Monday, November 3, 2008

What's New At The Farm? 10/29/08

The fall work continues in the fall-like weather. We're busy harvesting the last few squashes and pumpkins for seed and also cleaning up where some of the trials were this past season. The 3.5 acres of tomatoes that we had need to have the strings pulled/cut out, the stakes need to be pulled, cleaned and stacked and the plastic can be removed. After all that the ground can be chisel plowed before we get much more rain. This will prevent erosion from taking our soil and depositing it where we don’t want it.

Many frost sensitive crops are standing dead in the field while we wait for the soil to become dry enough to work it. I'd really like to get out there with the mower and make some things go away. It's time, time to close out another season out on the farm. It's sad somewhat but as the weather turns gray and dreary we find other projects that need doing. There's plenty of work to do to the crops we moved into the greenhouses before the killing frosts. Our largest greenhouse is brimming full of winter squash awaiting testing and seed extraction. Our breeding greenhouse is housing the dry and pop corn trials and some pumpkin seed as well.

The polytunnel is waiting on the planting of some fall greens; lettuce and such. We've still got some green peppers in their but their fate is all but sealed with the colder weather approaching. There's a few flowers in there as well.

We're processing the last few squash and pumpkin increases now. We're doing some today and will have only two left which we'll do next week. There's still a fair amount of field work to do before we get any snow; hopefully we'll have time to get the bulk of it done before winter. Once the weather turns colder we'll work in the field on warm days and clean seed on not so warm days. The seed that we produced must be absolutely clean before we send it to any grower for seed production. This usually means a trip over the bean tables.

Never heard on a bean table? A bean table is a small table that has a slow moving conveyor belt. The seed is placed into a hopper and doled out onto the conveyor. As the seed passes by, poor seed, cracked ones, dirty or otherwise unusable seed is handpicked out. The good seed is then deposited into a chute where it goes into a collection bucket. While it's a very thorough method of cleaning seed, it is slow and boring. I think a person could literally go to sleep watching the belt, especially if there isn't much to pick out.

Until next week, Brian


Anonymous said...

hi, i am a home gardener, interested in seed saving. is there any way to tell which if any of your seeds are good candidates for seed saving?

Brian, Farm Manager said...

Savings seed is fun and interesting. A couple of things one should know before savings one's own seed: Make sure the seed you save is from an "OP" or open pollinated variety as seed from a hybnrid will not be true ti type. We state on all our varieties whether they are hybrids or OPs. The second thing is to determine whether or not the plants may have cross polinated or not. Some plants like peppers will cross pollinate but not as easily as squash or cucumbers. Cross pollinated fruits seldom produce true to type fruit if the seed is saved. It is best to grow one type of fruit in the garden to insure cross pollination doesn't occur.
We used to offer a booklet" Growing Garden Seeds"; I'm sure we could find a copy if you wanted one. It describes the ins and outs of saving ones own seed.