Friday marks the official start of Autumn, and by next week the nights will be longer than the days. In recent years, this change was hardly noticeable here with the seemingly endless summer weather lasting well into October and even November. But beginning this week last year — when we had a soaking rain just prior to the Equinox — something changed. And if anything, fall seems to have already started this year.
Believe it or not, we are mostly done with fall planting now. The Equinox is the cut-off date for planting most of the crops we grow for winter harvest. From early August until now we are in a race against the calendar and the summer heat. With a few exceptions, anything planted after Friday will mature after April 1st, or will bolt to seed without being harvested.
As the weeks pass by, you will see the contents of your box slowly transition from summer to fall. This week, tucked in amongst the tomatoes, green beans and watermelon this week is a bunch of Kale picked from our first planting. In a few weeks, other greens will appear and by mid-October we’ll be harvesting Broccoli.
With fall planting overlapping with harvest of summer crops, it’s not possible to “double crop” our fields. Instead, some fall crops go into fields that we were still harvesting in the spring while we were planting for summer in others. Others go into fields that were “covered cropped” last winter.
Once we finish fall planting, we’ll start the process of turning over the fields that produced all your summer produce. In some cases — like the pulling out miles of twine and thousands of stakes of we’ll still be doing that work well into winter. Last year, it was so wet that we couldn’t finish that task until March, around the same time we started planting tomatoes again.
Between now and early October, you’ll have a short window where our summer and winter crops overlap. It’s one of my favorite times of year in the kitchen. Hope you enjoy it too.