I knew what was going to happen last weekend and dreaded looking at the crops yesterday morning. I was hoping by some miracle we could get one more week but alas, the peppers were droopy and mushy when I walked the bed. We knew some of the crops were living on borrowed time. The first real freeze of the season happened last weekend and it was sayonara. I am very happy that the season went so late and the harvest numbers for peppers blew 2015’s numbers out of the water.
I was hoping that would be the only loss for now, that was until I saw my basil. This year, like the many years before it proved to be tough for growing basil. With downy mildew so prevalent in this area I think it is nearly impossible to grow in the field. This being my first year for hydroponics, and the crop doing so well in the beginning, I thought I had found my solution. Although the cold weather cause the immanent death, I still had a few problems toward the end. I am not giving up though!! I will do more research this winter into growing hydroponically and be sure to start my basil early in the season, as that seemed to be the prime time for success.
Unfortunately we lost a majority of our romaine crop. Although we still beat the numbers from last year, by a lot, I would have had liked to have one final harvest. Unfortunately the crop was too small to harvest before the freeze last weekend and when I walked the bed yesterday there was a considerable amount of damage to the leaves. Although disappointing, I knew I was pushing the envelope with the last planting. The lettuce that was marketable was beautiful, lush and green.
The farmers are draining all the lines to irrigation around the farms which means no water so the end is near. I am going to harvest the rest of my kale this week and the chefs have agreed to take the large amount and process it down to use during the winter months. I plan to get the plastic and drip tape up before the ground really freezes, which could be as early as this weekend. I have decided not to till the plot this year, to try to keep as many nutrients in the soil as possible. This will be my first year trying to make more permanent sustainable beds with the same plot plan, just rotating crops by the 1/2 acre.