This week we are in the early stages of the transition from summer to fall on the student farm. Like all transitions this one means a lot of work! In addition to the usual maintenance work that goes into keeping the summer crops producing we are harvesting for the CSA and planting the first successions of the fall garden. As if that weren’t enough we are pursuing some new and interesting projects that may, in time, allow us to expand our CSA offerings.
In the hoop house closest to the parking lot, Hoop house A, we are still staking late tomatoes and cucumbers that will produce through the first frost. The rest of our summer tomatoes and cucumbers are done for the year, but we are still harvesting melons, peppers (hot and sweet), eggplants, and okra.
In preparation for fall planting, some of which is happening now, there’s a lot of bed preparation going on which means weeding, weeding, and more weeding. Some of the fall crops, like chard, Asian cabbages, daikon radish, and broccoli, have already been planted. Other fall crops like kale and some of the other brassicas have been started from seed in trays and are soon going to be ready for the field. The strawberry daughters have been gathered and transplanted into trays as well. They will be planted back out into the fields once they have developed root systems capable of sustaining them on their own.
One of the experiments we are conducting is creating bunker spawn for Winecap and Blewit mushrooms. Bunker spawn refers to the practice of taking pasteurized, or in our case semi-pasteurized, organic material like straw, wood chips, and/or paper waste inoculating it with spore and rolling it up in burlap sacks in order to multiply your capacity to grow mushrooms. Eventually this bunker spawn will allow us to grow and harvest this tasty crop on a slope next to our new pack shed.