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About Cups

posted Jun 28, 2012, 6:09 PM by Summerdog Family   [ updated Sep 28, 2012, 12:27 PM ]
The farm goal this year is to grow something that someone else will want to eat, and maybe even buy.  The plan is to open a farm stand.  It has dawned on us that to populate the farm stand the plants in the field will need to survive and look edible.  The kale, for example, must not look like the fine green lace it does currently.  We are still working on the survive part.

For us, edible is a fuzzy line (ha!).  Last year, our yield prompted questions from family members like, are you sure I can eat this?  In this category: the corn ears with mangy no-kernel patches, the corn ears with worms, the corn ears with worms and only three huge malformed white kernels, green zucchinis the size of corgis, yellow zucchinis the size of corgis with brown patches, half-brown tomatoes, partly smushed watermelons, a suspiciously perfect carrot.  Reasonable answers here: "cut off that part," "it will taste okay fried," "we should get a picture of that."

This year, we have been very ambitious about the amount of stuff planted.  A lot of it is already being eaten in the field.  The moths love the broccoli and are raising well-nourished moth families.  The bunnies appear appreciative of all the green juiciness.  They sit close to us with glazed bunny eyes and pretend we are not there as they browse.  We are learning how all this works, and what plagues to watch for.

But cups.  The feast in our field was produced through the cup method.  When it's time to transplant outside, get a bunch of clear compostable corn cups.  Cut off the bottoms so you have a fat tube.  Dig in compost, plant the seedling in a slight hollow, and surround it with the cup.  Mound some dirt around the bottom of the cup, and then pile clean straw around it.  Water can be poured right into the cup, and the cup will hold it, focusing it on the roots.  The cup protects from wind, which can be evil.  The plant will grow quickly and safely, until a swarm of small black bugs notices and moves in and turns the leaves to green lace.  Pull off the cups when the stem is sturdy enough to handle the wind.

Whatever happens, it will taste okay fried.

- C


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