The Downhill Slide
The late season crops that we planted just for our late season CSA shares are about to start. It feels like there is a little transition period here, but soon the late planting of broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi, beets, brussel sprouts, greens, radishes, turnips and more will be heading your way. As home gardeners, we were quick to put the garden to bed by this time pulling out all of the expired plants and giving up trying to keep up with the weeds. It seems like everything was done by now and we were done as well.
The challenge as a CSA farm offering weekly shares is to keep it going as long as possible. There always seems to be a few frosty night in mid-September and then we get a return of our mild weather just long enough to get our membership through mid-October. The late season lettuce and radishes begin to slow their growth. They just sit there and sweeten, waiting to be harvested or waiting for snow to fall, whichever comes first.
In some ways we simply wing it, but in other ways we plan out exactly what we will have and figure out how to fill in as needed. Calculating which weeks we will need to grow a crop of microgreens or sprouts for the gaps. We have the winter squash sorted and counted to make sure we have enough squirreled away for one for each member for the last seven weeks with a few extra in case of loss in storage. Onions and garlic too. It is a great feeling to have these items ready and waiting for you. Almost like a rainy day savings account that is there when you really need it.
Most of our husband and wife, farmer to farmer discussions this time of year take place out in the field over a harvest bin. We go over again and again what we need to do better next season and how we are going to do it. What we can afford for equipment and facility expansion and how we are going to prioritize certain things differently. We go over the whatifs of returning employees and volunteers. Potential farmers market or wholesale accounts we can add to our schedule to both make money and not add another harvest day to our weekly routine. The excitement and anticipation of the coming season is already present and we still have five weeks of growing left to complete.
Coasting into fall,