Monday, June 27, 2011

Babysitting the crops. Most crops are in the field, now we feed and water them and protect them from pests.

I seem to operate better on a two week schedule (not that I am satisfied with this and I’ll try to do better).  We have filled the last two boxes of our Farm Share (CSA) no choice component.  This weekend our subscribers will begin to use their weekly credits to shop at our farm stand in our free choice component. 

We have planted the last watermelons, cantaloupes, sweet corn and pumpkins.  This week we will plant the last tomatoes.  We still will have small plantings of a few misc. crops. The next week is one of my favorite times of the season.  The crops will begin to grow explosively and for a brief moment we seem to be on top of diseases, insects, weeds and predators (crows, deer, raccoons and other wild life).  Shortly, reality will kick in and the great chess match will begin.


Photo 1:  7th CSA box

Photo 2: 8th CSA box

Photo 3:  Tomatoes ripening on the vine.

Photo 4:  Cantaloupes starting to net (form netting on the surface of the fruit).

Photo 5:  Burpless cucumber on the vine.

Photo 6:  Patsy with an early onion harvest.

Photo 7:  Watermelons starting to set in the field.

Photo 8:  Patsy and Norma’s Dad, John likes to keep an eye on things.   

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Early hot weather speeds everything up: Tomatoes and cantaloupes in June? Sweet corn before the fourth of July? It may be!

Well, it looks like I let two weeks slip by me without blogging.  The switch from wet and cool to hot has really compressed our transplanting season.  We have been transplanting every day for almost two weeks.  We just finished setting out the last of the pumpkins and squash.  We just have late, smaller plantings of seedless watermelon and tomatoes along with a handful of misc. transplanted crops to go yet.  We had a little bit of disease on some early watermelon transplants, but it was apparently a bacterial disease that is not very competitive once taken out of the greenhouse.  Checking our diagnostic materials and a call to Purdue extension, helped reassure us that this was not a serious disease and it fact it disappeared after a few days in the field.  We have a little bit of disease on tomato, an old acquaintance, early blight, that shows up every year and will not go away completely, even with treatment.  Our potato plantings, took a serious hit from Colorado Potato Beetles, we have tried two different sprays to hopefully get them under control.  We are irrigating some of our early cantaloupes, tomatoes and onions.  We are cultivating our conventional sweet corn and are considering an additional herbicide treatment.  We just planted our sweet corn that is compliant with organic standards, where we will not have the herbicide options.  This and the fact that we will not have conventional sprays to control earworms, makes me a bit anxious, but we have a plan and a backup plan (some overlapping conventional plantings). Weed control is a big focus for the upcoming week; spraying, cultivating, hoeing and pulling.  Patsy’s work load with transplants in the greenhouse will be considerably reduced with all the plants that have been planted outside the past couple weeks.  She will be focusing now on getting ready for marketing at our three market stands. Patsy, Jason, Norma, Debbie and I have been putting in some long days and weeks, but they will be getting longer in a couple weeks when harvesting and marketing kick in. The number of workers will triple when harvesting and marketing commence.     


Photo 1:  Week 4 Farm Share (CSA) box

Photo 2:  Week 5 Farm Share (needed to take the photo before the strawberries came in)

Photo 3:  Week 6 Farm Share (spring crops ending and summer crops beginning

Photo 4:  Transplanting watermelons on sandy hills

Photo 5:  Debbie and Norma on the trasplanter

Photo 6:  Potato planting

Photo 7:  Onion planting

Photo 8:  Zucchini setting on

Photo 9:  Our gambleloupes (actually have baseball size melons set on)

Photo 10:  Our candidate for first tomato