Farm tasks fall into 2 categories- must do now, and should have done earlier. This season we’ve set about as much “must do” as we can, albeit usually late. I finally wrangled a trip to the lumber yard for a hardboard to paint with chalkboard paint and put up a farm sign. Lots to improve upon, but not half terrible (I tell myself that) for having written it freehand sideways, with a young’em whining for the liquid chalk in the background.
However, said young’em was ecstatic with his market. This one is quite a salesman too, you would be hardpressed to leave without at least buying a tomato. If you have cookies, he will gladly trade you a large pumpkin.
Round two of green beans, planted 7/12, is ready for harvesting. One learns quickly to pick beans often and pick them young so we invited Hesperides Organic CSA members to come for a pick-your-own. After they left, we picked another 40 pounds with help of some friends. These will bear for 3-4 weeks, living up to its varietal name “provider” before the plants tire and leaves yellow.
Cucumber vines trellised against cattle fencing are happy, as are the bees buzzing among the flowers.
This leaning trellis allows me to check the underside for ripening cucumbers. They are great when the skin is still pale and light. Once they size up to a tennis ball and turn yellow, you would want to remove the seeds before eating. I am already looking up other oddball cucumber varieties for next year.
We ventured into a portion of the pumpkin patch to find the baby pam and jack-o-lantern pumpkins ready. I couldn’t find the white pumpkins, but maybe I didn’t wade far enough into the fields. Baby Pam pumpkins average 4lbs and have dry, sweet flesh, great for making pumpkin pies.
One squash used in commercial pumpkin pie filling is the blue hubbard, averaging 12-15 lbs. Usually winter squashes are cured in the field, to help it develop a hard skin that allows it store for the winter. When mature, the fruit is cut off from the vine, and left out in the sun for a week. Behind the blue hubbard are 2 Australian Butter Squash, a rare heirloom from Australia.
I can’t wait for the rest of the winter squashes to mature. Butternut, delicata, kabocha roll off the tongue at farmer’s markets, but wait til I get a dozen other varieties!