Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What's New At The Farm? 8/12/09

It rained. It rained Monday afternoon, it rained early Tuesday morning, it rained and rained and rained.....................

So now what do we do? We work in the rain. We thin fall carrots, we weed, we do whatever we need to that can be done in the rain. We can work in the greenhouses, although there's not a whole lot going on in them now. We get equipment ready for harvesting. We install electric fences to keep the critters out of the corn and the pumpkins. We trap and relocate animals that are foolish enough to go into the traps; mostly raccoons and quill pigs.

The list of what we can't do in the rain is longer. We can't rotovate, we can't seed any ground down, we can't paint anything out in the yard and we can't prune tomatoes. Standing water in several fields makes working them impossible. Who would have thought we'd have standing water in the middle of August? Weeding is more of a challenge as the weeds reroot easily if left on wet ground. Last year we painted everything that didn't move and put in place everything that did so we're in good shape now.

We've got one field I've been trying to get a crop established for going on four years now and there's standing water out there now. The first year I planted sweet clover which winterkilled, the second year I didn't plant clover as I intended to plant the field in crop, the third year someone, (who shall remain nameless, and, no it wasn't me) forgot to put the clover seed in the grain drill and this year it looks like it's going to be too wet. Maybe I'll try for five years in a row. A local farmer asked me what my plan was for that field because all we ever do is plow, field cultivate and harrow it and I told him that's exactly what we were doing - a plot to just plow and harrow and field cultivate, period.

Late blight continues to be an issue here as well as across Maine. Northeast Ag. has come in with their sprayer to spray our seed productions for us. Their rig is 12 feet wide and six feet high with a ninety foot sprayer boom. This long boom allows them to spray our tomatoes without damaging the crops as they don't have to enter the crops at all. They can do in one hour what it would take us two days to do. With them spraying, we can concentrate our efforts on pruning and weeding and the other activities associated with running a farm. We've also got some additional help in the form of temps so that's helping out; some farm crew taking time off in the summer creates a shortage. Honestly, I don't know why anyone would want to take time off in the summer when you could wait until winter and spend that time cramming wood in the stove. Beyond me.

If summer is going to show up at all this year, it needs to hurry up. The temperatures have been great for working but not great for the crops. In a short six weeks we'll be thinking about our first frost. Bad word - frost - I know, but it's coming. So's winter. That's a cheery thought.

The crops are ripening well now. We've been harvesting cucumbers and summer squash for a couple of weeks. This week we'll see the first of the peppers, sweet corn and probably a few tomatoes, in the hoop house at least. Lots of greenhouse cucumbers being picked now.

Until next week, the sun is out and I'm going to get some rotovating done.


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