September has brought shorter days and cold nights. Consistent night-time temperatures in the 40's will slow down all fruit-bearing vegetables. This includes okra, peppers, tomatoes, beans and squash. Soon we'll be back to the root and cold-weather veggies. For now, we can still savor the last of these tastes as we look forward to leeks, turnips, beets, lettuces, mustard, greens, kohlrabi, etc. Hopefully the brussels sprouts will size up in time for the Thanksgiving box along with the broccoli, cauliflower and late cabbage.
I planted spinach a couple of times in the past month. Some of it is still out there. I think there's a rabbit that's munching away when I'm not looking. Fortunately we have the New Zealand spinach which is coincidentally growing in the large hoop so if the spinach in the field doesn't amount to much, there's that for a back up. I'm currently preparing to plant the hoop and spinach will be one of the main crops grown in there over the winter.
The pie pumpkins produced very well. We had to move some of the vines so that we could build the hoop but most of them made it to maturity which is great. We harvested those on Tuesday and I pulled the vines to get ready for the next crop. I'm also harvesting all chinese cabbage (Napa) from the hoop to prepare for the next crop. There's a lot of Napa out there. It's also in the west garden and is forming some nice heads out there. Watch out for cabbage worms - I'm trying to wash it but they might sneak past our soaking.
Most of the potatoes have now been harvested. There are still about 1 1/2 rows of German Butterball taters that haven't quite completed their growing cycle but all of the Adirondack Blue, Russian Banana Fingerlings, French Fingerlings and Kennebecs have been harvested. Many have been distributed. We have about 200 # in the barn that are curing and will be distributed over the coming weeks.
Many of the butternut and acorn squash have also been harvested and are curing. The spaghetti squash is almost fully distributed as they don't keep as long as the other winter squash varieties.
There are a lot of red onions still in the field; they haven't quite stopped growing and they're best to store in the field for now.
The roma tomatoes are finally kicking into high gear - it's as if they know the frost is coming and they all decide to mature at once. I planted two plantings about 20 days apart. The first were relatively large plants. The second were quite small. They're in two different fields but they're still maturing at about the same rate. Maybe it's related to the sunlight.
I have had a few people tell me that they'd like to participate in a winter CSA. I think I'll experiment with 10 members for this first year. The distribution might be from the Farmer's Market in Ann Arbor - not sure about that yet. If you do want to participate, please let me know. Please understand that this first winter of growing will be a learning experience for us.
I'm going to post a survey to try to find out how your experience has been with the summer veggies. Please let me know if you have any comments. Thanks!