Friday, July 30, 2010

Foggy Valley Breakdown

Fog in July? Unusual? probably not but I'm not sure if I recall ever seeing it. I'm sure I have but don't remember. Whatever.

Just heading out to harvest. Big day here and as always this time of year things are in tight demand. We have a little of a lot of things. Except Fava beans which we are entirely loaded to the gills with.

Oh tomato dear tomato, where art thou tomato. Lots of greenies just starting to turn. Two weeks from know we'll be in the schwing.

Lots of starts in flats ready to go and more on the way. Running a little late. Don't ye tarry, the sun is shining now is not the time to delay.

Off to the fields.

Farmer John

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Whirlwind Of Weeding

If you run out of things to do on a small farm there is always weeding to be done. We've been able to stay on top of most things. It's pretty much like the Golden Gate Bridge or owing a wooden boat. By the time you finish on section it's time to pick up where you started an re-weed from the beginning. Working v ery hard to not let things go to seed and to keep our crops growing un-checked from weed pressure. It's amazing just how fast they can grow. Especially challenging is keep the newley emerging beds cultivated so the crops don't just get smotherd in weed. I tried to flame weed a new block of beets last night but I think I missed it by a day. Eventually I chickened out and did not flame. (sorry boys I had you pull those drip tapes in vain) Now I'll have to resort to hoeing.

Some of our fall starts are ready for transplant and we are still sowing in flats to have crops ready to go in as bed space becomes available. Lots of direct sowing as well. This is the time to get in your beets, turnips and the like. We're planning for crops that will be ready for our indoor markets beginning in October. Sales can be strong if you have the product so we're trying not to drop the ball here. The hardest part about starting things in flats this time of year is to keep them properly hydrated. We have to water three times a day or else the cells dry out and checks growth.

All the while we must be keeping up on our market and wholesale account harvests. It's tricky at times to keep everything roling without having gaps in production. We're doing OK. As always and ironically, we seem to have a lull in the action this time of year. With the odd weather we've had, tomato and other heat loving crops like squash, cucumbers and such are behind a bit. Hopefully these things will kick in here real soon.

What we do have is alot of fava bean and sugar snap peas! It's been a very interesting year for me from a variety stand point.. We have a very eclectic mix of produce. As someone who enjoys cooking I'm pretty exited about things like radicchio, arrowhead cabbage, bulb fennel, fava beans and all of the culinary herbs. There have been some great dishes coming out of the kitchen. I don't care what anyone says, Grilled radicchio kicks ass! It also is a lovely addition to risotto.

All of this said, life is good. I feel like we're having a great year.

Take care peeps.

Farmer John

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Holy bajole

Farm sites are all looking pretty good. We've been weeding, weeding weeding. It's a constant battle. We're looking good for now, give it a couple of weeks. We had one spot that I had sown about six beds of beets into that just got swamped in weeds. There was no way to save them. I opted for the till, re-sow method. It's alot easier. I'll have to be more on the emerging weeds this time. Good call for the flamer. Some times the weeds seem to be more apt to germinate. If you believe in working within the astrological wings, perhaps timing your sowings to the times when weed pressure is lower would be a good thing. I actually am a believer. there have been times when I have worked soil and there was very little weed pressure. Life is all in the timing.

Speaking of timing, that means not screwing up the timing to make us run out of salad greens. I don't think I've ever had a year we did'nt have a gap and it looks like we're headed for one this week. I'm hoping to get the account orders filled but am afraid we won't have greens for market. Bummer. It won't be a long gap though and hopefully the only one we have.

I'm a little bleary eyed at the moment but all is well and we are having a great year. Lovi'n it!


Farmer John

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Staying On Top

Being a good farmer / gardner is alot about staying on top of the weeds. It's a non stop task. We've been on it pretty good this year. Using the tractor is a big help, espescially in the paths where in years past things have turned into a jungle. We try not to hand weed too much but last night I did get on my knees for about three hours clearing out a couple of beds of beets and fennel. A pain yes, but very much an instant gratification job. Weeding always make me feel better about me. We use hoes too. Especially in-row and between delicate seedlings. Hitting them early before you can even see them is a big benefit and helps us from losing things. If there's one thing I've learned it's to get the weeds before they get you. I'ts just a few minutes per bed with a hoe VS. hours on your hands and knees if you let hem go. Morale buster for sure. The quality of your crops is much higher with proper weeding as well. Obviously less competition for sunlight, water and nutrient. Plants will be leggy and weak at best if there is too much weed pressure. We try not to let weeds go to seed. We fail sometimes and pay a dear price. "one year seed, seven year weed" is very much a true statement. We hve a couple of weed ridden beds that we are trying to get a hold back onto by using buckwheat cover crop. My intent is to roll it down just prior to flowering and plant some fall crops into it. I'll keep you updated on how that does or does not work.

Fall gardners? Today is your day. This is the cutoff for sowing fall peas, beans, summer squash, cukes and corn. We will be putting in sugar snap peas and green beans today. Along with yes, you guessed it, more weeding! Also harvesting a ton of peas, Well, not a ton but hopefully a couple hundred pounds. Tomorrow we'll be harvesting strawberries for market and another couple hundred pounds of fava beans plus all the other stuff. Time to roll.

Keep well,

Farmer John