Saturday, August 20, 2011


Here's hoping all co-op members are enjoying these glorious dog days of summer! Please mark your calendars now for some important dates:

1) This coming Monday evening, August 22nd at 7:00 pm, it would be great if a few SPUDS members could come on out to help with weeding and other tasks in the field...please bring rake, hoe, and shovel if you have them, for an hour or so during this most beautiful time of the day in the field!  RSVP.

2) Saturday, September 3rd, is Harvest Day!  Yes, it's Blackberry Faire weekend, and we'll be pulling our plants the day before the faire. Come on out to the field in the late afternoon at 4:30 pm, and plan on staying to enjoy refreshments after all our work is done! Depending, of course, on how many members are in attendance, it shouldn't take long to unearth all our potatoes and divvy them up. A big pot of chili, baked potatoes or cornbread, along with cold beverages will be on hand! If you are unable to make this date, please send someone to represent your membership if you can 

We hope to also be celebrating our brand new water catchment cistern roof, which should be fully installed by then, thanks to our grant from Denman Works, and local builder John Tansley! A reminder notice will be sent out the week before to make sure we know how many names to put in the chili pot, and to make sure everyone remembers what to bring to the harvest.

3) On Sunday, September 4th it would be good to have a presence at the Faire with the photo display we put together for  the Conservancy Home and Garden Tour earlier this year. Any members interested in hanging out at our little table for a while over the course of the day, chatting about the Co-op and perhaps helping encourage a few more members for our next growing season, are invited to get in touch.

Field Management Details:

Help needed- a. if anyone is going to town with a pickup truck this week, we need someone to pick up our roofing materials for the cistern water catchment project scheduled to begin asap. Please call for details (1209)
b. We also need more cardboard for the field. Any large brown boxes without colored ink are useful...the bigger the better!

Comments: The Field Management Sub-Committee (FSC) has been monitoring our crop and new watering system closely over the growing season. Special thanks to Graham, Karl and Fox for their assistance while Dave, Tanya, Mike and Fireweed were away in July! Thanks to the Volunteer Fire Department, we are still watering approximately every three days ( we have had two fillings of our cistern this year). Our cover crops have all matured and gone to seed, with the exception of slower growing clover now visible beneath the spent vetch and austrian pea which kept countless bees buzzing happily in the purple patch earlier in the season. 

The reduced number of potato plants this year (1/3rd of last year's crop) means that we can expect a smaller harvest over all, although we are hoping that by leaving the plants in the ground as long as possible,  whatever spuds have materialized will keep growing until the plants are ready to die back. 

While we have been able to retain far better soil moisture this year than last, there is still the possibility that the area of the field we're harvesting from needs more time to recover former nutrient loss in order to produce prolifically. This is why it is important for us to keep our relatively new cover cropping and crop rotation regime going strong! As soon as the harvest has happened we'll need to plan for overall fall planting so overwintering cover crops have a chance to become well established and build soil fertility, especially in the 2012 quadrant!

So stay tuned for more on cover cropping requirements as they develop. SPUDS members will be needed to help out in that department sooner or later, too. The FSC will schedule a meeting of the whole sometime after the harvest to review the year and plan ahead, but in the meantime, anyone interested in contributing more to the Co-op by joining the field management team is, as always, more than welcome to do so!

In the meantime, hope to see you Monday, and thanks for that RSVP so we know how many can make it! 
-for FSC      (Dave, Tanya, Mike & Fireweed)        

 Thanks to Denman Islander Bryanna Grogan for this totally delish middle eastern recipe for potato kibbeh! -