Monday, June 30, 2008

Holy Berry Batman!

Well now. Strawberries are on like I have never seen before. The're on so thick that when you're picking you don't have to move much. Just stand there and pick about 4 pints from one location. We picked 11 flats this evening before we simply burned out on picking them. ( we had a big day here) We'll go back in the morning. Catch us in town around noon if you would like some. They'll go fast so don't tarry along the way. They are gorgeous, delicious and good for you. They are not sprayed with posion. They are grown with love, very expensive and worth every penny. $5.00 pint. Call ahead or e mail me if you would like to order a flat (12 pints)

Today we installed trellising and tied up three rows of tomatoes. We also culivated those as well as about 10 rows of potatoes. Also cultivated the garlic beds. This is when they are pushing to bulb up and don't like any weed competition. Really happy to get that project started! Also mowed around the farm tonight. Things were looking a litlle shabby. It's a big job just keeping things looking nice let alone farming as well.

It's hella busy right now. We are terminating and re-planting many areas right now. crazy, gotta keep it rolling.

Happy 4th of July to you all. See you at the fireworks.

Keep well,


Thursday, June 26, 2008

No Farmers!

I just returned from a trip to eastern Washington. One of my favorite things to do while visiting other areas is to check out the local farmers markets. Sadly my visit to the Twisp market was a dissapointment. There were no farmers. I asked one of the vendors about it and she said that most of the farmers had retired or moved on. What a shame. I came away thinking about how fortunate we are on Orcas to have such a lively farming community. Sometimes we forget how lucky we are. Getting caught up in our day to day lives, it sometimes takes a visit to another place to recognize our abundance.

One of the best things about the trip though (aside frome some quality family time) was seeing all of the orchards. The cherry harvest was just beginning and there were many other types of fruit. Apples, apricots and peaches mainly. Thosands of acres of wheat which was really interesting. All dry land farming. It was beautiful.

It was also great to come back. We have such a wonderful crew. They did a great job and I think they enjoyed having me be gone. Not in a bad way but in an empowering way. It's a great feeling for me to be able to leave and not even give it a second thought. Thanks guys, you rule!

Theres alot going on still in the way of planting. We hopefully will get our main crop of potatoes in this afternoon. Other stuff too. Late summer, fall and winter plantings of just about everything. Beets, turnips, brassicas, greens, beans etc, etc.

Anyway, back into full swing. Time to get a move on.

Keep well,


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Not Too Bad

Well, This whacky weather seems like it's gotta settle down here soon. Looks like another cloudy cool day. I've just been checking out some of the other farms sites around the Northwest. (virtual farm tours are a good thing) It seems as though if everyone is having some type of difficulty. If you get a chance, check out Blue Fox Farm on my link page. These folks have a gorgeous farm and there crops all look so healthy. They are quite a bit warmer than us but it's hard not to be envious of their harvests. Stunning.

Things are transistioning here a bit. Lots of groundwork being done making space for waiting successions from in the greenhouse. It feels great and I love the way the farm takes on a new face. The propagation house will quickly revert to a hoop house with beds where we'll grow our eggplants and peppers. We are adjusting our plantings a bit to adjust for the cooler summer. Just guessing here but I'm thinking the cooler than normal weather will continue. We're sowing more greens, broccoli and peas and a few others that will do well in these conditions. Melons? We've been hopeful but my hope is beginning to wane. Corn too. Just don't think it's going to do it this year. Also we have quite a few outdoor toms in. They are pretty much just sitting there. If they don't kick in here soon We might want to consider replacing them with something that will perform. Tough call. We are coming up on our deadline of summer squash, cukes and bean plantings here in a couple of weeks. We'll get in a second sowing on those guys shortly. We'll be planting our main crop of potatoes next week. I know it sounds late and it is compared to what the big guys do. We planted on July 1st last year and had a wonderful fall harvest. I'm hoping for even more success this year.

The fall and overwinting things are just being sown. I'm hoping for more root crop types of things this year, especially beets, carrots and turnips. Of course we'll keep the standards too, Brussel's sprouts, cabbage, collards, kale and the like. I'm still hoping for a bountiful fall harvest. Last year it made all the difference for us profit wise. This year appears to shaping up the same.

So it's all moving along slowly but surely.

The big news here is the strawberries are on. They are yummy and beautiful.

Generally I am just thankful. Those poor farmers back in Iowa are taking a beating. Think about it for just a moment. Corn is at an all time high at around $7.00 a bushel. The farmers there were all poised to have a banner year and actually make some money for a change and now they have nothing. Wiped out in a week. I don't know if I could take that. And as a side note, corn will go through the roof as well as wheat. Pretty sure you know how that translates.

Happy Solstice week and have fun at the parade.

Keep well,


Tuesday, June 10, 2008


OK so I don't normally post twice in one day however I wanted to relay some interesting weather history I heard today on Kuow. This came from Cliff Mass, atmospheric scientist at the University Of Washingington. He referred to this as the bbq factor as most people are less inclined to bbq in temps lower than 60 degrees.

Since March 11th we have had only 23 days that have reached 60 degreees. Normal would be somewhere around 45 days. In addition, this has been the coldest June on record since 1917. That's the year my mother was born. She's 91. Anyway slight warming trend by the end of the week and yes by the beginning of the week another trough settling in from the gulf of Alaska bringing more rain and cooler temps. Hell yeah!.... just kidding. Gimmie da ting dat da doctor ordered and dats da sun dammit.



OK its cold. I'm still building fires to keep the house warm. I don't recall such cool temps this late in the eight years I've been on Orcas. Snow level for the cascades last night was at 2500 ft and they were expexting up to a foot of new snow. Enough already! Poor little tomatoes are just geting hammered. They don't look so bad. If it does warm up they will recover I'm sure. They'll be some tough damn plants. I'd say this is going to be a tough year to get a decsent crop.
We do have about 150 plants in the greenhouses that look fine. Some of them actually have toms on them already. Yea.

Just getting around to the field prep for our main crop of potatoes. Mowed the cover crop on Sunday and plowed last night. I'll hit it with the rotovator this evening after work and let it set for a few days. One final pass with the tiller, set the furrows, fertilize, install the drip tapes, sow and cover. It's a little late but earlier than last year and we had a bumber crop. Putting in Yukon Golds, German Butterballs, Chieftan Reds, Austrian Crescent, Rose Fern Apple and Red thumbs.

Re-Thinking/evaluating where we are at and anticipating weather scenarios. I'm thinking/hoping we are in for a long late summer and Fall season. It very well could be the determining factor in our success or failure this year. Right now is the time to be ramping up for fall production. We have several indoor markets planned that go all the way into November. So I'm thinking about what crops we can market successfully into the holiday season. Also thinking about the over-wintering things. Good planning now puts us ahead in the spring when early crops are hard to produce.

Thankfully with all of this rain, allergies have been tolerable! The crops are loving it too! Theres no water like a good ol' soaking rain. The timing was perfect for things like beets and turnips and our newly sown crops of carrots, turnips, greens, and more. Great germination with the consistent moisture levels. Especially helpful on our drier/sandier plot. It's easy weeding right now too. Some of those big uglies like dock and thistle just pop right out.

Big news for this week will be the strawberry harvest. The forecast is for warming temps and clearing skies later in the week. Friday should see the first berries of the season!

It's time to get going. Off farm work day. Boo hoo.

Keep well,


Monday, June 2, 2008


It's still a bit on the cool side. I like it but the heat loving crops like tomatoes, cukes, peppers, squash and basil are not so impressed. Forecast is for cool temps all week.

Vehicle woes continue. Tranny went out on one of our eurvans. This one just came out of the shop on Friday. The other one is still in the shop with an unknown diagnosis. Ughhh.

The best thing this week is our new tractor. Mid 40's Farmall A. Nice! I will use it as a cultivating tractor.

This is going to be a big plant out week. More toms, winter and summer squash, cukes and more. More space we'll be available in the greenhouses in a couple of days as we pull the tables out. Melons and peppers will take their place.

Critical time. This is when I get hit with allergies. I'm taking prescriptions meds this year. So far I'm operating as normal. Most years I function at a minimum. Hopefully I can stay on schedule for a change. There's always so much to do this time of year it's easy to fall behind. We seem to be doing better this year.

Markets: Commercial sales are way off normal. A direct reaction to the slower economy. Less visitors to the island means less people frequenting the restaurants which means they are not consuming as much product. We've been making the difference up at the farmers market until this past week. Sales were substantially off. My vehicle woes didn't help us out either. We were limited on the amount of starts we were able to transport to market. Plus start sales are waning in general and we are in a lull for fresh veg More stuff will be coming on soon.

So there you have the dirt. Yes, it was a rough week. We'll see if we cant turn that around.

Keep well,