will carry all the way through your digestive system ;)
Herbs: Sorrel, Rosemary, Majoram
Canna Lily Root (featured foragable edible!)
Lettuce, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, more herbs
Beeting the Heat!
This past week we endured a heat wave with temperatures reaching above 112 outside and close to 120 in our greenhouse. Keeping a close eye and using our rain water reserves we only lost a few plants in the greenhouse, more due to ants than permanent heat damage. Outside, our soil holds moisture very well, and because of our intensive planting design and 'selective weeding' our soil was well shaded.
Managing Ant Farms
The heat seems to have caused a bloom in bugs, I'm sure some fo you are starting to see a lot of ants looking for water. Thankfully we have plenty of frogs and lizards to help us, but managing ants and their aphid farms requires intensive observation. To control ants and aphids without sprays or ecologically damaging chemicals, we first remove infested leaves and plants by hand. Most plants are savable, but the idea is to remove the ant's main food source, in this case the honeydew secreted by the aphids. Ants tend to aphids, protecting them from weather and predators. So You can watch a classic BBC nature video about it below. If that doesn't knock them back enough, we'll set traps with a sugar and borax solution. The ants will share it with the queen and colony. This is an approve organic solution and we've noticed really good results. We got our recipe and advice from Rincon Vitova Insectaries in Ventura, CA.
Here's some more reading on ant management:
Open Weeding: Every Wednesday and Friday from 2-4 we are inviting you to get familiar with your food source!
Next Ecology Tour: Friday July 13th 5-6:30
Next Kid's Workshop: Saturday July 14th 9-11:30
(visit our Outdoor Education page for more details)
Come visit the farm, there's always happenings going on at Branch Mill Organic Farm and Retreat Center. To see our events calendar, click here.
Canna Lily Rhyzomes
This tuber, looking like a cross between a ginger root and a purple onion is more closely related to ginger and bananas! It's strach marrow gives it more of a potato taste and texture. More info on how to cook at the links below
http://homeguides.sfgate.com/edible-canna-92018.html : "You can harvest new edible canna shoots in the spring for salads and stir fries. Begin harvesting canna rhizomes six to 10 months after planting. The longer they are in the soil, the larger the tubers get. Cut the stalks at the soil line, and dig up the roots. Canna rhizomes are prepared for eating by boiling or baking them until they turn from white to slightly translucent. Just be certain before you eat anything from the garden that it is what you think it is."
I'm including this recipe for dolmas (stuffed grape leaves) here
because I'd love to host a cooking class. Most recipes call for pickled grape leaves so if you want to bring your own, you can start pickling now. If interested, please email email@example.com