Tropical Veggies Come to Maine - for a short time only!

Ginger and lemongrass are here! Actually, they have been here at the farm for the entire summer. Being native to more tropical climes than Maine, they require some extra work to produce up here. Both of these plants begin to struggle when the nighttime temperatures dip below 50 and are killed by freezing temperatures. So what do we do?

We planted both the ginger and lemongrass in hoophouses - we can plant them earlier in hoophouses, so we extend the growing season a couple weeks, and they get extra heat every day. Ginger requires regular fertilization and hilling (like you would with potatoes or leeks). Lemongrass is less fussy, but it is a sedge grass, so it has razor-edged leaves. 

Ginger and lemongrass often appear in Asian, South Asian, and Indian cuisines - we recommend trying either of the recipes from last week with some of our ginger. Find them here.

I caught Ben in the act of making off with some freshly-cleaned ginger! No one can resist it. We are even leaving leaves on some of it for those of you who expressed interest last year in using the leaves. We will probably have lemongrass and ginger for the next couple of weeks.

Fall is, of course, also time for the usual suspects: beets, carrots, potatoes, squash, radishes, rutabagas, kohlrabi, etc. Since we are growing more land this year, we decided to invest in something known as a barrel washer. Here is a picture of it (as a work-in-progress):

IMAG4020.jpg

We will try to get a video up when it's finished and running. The motor on top of the barrel drives a chain that rotates the barrel, and there will be a hose attachment so that water sprays into the barrel from above. When you elevate one end of the washer and gently pour root vegetables in, they get sprayed and gently tumbled, which removes soil more quickly and using less water than spraying them off only with a hose. 

See you at market!

-Ailish

Rain, rain, come to stay

At least for a day or two! 

We are really hoping this rain will give our fall crops their last good jolt of growth. We can weed and fertilize all we want, but it doesn't make much of a difference unless there's enough water for the plants to use the fertilizer and grow into the spaces left by the weeds. We can irrigate a few crops (like the ginger, below, since it is in the greenhouse!), but most of our fall crops we are not able to irrigate, especially because of the sunny dry weather - our irrigation pond is very low. 

We are cranking away at cleaning garlic - we have two varieties done out of seven, and we're in the middle of a third. Rainy days are also great for doing indoor tasks like garlic cleaning.

The weathermen are lamenting the fact that we are going to have two cloudy, rainy days today and Sunday - we are rejoicing! So for farmers in New England, be happy it's raining!

See you at market!

-Ailish

Thinking Ahead

We hope you all have some fun R&R planned for this Fourth of July weekend. We will still be at the Brunswick Farmers' Market on Friday and the Crystal Spring Farmers' Market on Saturday. We hope to see you there!

July has been ushered in with more rain! Crops are growing well, since they are getting a chance to dry out between deluges, but the soil is so soft from the rain there are some places in our fields that we can't go at the moment. We are in the middle of getting a lot of fall crops in the ground - things like parsnips and brussels sprouts have been in for weeks, but we are just planting rutabagas this week. We are hoping for some sunny, dry beach weather to let us into those places again.

Last week we unexpectedly came into some ginger seed. We tried hard early this spring to get ginger seed (actually ginger rhizome - they look just like what you would buy in the store) from several different sources with no result. Ginger seed was in very high demand this year. We know we have talked to a few customers who were disappointed - as were we - because the fresh, organic ginger is such a treat!

Happily, our friend Ian of Stonecipher Farm in Bowdoinham had extra ginger seed after he planted his out, so we bought those from him last week. On Friday, we then tore apart two thirds of our propagation greenhouse (which doesn't have a floor, just landscape fabric over soil), to make room for the ginger. I have posted a before-during-after sequence of photos below. We went from three rows of tables to one, pulled off two rows of landscape fabric, broadforked, made furrows (that's Kev making furrows in the middle picture below), put down some fertilizer, planted the sprouted ginger rhizomes, and closed the furrows so that the rhizomes were at least 2 inches below the soil surface. 

With luck and TLC, we will have fresh ginger ready in about Octobeer. Ginger are needy plants, and we'll do our best to keep them satisfied. 

Lots of edible flowers are coming in now. Above we have calendula, sunflowers, and cornflowers/bachelor buttons from left to right. We will be bringing small bunches of edible flowers - just what you'd need for a recipe (like Calendula Cornbread Muffins from Mother Earth News) - all summer long.

See you at market, and happy Fourth!

Ailish