Monday, May 31, 2010

Social weekend and harvesting of beets, carrots, pea pods, zucchini, chard, greens, lettuces, and kohlrabi.

I am running a bit behind on this blog and I will be talking about the weekend and week before the Memorial Day weekend.  I will have another entry in a couple days for Memorial Day weekend and the following week. On Friday, May 21 we got up early drove to St. Louis for our daughter Faith’s graduation, helped load her belongings into 4 vehicles and drove back Friday evening.  Patsy and I got up early on Saturday to get the CSA produce picked and boxed.  We spent the rest of the day getting ready for a family gathering for Faith on Sunday.  Ben and his girlfriend Ari were in from California and Adam was in from St. Louis. This kind of weekend probably won’t be possible again until after Labor Day.  On Monday, we replanted part of the 2 acres of cantaloupes that were wiped out by the unexpected cold snap.  We also planted about 4 acres of watermelons and another ½ acre of tomatoes.  The high tunnel tomatoes are setting on nice fruits and the potatoes are getting ready to flower.  Broccoli is a couple weeks off and the first five or so plantings of sweet corn are up.  The strawberries from Bland’s Farm are some of the best I have had.


First caption:  Faith, Ken and Patsy.

Second caption:  Ben, Adam and Patsy catching red bellied daces for Patsy’s aquarium.

Third caption:  High tunnel tomatoes and cucumbers.

Fourth caption:  Early tomatoes and broccoli that were under low tunnels in the spring.

Fifth caption:  Fourth week’s full CSA offering.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hard to focus: Temperature swings keeping us guessing.

I have had a hard time focusing on the theme for this week’s blog.  The 80+ degree weather the third week of April and now the upper 50’s to lower 60’s the third week of May have had us making drastic changes in our plan for the season. I guess that is my excuse for being nine days late.  The early warm weather convinced us to stop planting cool season crops in the high tunnel, switch from green plastic mulch (warmer) to black plastic mulch (cooler) in the field and now the swing back to cooler than normal weather is stressing the first planting of cantaloupes and we will have to do some replanting.  Oh well, warm weather is just around the corner, so we will focus on sunnier things.  We had a nice time at our farms with a number of our subscribers and employees this past Sunday afternoon and in spite of the chill we enjoyed fresh strawberries and ice cream.  Our warm season crops are progressing nicely in the high tunnel. We have been enjoying our greater involvement with Danville Gardens (nice people). We are getting ready to transplant more plants with the prospect of warm weather in the forecast.  And finally, we are exercising our farmers optimism that the perfect season is just around the corner. 



First caption:  Crops in our high tunnel.

Second caption:  Danville Gardens’ display has sure spruced up our stand for this time of year.

Third caption:  Cantaloupe transplants ready for the field.

Fourth caption:  Rainbow over our transplanter.

Fifth caption:  Our third week’s full CSA offering.  Wasn’t organized enough to get photos of the first two weeks.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The juggling has begun: seeding, transplanting, cultivating, fertilizing, irrigation, spraying, marketing, payroll.

We are getting into that phase of the season where nearly everything is going on.  We are marketing strawberries at our Tilton stand, we are cultivating potatoes and plastic mulched tomatoes, we are spraying herbicide on sweet corn ground and planting sweet corn every three days, we are transplanting cantaloupes, watermelons and more tomatoes, we are seeding more watermelons, we are harvesting spring crops for the CSA, we are fertilizing and laying plastic mulched beds, managing workers and doing payroll, we are repairing equipment and laying irrigation supply lines. This will reach a crescendo in July and continue through August when we are doing daily harvests of sweet corn, watermelon, cantaloupes, tomatoe and many other crops.


I have include some photos of equipment this week for you ‘grease under the fingernails’ crowd.


First Caption:  Rototilling down our cover crop after mowing.  Our 7’ rototiller.


Second Caption: Getting ready to plant sweet corn with our 5 row planter.


Third Caption:  Jason helping to lay plastic mulch beds for cantaloupe.  Jason is checking the distance between beds. 

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sweet corn is up, starting to prepare for first large scale melon plantings.

This spring has been fairly dry and the relatively low soil moisture has resulted to some spotty stands in our first sweet corn plantings. We are getting ready to mow our crimson clover and hairy vetch cover crop to get ready for our second tomato planting along with other miscellaneous summer crops. We will also soon prepare beds for our first cantaloupe planting. The pace is starting to pick up with large scale field work, seeding, transplanting, and marketing at our Tilton market. Soon the days will be filled to overflowing.

First Caption: Last years melon field with a rye cover crop that will soon be planted to soybeans by our neighbor.

Second Caption: This years sweet corn and pumpkin ground.

Third Caption: Crimson clover, hairy vetch and perennial rye grass cover crop which will soon be planted to tomatoes and miscellaneous summer crops.