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October 1, 2014

Time goes fast on the farm at this time of year. The days are shorter and we’re tired from a long season, of course, but there’s more.

There is pressure to make sure our hard work of planting, weeding, and watering fall crops is harvested before cold weather takes it away. There is pressure to make sure the storage conditions are just right so that the crops last into winter. We’re busy in the greenhouse getting these plants to grow as much as they can. Financial recordkeeping is piling up and that needs attention. We’re already planning for next season.

On the other hand, we are almost finished planting (walnuts and garlic and tulips go in soon) and the weeds are at bay. With the expected rains later this week, we’ll be able to pull our irrigation lines in for the season. At this point, we can reflect on the season just a little bit.

The growing season was probably about average. As you’ll recall, it was a cool and wet year. Most crops did just fine, but we certainly faced challenges with others. Our custom CSA offered insight into the crops that folks really like (“grow more carrots,” you said.). As many of you know, this is the first year since 2006 that we did not attend a farmers market. It was a little sad not to see so many familiar faces all season. Sleeping in on Sunday mornings, however, was a real treat.

The bugs have been interesting this year too. After a harsh winter, we wondered if the snow cover protected bugs in the soil or the cold temperatures froze them out. A little of both as it turns out. Cabbage moths came in hordes. Flies were pesky buy mosquitoes weren’t horrible. An army of grasshoppers invaded our farm in September eating their way through quite a few crops. Cabbage worms were all over the place although they seem to have escaped just recently. These slimy, squishy larvae are still at large, possibly posing as members of the Illinois legislature.

At the end of the day, we’ve learned two things this year. First, most people have absolutely no idea what to do with kohlrabi. Second, anything purple will draw rave reviews and fly off the shelves, with the exception of purple kohlrabi.

Christina and I hope that you enjoy your produce this week.