It’s that bittersweet time of year the farm these days…we’ve been harvesting our first squash and cucumbers, with many many MANY more to come in the following weeks, but at the same time we’re struggling to ward off the blight that is quite persistent in plaguing our poor tomatoes and snap peas. If anyone is not familiar with blight, it is a bacterial disease that is associated with large amounts of rainfall; rain water hits the ground, splashes up onto the bottom leaves of the plant, a water-loving bacteria grows, and diseased leaves turn yellow and die. Blight spreads easily from one leaf to the next, and can eventually spread to the entire plant. So for the last week or so we’ve been adamantly picking off the yellow leaves from our precious tomato plants, racing the blight clock that is ticking over our heads as rain clouds loom up above us. You never think about rain being a problem for farming; typically you’re wishing for rain and hoping for no drought. But too much rain is just as bad! And unfortunately all too common here with Minnesota’s touchy weather. But we’re working hard to keep our tomato and snap peas plants living and we have the proof! Everyone’s hands and clothes have a faint yellow tint to them, our sinks and bathtubs lately have resembled a yellow paint palette, and I know I personally can’t stop smelling tomato everywhere I go… but ‘tis the season! And it’s worth it, we have some beautiful red tomatoes coming in, and lots of green ones promising an abundant harvest as long as the weather cooperates and the blight is contained.
But on a brighter note our other crops are doing marvelously!! It’s incredible how much things can grow overnight. We’ve already harvested yellow squash, zucchini, eggplants, cucumbers, and lemon cucumbers this week, and this is only the beginning! By next week we’ll have more squash and zucchini than we’ll know what to do with! Our basil, cilantro, lemongrass and mint continue to keep us busy as well. There is nothing better than those harvest mornings when the sweet aromatic scent of basils fills the air. Meanwhile our chickens are entering their version of the “terrible two’s”…they know they can escape their fenced in area and now take advantage of their outdoor play time to plot a great escape each morning. The morning isn’t complete if Payne hasn’t chased Azzazello or one of the hens all over the tomato field, herding them back in to their coop before they peck up all of our mulch.
All in all, every day at the farm brings new produce, new surprises, new challenges, new mosquito bites, and new lessons. As time is winding down this summer, we sadly become more and more aware of our limited mornings left at the farm, but anxiously anticipate what the next few weeks will bring in the garden!