Mornings asking for sweaters are here again, and time to keep an extra blanket lying around, maybe get the firewood stacked, and definitely make sure you will be stocked with healthy vegetables for the rest of fall and winter. If you haven’t already, time to sign up for Shared Harvest!
I’ll be at Arlington Town Day Saturday and also the Fifth Annual Boston Local Food Festival this Sunday. So, stop by if you are out and about…you can sign up right at the table, get your questions answered, share favorite ways of putting up and storing fresh for the winter, chat about great ways you enjoy your farm share, hear how the farms are doing, etc.
Here’s some early September news from Rob and Meghan at Riverland Farm.
The past couple of weeks it began to feel like fall was knocking at the door. Then out of nowhere summer came roaring back in and it was downright hot and humid for a few days. We are now experiencing the transition that happens every late summer as the “hot crops” begin to wane. This year, however, it is happening a little earlier than normal and we are in a place where the fall crops have yet to really ramp up….
This is the time of year when we start to put some of our land to bed. Many of the fields that had early season crops on them are now ready to seed down to a cover crop. Cover crops prevent erosion from wind and rain, suppress weeds, build soil organic matter, and in some cases fix nitrogen from the atmosphere into the soil. It’s a comforting feeling turning a field from crop debris to dirt and finally to a thick blanket of green. The term “putting the fields to bed” is appropriate as it does feel like we are laying them down and tucking them in with a thick blanket. This year we’ll be planting some land with Austrian winter peas. These peas are incredibly hearty. They actually can survive the winter in a dormant state and will then put on additional growth in the spring. We’ll seed them with a nurse crop of oats that will die in the winter. The oats grow quickly and will add additional cover to the land while the peas have a chance to get established. These peas will add valuable nitrogen from the atmosphere to the soil reducing the need for fertilizer for 2015 crops in those fields.
In the next couple of weeks we’ll plant our final transplants of the year. Some late season head lettuce and bok choy will punctuate a transplanting season where hundreds of thousands of plants went in, grew out, and became food. It’s a cycle that we are continuously repeating here on the farm. As with anything that you do time and again you can take it for granted or it can become monotonous. But when you stop and think about it for moment it doesn’t take long to remember how amazing the process actually is.
Enjoy the harvest!
On behalf of the farm crew Sydney, Mike, Max, Pete, Kelly, Juan,Caity, and Sara
Rob, Meghan, Cayden and baby Charlie!