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.
We are always excited to try new methods. While working at North Slope Farm I was taught to direct seed across the bed rather then in long rows parallel with the direction of the bed. With this method we were able to seed short straight lines and control the spacing to allow a 3.5″ scuffle hoe to weed between each row after the seed germinated. This idea is creative and unconventional, my favorite tip of thinking. By using the tools we have at hand, such as a single point seeder and a scuffle hoe, a system was developed. I continue to experiment with this system here at Great Road Farm. There are some tools I would like to develop to help with our system. We will have to thin the winter turnips we direct seeded by hand. It would be great if there were an attachment to our single point seeder that could accurately thin our seedlings with the same basic motion as seeding. The future holds some great inventions!
We plant our tomatoes just after May 15th, which is the last frost date in our area. This is an important date to remember. Last year we had a frost on May 14th, so it is always risky planting sensitive crops before then. Somehow this year we started harvesting tomatoes out in our field three weeks earlier then we normally do. The weather has been even and favorable, we planted at the right time, and nurtured our plants and in return they give us fruit. A lot of attention goes toward our tomatoes so sometimes we lose crops to weeds such as sweet potatoes, flowers, and carrots. Plants want to live so there is still a chance we can recover, however we always find comfort in the chaos.