Week 16 (Chicago Week 14)

List of this week's vegetables

  • Spicy greens mix
  • Red Russian kale
  • Redventure cutting celery (this heirloom variety packs a flavorful punch)
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Bright lights chard
  • Eggplant
  • Tomatoes
  • Provider and Maxibel green beans
  • Colorful bell peppers
  • Sweet roasting peppers
  • Basil

A semi truck made its way down Scotch Hill Road to our farm a few days ago. It dropped off about $600 of new plastic in a 150-lb. roll lashed to a wooden pallet.

That’s enough commercial-grade material to cover one of two high tunnel greenhouse roofs, which a fierce storm ripped apart this summer. Dela and I have not enough time or money to repair both hoop houses before frost.

I was grateful this past Tuesday when new subscriber Aaron of Oregon, who’s been volunteering so much around the farm this summer, brought along his visiting father Roger. They came with portable power tools to dismantle rotted wood along the structure’s south wall.

Four years of brilliant sunshine and the heavy moisture of the greenhouse took quite a toll on that wood. With the high tunnel kit Green Tech sold us were huge bags of heavy metal screws. These screws pierce a metal track that runs all around and over the end spans of the greenhouse to hold the plastic to the frame.

Aaron and Roger, a great carpenter proved quite a team. We managed to quickly retire all the rotted wood that caused the original plastic to give way. Neither rain nor mosquitoes, which came out in mass in the cloudy weather, kept us from installing new wood. We had to fend off hornets, too, that were nesting in the mechanism that lifts and lowers the wall’s curtain.

Scotch Hill still needs 2 adult volunteers on this project. This structure’s 12 feet tall. Helpers must be comfortable with heights and standing on extension ladders. They’ll hold the 92 feet of plastic tight while I attach it to the frame. It will take a couple hours for me, working along the ground from the middle in both directions, to weave wire over the plastic into that metal track on each side. We’ll need a calm day, too – no wind

There are plenty of other things volunteers can do to help here at this time of year. There is harvesting, weeding, and retiring trellis, tired vines, black plastic mulch and drip tape, where early varieties of plants are beginning to die. Email tony@scotchhillfarm.com, text the cell (608 312-9588), or leave a message on farmhouse answering machine (608 897-4288) if you can come here for a work visit. Spend the night if you like. Camp in our garden paths, or bunk in spare rooms.

Southern Wisconsin has a lot to do locally this time of year, including Cheese Days in Monroe, Embrace the Race during Brodhead’s Autumn Fest and Oktober Fest in New Glarus. Check out Green County websites for these towns for details.

Helping Scotch Hill get through winter: As our primary growing and harvest season of 20 weeks concludes this last month of deliveries, we look to two other means of sustaining Scotch Hill over winter.

Since before the 2008 economic downturn, we’ve offered a fall and cool season crop delivery in a special November share. It’s a double dose of at least 20 varieties, including a number of Dela’s canned and preserved vegetables.

Delivered twice, in the first week of November and a week before Thanksgiving, this hefty fall share provides a flavorful return of garden goodness going intoholiday season meal preparations.

Dela and I are working now to raise and harvest enough produce and canned goods for 45 fall shares. Please sign up as soon as possible if you want to take part in this offering from our farm.

A second way anyone can help our farm meet expenses over winter is to purchase Dela’s milled soap, which she’s been making from our goat milk for at least 18 years. She has a number of other great, natural ingredient skin care products she’s crafted over the years.