Soil Born CSA Newsletter: The Digest

October 15, 2014

Summer squash
Braising mix
Radish- watermelon or black Spanish
Spaghetti squash
Napa cabbage
Anaheim peppers

Every Other Week
Red Russian kale
Purple Peruvian potatoes
Acorn squash

“One thing work gives is the joy of not working, a minute here or there when I stand and only breathe, receiving the good of the air.”
-Wendell Berry


Farm News
By  Jared Clark


digest 10 15 drip tape

My sons, Owen and Everett, discussing the best way to roll drip tape.

Cooler weather and blustery windy days have officially swept fall into the farm.  We are busy tidying up the fields and farm in preparation for the winter.  With the exception of a few lettuce beds all of our fall crops are planted and are being weeded.  The usual suspects are at play in the field causing minor damage to the crops.  The elusive jack rabbits munch carrot tops and kale leaves while the cabbage looper moth larvae perforates the leaves of our brassicas. 


Our fragile row cover that is our last line of defense against predation has been shredded by the windy weekend and awaits reinforcement.  Germination on our direct seeded carrots, parsnips, beets, chard, and kales has been decent which should yield harvests through winter into Spring.  

With about an acre of ground planted for our winter CSA we focus our intentions on field cleanup and getting our winter cover crops planted on another 5 acres of fields.  After the last harvest is gleaned from a particular crop the drip tape is pulled from underneath the canopy of foliage.  If the foliage is too thick we often have to perform a high mow with the tractor to allow the drip to come free.  If the drip tape is in decent shape we wind it onto spools for reuse in the next season. 


After the drip tape is removed and any row cover is rolled up we are ready to turn the crop residue into the soil. We enlist the rotary mower on our tractor to shred a summers worth of vegetation.  A mass of tomato vines 6 feet tall and several feet wide are brought down to ground level in one pass.  All of that carbon and organic matter is turned into the soil with our offset disc. This starts the process of decomposition. 


All manner of microbes, bacteria, and fungi feed on the crop residue which in turn feeds the soil.  After the crop residue has been sufficiently turned into the soil we are ready to plant our cover crop.  For our cool season cover crop we use vetch and oats.  Vetch is a legume which adds nitrogen to the soil courtesy of a symbiosis between its roots and bacteria in the soil. 


The oats, an annual cereal grain, grow quickly and act as scaffolding for the vining vetch to climb and thrive.  The oats also have an extensive root system which prevents rainfall from leaching fertility from the soil and breaks up compaction.  Both of these cover crops serve as great forage in the Spring for our animals.  By the end of next week all of our cover crops should be planted, rain will have fallen, and we ought to have the time for a few deep breaths and joyful reflection!


digest 10 15sunchoke

Sunchokes in full bloom.  A great perrenial plant that’s ornamental and edible. Perfect for the home garden!

Featured Veggie: Jerusalem Artichoke

Jerusalem artichokes, aka sunchokes, have found their way into your box this week.  We have a small patch planted in our flower garden across from the farm stand.  They are neither artichokes nor from Jerusalem.  Sunchokes (Helianthus tuberosus) are a relative of common sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) and look much like a sunflower above ground growing to heights in excess of 10’ with a profusion of yellow flowers.


This perennial plant is native to central North America and has been used as a food crop for hundreds of years. The edible portion of this plant lies beneath the soil in its root system.  The root system consists of  rhizomes (horizontal underground stems) which produce tubers.  Cultivated varieties of sunchokes will tend to produce white tubers near the main stem of the plant while wild varieties produce reddish tubers at the end of long rhizomes. 


These tubers are harvested in Fall and as long as a few rhizomes are left behind in the soil they will over winter and sprout in the Spring. The tubers can be eaten raw on salads, roasted, mashed, and pureed into soup.  They are a great source of iron, potassium, and thiamin.


digest 10 15 tractor

Owen and Everett performing a tractor maintenance inspection.


Featured Recipe: Thyme and Mustard Carrots

Dates and Notes

Join Our Fall/Winter CSA~
2014-2015 Fall /Winter CSA runs for 28 weeks with 4 weeks off, from Wednesday, November 12, - Wednesday, May 20, 2015.

Please note there will be no boxes during the following breaks:
-No CSA box December 24 & Dec 31st. Resumes January 7
-No CSA box Feb 25 & March 4. Resumes March 11

Payment Options for the 2014 Fall/Winter CSA:
Early Bird Registration Prices Start Sunday, October 5th. (ends on Monday, October 20, 2014)
Full Share $528 ($22/box)
Every Other Week   $264 ($22/box)

Order now to reserve your box and receive early bird benefits through Monday, October 20, 2015
•Full share – pay in full $2 per box discount, receive $25 SBF bucks
•Pay in 3 installments–  No discount, receive $25 SBF bucks
•8 installments, no discount, no SBF bucks
•EWO share –$2 per box discount, no SBF bucks

Sign up Online www.soilborn,org or call  the office 916-363-9685


digest 10 15 assessment

Owen and Everett doing some pasture assessment.

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