The gentle glide into cooler temperatures has been a welcomed gift. We are actively harvesting our fall plantings of rutabagas, turnips, kohlrabi, and watermelon radishes. One last succession of kale, collards, beets, and chard has been planted to get us through November. Everyday we get closer to the Solstice we loose a little bit of light. You can tell this by the slow growth of our plants in the field and you can feel it in our bones as our work days get shorter. Most of our fields are in production or have cover crop nourishing our soil after it has given us beautiful crops during the summer. We harvested our last tomato this week and will soon clear our high tunnel of fresh ginger. The frost should be coming any day now so we made sure to pick all of the peppers that are ripe. One focus this year was to grow and store a large amount of root vegetables. So far the cooler is still full!
September is my favorite month of the year. It is a welcome break from the long days of summer. All of the planning and executing throughout the year has paid off with good yields, only a few crop losses, and a full cooler of storage crops. This is a perfect time to determine which varieties of tomatoes to grow next year and acknowledge what worked and what needs to be improved. We have rutabaga, turnips, sweet potatoes, and winter radishes in the ground ready to be harvested and stored. We planted strawberries that we will cover with straw and fabric that should produce sweet fruit in the Spring. Turning our fields over into cover crop is the final step in preparation for next year. It is a great feeling checking tasks off our list.
Fresh ginger grown right here in New Jersey. Sound crazy? I thought so too but it is a tropical crop that we start in flats in our heated greenhouse around March, then transplant into our high tunnel in May. We hill it and cover it with a shade cloth because it is an understory crop in the tropics so too much light will harm the plants. We had our first harvest this past week and it was a huge hit at the farmers market. This is a welcomed addition to our usual lineup of vegetables. This year we had tomatoes about three weeks earlier then normal, however now they are starting end about three weeks early. I am guessing the cool nights and mild summer might have something to do with it. Our attention has turned away from the summer crops and into the fall. The weeks ahead will have us busy harvesting celery root, the rest of our potatoes, two varieties of rutabaga, winter turnips, and winter squash.