Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What's New At The Farm? 5/12/10

The weather is cooperating, so we're busy out in the fields. Becky is finishing up the plowing, Matt has been spreading fertilizer, Craig is making beds and Jason is laying plastic. Nick is showing all equipment operators the finer points of driving and using the equipment. Everyone that isn't operating equipment is busy in the greenhouses, which are filling up fast. 'Tis the season, you know!

This week we direct seeded spring greens so we'll have them to look forward to. We'll also seed beets, roots, radishes and several other small seeded crops as time and weather permit. The calendar says the middle of May and, by the looks of the temps lately, I agree it's the middle of May. It's too early to get many transplants out but it's the perfect time to get the field work done and get ready for the "big push". The "big push" happens around Memorial Day when we want to get all the transplants in as quickly as we can.

Part of the problem with all this transplanting is for many years we only had one transplanting machine. This year we have two transplanters so the "big push" should be easier to handle. We now have the ability to transplant twice as many crops in the same time frame as planting one. Of course we have many more crops this year to transplant, but still, it should go much faster than the previous few years.

It's interesting observing this spring's weather and it's affect on plants and animals. For example the Japanese Knotweed that seems to grow everywhere was hit by frost once and perhaps twice this week. It was growing vigorously, and now it looks like it's close to dead; it will be interesting to see if it recovers or if it sends new shoots up from the roots. That's all I can think of good to say about this invasive weed.

It's quite amazing to see how tall the grass has gotten in the hayfields. I remember growing up on the dairy farm, when June cut hay was early. I'd be surprised if locals weren't cutting any grass now as the field I walked through yesterday was approximately 18 inches tall; very early for here. The weeds are blossoming and setting seed; chickweed and shepherds purse being the two I noticed the best. It's a good time to grind them; before they go to seed.

Not having any frozen ground this past winter allowed many things to overwinter instead of dying. Yes, I'm going to mention ticks again. They're out and about and hungry; I've removed two already. Besides wearing long clothes and tucking everything in (this is really great in hot weather) there are some other things you can do to keep ticks at bay. Spraying your clothes with an insect repellant works, keeping the grass mowed will discourage them and employing ducks, chickens and guinea hens will reduce their numbers. Ticks have only been an issue in the past few years here; we never had them when we were growing up.

I think some weeds overwintered although the spring has been conducive to early season weed control. We're stale bedding much of the farm this year, so we'll have a jump on weed control. The fields we plowed a couple of weeks ago are starting to green up with the first flush of weeds. We'll pick a day that's sunny and warm and harrow them. We'll at least kill a couple of million weeds before the growing season gets underway in good shape.

Our globe artichokes on the farm survived a Maine winter under row covers. I don't think this is something we can count on every year, but at least for this year. We'll split up the plants this week and replant the shoots and wait to see what they're going to do.

Until next week, Brian

1 comment:

Kathryn Maleney said...

I'm sure you're doing great work. Down here in Pennsylvania, it's time to put in the tomatoes I've been nurturing from seeds.

As I get ready to put them out, I'm back to the same conundrum I face every year -- what's the best way to stake indeterminate tomatoes. I'm not too worried about reducing yield, as I've got more plants than I need. I don't want a sprawl of vines, so I need to stake them or cage them.

Last year I made cages from wire fence, but I found the squares were too small (about 2" x2"). This year we were talking about growing them on strings attached to a homemade frame of galvanized conduit but that looks pretty costly. So now I'm thinking about stringing them, lattice style, to climb up along horizontal strips that I'll put between fence posts.

I've concluded there's no single good answer, but I'm hoping you guys will post something on tomato stakes/cages etc. Thanks!