Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What's new at the Farm? 10/6/10

This week sees us nearly done picking tomatoes for seed. We've one more large picking and we will be done. Green Zebra is left and I estimate that will take us a full day to pick and process it. And then all we have left is cucumbers, squash and pumpkins to pick and process and a couple of tons of Jerusalem Artichokes to dig. And of course there's lots of fall farm cleanup to do.
Fall is a good time to start on next spring's workload.

Yes, I said next spring – harvest isn't done and I'm preparing for next spring in October. I bought 925 yards of composted manure last spring and had it delivered last month. We spread it in two applications over about 10 acres. Here's a picture of Becky using the Kubota and the manure spreader to apply it to our field:

Becky spreads a layer of composted manure.

We applied a liberal dose, got some rain and then applied the rest of it. This field is in need of large infusions of organic matter and this compost was just the ticket. The crop growing here is red clover we seeded last summer with a few sprigs of annual ryegrass that overwintered. Next spring we'll plow this down and plant some squash and pumpkins and perhaps some soybeans. Soybeans don't need any additional fertility other than the plow down clover. We've used parts of this field for several years now and I look forward to using more of it.

I have ordered and received our compost for next spring's application. Our compost comes from Little River Compost in Lisbon Falls, Maine. The Goddards make really good compost and their delivery schedule is the best so this is the second year out of what I perceive as many years that we get our compost from them. I get it in the fall of the previous year so there are no issues with posted roads when we want to spread our compost.

One of the biggest things we can do to speed things along next spring is to thoroughly clean up all the fields, pull all the stakes and plastic and inventory all the supplies we have on hand to determine what we'll need during the next growing season. All the trellises needs to be taken down; the plants cut down, the wire wound up and the posts pulled out and stacked on pallets. The plastic needs to be pulled and the ground seeded down before the weather gets too cold. That's a lot of work when you think about the fact that we have three-plus acres of field tomatoes, and then there's two poly tunnels full of tomatoes, and mulch trials of tomatoes on plastic, and more tomatoes in pots and so on.

We've got miles of plastic to pull up and dispose of. And of course there's lots of little projects like picking up all the drip irrigation lines, mowing crops once they've been frosted and chisel plowing the fields that didn't get seeded with a cover crop. Late fall is an excellent time to clean up the flower beds, clean out, sweep and organize the greenhouses and get everything ready for planting next spring. Everything we do now in prep for next spring; well, we just won't have to do it next spring.

Until next week, Brian

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