The big story this week is the heat of course. It wouldn't be such a problem if we'd get a bit of rain (maybe Thursday or Friday?), but until then we'll keep the irrigation going. We have a bunch of new plantings from the last couple of weeks and since they aren't well established yet, they need more frequent watering in this heat. Other than keeping up with that, we are trying to pace ourselves and not do anything too strenuous while the temps are in the 90s. Luckily we have a bunch of handweeding to catch up on, and some insect pests to deal with as well and both of those jobs are chill (though a bit monotonous). The pic above is not one of our more insidious pests, it was just a cool find on a tomato leaf by our new intern Dominic. They are just hatched eastern leaf footed bugs which we were able to identify by the conspicous line of eggs. These bugs are generalist herbivores so they eat a bit of everything but their populations stay in check and don't ever seem to be a real problem. It's the specialist herbivore insects that give us trouble here. Namely harlequin bugs on our brassicas (https://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/veg/leaf/harlequin_bug.htm) and mexican bean beetles on our beans (https://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/veg/bean/mexican_bean_beetle.htm). Both of these guys can destroy an entire crop if not controlled. There aren't any useful organic controls for either of these, but they are ammenable to hand picking because they don't fly away quickly. You just have to keep up with it and it can take a good bit of time which can be hard to find when we need to get all of our fall plantings in. I'm hoping we'll get to the harlequins on our curly kale in enough time to save that crop for fall, but we'll have other types of kale available in case we can't save them.
We are offically at the half-way point of the CSA season this week and deep into summer veggies! Our poblano and banana peppers have been incredibly productive this year so we are giving both of those in share this week. I love poblanos sauteed with onion as a topping for tacos or burritos. They are also fun to stuff if you have more time, or you can chop them and throw them in a soup or a curry like this recipe below that also includes eggplant:
My fav way to use banana peppers is to quick pickle them. We then use those as a taco topping (we do love our tacos in this house), or on salads, grain bowls, etc.
Our mid-summer herb planting (dill and cilantro) is still looking fabulous and we're trying to keep it cool during the heat this week with some well timed sprinkling. Most folks know what they like to do with cilantro but aren't as sure about the dill. Dill is an awesome herb for salad dressings, so you could definitely whip up something like that to preserve that wonderful fresh flavor. The roasted carrot recipe below utilizes a quick type of dressing with dill, oil, lemon zest and garlic:
Our carrots have done pretty well this year, although the second planting (which you are getting this week) had more funny shaped carrots than our first one. We try our best to make sure you get plently of nice carrots with a few 'fun' ones in your bag :) We never worry about peeling our carrots, just wash and chop!