Can you believe it’s fall crop time already? Production on fall crops is in full swing at Braddock and Shiloh Farms.
At Braddock (where these lovely chickens live), they’ve begun to harvest the first fall crops: white and red icicle radishes, des vertus mareau (hammer of Thor) turnips, leeks, celeriac and butternut and spaghetti squash for sale at the farm stand and restaurants.
There has been a bumper crop of beets this year, resulting in a full create at farm stand each week! The succession planting of beans has also been productive. Farm Manager Marshall Hart and his team planted four 70-foot beds of beans over four weeks, and are now picking over 50 pounds each week.
Braddock Farms participated in the Brew Gentelman’s Garden Party in Braddock, which had over 1,600 attendees. Other participants included the Pittsburgh Taco Truck, Superior Motors, Gyros N’at, Bar marco, the Pittsburgh Garden project, Shauna Kearns with bread from the community oven, and others. Looking forward to next year!
At Shiloh Farms in North Point Breeze, Manager Cassandra Morgan has been busy! The Shiloh and Homewood farm stands will close in mid- to late-October, depending on the weather.
This season is the first time Cassandra is saving heirloom tomato seeds for Grow Pittsburgh production sites. She chooses the best-looking ripe tomatoes from different plants of the same variety and cuts them into quarters. Then she puts the seeds and pulp in a mason jar, and fills it with an equal amount of water. Cassandra lets the jar sit out of direct sunlight and after 3-4 days, the viable seeds have sunk to the bottom. The seeds are rinsed and placed on a bag to dry. After they’re dry, Cassandra stores them in a well-marked, airtight container in a cool and dark place. The flesh from the tomatoes can be used to make salsa or sauce.
Worried that your seeds may not be viable? Do a germination test! Put 10 seeds on a damp paper towel inside a plastic bag. Keep that bag in a warm spot and in a few days, the seeds will germinate. The number that do germinate is your % of germination. The lower your germination rate, the more seeds you will need to plant in order to get the number of plants desired.
One crop growing at Shiloh isn’t an edible at all. The luffa gourd can be used as a dishcloth or sponge! Once ripe, the gourd needs to be dried in a warm and sunny location (like a greenhouse). Scoop out the flesh and the skin becomes a home-grown sponge!
Cassandra also manages the Frick Greenhouse. There she is able to grow ginger, which is a tropical plant that must be grown in a greenhouse in a temperate climate like Southwestern Pa. Frick ginger is harvested each fall and sold at Shiloh Farm Stand or to area restaurants.