4th CSA Harvest

these are some of our cukes

all ripe cukes

cukes - Poona Khera and few Marketmore - August 2012

I clipped an entry from High Mowing Seeds for you to check out regarding this Poona Kheera Cucumber. It’s been such a solid producer for us, year after year, and an exceptionally tastey cuke all throughout it’s changing colors. Hope you enjoy as much as we have! So fresh, crunchy & juicy. We also have the green cukes: both “slicers” (smooth green skin), and picklers (green, spiked skin). The poona kheras have come in first this season, the greens are following close behind in time.

Poona Kheera Cucumber Organic Poona Kheera Cucumber – A favorite in our trials! A specialty variety from India with great flavor, quality and field resistance to disease compared to similar varieties. Cucumbers are light yellow-green when young and begin turning russet-brown at full maturity. Traditionally sold at light-green stage, but the flavor is best when harvested just as browning begins; skin has a sugary sweet flavor and flesh is juicy and crisp. Heavy producer. Climbs easily on trellis to 5-6’.  ()
Days to maturity: 50 days

recipe 4: fridge pickles

these are so tastey, so fresh and so cool…. they’ll disappear quickly. such an absolute treat this time of year – enjoy!

makes 8 cups


1 cup distilled white vinegar

1 tablespoon salt

2 cups white sugar

6 cups sliced cucumbers

1 cup sliced onions

1 cup sliced green bell peppers


  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring vinegar, salt and sugar to a boil. Boil until the sugar has dissolved, about 10 minutes.
  • Place the cucumbers, onions and green bell peppers in a large bowl. Pour the vinegar mixture over the vegetables. Transfer to sterile containers and store in the refrigerator


notes from the field

The tomatoes are pleased! They’ve responded to the weather with tremendous growth. Each week we’re seeing at least 6 to 8 inches of new growth, plus abundant flowers! Today I see many cherry tomatoes colored up perrrrfect! (No, I’ve yet to “snack”, though tomorrow as I do more trellising I certainly will).  Trellising tomatoes is time-consuming, meticulous and also a very enjoyable process. The results are worth the additional effort, of which there’s much. I see green tomatoes all around, and expect ripe tomatoes in your crate within a few weeks. A fellow organic grower recently told me that this has been the most challenging year of 10 to predict when veggies will be mature and ready for harvest. So, let’s see how accurate I might (not) be!

Green beans are flowering nice. I do not see many beans yet – though they’ll come! Sunflowers have been tracking the sun through the sky for a few weeks, long before they even had a flowered face. I see sunflowers in your future, within a few weeks as well. Our mixed flowers have begun some early blooming, though not yet enough for harvest and distribution. Soon, very soon!

Basil is on the horizon. Winter squash are teeny-tiny on the vines…. Peppers are coming along nicely. Yum!

I’ve made some very tough decisions this season. I have had to sacrifice some of our present harvests for the sake of longer term garden “health”. We’ve got a new-to-us grassy weed. I’m not fully certain, but I’m really wondering if we are “importing” it in the certified organic straw we bring in for mulch on our garlic beds. I’m trying to work this puzzle out.

Unfortunately we are seeing the spread of this aggressive grass in two of our 6 gardens. It’s been fairly contained the last two years to a few beds within each garden, or a certain stretch of each garden. The tough decisions I have made have been to help further contain this mess. I do not want to let this grass go any further than it has come already.

So what this means for our present harvests: I’ve sacrificed some early seedings of carrots, spinach, peas, and salad mix. We’ve weeded aggressively and repeatedly, to the best of our ability. The grass has been relentless. I’ve had to rototill many of those carrot, spinach, pea, and salad mix beds to try to beat back the continued growth and spread of this grass.

It’s going to take repeated efforts  and time. I’m considering leaving those beds fallow from here on out – trying to encourage the sprouting and re-sprouting of this grass. Then follow with cultivating to exhaust the reserves of this grass. It limits us with garden space now though.


fromThe Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love. Kristin Kimball. 2010.

(pages 201-202) …. “ The farmers are continually fighting to keep nature behind the hedgerow, and nature is continually fighting to overtake the field. Inside the ramparts are the sativas, the cultivated plants, soft and vulnerable, too highbred and civilized for fighting. Aligned with nature, there are the weeds, tough foot soldier, evolved for battle. As we approached the solstice, both sides were at full tilt, stoked by rain and the abundance of sun. Every morning, Mark and I would look out over the fields at first light and see a fresh haze of green. For every one of ours, there were a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand of theirs, wave after wave, unending.

If you ever wonder why organic vegetables cost more, blame weeds. The work on a conventional farm that can be done with one pass of the sprayer must, on an organic farm, be done continually, from germination to harvest, by physically disrupting the weeds. When they have just emerged from the ground – the infant stage called white thread, for the appearance of the first thin taproot – they are easy to kill by barely nudging them, exposing that delicate root to the drying air or burying the new leaves so that they are starved of sun. If allowed to become bigger – the taproot expanding out into a fine white web, the leaves unfolding on a thickening stem – they require increasingly more effort to kill. Much beyond white thread, our tool of choice is a hoe. If the weeds are allowed to grow bigger still, the hoe becomes useless, and the row must be hand-weeded.”


Thus far, for us, it’s been both the year of the mosquito and the year of the weed.

The weeds have been the hardest.

I made some changes with our irrigation set-up in our “back sands” garden. Last year our drip irrigation system was pushed to its max and struggled to keep up (though the extremity of last year’s heat, hot winds and drought pushed many of us to the max!) . I re-configured the drip syatem in the back this year, it seems better thus far. We’re getting more water to where we need it now. Good.

Our right hand man, Janek, has left for a month or more of vacation. As the time grew near, Janek’s vacation has grown longer. I’ve been somewhat scrambling, though I’ve got a fair amount of necessary farm help covered. I do need more, please. Any time, any help you can give in the next month or more would be so greatly appreciated. Just let me know when you’re able.


in your crate

bunched, banded winterbor kale

bagged red russian kale (think: kale chips!)


summer squash (patty, crook, zuke)


chinese cabbage




Patty Pan, Crookneck, Zucchini

Here’s some summer squash info, gleaned from From Asparagus to Zucchini, MACSAC 2004.

  • rinse or wipe down summer squash, no need to peel.
  • try raw summer squash cut into sticks or rounds with a dip.
  • grate or thinly slice into green salads, or shred to make a squash slaw.
  • steam squash whole or halved to best retain texture. Be careful not to overcook, just until tender when fork is inserted (8-15 minutes). Top with butter alone, or a squeeze of lemon, sprinkle of herbs, Parmesan cheese, pinch of pepper.
  • Grill small summer squash halves about 4 minutes on hottest part of grill, and then 8-10 minutes on the side. Baste with oil or maranade. Great for shish kabobs too.
  • Make a simple casserole: Layer blanched squash slices alternately with chopped onion cooked with bread crumbs. Repet 2 or 3 times and top with butter. Heat at 350 degrees in oven until hot and bubbly.


To Freeze Your Summer Squash For Later

Wash the squash clean. Coarsely grate the whole squash, “skin” and all, into a collander. Press grated squash, with your flat palm, thereby squeezing water out of squash. Place a good serving size for your family into a bag, freeze. Defrost when needed and make a great Squash Bake, or some of the recipes below!
grated summer squash


Bulghur with Zucchini & Carrots

**very tastey, very kid friendly**

By the way, I believe Kate is interested in our bulghur recipe. Here is my humble recipe that sort of works:
Plain bulghur:
Sote 1-2 table spoons of orzo in 1 tbsp olive oil until they change color from light yellow to brown. Don’t over sote, they burn so quickly. I use the high heat so orzo do not absorb all the oil.
Add 2 cups (I use drinking glasses to measure, which is more than a cup) of cold water, a pinch of salt and let it boil with the lid covered.
Add 1 cup bulghur. Stir to make sure all bulghur is soaked in water. Turn down the heat to low (every low) immediately.
Stir bulghur after 5 minutes. Let it cook for another 10 minutes. Turn off the stove but leave the pan on the stove top. Keep the lid covered and let it settle for 10-15 minutes.
Let me know how it goes (part of the recipe!).
Vegetable bulghur:
Shred some vegetables. My golden mix is 2 carrots 1 zucchini. I tried finely chopped eggplant, beans, asparagus, etc. They all work great.
One the water boils add the vegetables. Cook for 15 minutes. Then add your bulghur. It will look like it needs more water. Resist the temptation. Don’t add water.
Same as above


Double Chocolate Zucchini Cake

  • 3/4 cup oil
    1  1/4 cups sugar
    2 eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    2 cups grated zucchini (or any summer squash)
    1/2 cup sour milk, buttermilk or yogurt
    3 tablespoons cocoa or carob powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon and cloves
    2  1/2 cups flour
    small bag of chocolate or carob chips
    Heat oven to 350 degrees; grease a 9 x 13 inch pan.  Mix all ingredients and bake 30-35 minutes.  Makes 16 servings.
    A definite favorite at the garlic harvest party


Zucchini-Walnut Pancakes

 1 pound zucchini (crookneck or any summer squash will do), shredded (about 4 cups)

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

4  large eggs

1  cup all-purpose flour

1/2  cup finely chopped walnuts

1/2  cup grated parmesan or asiago cheese

1/3  cup minced celery (or try kohlrabi)

2  tablespoons finely chopped onion

4  to 6 tablespoons vegetable oil

 Put summer squash in colander; sprinkle with salt and toss to mix.  Let stand for 30 minutes; press out excess moisture.  Mix summer squash and remaining ingredients except oil in a medium-sized bowl.

 Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a heavy-bottomed skilled over medium-high heat.  Drop scant 1/4-cupfuls of squash mixture into hot oil; flatten each into a 3-inch circle.  Fry 2 to 3 minutes on each side until browned, adding additional oil to pan as needed.  Drain pancakes on paper towels.  Serve warm with sourcream and applesauce.


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