Crop Report Updates

June 30, 2017 – Update

The Zucchinis, Broccoli, and Basil are now being harvested.  Things are beginning to get diverse. The next in line are cucumbers, beets, some carrots, onions, cauliflower, and cabbage. With the sun showing itself more now after countless days of clouds and rain, the tomato plants are vibrant and growing taller and  bushier everyday,  loaded with blossoms and golf-ball sized tomatoes. Eggplants are also in a similar state.  The celery and artichokes are growing well and the first planting of  sweet corn is knee high. The pepper plants are a bit shorter but with the longer days they are showing active signs of growth and they are also full of blossoms.  The lettuces, escarole and mustards are winding down with the summer temperatures as the garlic gives hints of the pending harvest.  If nature remains cooperative and the cooler than normal temperatures linger on we will be blessed with the local tastes of a summer produce symphony.  Oh  Yeah!

 

October 25 Update

There is definitly “frost on the pumpkin” which means our short Autumn period is putting the warm weather plants to rest. However, this weather should sweeten up the kales.  More updates will follow soon…………

September 26 Update

Well, it looks like the few frosts last week ended a great bush bean crop, Italian basil, lemon basil, zucchinis, cantaloupe, black krims, crimson sprinters, moskovich and some individual Rutgers plants.  The Curly, Red and Black Dino Kale are doing well and should be in full swing by October 5.  The Butter Beets are doing well also and some beet greens are being taken from the larger plants. The last crop of carrots never recovered from the rabbit/woodchuck free for all. After securing them we had some very hot dry weather and only recently did the plants become robust.  I do not expect the big July sized carrots but they will be harvested at finger size.  The purple top turnips are sprouting new greens and I anticipate some turnip greens in October as well.   Just like the season begins with a variety of greens so will the season end.

 

September 10 Update

Picked the first Cantalope of the year last week and it weighed in at 9.5 pounds.  It was just what the “doctor had ordered”.  From a rough count there seems to be anywhere between 20 and 25 that should make it to harvest before the frost (providing that frost waits until Oct 1st). I expect the tomatoes to continue into the next two weeks or so and it looks like the Bells and Sweet Pimento Peppers are catching up to where they should have been in August. The bush beans are running out of steam however they should keep up with the tomato pace for another two weeks or so. The Zucchini and summer squash vines are showing their age.  The swarms of grasshoppers are trying to eat everything in sight. I have taken some protective measures to help shield the plants but it is difficult to deter hungry ravinous grasshoppers (locusts).  It is amazing how they ignore the weeds and natural flora and zero in on the Non GMO organic treats I labored so hard and long to nurture.  Man is only a small part of nature…we can only strive to co-exist with all the other creatures and accept the fate that may face us.  How ironic it is… the frosty weather that will knock-off the summer crops is also the same frosty conditions that would stiffel the locusts. By the way they are eating I would bet we have an early, long cold winter. I still have a couple old tricks up my sleeve but judging by the growing numbers and individual size of the hoppers I will have my job cut out for me.  Hi Ho. 

August 28 Update

The Black Cherry tomatoes are near finished and the Stupice never seemed to recover from the heavy rains of June.  The Black Krim, Moskovich, Crimson Sprinter and the Rutgers are in full swing.  The Brandywine and Caspian Pinks are starting to ripen yet the Cherokee Purple, Ol Yellers, Sunset Orange and the Amish Plums are lagging behind.   The second crop of chard is looking great and selective harvests have begun. The Zucchini and mixed color summer squashes are at peak production and I have been busy at night cooking squash dishes to freeze for a summer treat later on when the snow falls.  The second planting of red beet is looking good and should be ready in about 5 weeks and once we get a soft frost the kale should sweeten up. The second crop of carrots should be ready in three to four weeks (delayed by furry invaders eating the tops in July). The Eggplant is slow but steady. The peppers have had a tough time, from heavy rains to high heat and no rain followed by nights in the 40s. However, with great genetics and some patience, it looks like the plants are finally ready to get down to business. The cayenne and sweet green fryers are leading the way followed by the yellow, purple, red and green bell peppers being trailed by the sweet red pimentos.   The second planting of broccoli and Romaine have experienced some severe attacks of the killer rabbits and woodchucks. I have implemented  a plan to secure the borders first before I attempt to replant.  It’s the smart thing to do.

If nothing attacks the cantalope in the next two weeks and the warm weather does not disappear, we may finally get some to the stand. The Acorn, Butternut and Colonial squash (ABC) has surcome to the diabolical squash vine borer. So far I have managed to save some Spaghetti, Red Kuri and Kabocha squash plants as well as some baking pumpkins.

And lastly, there are a few football sized watermellons on the vines and alot about the size of big softballs. I am confident that with another solar storm flare and the resulting warming of our planet, the watermellon should be ready before Halloween… I might be carving watermellons instead of pumpkins this year.

August 15 Update

The heirloom tomatoes are at the “starting gate” yet with this unseasonably cool (beautiful) weather they may hesitate. Warm nights are better. The Stupice heirlooms have had some trouble and will probably struggle trying to keep up with the other varieties in production volume. It was to wet for them during blossom set. They may bounce back near the end of the season. The last rows of Big Sweet yellow onions have been harvested and will be available over the next two weeks. The last stand of surviving sweet corn will also be harvested for this weekend (limitted quantities).

The Raw comb honey has been harvested and will be ready this coming weekend.  Below is a brief summary about comb honey.

Raw Honey,called the “nectar of the gods” by the ancient Greeks.

Honeycombs are hexagonal wax cells built by honey bees  within their nests to contain their larvae and stores of honey and pollen.  Typically, beekeepers remove the entire honeycomb to harvest the raw honey and  then replace it because it takes time and energy for bees to construct them.  Fresh, new honeycomb is sometimes sold intact to eat. The benefits from eating  honeycomb are related to the honey and bee pollen, much more so than the bees  wax. If you are allergic to bee stings or bee products, then you should be very  cautious with honeycomb and consult with your natural practitioner or doctor.

Benefits of Honey

Honey acts as an antimicrobial agent because it contains  an enzyme that produces small amounts of hydrogen peroxide, which is deadly to  mainly pathogenic microorganism, according to “Biochemical, Physiological and  Molecular Aspects of Human Nutrition.” As such, honey can relieve some forms of  gastritis and may be able to combat stomach ulcers caused by the bacteria H.  pylori. Raw honey also acts as a strong antioxidant, which scavenge harmful  free-radicals linked to tissue damage, aging and even cancer. According to “Prescription for Nutritional Healing,” darker colored honeys are usually contain stronger antioxidants than lighter types however linden honey is the exception. Although it is light in color it possesses the stregnth of the darker honeys.  Honey is also a good, readily absorbed  source of glucose and a spoonful or two can be useful for diabetics who are  hypoglycemic.

Generally, raw honey can be classified according to use and the benefits it offers. This has been medically tested and approved by scientific research since ancient times. It has these benefits:

  • Food for Health
  • Food for Great Taste (in baking and as sweetener)
  • Medical antiviral, ant bacterium and antioxidant plus cough syrup
  • Beauty product for skin and hair

When used as food, honey is an energy booster with fewer calories. It is a good alternative to jam and margarine fats on bread. It can be used in place of sugar for drinks and cereals. Pastries baked in honey taste great. For pregnant women, honey keeps off the morning sickness vomiting effects. It also helps them fight constipation which is common at pregnancy. Honey in its raw form is a great product for diabetics and they can use in food and as a sweetener. Its low calorie level also makes it a good option for weight conscious people. Weight loss diets include honey as the best alternative sweetener and most herbal teas use honey to give them a natural taste.

Medical homemade remedies for lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels will advocate the use of honey as a daily supplement. Taking a few tablespoons of it will increase antioxidants in your blood boosting your immunity. Mixed with lemon, it heals coughs and restores sore muscles. Children coughs can be managed by this sweet agent which can be added to fish oils for better immunity in their growing bodies. People with stomach upset are advised to take honey for improved digestion, appetite and ulcers treatment. Mixed with herbs like cinnamon, it aids in stomach problems and bladder infections. Doctors recommend honey to invalids who are recovering from illnesses and need appetizers. Honey is a natural anti-bacterium and antiviral and these properties are in a higher content in raw honey. Its medical benefits are numerous and include relief for fatigue, pain, asthma, hangovers and insomnia. For allergies it can be taken raw for Vermont remedies.

Homemade Solutions for Natural Beauty

Many homemade beauty remedies include honey in its list of skin care products to treat skin conditions and tone the skin. Health benefits of Raw Honey include its use as a mask for therapies to treat eczema, acne, ringworms and dry skin. For beauty purposes, honey has been used around the globe to blend with other natural products like milk for great moisturizers. Its microbial properties help in healing wounds and scars. While raw honey has a variety of benefits, care should be taken in its preparation, it should be done in a simple and pure manner. This kind of pure honey can be bought or homemade by people with bee hives. The product softens the skin reducing spots, scars and redness. It can be used as a mask, moisturizer for dry skin, scrub and toner. It is also a good ingredient for conditioning the hair. Raw honey heals repairs and moisturizes the skin through different recipes given. Its goodness is unlimited, reliable and works fast to leave a good feeling and look.

With all these properties, honey remains one of the most important natural products in the world today. Ancient communities believed that honey granted them long life and soothed the heart. This great tasting item is a gift of nature in many communities. Recommended by doctors, scientists, dermatologists, dieticians and chefs, raw honey is a great benefit to humanity today. It has stood the test of time in all societies and remains a choice for generations to come. Raw honey is considered pure and thus more beneficial.

An old Vermont remedy suggests that regularly chewing honeycomb during allergy season will alleviate sneezing, runny nose and watery eyes. Chew the honeycomb for as long as possible; after 30 minutes, allergy symptoms could disappear. Start chewing honeycomb a week or two before allergy season to keep allergy problems from starting.

Skin care

Honey contains potassium, and bacteria cannot survive in honey because of this ingredient. Raw honey straight from the honeycomb is used to treat scarring. It’s also popular as a facial moisturizer, a mask and a body scrub. Raw honey from the honeycomb is also used for many skin infections. Linden Honey has been used medicinally for 2000 years.

Also available now is Raw Orange Blossom Honey which is harvested by our apiary in PA . The bees are  sent to Florida for the winter on small family owned organic orange groves to polinate the trees. These groves use all natural practices to grow their oranges and the honey that results is sweet and fragrant.  These small groves are pockets of natural fruit producers and deserve a standing ovation for their steadfast commitment to their practices. See below:

Coyote Grove, a lone, 20-acre operation, nestled in the heart of the Lake Wales Ridge region, is doing something unique within this Central Florida agricultural tradition of Orange production. Coyote Grove produces organic citrus without the help of herbicides, pesticides, or other toxic chemicals. Instead, the grove owner , uses organic sprays, and predatory insects, such as lady bugs, to combat the myriad of threats to growing citrus in Florida.

The organic spray often includes such simple household ingredients as garlic and fish oil. Eric, the current Grove Manager at Coyote, describes the mixture as a witch’s brew. “It smells like an Italian fish dish,” Eric says, describing the grove air on spray days.

Bruce, the owner, says he uses organic methods because he doesn’t want to input any more toxic chemicals into the earth. He admits that, to him, the taste of organic citrus is better—but that the environmental impacts are his primary concern.

 

 

July 31 Update

Well, the first planting of our infamous Bi-color Sweet Corn was pillaged by several racoons, a high jumping deer and for the first time ever… a human!!  Caught on infrared motion sensor camera, I captured the photos of a person helping themselves to the sweet treats. I hope the person was just trying to feed their family.  If that person is reading this, do yourself a BIG favor… Next time ask !!!!!!!! 

The Northern White sweet corn is ready, but those racoons have moved to that field now.  Time to release the hounds inside the fencing for some 24/7 security.  It’s amazing how delicious sweet corn can bring all kinds of animals out to help themselves to the fruits of hard labor. Even two legged ones!

My signature Black Cherry Tomatoes are ripening and this week a few lbs should be available.  The Heirloom plants are loaded with tomatoes mostly green but begining to ripen. The cool nights will most likely slow the process a little.

The first planting of carrots are ready and will be available over the next two weeks. The second planting lost many of their tops (greens) do to the woodchucks. This will only delay harvest a couple weeks however measures have been taken to reduce continued predation.

Those big sweet onions that everyone loved last year are finally ready!!!!  They will be available as fresh picked. Eat them right away or let them cure in the sun (NO RAIN) for a few days (4 to 5) to set the outer skin. Keep them dry and cool after that.

The peppers are getting big and the plants are now growing vigorously.   The bush beans are in full swing and all three (green, yellow and burgundy) will be available  as are the zucchini.

Burdock Gobo Root is available.

The parsley is regenerating after being mowed down by rabbits and woodchucks. A second planting of Basil, Swiss and Red Chard, Romaine Lettuce, Beets and Black Tuscan Kale is under way.  They should be ready between August 30th and September 20th.

July 17 Update

With the intense heat and a lack of rain, the cool weather crops (kales, chard, greens and certain herbs ) have reached their limits.

Zucchini and bush beans are approaching full swing.

My early tomato starts are beginning to ripen. Black cherries are probably a week away. ( Yummmm)

Sweet corn is in full silk and ears are beginning to swell. With the heavy rains early in the planting period, a rogue flock of hungry crows and a few Canadian Greese, the corn crop suffered higher than average losses so when it makes the Ready List get your order in.

Woodchucks tunneled under the fence and decided to munch on several tomato plants and the entire parsley crop.

A second patch of parsley is underway.

Just as the yellow beets were ready rabbits breeched the perimeter fencing (probably through the woodchuck path) and proceeded to gorge themselves on both red and yellow beets…does anyone like rabbit?

 

 

July 8 Update

Yellow beets will probably be ready in a week.  Purple bush beans should be ready very soon with the green and yellow right behind them. Black Cherry tomatoes are going strong and with another week of warm humid nights they will start to ripen. Lots of green Heirloom  tomatoes still growing. First plantining of corn is begining to silk. It was not a large planting but none-the-l;ess they are silkimg. Red cabage is heading up nicely and the carrots are getting big as are the purple top turnips and jumbo sweet onions.

 

June 29 Update

First round of White cauliflower , Dill,  and Romaine Lettuce is finished.

June 11 Update

In addition to the June 6th update below, Purslane should be available June 23rd

There may also be some first crop broccoli still available if I do not eat it all by then.

June 6 Update

Kales, Chard and Romaine lettuce should be ready for June 23rd as should  the herbs Lemon Balm, Horehound and Tulsi

With the recent rains, which were needed,  Red Butter Beets and some onions might be ready.

Having taken the risk in the end of April, I planted some tomato starts and those that survived are actively flowering. So with continued luck there may be some early tomatos this year (July)

Corn is about 8 inches high and all the beans are in third leave stage.

 

 

 

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