From the Farm: Beautiful Crops in Time for Thanksgiving Dinner
Another month has flown by and we are now just a little more than two weeks away from Thanksgiving. We have some beautiful collards and turnip greens out at the farm right now and I am looking forward to getting my fill of those around the Thanksgiving table. I will briefly mention that we had a fun time celebrating Halloween this year with our 1-year-old daughter. We stayed true to our farming roots with a homemade costume, and our little girl made for a pretty cute rain cloud. We have experienced nice rainfall ever since, so if it’s dry this time next year the whole family might have to join in the meteorological theme.
Fall Planting, Growing, Harvesting
Our fall crops are coming along nicely and we are not far from harvesting nice heads of broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. We would typically already be harvesting lettuce by now, but the high temperatures in September and October contributed to poor germination and we had to replant most of our lettuce varieties. However, we are now getting ready to set out some really vibrant leaf lettuces and I must say that lettuce is one of my favorite crops to stand back and admire as I check on our various plantings. The bright reds and greens are real standouts next to a sea of one tone cruciferous crops.
One particular lettuce variety that I have grown rather fond of over the last 2 years is “Panisse.” It is a bright green oakleaf variety that has lobed leaves and forms dense heads. The harvest window is nice and long and it has good resistance to downy mildew. They look different than a typical oakleaf and when you combine that with the lime green coloration, they make for a great market variety that gets people to stop and inquire.
If you are new to growing lettuce from seed keep in mind that lettuce seeds need light to germinate so they just need a light dusting of potting soil or vermiculite when planted. They also germinate and grow best in cooler temperatures (60-65 degrees), so you want to plant in early spring or after the summer heat has died down for fall plantings. There are a wide range of lettuce varieties out there so try a few new ones every year and keep track of your favorites.
I wish you all well and hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! And remember, if you are going to fry a turkey this year, use your head and make sure the bird is fully thawed before submerging it in piping hot oil!
Brad manages our farm operations, which include our certified naturally grown farm outside Madison and the Kelly family’s plantation in Leesburg, Ga, known as Rock House Farm. Rock House Farm produces grass-fed beef, heritage Berkshire hogs, and two varieties of heirloom corn, among other crops.