2017, Week 34

The farm received nearly six inches of rain in under a week but thankfully we’ve had some hot, dry days to dry out the ground so that we can till up some rows and get to sowing lots of seeds this! 

Hello farm friends!

Thank goodness our tomato sandwich party was on August 12th, because if it had been this past Saturday, we would have had to cancel! Nearly 6 inches of rain in one week is NOT ideal for tomato plants and we lost so so many to splitting and rotting before getting ripe. We apologize for the mass shortage last week but that unpredictability is just a fact of farming. Our plants are still very healthy, laden down with green fruit, and the season is far from over.

This week, expect to see:
Tomatoes, eggplant, okra, garlic, honeyflower bouquets, and more – all grown at our farm.

Produce boxes this week will have slicing tomatoes, okra, a baby spaghetti squash, garlic, peppers, and an herb bunch.

Order Produce Boxes Here!
Our farm stand is open on Tuesday from 10am-2pm at 409 W Charles Street in downtown Matthews! Produce, flowers, and honey are available Wednesday-Saturday at Renfrow Hardware.

Plant these crops for fall!

Autumn is a season of plenty in the garden, but in order to enjoy an abundance, you must plant these crops now!

I put together a list of fall crops in order of priority for planting and/or correct time for planting. I hope that this can help those of you who are limited in space, and only have a few summer crops that have finished producing, to decide how to schedule out your garden.

An easy way to remember a general order-of-importance for fall-planting is that the length of day is slowly decreasing, meaning more and more days are needed to grow the crop to maturity. Foods where you primarily eat the product of the plant (a carrot root, a broccoli head, etc) require more photosynthesis to make their fruit than do kale, lettuce, or other plants where you eat the plant itself (the leaves). You can actually eat the entire plant of pretty much every fall vegetable (to the best of my knowledge), unlike in summertime – I have heard of no culinary uses for tomato vines or squash leaves!! Thus you should plant the more time-intensive crops earlier than the others, if your space and/or time are limited.
Plant these crops as soon as possible!! While this list can be planted later in September, and even into October, they will grow significantly slower and you may struggle to have a decent harvest before winter sets in. 

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Kohlrabi
  • Rutabaga
  • Turnips
Now – mid-September

  • Arugula
  • Bok Choy & other Asian greens
  • Collards
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce & other lettuce-like greens
  • Multiplier Onion Sets (seed grown by us at the farm! Best scallion-type onion available)
  • Mustard
  • Radish
  • Spinach

Late September-early October

  • Radish & other succession-planted crops*see note below
  • Spinach

mid-late October

  • Onion sets (for scallions)
  • lots of spring-blooming flowers (I will send a newsletter with an entire section about many fall-planted flowers sometime in the next few weeks!)

late October-early November

  • Bulbing onion sets (for late spring harvest)
  • Garlic (for summer harvest)
  • lots of spring-blooming flowers
Many of these crops can (and should!) be planted multiple times throughout the fall for staggered harvests (there is definitely such a thing as too many radishes at one time!) Prioritize broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, bok choy, radishes, turnips, green onions, and other crops that have narrower harvest windows before getting too old or too big.

Need some refreshers on plant spacing, seed depth, etc? One of our seed companies puts out a great vegetable planting guide with these details! Please note, we recommend that you err on the side of sowing your seeds slightly less deep than they recommend – their Raleigh-area soil is a bit different from ours!

Download Planting Guide

Two Gardening Classes

The Abundant Garden: Plants Feeding Plants

Not only do plants feed us, the can feed other plants as well! We’ll look at how to use plants to cut down on weeds, build soil, and manage pests, too.

Our Successful Gardener series lead by Jeff Rieves has its next class this week! Wednesday, August 23rd from 10am-12pm. Meet at the hardware store (park in the Farmers Market parking lot) and be prepared to walk up to the farm!
$20/person or $15/person for two or more members of the same family!

Register for Successful Gardener Class Here!
We also have a SkillPop class about fall gardening scheduled for Thursday evening, September 7th from 6:30-8:30pm. David & Pressly teach this one together and, weather-permitting, we will start out at the farm and finish the class at the hardware store. We will talk about all things related to fall gardening!
Register for SkillPop Class Here!

Produce Boxes

This week’s boxes includes slicing tomatoes, okra, small sweet peppers, a baby winter squashgarlic, and choice of herb bunch. 
Order Produce Boxes Here!
How it works:

  1. Pre-ordered $20 produce boxes are available on Wednesdays and Saturdays each week, with ingredients and the order form link updated in each week’s newsletter.
  2. Please place Wednesday orders before 2pm on Tuesday, and Saturday orders before 2pm on Thursday! The order form will be shut down after 2pm on Thursday. 
  3. Pickup of produce is always at Renfrow Hardware during business hours (Wednesday 8am-5pm and Saturday 8am-2pm). Day of choice is specified on order form.
  4. Payment is accepted upon pickup like any other hardware store purchase. Ask for your order at the counter and we will get it for you.
  5. We cannot reserve quantities of produce that are less than these $20 boxes, but if you are looking to place a specific flower order or have a different type of request, please email me directly – Pressly@RenfrowFarms.com.

Have a wonderful week,

~Pressly Williams & the Renfrow crew