Kale has been a real winner this year. Without even realizing it, kale has been the best selling crop of 2016. I think the main reason we didn’t notice kale pulling out in front is because it has been a crop that has been going since the beginning. I chose a different variety than we have planted in years past to try to avoid black rot, a disease that commonly affects red russian kale. Although I prefer red russian to curly, the variety we chose to grow this year, I am very happy with the success. This crop was planted back in May and there has been next to no disease issues and very little pest problems with occasionally spraying for cabbage looper. I have noticed that the chefs seem to prefer this variety as well. Mel from Gamma Phi Beta made some beautiful kale chips for her sorority girls last week.
There farm crew had sort of a rough week last week, mostly due to our schedule being thrown off because of rain and thunderstorms. We have been forced to grow out transplants outside due to the excessive heat in August. It was too hot for the seeds to germinate in the greenhouse. Unfortunately that opens the door for the birds to feast and they are especially fond of our lettuce. We have not had very good luck keeping up with our succession plantings of romaine this year, entirely due to birds. Incredibly frustrating. The weather has dramatically cooled down so we will try yet again but this time keep the seeded trays in the greenhouse.
The other bad news we had at the end of last week is that my grand plan to make back the hydroponic expense from the strawberries took a sour turn. Damn downy mildew struck us again. I know it is prevalent in the field but was hoping since the basil was somewhat protected in the caterpillar tunnel that it would come out unscathed. Not the case. We completely ripped out the other side of the tunnel (not planted in strawberries) that we had just set up and planted a couple weeks ago. I then ran a 10% bleach solution through the lines in attempt to sterilize the substrate. (Substrate is a fancy word for what the plants grow in…..in substitution for soil.) I also filled a backpack sprayer with the same 10% bleach solution and sprayed the rims of each beta bucket and the tunnel itself. We replanted today but only 6 towers. I would like to see if we can make it out of this nonsense without further problems. Fingers crossed.
We love visitors at the farm, especially the little ones! Justin was in charge of watering last weekend and he brought his family out to see all the hard work he has been doing the last three months. I hope this adorable little superman comes back to visit again! Maybe he can use his super powers to make our downy mildew go away!
Last week wasn’t all doom and gloom though! We did happen to see the weinermobile while we were on delivery and of course I made the boys pull over so we could get a picture!