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Letter from Farmer John: August 27, 2008

Hi Everyone,

This past week’s cool and damp weather has caused new challenges for us on several fronts. Several days of overcast, drizzly weather created perfect conditions for the growth and spread of fungal diseases. Early blight in tomatoes, alternaria blight in carrots and various other fungi which affect the leaves of beets, squash, melons, and cukes all thrive under these conditions. Harvesting is made difficult because handling the plants when they are wet aids in the spread of the diseases. I will have to find the time this coming week to spray with one or more of the anti-fungal products approved for organic production. My favorite is a product called Sporan, which contains essential oils of rosemary and clove. If nothing else, the farm will sure smell great! Future deliveries of beets and carrots will most likely be made without tops, at least until second and third plantings begin to mature.

Another challenge of these wet conditions is planting the various fall crops which are direct seeded. Various varieties of veggies from arugula to spinach need to be sown in the next several weeks. I have most of the ground prepared for these crops, but the seeder does not function well when the soil is too wet. Fortunately dry weather is forecast for the next several days and I expect to plant radishes, turnips, bok choy, broccoli raab, and various types of mustard greens. Melons have begun to ripen and will be in the shares over the next few weeks as they become available in sufficient quantities.

The share for this week will be: Red leaf lettuce, beets, yellow onions, beans, cukes, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, choice of escarole or Swiss chard, sweet corn(conventional), and choice of an herb.

Enjoy!
Farmer John

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