November 1, 2012 Newsletter

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The Alleged Farm News
Issue Number 20 | November 1, 2012

This Week’s Share
Beets, Chinese cabbage, Celeriac, Daikon
Dill, Garlic, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Onions
Potatoes, Sage, Scallions, Winter squash


Here are a few numbers  from this season to contemplate while you unpack your last box of produce for 2012.

Cell trays of seedlings started in the greenhouse: 717 – and since each tray has 72, 98 or 128 cells, that equals 60,542 cells started, or roughly 80,000 seedlings because we plant multiple seeds of some crops in each cell, such as scallions and beets.
Gallons of propane used to heat the seedling greenhouse: 489
Bales of potting soil: 15
Vegetable Notes

We finished last season with a major snow fall, this one with a hurricane (though we were somehow spared its devastation). I wonder what major weather event awaits us next October. It would be great if someone could tell me now–someone, to be more specific, with accurate climatological foreknowledge.

Even a general sense of what the weather will be like next season would help. If I had known we would get almost no rain for the most of the summer I might have been able to get a little irrigation to the onion patch to help the bulbs size up. I will be tempted to make that effort next year just in case, but would prefer to know beforehand if it is worthwhile. I do not have the resources to take every possible precaution. Nobody does. I have to guess which ones will pay off, usually just based on what has happened in the past, which does not prove to be an accurate prediction of what will happen in the season to come.

Even with the odd weather–the driest spring I have seen, another cold, wet May, the driest summer I have seen, another cold, wet fall–the crops did reasonably well. We had the best winter squash and pumpkin crop ever and managed to hand out lettuce every week, and our fall crops have prospered, such as the Chinese cabbage (nice wilted with bacon and onion and dressed with vinegar, a touch of sugar and soy sauce and perhaps a little hot pepper), kohlrabi (cut into medium small dice and toss with lemon juice, yogurt, sour cream, a crushed garlic clove and mint) and daikon. And the fall rain helped the celeriac (the tan, knobbly root), which I though in August would be a complete failure, overcome the drought. 


Varieties of tomatoes seeded: 30
Tomato plants potted on: 900 – we start the tomatoes in the smallest cells and after a few weeks moves them into 32 cell trays where they have room to grow to transplant size (about a foot tall).
Weeks we seeded trays in the greenhouse: 25 – we started 6 trays of celeriac on March 15 and finished with 6 trays of lettuce on August 28.
Pounds of seed potatoes planted: 1200
Rows of potatoes planted: 24
Hours Chris and Stefani spent on the transplanter planting potatoes: 12, though if you ask Stefani it was closer to 120.
Dump truck loads of composting material delivered: 41
Spreader loads of composting material added to each of the field houses: 6 -which is about 7.5 tons of material, or a layer roughly 3 inches thick.
Bags of North Country Pro Gro organic fertilizer used: 75
Feet of biodegradable plastic mulch laid: 26,000
Gallons of diesel fuel used in the tractors: 245
S tines replaced on the Perfecta: 3
Link pins lost while mowing: 6
Pieces of ground cover, irrigation line, or row cover caught on flail mower blades and wound tightly around shaft: 5
Hours spent cutting things off mower shaft: 4 – I happily pass along the 
discovery that the chisel is the most
effective tool in such cases.
Swear words directed at equipment: 5,739
Acres under cultivation: 10 – of actual crops, plus another 6 in cover crops and 12 in hay.
Acres protected by conservation easement: 120
Acres protected by field houses: 1/4 – our 4 structures cover 10,704 square feet.
Field houses farmer dreams of having: 1 – not because I object to field houses. In fact, they are far and away the most productive places on the farm. I just want to have a single one big enough to cover the whole farm.
Weeds pulled: countless

Round bales used for mulch: 40

Visits to chiropractor: 8
Serious injuries: 0
Square feet of row cover put on crops: 62000
Square feet of row cover put back on crops after the wind blew it off: 62000
Pounds of cover crop seed sown: 900
Rhinos seen on the farm: 0 – sadly.
Deer seen on the farm: approximately 3.468,271 – sadly.
Row feet of carrots eaten by deer: 1200 – sadly.
Bottles of deer repellant sprayed: 8
Most frogs in one puddle: 6
Fewest puddles on farm: 0 – for the first time I can think of, all of the puddles on the farm dried up by late August, not surprising since the water level in the pond had dropped about three and a half feet.
Goslings raised on pond: 6
Inches of rain less than average for July and August: 7
Reduction in potato yield from 2011: 50%
Flea beetles counted on a single broccoli leaf in August: 50
Heads of lettuce harvested for shares: 3045
Heads of lettuce eaten by deer: 0 – the first year we have not lost any lettuce to deer. It helps that we grow all of the lettuce in field houses now, which we do largely to stop the deer from eating it. But previous years an occasional adventurous deer has dared go into a house for a quick lettuce snack. Perhaps this year they were so full from eating carrots they did not have room for lettuce. 
Time to construct 145 share boxes: 1 hour
Boxes packed: 2850
Different crops packed boxes: 55
Pounds of rubber bands used: 20
Paper bags used: 4000
Pickup trucks: 2
Pickup trucks with broken tailgates: 2 – the shoddy engineering of tailgate latches may say something about how often the manufacturers expect pickup truck owners to actually use the bed.
Farm workers: 5 – Chris, Stefani, Mike, Caroline and Jonathan.
Farm workers with broken tailgates: 0 – though occasional body work was needed.
Banana buckets from the Ice Cream Man eaten by farm workers: 2 – Jonathan and Caroline made it half way through their six scoop banana splits, but Chris polished his off in impressively–perhaps even disturbingly–short order, and then had dinner. As he fully appreciates, one of the great advantages of farm work is that it allows you to eat as much as you want without any negative consequences.
Great advantages of farm work: Depends which day you ask us.
Feeling upon packing the last CSA share of the season: Relief, gratitude, a little pride and some lower back pain.
CSA members who deserve our gratitude for helping to sustain the farm, create jobs for the farm crew, boost local agriculture, protect open space and feed all those deer: 144

We appreciate your support, hope you have eaten well this season, and look forward to growing your food in seasons to come. Thanks.

 To reserve a 2013 CSA share at our 2012 discount price, send a $150 deposit by the end of this month to
The Alleged Farm
209 Cooke Hollow Road
Valley Falls NY 21285
We will offer storage vegetables for sale again this year. Your order will be delivered to a distribution site on Monday, November 19th (in time for Thanksgiving). Price list to follow shortly.