There are not too many places that have such roller coaster rides for weather as this one. It wreaks havoc on trying to get crops like we grow to settle into one season or the other. We have many, many things planted right now. They grow like mad for a while, then slow to a crawl, so it is hard sometimes to get Fall actually started, especially when summer like temps tease us one day and frost licks at our heels the next.
The late summer varieties are lasting way longer than normal. Eggplant, peppers, basil and other herbs are humming along like nothing is happening, although we did water them down the other day when there was a frost warning for our community. The Fall varieties are coming along but taking a little longer because of the warmer temps. Not so great if you are getting tired of the summer stuff but great in the long run because the Fall stuff will peak and last longer into the cooler season and so take us thru the end of our CSA, provided nothing else weird happens with the weather. Once we get into late November and early December, then the chances of a cold snap come into play.
We have 8 weeks left and CSA will be done for the year. If members take away nothing else from this season with CSA, they should have a greater grasp of what a small farmer faces when trying to bring in a seasons crops. Factory farms that plant only one thing and do everything mechanically and chemically don't have to fret over much. Diversity require faith, patience, expertise, finesse and a whole lot of good luck to produce the end result. This is the main reason that the US is down to about 80 varieties. If you go into a grocer in Modesto, California and buy a head of lettuce, it is exactly the same variety you would purchase here....keeping it boring and simply is key to factory farming.
We originally took up focusing on heirlooms because we wanted to preserve and enjoy the same foods that our great- and grandparents lived on. Tastes much better too, because we grow things for flavor, nutrition, beauty and interest, not whether or not it can be packed into a train car and shipped 3000 miles or if it will last 3-4 weeks on the grocer shelf (think shipping tomatoes...and where does the nutrition go?).
Things have gone much better this year than last year during the drought and we are well pleased with it all. Of course, the gas price hikes and shortages were not so much fun, were they? We still have stations here in Mooresville that don't have premium petrol, only regular, but the price is $3.09 instead of $4.09.
Knocking on wood that nothing drastic happens in the next 2 months, we should finish out the season no problem. Except for the disaster that is delivery, it was a pretty good year all 'round. Once our season is finished, we can sit back, breath a sigh of relief, take a month off and start the process all over again.
Farming organically is a year round system. I will be working on the farm plan in Dec./Jan. and the Farmer will be back in the field by February, doing soil prep. Overwintered crops will start to pop back up as soon as we have some warm days, even in February, and we will be back in full swing by the end of March or early April. CSA doesn't start until May next year unless we have a bumper early crop and start a few weeks early. Since there is still a pretty good chance of weird weather conditions until about the first week of May, we decided not to fight it next year and just wait it out.