Our first greenhouse tomato of the season, the view from the sweet corn patch and some time well spent with Ms. Rosie..

Hi Friends and Farm-ily,

Here we grow week 10!  We hope this week’s newsletter finds you all happy and well.  It was another extra hot weekend and we hope you all found a way to stay cool and hydrated!  Despite the heat we really made a push this weekend from all angles.  Building paddocks and rotating cows and pigs and chickens, direct seeding another round of carrots, beets, cilantro, rutabaga and turnip, seeding trays of late season crops, weeding, thinning, giving the solanaceaes an Epsom salt foliar spray, composting/fertilizing/tilling and prepping beds for transplanting fall crops this week – so many things.  Big pushes all around!

We are hoping to take advantage of the “cooler” weather (10 degrees makes a big difference to the plants and the farmers) during the week to begin transplanting the newest succession of kale, collards, broccoli etc.  There never seem to be enough hours in the day to do it all so we have written out our big to-do list and have been prioritizing things as they come up.  It’ll feel extra awesome to begin filling up the garden again with vibrant, young plants that will be productive through the late summer and fall.



Our sweet mama cows Lucy and Stella, a view of the fall transplants awaiting their day in the garden and these two farm buds, Ahab & Una..

As productive as this season has been, it sure has been a season of many new variables.  The biggest variables being the drought and excessive heat.  Each season we are learning and more and more we realize that nature is always changing – every minute, every day – and you have to be adaptable.  Adaptability is the name of the game.  Every minute, every day.  Many of these variables we’ve never encountered before.  Namely the extreme, excessive heat.  None of the crops really love the heat and can only tolerate it so much.  At some point in a very hot season even a tomato or an eggplant or a squash will stop putting up flowers because of the heat stress.  We are actually already seeing signs of that in our eggplants and they’ve barely just begun.  Water is another variable that you have to pay close attention to.  We feel lucky that we have our drip irrigation really dialed in but it’s still a full time job making sure everything is getting the water that it needs.  Different crops have different water requirements.. some plants need 2” of water a week or prefer a nice deep soak over a surface level soak.  Some roots are longer and more prolific while others don’t get any longer than 4 inches.  Most things want moisture to keep the roots cool and to avoid too much heat stress and going to seed.

Another variable is weed pressure which is also up more than ever before due to the dry heat.  It’s hard to keep up with the newly germinating weeds (especially with direct seeded crops) which has lead us to trial flame weeding.  We start with stale bedding: prepping the bed, watering it, germinating weeds, seeding into a weedy bed and waiting a few days to flame (just before the crop emerges).  It is not necessary to burn the weeds.  The flame only needs to overheat the tissues and rupture the cells of the plants (weeds).  So far we’ve had success with this as before we were flame weeding, the newly seeded bed would turn into a carpet of weeds (pigweed, amaranth, grass) before the crops even had a chance.  Now that we’re flaming, a little handweeding/wheelhoeing once a week on these beds and we will be able to keep up with the crops.  We took a chance and are excited with the results and know it can only get better from here.  In these new (sometimes scary or overwhelming) situations, when it comes down to it, you just have to trust yourself and try something new and trust that it will all work out for the best.. in this ever changing world, every second, everyday.  Now we just need to find someone to build us one of these and we will be in business!  For those interested, here’s an article on Flame Weeding from Growing for Market


Gloucester truly is the king of the barn, first cherry tomatoes, and #tbt to this moment with our sweet Ellie.. we sure miss our old gal..

Whatever the variable, every season, every day there is something new to be learned or a different obstacle to over come.  The more you pay attention the more aware you become…  which is great because you are constantly learning, but it can also be hard to balance when you put so much blood, sweat and tears into something.  With farming there is a process… it begins with a whole lot of hope and a little bit of know how based on the seasons past.   When variables change there could be disappointment or frustration or fear or even sadness, followed in time by understanding and then, of course, letting go.  After letting go comes inspiration and determination and improvement (even if it feels like it’s against all odds).  It’s the hope and the childlike wonder from the beginning of the season that we try to remember and to feel, to start anew and to do better.  It is this hope that will continue to help us become better farmers and in the process, better people too.

After a couple of frustrating happenings (flea beetles causing destruction, birds enjoying tender seedlings, eggplant flowers dropping etc etc) I remembered a word that one of our members used to describe us last season.  Stick–to–itiveness: the quality that allows someone to continue trying to do something even though it is difficult or unpleasant.  Persistent determination.

Practicing stick-to-itiveness.  The variables will always be changing which makes sense because one year you might have an amazing tomato year and another year you might have just enough.  Or, a new kind of pest or disease might wipe out a whole crop or a spring is too wet and soggy to plant.  Through it all, I feel lucky to have my fellow farmer and husband to remind me that everything is going to be okay.  I also feel lucky to have my friends, family and extra supportive CSA members.  Without that community we would lose sense of perspective which is such an important part of this farming life.  I am definitely the natural worrier of the two and farming has forced me to have less fear and do the best that I can do and let go of the rest.  To grow better and be the best farmer and person I can be.


Baby chard getting ready to be planted, “giant dahlia” zinnias and a view of the winter squash patch!

Despite all odds, we will continue to trudge through the heat and dry and do our best.  For those who are interested in learning more about the ins and outs of farming in the U.S. we have been lovin’ the Farmer to Farmer podcasts.   The Farmer to Farmer Podcast provides a fresh and honest look at everything from soil fertility and record-keeping to getting your crops to market without making yourself crazy.  A lot of insightful conversations from farmers across the U.S.!  Lots of “food for thought”!

Enjoy the week and we send our best to you all from the farm.


With kind regards,

Your farmers

Jess & Brian

dirty hands, clean hearts