Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What's new at the Farm? 9/29/10

We continue harvesting seed productions at a feverish pace. Since my last article we have picked and processed eight tomatoes and a pumpkin. Today finds us picking yet another batch of tomatoes; hopefully three or four varieties. I'd like to be done the small increases by the end of the week and finish the last two or three big picking jobs by the end of next week. As soon as the tomatoes are done we start on small pepper increases and squash and pumpkins.

Last week I talked about the elevator I purchased to use in the seed processing line. Here's a photo of it in action:

Brian's newly purchased elevator sends pumpkins on their final journey, and into the Vine Harvester.
The big, orange machine is the Vine Harvester which I talk so much about during the harvest. It was patterned after a seed harvester, common out west years ago, and built here by a former farm employee. In this picture, the fruit drops into the hopper which grinds the fruit releasing the seed. The broken fruit is then deposited into a rotating drum with perforated holes. The seed goes through the holes into a catch draw and the pulp flows out the back.

A picture of the business end of the Vine Harvester:

The Vine Harvester machine makes quick work of our pumpkin harvest as it separates the seeds from the pulp.
The vine harvester is powered by a Farmall 200, which we use because it has a drawbar that adjusts height hydraulically. This is important to get the correct slope on the harvester. Too little slope and the pulp will get pulverized and go in with the seed; too little and good seed will be lost out the back.

Seed crops we use this machine on include pumpkins, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, melons and peppers -- basically any crop that is wet seeded. It speeds up the seed separation process considerably.

And lastly, as I was driving back from the sluice area last Friday I snapped this picture below:

Clover, sown between the cornrows, makes a great cover crop.
 This is the sweet corn trial that has gone by. It was undersown with Crimson clover around the fourth of July. We broadcast a couple of pounds of Crimson clover and then worked it in to the soil with rakes and hoes. Once the corn stalks get mowed the clover will really take off. It likes cool and damp weather, so it will thrive in the fall. It will provide a great matt of vegetation to hold and protect the topsoil. Regrowth next spring will depend largely on how the winter is so we may or may not have a lot of regrowth next spring.

Until next week, Brian

1 comment:

Kim Corbell said...

Crimson clover is so beautiful!