In Your Box
Local ducks enjoying a swim at the source of our irrigation systems — the American River
Red slicer tomatoes
Featured Veggie: Lettuce
One of the crops that appreciates a good dose of rain once in a while is lettuce. A member of the Astura — or sunflower – family, it was originally cultivated by the ancient Egyptians to consume as a leafy plant, domesticated from weeds.
Lettuce is planted in our fields as wee transplants by the hundreds, and nearly double in size on a weekly basis, ready to harvest within a month of transplanting. Initially, as lettuce plants mature, they invests in leafy growth; like most plants, their initial focus is on early vegetative growth, which thrives under cooler and moderately moist conditions. Our aim is to harvest lettuce at this stage when their leaf production has peaked; otherwise, they begin transitioning to the seed- producing stage of their life-cycle, becoming “stemmy” and more bitter. With that, we trust you enjoy the return of fall lettuces!
Recipe: Farmer Tom's Salad Dressing
by Tom Robson
“Water, taken in moderation, cannot hurt anyone”
- Mark Twain
If I had to choose an expression to capture one of the (many) dimensions of farming at Soil Born, it would be: "Just add water."
2012 is my first year of farming in California. Prior to this season, I was growing food in regions and climates where there is a phenomenon known as “precipitation”. I can’t believe that, over the 4 months that I’ve been farming here in Sacramento, there has been no rain. Quickly, I’ve learned that keeping our vegetables hydrated is a full-time job, woven into the fabric — the “dance”, if you will — of orchestrating a mixed-vegetable farm.
The soil is rich, ripe and ready at Soil Born Farms; however, it remains inaccessible to our crops until we unlock its potential with irrigation. With water, vegetables thrive in our healthy, sandy-loam soils. If left without, even for a short window, our plants feel the stress — less likely to reach their full leafy or fruiting potential, more susceptible to pressure from pests and diseases, and (in extreme circumstances) can wilt and die.
Lettuces are protected from predators and intense heat with “shade cloth”
Herein lies another yin and yang of farming in this region and climate. We are blessed with relentless heat and sun for many months, yet continually labor moving pipes, laying hoses and adjusting endless valves to keep the vegetable production “afloat”.
We trust that, like us, you are looking forward to the onset of fall now that the equinox has passed — the sun sitting lower in the sky, the cooler breeze at dawn and dusk, and the advent of rain’s return (ahhh, sigh). Just add water.
Dates & Notes
Fall Plant Sale
“Lettuce” be your source for fall garden plants.
Make sure to stop by the American River Ranch for our farm stand and Fall plant sale Saturday September 29th from 8am-1pm. We will have a wide variety of Fall plant starts to kick start your winter garden.
Building Healthy Soil: Underground Secrets to a Productive Garden
Saturday, September 29th, 9-11 am at 3000 Hurley Way
Fall is a great time to focus on building soil and nurturing your best invisible friends... microbes! Learn about specific techniques to put your summer garden to rest, seed cover crops, and turn those pesky fall leaves into the foundation for an amazing spring garden and sweet summer fruits. Register online through the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op.