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News and Views from Circle A Garden

Posted 10/16/2008 11:26pm by Betsy Austin.
Hello everyone,I must apologize for the delay in sending out a newsletter. It has been a while. It does not seem like it should be the middle of October already!! Wasn’t it August just a few days ago?? We have been busy, busy , busy since the last newsletter. The season was late getting started but then all of a sudden…..we were harvesting 5 & 6 days a week; doing the CSA and our market on the weekends, and trying to put up as much as we could for the winter!! Now that we have gotten our first frost, {way late this year!! We were down to 20 degrees on Monday morning, brr.}, things have slowed down just a bit. 

 While some things just did not do well as well this season, others did much better. It has been an interesting year; snowy and cold until May; late frost both the 1st and 2nd weeks in June; warm and dry until this last few days {we are still waiting for our “monsoon” rains to start!!}; still very dry but cold this week {first frost of the fall about a month late!!}; warming up now for the weekend.  Some of the things that did not do as well were eggplant {it’s a little iffy for us anyway; we get a bumper crop about every 4th year or so; something about our wonderful cool nights that it just doesn’t like!!}, green beans {once they got going they did pretty well, but we usually have an over abundance for a much longer period of time}, cucumbers {we planted a lot fewer this year because we usually have many more than anyone can use; so of course they decided to not produce as well as normal!!}, winter squash {just didn’t have enough time to mature, so we have about 1/3 of what we usually do} and of course much of our tree fruit got frosted again this season {we had more than last year, but not great quantities of any}.

  Those things that did better this year were summer squash {thank goodness I didn’t plant as much as I originally planned; there were a number of weeks that they went wild!! On average we generally harvest 50-60 lbs of the baby summer squash, this year, there were weeks when we had 80-90 lbs!!}, basil {it was a bit later than normal, but once it got going; wow!!}, beets and carrots did well {I don’t think I will ever be able to plant enough carrots; every year I plant more, but seems like it is never enough!!}, sweet peppers {especially the purple ones just kept on going}, grapes {they did amazingly well; they got frozen back pretty badly, but managed to overcome.}, blackberries, {did much better this year; another of those things that we just can’t produce enough of and still have room for all the other things we grow!!}, tomatoes {very late; took them forever to start ripening, but overall did well}, melons {a much better year than last, but late getting going}. Most everything else did about average this year. A few things that we don’t know yet how well they did; we are just getting started harvesting potatoes, sunchokes, celeriac, parsnips and our other late fall crops. Thanks to Barbara and Larry, we have the first variety of potatoes harvested. They harvested the All Blue today; if they are any indication; we should have a potato or two. {one variety down, seven to go!!}. We have gotten some feed back from you all on some of the different varieties of veggies we grow. We need to know what varieties you like the best so we can start planning for next season.  I will have a survey towards the end of the CSA that I hope you all will take time to fill out. In addition to some of your likes and dislikes, I would like to expand it a bit and add favorite and least favorite variety. If you are not sure of the variety, talk to me during pickup and you can give me a description or show me which ones are your favorites. The more information you can give us, the better we can plan for next year!! We also need some feedback on how we are doing with the sizes of shares. This has been an ongoing struggle for us; we don’t want to overwhelm you with too many veggies, but also want to make sure you are getting enough each week.   Also, in planning for next season, we need to know if you will be returning for the 2009 season.  We are asking that all our returning members pay a deposit in Dec. again this year. {$50.00 to be deducted from your first payment in Jan.} This will give us an idea of how many new members we will need next year. First payment for returning members will be due mid January; this gives us some much needed income for all those expenses we have early in the season before any crops are in the ground; seed, fertilizer, labor, electricity, etc. Please also be aware that we will need to increase the cost of each share this year. All of our expenses have gone up this year and we expect them to increase even more this coming season. We will try to keep the cost down as much as possible. Right now it looks like we can get by with a 10-15 percent increase. {I will know better by early Dec when the first seed catalogues come out; rumor has it that some seed prices are going up dramatically} We hate to increase our prices, but we also need to make sure that our expenses are covered!! On a much happier note, we have nine more weeks left in the CSA for 2008.  Summer squash, green beans, cucumbers and all those wonderful warm, summer season veggies are making way for fall goodies. You can look forward to parsnips, beets, carrots, turnip, radishes, sunchokes, potatoes, onions, leeks, celeriac, root parsley, salsify, salad greens, chard, kale, bok choi, and more!! We will still have peppers and tomatoes for a couple more weeks.  

We would like to thank all of you who have come out to help this season. It has been great working with you and getting to know you!! Many of you have been very good about getting your hours in; some of you have come out more than required. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!! Your hard work and diligence is appreciated more than you know!!

 For those of you that we have not seen yet this season, there are still plenty of things going on. There is still lots of harvesting that needs to be done; potatoes, onions, sunchokes, etc.   For those of you who need something a bit less physical there are dry beans and chickpeas to harvest and shell, potatoes to sort, and onions to braid for storage. In November, the garlic needs to be planted. And we can start getting the tunnel and greenhouses ready for next season. Please make time to come out….bask in the sunshine…listen to the birds sing….enjoy the beautiful fall weather…learn more about how your food is grown. We would like to see everyone at least once this season!! {if you break down our time requirement it comes out to less than 25 min. per week!!} Tomorrow is harvest day!! We will be harvesting all kinds of goodies for you to enjoy. My short list includes potatoes, turnips, radishes, beets, carrots, onions, leeks, salsify, root parsley, celeriac, broccoli, cauliflower, sunchokes, salad greens, chard, kale, and bok choi. This is the short list; I always discover something I have forgotten to put on the list!! Please be aware that our pick up times will be changing November 1. New time will be from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm!! The mornings are colder and darker now. It takes us a couple of hours to set things up and we like to wait until it is light a a bit warmer before we start!!Looking forward to seeing you all Saturday morning!!All of us at Circle A Garden